Wales launch new low carbon plan

Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Welsh Government
Reading time: 5 minutes
22 March 2019
Lesley Griffiths

In this blog, Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Welsh Government, sets out Wales’ new Low Carbon Plan.

This week we have launched an ambitious plan to dramatically lower Wales’ carbon emissions.

Prosperity for All: A Low Carbon Wales, launched by the Welsh Government at the iconic Coal Exchange in Cardiff yesterday (21 March), is a cross-Government plan aiming to reach targets that will deliver clean growth, protect the environment and ensure a healthier and fairer society for generations to come.

This plan sets out the action for our first carbon budget (2016-2020) and is the next step in a journey that will lead to Wales reducing the emission of greenhouse gases by at least 80% by 2050 to also meet the commitment of the Under2 MOU.

The plan reaches across Government, covering everything from industry to active travel to tree planting, setting out 100 policies and proposals that will shape all areas of society.

The development of the plan has been guided by our ground-breaking Well-being and Future Generations Act, maximising our contribution to our well-being goals. Many of the policies focus on helping the transition to a low carbon economy, either by directly tackling our emissions or as a wider benefit.

People at the heart 

Collaboration and involvement across all levels of society are crucial. We all have roles to play.

Recognising this, the Plan has people at its heart to ensure we understand how transition away from a fossil fuel economy will affect our communities as well as the opportunities it provides. This is why we are establishing a climate justice advisory group to ensure a fair and just transition.

How we involve people in the transition is crucial and, I am therefore, delighted Cardiff University will be the lead UK organisation tasked with establishing a new centre for Climate Change and Social Transformations (CAST) focusing on behaviour change. This is a major investment from the Economic and Social Research Council, which is providing £5 million for this Centre for at least five years

The plans we are putting in place are not a panacea when it comes to climate change, however, they are the next steps in a long journey that will hopefully benefit future generations to come.

Raising ambition 

So although we are launching this now, we are already looking to the future and setting our sights even higher. Our next plan will be published in 2021, as there is no quick fix solution to this issue.

This is something everyone in Wales needs to support. Everyone can make little changes to their daily habits that will, cumulatively, make a significant difference.

Whether that is using public transport or active travel on their way to work one day a week, or energy efficient lightbulbs when they get home, there are a plethora of ways people can make an effort to protect the world around us and help us hit our low carbon targets.

If we are to be successful in our aims, the public sector, business and communities must all adopt leadership roles and wholeheartedly back our plans.

Industry Transition 

Wales was once at the forefront of the industrial revolution with a proud manufacturing past. The Coal Exchange was a particularly poignant place to launch our Low Carbon Wales plan. Once the bustling hub of the global coal trade, with thousands of deals and the first million-pound cheque signed, it is a symbol of Wales’ industrial heritage.

Recognising we have a major challenge in decarbonising, we are establishing a dedicated industrial group to consider how Wales can maximise resource and energy efficiency, whilst enabling industry to invest in low carbon opportunities and deliver carbon reductions. We are also proud to be taking part in the Industry Transition Platform to collaborate with other members of the Under2 Coalition to share learnings on cutting industry emissions.

Listening to future generations

We have seen the huge appetite from young people in recent weeks calling for urgent action to tackle climate change. We have seen the protests from schoolchildren and understand their concerns not just for their futures, but for future generations too. In Wales, we are unique and have already set ground-breaking legislation that requires us to think of the impact the decisions and policies we make will have on future generations.

We want to assure them their demands are not falling on deaf ears and we are doing everything we can to ensure positive steps are taken to protect the environment and promote future sustainability.    

With the launch of this plan, we are showing how we have transformed our energy usage and are now striving to be as green as possible. However, the success of our transition depends on sharing our learning, ideas and actions and we look forward to doing this with other Under2 Coalition governments over the course of the year.  

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