‘We’re facing the end of the world’ - MP candidates debate action on climate

From left, Duncan Baker, Martin Langsdon, Mark Taylor and Karen Ward at a Climate Hope Action in Nor

From left, Duncan Baker, Martin Langsdon, Mark Taylor and Karen Ward at a Climate Hope Action in Norfolk (Chain) debate on climate change at St Andrew's church in Sheringham. Picture: Stuart Anderson - Credit: Archant

The message was clear: The climate emergency is real and urgent action is needed.

Representatives from four political parties were united in the need to act at a debate at Sheringham's St Andrew's church.

Thursday's Climate Hope Action in Norfolk (Chain) debate was held in the wake of Friday's climate strikes which involved millions of people around the world.

The panellists were candidates for the North Norfolk constituency: Duncan Baker of the Conservatives, Karen Ward of the Liberal Democrats, Mark Taylor of the Green party and north Norfolk Labour vice-chairman Martin Langsdon.

Mr Taylor said most people were in a "mental trap" driven by consumerism.

He said: "We are in a climate crisis. What will we do with money when all of the shops and industry have been washed away? The UK was the first country to be industrialised. And we should be the first county to take responsibility. We're potentially facing the end of the world, we don't have time to mess around."

Ms Ward said: "We're not pretending that we know exactly what we can do. We're often told it's difficult to get inward investment up here in north Norfolk but we have people knocking on our doors saying 'we've heard you've declared a climate emergency, we want to work with you'."

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Mr Baker added: "The science is absolutely clear. Twenty of the warmest years on record have occurred in the last 22 years. The evidence is damning."

He said Norfolk's coastal defences would not be able to cope if climate change was not kept in check.

Mr Baker said: "We can't all afford an electric vehicle, but we can make those small, subtle changes."

And Mr Langsdon said Labour wanted a 'New Green Deal' and a 'green industrial revolution'.

He listed his party's policies, including: "In 12 years 60pc of energy would come from renewable resources. We would take energy companies into public hands. We would ban fracking. Fossil fuels need to be kept in the ground to the greatest extent."

After individual speeches and an introduction by Chain chairman Dr Hayley Pinto, many of the roughly 100 attendees grilled the panellists on how they would fight climate change. They fielded questions on renewable energy subsidies, the impact of 'fast fashion', and what can be done locally.