The campaign behind the Climate and Ecological Emergency (CEE) Bill

The Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill was designed to reverse the climate and ecological breakdown. The Zero Hour! team who are supporting the campaign for the bill outline its progress and how you can get involved in ensuring it become official legislation.

We all know the small everyday changes that we, as individuals, should be making to reduce our carbon footprint and live more sustainably. 

From reducing household plastic waste and shopping locally, to boycotting companies with poor sustainability practices - many of us are doing our bit for the environment. 

But individual changes can only get us so far. At some point, there needs to be drastic legislative reform to ensure we are making the changes necessary to limit global warming and prevent impending ecological collapse.

UK action on climate change

So far, the UK’s response to the climate and nature crisis has been disappointing to say the least.

In 2019 Parliament declared a Climate Emergency, but according to the Climate Change Committee (CCC), the UK Government is set to fall desperately short of achieving its goal for cutting carbon emissions - meeting only 20% of the required reductions to meet the Sixth Carbon Budget (which encourages a cut in CO2 by 78% of 1990 levels, by 2035).

Consequently, 85% of UK energy professionals believe the government will fall short of its 2050 emissions reduction goal.

If this is the case, it is highly likely global warming will soar past the 1.5C limit that scientists are desperately advocating for, bringing catastrophic ecological and climate consequences to fruition. 

Sustainability is about more than emissions, and tackling the climate-nature emergency needs an approach which sees the planet as a complex system: the climate crisis cannot be solved by the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions alone, as there are nine Planetary Boundaries (e.g. land degradation, water consumption and biodiversity loss) which must be accounted for in the pursuit of a sustainable future.

It is clear that we need much stronger, more joined up legislation. 

The Climate & Ecological Emergency (CEE) Bill is the response to that need.

It plugs holes in the UK’s current environmental legislative landscape and holds the UK Government accountable for the entirety of our impacts on climate and nature, both here and overseas, as well as calling for a fair transition.

Solar panels and wind farm on snowy ground

What’s in the CEE Bill?

The CEE Bill (officially tabled as the Climate and Ecology Bill) is the only proposed plan for legislation in the UK which addresses the interconnections between the climate, environmental degradation and biodiversity loss, taking a whole of government approach.  

The bill utilises synergistic policy-making to address three main targets areas: 

  • Tackling the climate emergency 
  • Tackling the nature emergency
  • Transitioning to a fairer, sustainable society

The second reading of the Bill will take place on 10th September 2021 - so contact your MP now to urge them to support it.

What will happen if the bill is adopted?

If made law, the Climate and Ecology Bill will ensure that:

  • The UK plays its full and fair role in limiting the mean global temperature rise to 1.5C, at the most stringent end of the Paris Agreement (the Government’s current 2050 target gives us just a 50:50 chance). We do this by taking full responsibility for our entire greenhouse gas footprint—including passenger shipping and flights (not included in our current carbon budget)—and by accounting for all emissions resulting from the goods and services imported to, and consumed in, the UK.
  • The UK takes responsibility for its entire ecological footprint so that we stop damaging the natural world, at home and abroad. We are fully accountable for the protection, health and resilience of ecosystems in the UK, with particular focus on biodiversity and mitigating and adapting to climate impacts, as well as in countries producing the goods and services that we import. In line with the Global Goal for Nature, the nature target calls for nature to be ‘visibly and measurably on the path to recovery by 2030’ in the UK and around the world. 
  • Provision is made for financial support and retraining for people working in industries with high emissions, and high impacts on ecosystems. An emergency strategy is drawn up via a temporary Climate and Nature Assembly, representative of the UK population, working with scientists and politicians, in order to find a fair way forward. The Assembly aims to empower MPs to work across party lines to agree bold decisions, avoiding the polarising constraints of party politics—and allowing citizens to have a real say in a just transition to a zero carbon society and a thriving natural world.

About Zero Hour! and the campaign for the bill

The Bill was introduced to Parliament, by Caroline Lucas MP, as a private members’ bill in September 2020. An updated CEE Bill was introduced in Parliament in June 2021. 

The Zero Hour! campaign for the Bill is inspired by Friends of the Earth’s successful Big Ask campaign that led to the Climate Change Act 2008.

Based on that model we’re building a broad based alliance from all sections of society to campaign for the Bill to become law; or for the Government to adopt the Bill’s clauses and create its own new law - as happened with the Climate Change Act.

We are building a broad-based alliance to campaign for the Bill.

To date over 13,000 grass-roots supporters and 150 Parliamentarians have signed-up in support.

Around 350 incredible organisations have also joined - a community of organisations with diverse expertise: from experts in the food system and farming, such as Feedback & Sustain, and pioneers in the restoration of nature, such as The John Muir Trust, Whale and Dolphin Conservation and Knepp Castle Estate, to impactful NGOs including Greenpeace and Oxfam as well businesses such as The Co-Operative Bank and Ecotricity.

Our community is a hotbed for innovation and encourages broad political support. 

What can you do?

It’s easy: join us, and over 13,000 other supporters to pledge your support. Every new member brings us closer to seeing the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill voted on in the UK Parliament.

Once you've signed up, you'll also get the latest on the Zero Hour! campaign, including tips and workshops for getting involved, and for lobbying your MP or Council. Let's make history by enacting the CEE Bill - join the campaign today.