It’s hard to remember now, but 2020 started with rampant wildfires in Australia that led to 479 deaths from fire and smoke inhalation, and 3,500 homes destroyed.

Joe Biden’s commitment to climate action and rejoining the Paris Agreement, China’s pledge to reach carbon neutrality before 2060 and ensure its greenhouse gas emissions peak in the next decade, the EU’s pledge to cut emissions by 55% by 2030, and the UK Government pledge to cut emissions by 68% by 2030 are all very welcome, but none of this is enough. We were hoping for a 75% cut, as the science suggests is necessary. Zero Carbon Cumbria has a target of 2037 to reach net zero.

The Prime Minister published his Ten-Point Plan for the environment but Cambridge Econometrics research shows that this does not go far enough, fast enough to reach the goal of net zero by 2050, which is too late anyway to avoid catastrophic climate change.

Actually much of what is planned undermines the promised emissions cuts. Government spending for new roads to the tune of £27 billion and support for airport expansion and fossil fuel infrastructure all undermine progress. The continued exclusion of emissions from shipping and aviation means that the targets are misleading.

What is scientifically necessary is what must be done, because we know that reductions today save money and achieve much stronger protection for our climate than equivalent reductions next year or the year after.

There are many green jobs available and, with a just transition plan, workers could be part of a green, sustainable future and not abandoned as so many communities were in the 1980s. Many of these could be in West Cumbria.

Work commissioned by Zero Carbon Cumbria from the Greenhouse Thinktank, shown in a presentation last week, has assessed just how many jobs could be created in West Cumbria from each green option introduced (everything from increasing bus travel and recycling through to installing energy efficiency measures and constructing tidal lagoons).

So what we need now is action. Everyone can play their part and governments at all levels around the world must do their bit to make it easy for us. The goodwill is out there.

“Following the science” is good for us all. We know it must be done or the consequences will be catastrophic.