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Green MEP warns East of England faces catastrophic levels of global warming in six years

Bishop's Stortford's Green MEP has warned that the region is just six years away from busting its 'carbon budget' – the amount of fossil fuels it can burn before reaching catastrophic levels of global warming.

Catherine Rowett has commissioned a report to investigate the situation in the region and come up with solutions.

Dr Rowett said: "Unless we reduce our environmental impact, much of the East of England will be flooded and the rest of the region will suffer increased heatwaves and drought, crucially affecting, among others, the farming industry."

Her report proposes a series of measures including:

  • Ending fossil fuel use and switching to entirely renewable energy generation
  • Retrofitting 1.3 million homes a year, with energy savings of up to 80% per household
  • Installing air- and ground-source heat pumps in 1.5m homes to end their dependence on oil and gas for heating
  • Installing solar panels on 1.5m homes and on 200,000 industrial and commercial buildings
  • Switching up to 50% of car journeys to walking, cycling or public transport
  • Creating nearly 40,000 long-term jobs, with a focus on community projects that can deliver up to 13 times more value to local economies than private companies.

She said: “As we enter 2020, a whole raft of councils in the East of England have declared a climate emergency, but no Government has plans adequate to the scale of the global overheating challenge. This report outlines what must be done.

“Increasing renewables won’t help if that just increases the energy supply without reducing existing fossil fuel use. We must also change the way we distribute energy and make our homes, industry and transport more efficient.

“Generating green energy at local scale can help create regional jobs, building community cohesion and reducing the demand for imported gas and for dirty, centralised and foreign-owned power stations like Great Yarmouth or Sizewell.

“Leaving the European Union could mean we lose much of the funding and support for community energy groups and for innovation in forward-looking technology. The UK Government must plug this gap to enable our region and others to shift rapidly to a zero-carbon system.”

Britain is set to leave the EU on January 31. Dr Rowett is one of seven MEPs who represent the region.

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