Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate Ben Goodwin called for radical action to tackle the climate emergency at an election debate on Friday 15 November in the Broadland constituency.
Mr Goodwin said if the Liberal Democrats were elected to government they would ensure the UK generates at least 80% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030 and create regular climate assemblies to ensure the public is involved in policy consultation.
“Our planet sits on a knife edge,” he said during the debate. “There is no excuse for blind ideology and ignorance of the overwhelming evidence, or for plans that don’t attack the problem. The climate crisis is the most serious threat to human life, prosperity and peace we have ever known.”
Mr Goodwin was speaking to a packed audience at the Parish Church of St Laurence in Brundall. The Climate Crisis Question Time debate was organised by Extinction Rebellion Mid-Yare and featured opening statements from the panel followed by two hours of audience questions.
Also in attendance were parliamentary candidates Jess Barnard (Labour) and Andrew Boswell (Green). The Conservative Party did not send a representative to the debate.
Mr Goodwin served 17 years in the Royal Air Force as a Tornado pilot and senior officer. During the latter part of his career, he worked in the Ministry of Defence and at NATO in Brussels.
Mr Goodwin said the Liberal Democrats had a strong chance of winning the Broadland seat and offered an alternative to “years of inaction” under the Conservatives, whose councillors this month blocked a district council motion to declare a climate emergency.
“It is possible to elect a new government, people who think differently on this. We exist,” he said.
If elected to government, the Liberal Democrats said they will ensure the UK achieves net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045, with three quarters of that goal achieved in the next decade.
The party has committed to invest £100 billion over five years into combating climate change and protecting the environment, and an additional £15 billion making every building in the country greener.
Also addressing the meeting, Ms Barnard said: “I am ready to tackle the biggest issues of our generation and I pledge to stand up for the people of Broadland.
“I will champion Labour’s Green New Deal and I will lobby for more resources to build sustainable social housing.
“In the intervening time, I will fight for private renters’ security and an end to unfair evictions.
“Labour’s commitment to restoring legal aid will enable families in need of legal support to access justice.
“I want to do everything possible to ensure that current and future generations live in a fair and just society.”