Zero Hour has some big news! In what marks significant progress for our campaign, the Climate & Ecology Bill was drawn 8 of 25 in the recent Lords private members’ bill ballot and will now start its journey through the Lords—and into the Commons—on 25 May. 

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“If we fail to limit global warming to 1.5°C, floods and fires will get more frequent and more fierce, crops will be more likely to fail, and sea levels will rise driving mass migration as millions are forced from their homes. Above 1.5°C, we risk reaching climatic tipping points, meaning we could lose control of our climate for good.”

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The Liberal Democrats' Energy Spokesperson between 2000-08, Lord Redesdale, is acting as the lea Bill sponsor in the Lords. An environmental expert and Zero Hour champion, Lord Redesdale will be spearheading an all-party campaign in the Lords with Zero Hour supporters from all sides of the House—alongside our ongoing campaign with MPs in the Commons.

Ahead of the Bill’s introduction and first reading on 25 May, Lord Redesdale said: “It’s a privilege to be steering the all-party backed Climate & Ecology Bill through the Lords. Climate change and biodiversity loss are the defining issues of our time and the UK Government just isn’t doing enough. Backed by many of Britain’s leading experts in the scientific community, this Bill has the potential to help save our environment for future generations.”

So, what happens next?

On 25 May the Climate & Ecology Bill will be presented by Lord Redesdale in the Lords for its first reading. The first reading sees the sponsor of the Bill read out the full title of the Bill—this is a formality and there’ll be no debate when Lord Redesdale presents it. 

The short title of the Bill is—the Climate & Ecology Bill—and its long title is “a Bill to require the UK to achieve climate and nature targets; to give the Secretary of State a duty to implement a strategy to achieve those targets; to establish a Climate and Nature Assembly to advise the Secretary of State in creating that strategy; to give duties to the Committee on Climate Change and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee regarding the strategy and targets; and for connected purposes”.

Once it’s introduced, the Bill will move to the next step of its legislative journey. This is the second reading, where the Bill will be debated in full. After the second reading debate, it will progress to committee stage, where there’ll be a detailed scrutiny of the Bill provisions and amendments can be put forward by Peers. Next is the report stage, where detailed examination of the Bill continues—before the third reading—where more amendments may be tabled (but this is rare). At this halfway point, the Bill clears the Lords and will be ‘handed over’ to an MP in the Commons where the(se Lords) stages are repeated.

What does this mean for the Climate & Ecology Bill? 

This is a very exciting development for Zero Hour because—for the first time—we’ll be working to push the CE Bill through the Commons and Lords simultaneously. This will give the CE Bill more profile and will provide more opportunities to build cross-party support in both houses, as well as pushing the Bill’s solutions to Ministers directly.

We’ll keep you updated at every step, including when the Bill will be reintroduced for the 2022-23 session in the Commons.