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Cross-party climate unity

Rival parties join forces in cross-party pledge to tackle climate misinformation ahead of ‘Net Zero election’
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
Chris Skidmore OBE speaking at the UK100 parliamentary reception in March, 2023

Main image: Chris Skidmore OBE speaking at the UK100 parliamentary reception in March, 2023. Credit: ©UK100 / Alistair Veryard
 
In an unprecedented show of cross-party unity, local leaders from the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats and Greens gathered to commit to put climate action above party politics and tackle the rising tide of local climate misinformation.


The ‘Taking the heat out of local climate action’ pledge launched yesterday (18 April) and is open to all councillors and candidates.

‘Local authorities are the unsung heroes of the Net Zero transition. Day in, day out they are delivering the practical changes we need to see, from upgrading homes to improving public transport.
 
‘But they can’t do it alone. This pledge sends a powerful message that local leaders are united in their commitment to tackling the climate crisis. Now we need to see that same spirit of collaboration from Westminster, with a clear policy and funding framework to empower local delivery.’

CHRIS SKIDMORE OBE
Former energy minister who signed Net Zero into law and chair of the Independent Review of Net Zero and Mission Zero Coalition

The political commitment

The pledge is being coordinated by UK100, the UK’s only cross-party network of ambitious local leaders committed to climate action, and Chris Skidmore OBE, Chair of Mission Zero Coalition. 

Richard Clewer, leader of Wiltshire Council and UK100’s co-president, leads the signatories bringing together towns and cities from across the political divide, including Manchester City Council leader Bev Craig (Lab), Warwickshire County Council Leader Izzi Seccombe OBE (Con), North Norfolk District Council Leader Tim Adams (Lib Dem) and Lewes District Council Council Leader Zoe Nicholson (Green).

The pledge commits local leaders to:

  • Champion climate action as an issue that transcends party politics, recognising that it requires collaborative action.
  • Support an evidence-based climate conversation by countering misinformation and communicating the benefits of climate policies while addressing legitimate concerns.
  • Work in partnership with the government, businesses, and civil society to deliver inclusive, equitable solutions.
  • Engage residents, civil society and businesses in co-designing local climate action plans.
  • Scrutinise climate action with an understanding that the shared goal is to learn and advance progress by improving delivery.

‘The journey to Net Zero isn’t going to be easy. But that’s not a reason for inaction, indulging in scare campaigns, or pitting communities against each other. Honesty, openness, and engaging residents are essential foundations for the rapid, inclusive Net Zero transition we need to see. 
 
‘If we do not slow misinformation, misinformation will slow Net Zero.
 
‘With the 2024 local elections poised to be a defining moment for climate action, now is the time for local authorities to send a clear message that they are leading the way for a better climate debate.’

CHRISTOPHER HAMMOND
Chief executive of UK100

UK’s ‘Net Zero election’


The pledge comes as a new report warns that 2024 is set to be the UK’s first ‘Net Zero election’, with climate action taking centre stage in local contests across the country.

The new Zero In – Accelerating Local Climate Action report from UK100 and the Mission Zero Coalition warns that wavering government support and the rise of misinformation means Net Zero is on the ballot paper for many communities during the upcoming May 02 local elections in England.



With eight in 10 Britons worried about climate change but less than a third confident that the UK will meet its Net Zero targets, the report urges local authorities to step up as trusted sources of information and effective drivers of practical progress.

‘Achieving Net Zero will require significant changes, but bringing residents and businesses along with us in an open and honest conversation is essential. Wiltshire is ready to lead the way in engaging communities as partners in climate action.’

RICHARD CLEWER
Conservative leader of Wiltshire Council and Co-president of UK100

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