Janet Finch-Saunders MS – the Shadow Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs – has broadly welcomed the Welsh Government’s ambition to achieve carbon net zero by 2050, but cautions that its suggestion switching to “low-carbon diets” could put it on a collision course with farmers and food producers – and an individual’s right to choose.
Mrs Finch-Saunders agreed that while all governments and people – in Wales, Great Britain, and globally – should consider how they can reduce their carbon footprint in how they live, travel, heat their homes and businesses, people should be able to choose the most fundamental of basic human needs: food.
“The UK Conservative Government has set out a 10-point plan* to unleash a green industrial revolution, creating 250,000 green jobs to deliver our net zero ambitions because drive to achieve carbon net zero is among the greatest challenges of our time.
“Welsh Conservatives will continue to press for sensible and targeted business-first plans that help to nurture jobs and cut emissions, because bold and innovative leadership is required now more than ever in to sustain clean economic growth into the future.
“However, to read that Labour effectively wants to mandate a diet is removing from people one of their most fundamental rights: choosing what they want to eat.
“People want guidance and advice on healthy and lower-carbon choices, but I’m sure no-one wants a government-sanctioned diet – least of all our hard-pressed farmers who are already doing much to switch to cleaner and greener forms of food production. This is especially relevant as markets open up to Welsh and UK food products and trade following our leaving the EU.
“Our shared ambition to achieve carbon net zero will form part of the nation’s Covid-19 recovery, and offers an unparalleled opportunity to help stimulate the creation of long-term green-collar jobs that will help Wales more effectively meet its carbon emission targets in the years to come.”
*The Prime Minister’s 10-point plan will mobilise £12 billion of investment and provide the private sector with the certainty it needs to invest in the new technologies we need to reduce our contribution to climate change to Zero.
The plan will support the creation of 250,000 new green jobs and reduce emissions by the same amount as not having any cars on the roads for two years.
A Welsh Conservative Government has committed to introduce a clean air act within the first 100 days of it being elected, which Labour has failed to do in years of government.