Christine Wheeler, who leads on Climate Change in the Welsh Government, breaks it down for us…
This week we published our Net Zero Wales plan, focussed on action between 2021 and 2025. But I hear lots of people asking, what does ‘net zero really’ mean? It essentially means balancing the amount of greenhouse gases we put into the atmosphere with those we take out. Our aim is to get to net zero by 2050.
The balance has to be right in Wales (the focus of this Plan), but it goes beyond this too. We need to make sure we use only our fair share of the wider planet’s resources – so watch out for a report coming out on that topic next year. Without this balance, our planet will keep getting warmer, sea levels will keep rising and we will get more extreme weather. So it’s a serious issue, but there are reasons to be hopeful.
We’ve shown we can change – Wales is already leading the way in areas like recycling, where we are one of the top three recycling nations in the world (and we couldn’t have done that without everyone’s help). Just like in recycling, Government can set the conditions for change, but we can’t do it on our own. We need to see a decade of action, where everyone plays their part to help us create a greener Wales.
Acting on your own can sometimes feel a bit hopeless, but when you multiply those changes by one million, or by three million (the approximate population of Wales) – it adds up to something that’s worth having. Small changes, like the way we heat our homes, how we travel around, what we buy and how we work can make a big difference.
The plan we’ve published this week shows what we will do. It has 123 policies and proposals, but here are some of my highlights. Between now and 2025 we will be:
- Building 20,000 new low carbon social homes for rent
- Investing in travel options that encourage people to use public transport more and supporting walking and cycling
- Increasing tree planting –supporting communities to create 30 new woodlands and connect habitat areas
- Bringing in new laws to abolish the use of more commonly littered, single use plastics
- Supporting innovation in new renewable energy technology such as windfarms
- Developing green skills and providing training so that people can take advantage of the economic opportunities the changes offer us, in areas like manufacturing and housing.
We know we don’t have all of the answers but by working with and learning from people across Wales we can find innovative solutions to the challenges we face. Let’s look at the Re:Make Café in Newport for example. It is a great project which shows local people coming together to make a real difference in their area.
These are just some of the actions we’re taking to tackle the climate emergency. But we all need to ask ourselves, what action am I taking?
You can make a pledge to show us what you plan to do.
Thank you to everyone who has already engaged with us on the climate emergency. We’d love for you to keep talking to us and sending in your ideas via our social media channels.
Deputy Director, Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Welsh Government