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North Dorset’s Labour candidate in the December general election has waded into the debate on climate change by calling for the next government to do far more far quicker than the present target of 2050 to achieve net zero carbon emissions in the UK.

Gillingham-born and raised Pat Osborne, who now lives in Blandford, said he wants to see ‘total systemic change’ for the country to become carbon neutral by 2030.

Responding to the report this week from 11,000 international climate scientists that warned that the climate emergency is happening quicker and is more serious than was thought only a year ago, Mr Osborne said that record-breaking weather conditions for four out of the five last calendar months ‘for all the wrong reasons’ demonstrates that ‘climate crisis is fact’.

He said that ‘whilst we all have personal responsibility to ourselves and future generations, it’s not good enough for politicians to go on about the changes we need to make as individuals.

‘Something much more radical is needed, and it’s needed now.’

He said most people in North Dorset need to run a car to be able to get to and from work, or to do things other everyday things like shopping or visiting friends and family, or to get to the doctors, and for most people that still means cars run on petrol or diesel.

‘Most of us are acutely aware of the long-term damage we’re contributing to by doing this but the system we operate in doesn’t allow us to make meaningful changes overnight.

‘What’s needed is total systemic change. That means tackling the biggest polluters, but it also means supporting ordinary people in making a transition towards a sustainable lifestyle.

‘Among other things, that will involve greater access to public transport or electric vehicles, making changes to our homes so that they’re more energy efficient, and transitioning to sustainable wind and solar energy sources to heat and provide light for our homes.

‘It’s going to need upfront investment, but it doesn’t need to cost the Earth to save the Earth in the long term, so long as we take the opportunity to invest in developing our own green industries and keep them in public ownership so that profits can be reinvested or redistributed for the public good.

‘That’s what Labour’s Green Industrial Revolution is all about, and that’s why I support it.

‘So I have a total sympathy for the aims of groups like Extinction Rebellion and Planet Shaftesbury, who have in different ways taken direct but peaceful action in order to keep a spotlight shining on the climate crisis.

‘Labour adopted a policy of becoming carbon neutral by 2030 at this year’s Party Conference. I’ve no doubt whatsoever that this was influenced by the emphasis given to the issue by groups like Extinction Rebellion and campaigners like Greta Thunberg.

‘It’s important that the pressure stays on.’

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