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‘Environment Bill is a missed opportunity’

February 1, 2016 6:29 PM

Labour's Environment Bill represents a huge missed opportunity and lacks ambition, William Powell AM has said today.

The Labour Government's Environment Bill will be voted on this afternoon in the National Assembly. If the bill passes, it will become law.

While supporting the purposes behind the bill, the Welsh Liberal Democrats are highly critical that it is not ambitious enough. The Welsh Liberal Democrats would introduce a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions target by 2050, with a 50% reduction below a 1990 baseline by 2020 and an 80% reduction by 2030.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats' amendments on targets to halt the loss of nature in Wales have already gained the government's support and are now included in the bill.

William Powell AM, the Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Environment Minister, said:

"Climate change is the biggest threat facing our planet. The Welsh Liberal Democrats believe that Wales should play its part in fighting it.

"December saw Labour Ministers talking themselves up on the climate world stage in Paris, yet at home they remain unambitious on tackling climate change. This bill will simply put Wales in line with the rest of the UK, I think we should aim for higher than that.

"It's completely unacceptable that between 2012 and 2013 greenhouse gas emissions in Wales rose by 10%, which was significantly higher than other UK nations. The fact is that Labour's record on climate change does not match its rhetoric.

"Tackling climate change shouldn't just be seen as an obligation, but more as an opportunity to build a stronger, greener economy here in Wales. With the right ambition, we could lead the way in renewable technologies and in creating a circular economy."



The Welsh Liberal Democrats last week launched their ambitious five point plan to fight climate change.

The plans include five ambitious targets:

  • net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050;

  • 100% of electricity demand from renewable sources by 2025;

  • a 50% reduction in energy used for heating and electricity by 2030;

  • an increase in cycling rates to 10% by 2025 and 25% by 2050; and

  • halting the loss of biodiversity by 2020.

December's international COP21 climate negotiations in Paris agreed legally-binding emissions targets to ensure a global rise in temperatures of no more than 2°C.

However, an analysis of current commitments made by nations would only limit temperature rises 2.7°C. This means nations will need to make more ambitious emission reduction targets in order to avoid disastrous irreversible damage.