We review the latest climate report and say ‘close the chasm between words and actions'

24th June 2021

CPRE comments on the latest progress reports from the independent Climate Change Committee and notes that once again, nature-based solutions are overlooked.

The Climate Change Committee, an independent body that was set up to advise UK governments on actions to tackle climate change, has released its latest assessment of the UK’s progress – and it makes for frustrating reading.

At CPRE, we know that the countryside is full of potential to help tackle the climate crisis. We’ve long called for the government to look to our own front doors and see the possibilities that exist in nature, such as restoring peatlands and hedgerows to lock up carbon.

The latest report from the Climate Change Committee suggests that once again, these solutions are, as Tom Fyans, CPRE campaigns and policy director puts it, ‘like the toolbox that’s been left gathering dust in the shed’.

‘The government must get real on delivery’

As the latest reports were released, Lord Deben, the committee’s chair, called for more execution on government commitments, saying:

‘We are in the decisive decade for tackling climate change. The government must get real on delivery. Global Britain has to prove that it can lead a global change in how we treat our planet. Get it right and UK action will echo widely. Continue to be slow and timid and the opportunity will slip from our hands.’

We agree. It’s time for much more – especially as the global summit on climate change, COP26, looms in November 2021 and as the hosts, the UK needs to make a stand for action.

Tom adds his agreement to Lord Deben’s words, saying:

‘The Climate Change Committee is absolutely right, we need to see government close the chasm between words and actions and begin truly investing in nature-based solutions. That means more funding and greater emphasis on peat restoration, tree planting and critically, planting 40 per cent more hedgerows by 2050.’

‘Serious action’

Peat and hedgerows are areas on which CPRE has long campaigned, and we believe, along with Baroness Brown, the chair of part of the Climate Change Committee, that decisive moves to deploy adaptation solutions ‘cannot be put off any further.’

But we’re not just calling on the government to use all the possibilities offered by the countryside. We also want to see a move away from ploughing ahead with projects that will only serve to worsen the climate emergency.

Tom says that if the government is committed to addressing climate change ‘it also means abandoning high carbon projects like the government’s hugely damaging and badly judged road-building programme.’

Unleash the power of nature-based solutions

We’re ready. We know the amazing potential of the countryside and nature-based solutions to tackle the climate emergency. And we’ll keep calling on the government to make the most of the possibilities offered by the natural world on our doorsteps.

Want to add your voice and help us keep targeting the government with this message? Join as a member now to help us make the change, or sign up for our newsletters to be kept informed on how we’re taking the message to the decision-makers.

A flood of dirty brown water rushing along a terraced street
Cottingley Bridge, Bradford, where extreme weather caused damaging floods Chris Gallagher / Unsplash

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The legacy of Ethel’s vision and determination lives on thanks to the continued efforts of the Friends of the Peak District, and she remains an inspiration to everyone within CPRE