On 26th June 2019 Lord Bird asked the Government, “by what means, if at all, they require public bodies to act, and to demonstrate how they act, in a manner which seeks to ensure that the needs of the present generation are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” The Bishop of Oxford, Rt Revd Steven Croft, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Oxford: My Lords, it has been a real privilege today—as the noble Lord, Lord Bird, mentioned—to spend time with some of the 16,000 people, many of them young, representing all faiths and none, who have come to say to Parliament that the time is now on climate change. I very much support the proposal from the noble Lord, Lord Bird. Does the Minister agree that the issues of climate change, both in the material sense and the perceived sense—public opinion—are absolutely the pressing priority for the future generation? Following the commendable adoption of the net zero by 2050 target, will the Minister share with the House what the Government’s next three priorities are in combating climate change?
Lord Young of Cookham: It was interesting that in the debate the noble Lord, Lord Bird, initiated last Thursday, climate change was one of the top priorities of Members of your Lordships’ House, so it is not solely an issue for the younger generation. The right reverend Prelate asks what our priorities are. Last year we published our 25-year environmental plan and later this year, a Bill will put a legislative framework round that. I agree that the greatest betrayal for this generation would be to pass on to the next generation a planet in worse condition than it currently is. Our objectives are to drive up air quality, reduce plastic waste and food waste, ban the sale of ivory and conserve energy. The environmental Bill, to be introduced later this year, will explain how we will take those objectives forward.