Making the case for the CAN Bill in the Lords

The Climate and Nature Bill will have its second reading in the House of Lords on 15 July 2022. It’s the first opportunity for Peers to debate the key principles and main purpose of the Bill—and a huge moment along the Bill’s journey into law.

In a major milestone for the cross-party Zero Hour campaign for the Climate and Ecology (CE) Bill, the second reading debate of the Bill will take place on Friday 15 July 2022 in the House of Lords.

On the day, (Lib Dem) Lord Redesdale—who’s responsible for the Bill as its sponsor—will open the second reading debate. Any peer can speak during second reading, but it’s only after second reading that the Bill moves to committee stage, where a detailed line-by-line examination and discussion of any amendments takes place. This later stage will likely take place in the autumn.

A private member’s bill, like the CAN Bill, can begin its journey through the UK Parliament and into law from either House. For this 2022-23 session, that process began in the Lords. Having been drawn 8 of out 25 private members’ bills in the new session ballot in May, the Bill was introduced—and read for the first time (its first reading)—by Lord Redesdale on 25 May 2022. Ahead of that moment, Lord Redesdale said:

By following the science—and involving the British public—we can deliver a transition to a zero carbon, ‘nature positive’ future that allows us to live in harmony with nature. Of course, we must use diplomatic clout to encourage other nations to do the same, but this Bill is about getting our own house in order.

Of course, Zero Hour’s campaign to enact a serious, science-led and legally-binding environmental plan for the UK began in the House of Commons, where CAN Bill champion—Caroline Lucas MP (Green)—has tabled the Bill on two occasions: first, during the 2019-21 session, when Caroline tabled the Bill on 2 September 2020—followed by a second presentation on 21 June 2021 in the 2021-22 session.

Since that time, Zero Hour has grown a huge alliance of supporters for this proposed legislation, including 25,000+ members of the public, 40+ local Zero Hour groups, 450+ allied organisations, 200+ local councils, alongside 150+ UK Parliamentarians, who’ve made the case for the Bill at every opportunity—including during the passage of the Environment Act, amendments to the Queen’s Speeches in 2021 and 2022 and a dedicated debate on the Bill itself.

As we know from Caroline’s massive efforts in the Commons, at the end of each session, all unfinished business falls. And as our campaign to attract the support of every major parties and MPs gears up this year, we’re excited to be kicking things off in this session the Lords, where the Bill’s already has the support of dozens of Peers, including (Greens) Baroness Bennett and Baroness Jones, (Lib Dems) Baroness Parminter and Lord Teverson, (Labour’s) Lord Knight and Baroness Lawrence, (Crossbenchers) Baroness Boycott and Lord Bird, and Conservative peer, Baroness Verma (Minister for Climate Change, 2012-15).

Second reading will be a chance for Peers to make the case for a joined-up, science-led environmental strategy for the UK—and to call on the UK Government to (as the outgoing Prime Minister once said) “listen to the warning of the scientists”, who have issued their strongest warning yet that all governments urgently need to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to avoid global heating of 3 degrees Celsius (or higher)—alongside, crucially—acting to restore biodiversity so that, by 2030, nature is on the path to recovery.

We’ve written a briefing for Peers ahead of 15 July (please contact [email protected] for a copy) and we’re also organising an open letter from young campaigners and youth organisations to hand over to Members of the House of Lords on 14 July (here). We’ll keep you posted about how the Bill progresses in the weeks ahead—so please sign-up to the Zero Hour campaign to ensure you’re on our mailing list.

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