We must keep following the science, says new Climate Change Minister
The new Minister for Climate Change has said that the Welsh Government’s new Programme for Government will have a central focus on the environment while warning “we will all need to do much more to reduce our carbon emissions over the next 10 years than we have in the last 30”.
Speaking on a visit to meet school pupils at Lisvane and Llanishen reservoirs, Julie James said: “We’ve made significant progress in bringing emissions levels down in recent years, but we now have to go further and faster if we are to stand a chance of tackling climate change.
“To do that we have to do things differently and be willing to be bold.”
First Minister Mark Drakeford will publish the Programme for Government early next week. It will be an ambitious and radical programme to improve the lives of people across Wales.
When the First Minister revealed his new cabinet team, he made it clear the environment and climate change will be ‘at the heart of decision-making’, creating a new ‘super-Ministry’ to join up the big policy areas to help Wales reach its legally binding target of reaching Net Zero by 2050.
For the first time, transport, planning, housing and energy are all brought together into one Ministry – together with the environment – with two Ministers working together to deliver lasting change.
Minister for Climate Change Julie James and Deputy Minister for Climate Change Lee Waters will put the environment at the heart of everything the Welsh Government does over the coming five years, following the latest available scientific advice.
But they will also encourage everyone in Wales to play a part in the changes we can make to tackle climate change at the same time as improving our health, benefiting the local economy and preserving Wales’ beautiful landscapes and nature.
The Minister for Climate Change continued: “Over the course of the pandemic we’ve made big changes to the way we live our lives because we’ve have followed the science.
“We need to adopt the same approach with climate change. The world’s scientists are telling us in very clear terms that we urgently need to cut emissions.”
“As world temperatures rise, due to climate change, extreme weather has become more frequent in Wales. 2020 saw the sunniest May and wettest February since records began.
“Scientists are clear that we can expect more to follow, affecting every part of Wales through winter flooding, summer drought, fiercer storms and rising sea levels as a direct result of the greenhouse gases we have emitted.”
Deputy Minister for Climate Change Lee Waters said: “Just as we’ve all made changes as we’ve adapted to the Covid pandemic, there can be real benefits to making changes to the way we live our lives to respond to climate change.
“Quieter roads, cleaner air, less noise and a closer connection with nature are all things we’ve appreciated during the last 15 months and we don’t want to end.
“Making changes to our lives to tackle climate change don’t have to be painful – they can bring benefits to us all.”