Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

10 May 2021

Dear Prime Minister,

We are writing to you ahead of the upcoming Queen’s Speech in order to urge you to include a Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill in your legislative agenda for the new Parliamentary Session.

As you know, tackling the climate and ecological emergencies is the greatest challenge of our generation. The last decade was the hottest on record and 2020 saw new records of extreme weather, with fires raging in the US and storm Eta inflicting tragedy on Central America. Global temperatures have already risen by as much as 1.2 °C, yet the IPCC Special Report from 2018 was clear that global heating must be limited to 1.5 °C.

At the same time, the Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services has set out the grim facts on nature and biodiversity—that one million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction, more than ever before in human history.

It is clear that the status quo is not working and that new, bold legislation is needed in order to grapple with these interconnected challenges.

First, despite the UK’s commitment to deliver Net Zero by 2050, our domestic climate policy remains inconsistent. As a consequence, we have seen the Department for Transport pursue a £27 billion road building programme, and the Secretary of State for Business refuse to rule out issuing new North Sea oil and gas licenses, despite the incompatibility of these policies with the Climate Change Act and the UK’s commitments under the Paris Agreement.

Second, although we welcome the Government’s acceptance of the Climate Change Committee’s recommendations on the Sixth Carbon Budget and inclusion of aviation and shipping in its target to reduce emissions by 78% on 1990 levels by 2035, the UK is currently off-track to meet both the Fourth and Fifth Carbon Budgets which are based on an 80% emission reduction by 2050. Furthermore, according to the Climate Change Committee’s most recent Annual Progress Report, only four of twenty one progress indicators have been met.

Finally, and perhaps most crucially, the UK was the first country in the world to commit to Net Zero by 2050, yet since 2019 science has continued to make advances and the signs of the climate emergency have grown more apparent.  Furthermore, this target does not reflect our global responsibility and nor will it generate the early action that is needed if the UK’s remaining carbon budget is not to be exhausted long before that date.

The Climate Change Committee itself recognises that the UK’s existing goal only gives us a ‘better than 50%’ chance of staying at or below the 1.5 °C target if it were replicated across the world.

As the hosts of the vital G7 and COP26 summits, the UK has a vital opportunity this year to lead the charge in limiting global heating and restoring nature.

We are therefore writing to you as supporters of the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill (CEE Bill), to ask that you take up the Bill in the forthcoming Queen’s Speech and allow it to progress, making time available during the next Session to properly debate the Bill. This bold piece of legislation was introduced in the last Parliamentary Session by Caroline Lucas MP. It  also has the backing of 107 MPs, representing all Opposition Parties, business leaders, and has been drafted by experts in the fields of climate change and ecology.

The CEE Bill offers a clear, evidenced-based statutory framework, which will fulfil the UK’s international climate and nature responsibilities and facilitate a transition to a zero-carbon economy. This is because it sets a viable pathway for the Government to:

  1. Take a joined-up approach to addressing the climate and ecological emergencies
  2. Ensure that the UK does its fair share to limit global heating to 1.5 ºC, in line with the Paris Agreement—taking responsibility for its entire greenhouse gas footprint, including domestic and imported emissions from UK consumption—as well as emissions from international aviation and shipping
  3. Protect nature along UK supply chains and actively conserve the environment within the UK by restoring abundant, biodiverse habitats and healthy ecosystems
  4. Establish a representative Citizens’ Assembly to advise Ministers and Parliament on a strategy to ensure a just and fair transition to a carbon-free society.

Participative democracy is at the heart of the CEE Bill because a just transition to a zero-carbon economy will only ever be achieved if citizens are involved. Yet as you know, the public are also supportive of bolder action, with a study involving 10,000 people revealing that climate change is consistently seen as a concern for ‘everybody’. Initiatives such as Climate Assembly UK have demonstrated that there’s huge appetite to be part of identifying and agreeing positive solutions to the climate emergency.

The UK garnered widespread applause at home and abroad for passing the Climate Change Act 2008, inspiring other nations to set and live up to serious climate commitments. Once again, we need a world leading statutory framework to guide and motivate collaborative action across all sectors of the economy and society. We firmly believe that, in this pivotal year, you have an unprecedented opportunity to do so again by taking up the CEE Bill and allowing for full parliamentary scrutiny at the earliest opportunity. 

In order to demonstrate genuine leadership ahead of the G7 and COP26 in November, the CEE Bill must form part of this Government’s legislative agenda. We hope that you will put tackling the climate and ecological crisis at the heart of your Queen’s Speech—and we look forward to hearing from you about this important matter.

Yours sincerely,

Caroline Lucas MP
Barry Gardiner MP
Alan Brown MP
Sir Edward Davey MP
Liz Saville Roberts MP
Colum Eastwood MP
Dr Stephen Farry MP

Diane Abbott MP
Tonia Antoniazzi MP
Baroness Bakewell of Harding
Paula Barker MP
Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle
Lord Bird
Olivia Blake MP
Lord Bradshaw
Ian Byrne MP
Dr Lisa Cameron MP
Dan Carden MP
Wendy Chamberlain MP
Douglas Chapman MP
Lord Chidgey
Daisy Cooper MP
Jeremy Corbyn MP
Geraint Davies MP
Baroness Featherstone
Andrew Gwynne MP
Lord Foster of Bath
Lord Fox
Lord Hain
Claire Hanna MP
Neale Hanvey MP
Baroness Harris of Richmond
Lord Hendy
Wera Hobhouse MP
Christine Jardine MP
Kim Johnson MP
Lord Jones of Cheltenham
Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb
Barbara Keeley MP
Ben Lake MP
Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon
Clive Lewis MP
Baroness Lister of Burtersett
Tony Lloyd MP
Helen Hayes MP
Kenny MacAskill MP
John McDonnell MP
Lord McNally
Baroness Meacher
Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer
Layla Moran MP
Lord Oates
Brendan O’Hara MP
Sarah Olney MP
Baroness Parminter
Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP
Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick
Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP
Baroness Sheehan
Tommy Sheppard MP
Alyn Smith MP
Jamie Stone MP
Zarah Sultana MP
Lord Teverson
Lord Wallace of Saltaire
Baroness Walmsley
Claudia Webbe MP
Mick Whitley MP
Dr Phillipa Whitford MP
Nadia Whittome MP
Hywel Williams MP
Munira Wilson MP
Beth Winter MP
Mohammad Yasin MP