2022 State Opening of Parliament and the Queen’s Speech

Today, 10 May 2022, marks the start of a new session of the UK Parliament. It’s the day of the Queen’s Speech, which sets out the UK Government’s legislative plans for the coming session.

On climate, despite the “it’s now or never for 1.5°C” warning from the UN Secretary General, the UK Government remains way off track in how it’s measuring and reducing greenhouse emissions in line with the Paris Agreement. And on nature, despite the natural world facing an equally serious “make-or-break year” ahead of the COP15 biodiversity summit this summer, the UK Government’s proposed long-term target for nature’s recovery could mean that wildlife is less abundant by 2042 than it is now.

Disappointingly, there wasn’t much by way of detail on environmental plans. The proposed Nature Bill wasn’t announced today—and we don’t know whether it aims to put biodiversity on the path to recovery, or (whether or) how it will tackle the root causes of the destruction of nature. On the Energy Security Bill, we’ll be watching to see if it aims to reduce the UK’s emissions in line with the remaining global carbon budget for 1.5°C. We’ll also have to carefully follow the Levelling Up and Planning Bills and what changes they’ll bring about for the environment—as well as the draft Downstream Oil Resilience Bill and what that means for a just transition away from fossil fuels.

As a supporter of Zero Hour, you’ll know that these two policies are the twin pillars of the Climate & Ecology Bill—also known as the Climate & Ecological Emergency Bill—which, together, we’ve been growing support for in every corner of the UK nations. Caroline Lucas MP has tabled a regret amendment to the Queen’s speech, calling for the Government to introduce the CAN Bill, which we are asking MPs to support.

As the new parliamentary session kicks off, we wanted to write to you with a simple message. Keep going. Our people-powered movement for the Bill is moving from strength to strength. We’re attracting new support from MPs, Peers, councillors and other elected representatives all the time—alongside hundreds of councils, NGOs, experts and members of the public—from The Co-operative Bank to Women’s Institutes, from the Wildlife Trusts to the National Education Union.

As we prepare to reintroduce the Bill in this new session—ideally next month, June 2022, with all-party support—our focus is fixed on building the strongest possible alliance for new, science-led action to tackle the climate-nature crisis in the fairest possible way. That’s where you come in. Ahead of the Bill’s reintroduction, and as part of growing our unstoppable coalition for change, we’re building support for a new Nature & Climate Declaration.

The purpose of the Declaration, ahead of both COP15 and the climate change summit, COP27, is to show the UK Government that—in every UK region, and at every political level—our politicians are united in calling for a joined-up environmental plan that restores nature and limits global warming to 1.5°C. As the central Zero Hour Team works to reintroduce the Bill in Westminster—which we’ll update you about as soon as we can—will you ask your local councillors to back the Declaration?

We’ve made it easy to email your councillors—and thanks to the efforts of Zero Hour campaigners—over 800 MPs, Peers, councillors, alongside Welsh and Scottish Parliamentarians, plus London Assembly Members, are uniting under our banner for change.

We’ve come a long way since launching the Bill campaign in 2020. Over 150 UK Parliamentarians are on board, and we’re making progress with the Labour Party and Conservative MPs. This is a major year for our campaign, and we’re hoping to be able to announce all-party support for the Bill in the weeks ahead.

Until then, please help us strengthen our grassroots campaign by asking your councillors to sign our Declaration. There’s power in numbers, and when we—and our politicians—work together, there’s no stopping us.

Thank you for all you do for Zero Hour. Whether it’s writing to your local politicians, organising events, supporting us through donations, or spreading the word amongst your friends and family. You’re the life blood of this campaign. Keep going.

P.S. You might notice that our Bill is to be reintroduced at The Climate & Ecology Bill. That’s always been its official title in Westminster. In the past we’ve referred to it at the Climate & Ecological Emergency (CEE) Bill. However, in this session, to avoid confusion and be able to quickly and effectively communicate with everyone in the UK, we’ll be referring to the Bill with its Westminster title.

It’s still an emergency and The Climate & Ecology Bill is still an emergency response — let’s get it passed.

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