Decade of action needed to tackle climate crisis and achieve a net zero Wales
First Minister Mark Drakeford and Climate Change Minister Julie James today called for a ‘decade of action’ to tackle the climate change crisis as they published Net Zero Wales – the next phase in our journey towards a ‘greener, stronger, fairer Wales’.
The plan focuses on the Welsh Government’s second carbon budget (2021-2025) but also looks beyond towards net zero by 2050 so that, by then, the amount of greenhouse gases Wales adds to the atmosphere would no longer be more than it takes out.
The plan contains more than 120 government policies and proposals, covering every area from peatland restoration to active travel, and from green skills to renewable energy.
It shows how the Welsh Government will do everything from building 20,000 new low carbon homes and increasing community tree planting through 30 new woodlands, legislating to abolish the use of more commonly littered, single use plastics and helping develop green skills in businesses.
But it also is clear that Government can’t tackle this challenge alone. Everybody has to play their part.
For example, by March 2023 all public sector organisations will report their emissions and publish their plans to achieve Net Zero, with the aim of collectively achieving Net Zero across the Welsh public sector by 2030.
Formally launching the plan at an event at the Solar Heat Energy Demonstrator in Margam, First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “The advice from the Climate Change Committee is clear, this must be a decade of action for Wales.
“We need to make more progress in the next ten years than we have in the last 30 years, this will be difficult but we will do it by working together.
“The challenges faced in coming decades cannot be under-estimated, and we must all work together to realise the opportunities available.
“In this plan, we also call on the UK Government to take the action which is needed to unlock a green future in Wales.
“While the UK cannot reach its targets without Welsh action, we cannot reach our ambition without the UK Government playing its fair part.”
“We believe that by working together and taking collective action we can deliver a stronger, fairer and greener Wales for future generations.”
Climate Change Minister Julie James added: “This plan runs to almost 90,000 words showing the extent to which tackling the climate and nature emergencies have permeated our thinking but it is merely a snapshot in time.
“Our policies need to be delivered, our proposals need to grow and need to be shaped in conversation with the people of Wales.
“Net Zero Wales sets out both the action we will take and the things we are already doing.
“From creating places for nature to giving the poorest people in Wales warmer, more energy efficient homes, as well as the things we want to take forward in this Government term and in this carbon budget, like a reformed sustainable farming scheme and creating a national forest.
“We recognise we haven’t got all of the answers - we want to work with and learn from people across Wales to find innovative solutions to the challenges we face and this is why, along with Net Zero Wales, we are also publishing another document today.
“Working together to reach Net Zero showcases some of the excellent work that is already taking place in Wales and I would like to thank everybody who has contributed.
“We really need everyone to work with us on this and, although this document contains just some of the examples of commitments and good work already taken place, we wanted to share it in the hope of inspiring others.
“There are things we have to do to meet the climate emergency, but these things can also be opportunities – I look forward to working with you all to find solutions that bring benefits to Wales, enhance our communities and grow our local economies.”
Net Zero Wales contains 123 government policies and proposals, including:
- Building 20,000 new low carbon social homes for rent
- Investing in travel options that encourage people to use public transport more and support walking and cycling.
- Increasing tree planting – including how Welsh Government will support communities to create 30 new woodlands and connect habitat areas.
- Legislating to abolish the use of more commonly littered, single use plastics.
- Introducing an extended producer responsibility scheme to incentivise waste reduction by businesses
- Ensuring wide scale peatland restoration and sustainable management through our National Peatland Policy Ambition
- Supporting innovation in new renewable energy technology
- Planning for a national energy grid that is fit for a renewable future, working with network operators
- Developing green skills in businesses - Upskilling and training employees to take advantage of the potential economic opportunities for Wales through decarbonisation, such as in manufacturing and housing.
- Working with the public sector so that by March 2023 all public sector organisations will report their emissions and publish their plans to achieve Net Zero, with the aim of collectively achieving Net Zero across the Welsh public sector by 2030.