EMMA LEWELL-BUCK: Politicians will be judged on their actions and not words

Without serious concerted action our planet has no future.

World leaders are in Glasgow for COP26, the United Nations’ Climate Change Conference to debate and decide how we limit the worst consequences of the climate crisis.

It is estimated we have only nine years before the destruction caused by climate change becomes irreversible, more fires, floods, storms, droughts, hunger, and conflict.

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Every single day we can all make small changes, cut down on our meat consumption, recycle more, consume less, drive less and fly less. But the big changes, the changes that will save our planet need to be agreed globally.

Considering scientists have been warning about the apocalyptic future that awaits us since the 1960s, campaigners have long called for a move to renewables from fossil fuels, and this is the 26th COP, it is worth asking what on earth our World leaders have been doing all these years.

There have of course been some positives this week, agreements to cut methane emissions and to reverse and end deforestation but it needs the will of individual leaders to implement and finance these changes when they return to their own countries.

We have a Prime Minster who until recently was a climate change sceptic, who has dithered over a new coal mine being built in Cumbria, who came back from this conference on a private jet and whose recent budget included a tax cut on domestic flights and a massive road building programme.

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His hypocrisy is in keeping with other world leaders attending the conference flying in on private jets and being driven around in gas guzzling cars. It is a hypocrisy we see even in our own town where trees in their thousands are felled and green spaces concreted over for housing and building projects.

In politics it is ultimately your actions not your words you will be judged on when it comes to acting on climate change politics has so far failed. Time isn’t on our side, nice statements and speeches won’t save our beautiful planet.

I hope this time, this COP will be different.