World Earth Day… and a future without coal?

Let's demand that politicians secure a fossil-fuel-free future for all

Last Saturday marked World Earth Day. It followed an important milestone for our climate: Britain’s first full day without coal in 135 years.

This is proof that a low-carbon future for the UK is possible and on track. But more importantly, this is a victory for the people and communities who have campaigned for and invested in cleaner energy alternatives over the years.

One inspiring example of community action is a story from Fife, Scotland.

As a result of businesses, local authorities and community groups coming together, Fife has recently gone from having an economy with a heavy dependence on coal mining to hosting the Fife Energy Park, a hub for clean energy innovation, investment and job opportunities in a growing offshore wind industry.

In December last year, ORE Catapult won an award for Best Community Engagement during the Scottish Green Energy Awards for its work in Fife, including the Levenmouth Academy. As well as providing opportunities for training and development of skills for the future of the offshore wind industry, their programme forges strong links with local businesses to provide students with direct work experience and skills vital for their future careers.

Together, we are making huge progress towards a sustainable future. But unfortunately, government inaction continues to slow such efforts down.

Power plant

Governments have a responsibility to ensure that human knowledge and scientific evidence translates into policies to improve our health and wellbeing. Based on what we already know about the consequences of our heavily fossil-fuel driven society, it is unacceptable that the UK still lacks a plan to decarbonise its economy.

Just four days ago, the government missed its legally set deadline to deliver a clean air plan.

After a legal challenge by environmental lawyers Client Earth last year, the Government was ordered by the High Court to produce a draft of a new national air quality plan by 24 April. The court yesterday rejected efforts to postpone the publication of its draft plan until after the snap general election.

Hundreds of thousands of people around the globe marked Earth Day by calling on politicians to support science by using evidence to act on the things that matter.

In the next weeks, let’s all work to ensure that political parties take our health seriously. You can lead or join efforts in your area to demand that parties deliver ambitious clean air targets, support renewables and securing the vital transition towards making every day a fossil-fuel-free day.

If you value great public services, protecting the planet and reducing inequality, please support NEF today.

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