The bill was first presented to parliament by Green Party MP Caroline Lucas Extinction Rebellion Cambridge

Members of Extinction Rebellion (XR) have displayed banners around Cambridge today (26/03) calling on residents to urge their MP to support the Climate and Ecological Emergency (CEE) bill.

Similar banners have been displayed across the country by XR activists.

The bill’s second reading was originally scheduled for today, before weekly Friday gatherings in Parliament were indefinitely put on hold earlier this year.

In an XR press release, local resident Jenny Langley said: “The banners over the River Cam also highlight the threat to our chalk rivers and streams, a rare and precious ecosystem, being destroyed by water abstraction and sewage discharge. This is our equivalent to burning down the rainforest.”

Addressing Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner’s stance on the bill, Langley said that “Daniel says he cares about the environment, so I don’t understand why he’s repeatedly refused to support the CEE bill.”

In response, Zeichner told Varsity that he is “alarmed by the climate emergency and want[s] action,” emphasising that “climate breakdown is not a distant threat but something that is happening here and now.”

He continued: “my actions have helped force a vote in Parliament on the issues in the CEE bill. Yet while Parliament declared an environment and climate emergency in May 2019, the Conservative Government is simply not responding as the situation requires. That is why I personally tabled amendments to the Environment bill, which Parliament is currently discussing, to try to improve it.”

If passed, the CEE bill, which was presented by Green Party MP for Brighton Caroline Lucas, will require Prime Minister Boris Johnson to work to create and successfully implement a strategy to achieve climate and ecology objectives.

Johnson will also be required to establish and collaborate with a Citizens’ Assembly, which will work with the Secretary of State “to recommend measures to be included in, and revisions to, the draft strategy.”

The XR press release refers to the bill as “Boris Johnson’s last best opportunity of having a serious and comprehensive plan to tackle the greatest challenge humanity faces.”

Meanwhile, the Public Accounts Committee recently suggested that the Government has “no plan” for achieving its net zero aims, stating that the Government “has not yet engaged with the public on the substantial, individual behaviour – as well as structural economic - changes that achieving net zero will require.”

This comes as the Cambridge and Peterborough Independent Commission on Climate report, released earlier this month, warned that Cambridgeshire is at especially high risk from the effects of climate change.

The report found that “many of the risks to the UK from climate change are particularly acute in this region: ooding, high summer temperatures, water shortages, and damage to the natural carbon stores in the deep peat of the Fens.”


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It also warns that “sea level [rises may impact] homes, public buildings, businesses, towns and cities, and farming in the Fens,” cautioning that “we need both to reduce our emissions to minimise the impacts and also to prepare for them” and that “urgent action is needed.”

Discussing local engagement with the issue, the report estimated that almost 60% of the changes required to reach net zero involve changes in the behaviour of local residents. The report also states that “residents responding to both surveys wanted to see council leadership on climate change, nature prioritised, improved education and information to support behaviour change and a leading role for the area nationally.”

Langley ended the press release by “invit[ing] Daniel Zeichner, Anthony Browne and Lucy Frazer to have an open discussion with their constituents about the CEE Bill – we all feel incredibly passionate about this issue and welcome a forum to discuss our concerns.”