Today marks Earth Overshoot Day, the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. However, the UK’s overshoot day has already passed - it fell on19th May . In a week when the government has made a series of measures which will make the overshoot even worse, the Green Party has launched an ‘Earth Overshoot Day action plan’ to help move the UK date as late as possible.
Co-leader Carla Denyer said:
“Earth Overshoot Day is an important reminder that as a globe and as a nation we are currently living beyond the environmental limits of our one precious planet. It falls in a week when the government seems hellbent on overshoot. Maxing out on climate destruction by issuing new licences for oil and gas drilling; failing to tackle the climate crisis in tandem with the cost of living crisis through measures like home insulation; and fueling culture wars over measures which seek to make our neighbourhoods safer and healthier.
“It is important we recognise the hugely unequal way in which the world’s resources are consumed, with multi-billion pound corporations and a small number of individuals bearing the largest responsibility for overshoot. This is why Greens would increase taxes on fossil fuel polluters and the super-rich to address inequality and fund the green transition.
“We have set out three key areas - energy, housing and transport - where if policies for a fairer, greener country were implemented, we could help move the date of Earth Overshoot Day as we move faster towards living within the environmental limits of our one planet.”
Green Party Earth Overshoot action plan
If we are to move the UK’s Overshoot date from its current date of May 19 - there are three key policy areas that we need to address:
No new oil and gas exploration. Ever. This follows the science. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the International Energy Agency and the United Nations say that there can be no new fossil fuel projects if there is to be any chance of keeping global temperature rises under 1.5 degrees.
Revoke all licences for oil and gas drilling in the North Sea. We challenge Labour to commit to the same.
A huge boost for renewable energy by investing in renewable energy generation, including onshore wind and in the infrastructure needed for powering up the country with green electricity.
Launch a nationwide home insulation programme to cut both carbon emissions and household energy bills, tackling the climate emergency and cost of living crisis in tandem.
Adopt new building standards that ensure all new homes are built to passivhaus or similar standards, and all new homes are fitted with solar panels and heat pumps as standard where possible.
We need the right homes in the right place at the right price. Expensive, energy-intensive homes built on greenfield sites with high car-dependency will result in high carbon lifestyles. We need affordable homes, built largely on brownfield sites close to where people work, shop and engage in social activities.
The Tories have embarked on a culture war pitting ‘motorists’ against everyone else. But most of us use a variety of ways to get about - walking, cycling, public transport and cars. We all want clean air to breathe, safe routes to walk and wheel, and reliable and affordable public transport. Greens would:
Support schemes which make streets safer for walking and wheeling - this has been demonstrated to encourage more people to switch from cars to cleaner and more active forms of transport.
Introduce a ‘£1 fare to take you there’ for all single journeys on buses, as well as free bus travel for under 22 year-olds. And investment in buses and bus routes to serve more communities more frequently.
Introduce a frequent flyer levy, where those taking the most flights pay the highest tax. The majority of people take one or fewer flights in any given year. We don’t think the tax burden should fall on them but instead on the 15% of the population who take 70% of flights.
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