Those were the words of the Climate Change Minister Julie James as data published shows Wales expects to meet its 2020 target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and is moving in the right direction to avoid dangerous global warming.
Emissions reduced by 40% in 2020, exceeding the target of a 27% reduction on 1990. Wales is also likely to have met its first carbon budget (2016-2020), which set a legal target of achieving an average reduction of 23% on 1990 The latest data confirms we are likely to have outperformed our carbon budget achieving an average reduction of 28%.
To coincide with the data, the Welsh Government published its very first Public Sector Emissions Report to keep track of its bold ambitions to see the entire public sector carbon neutral by 2030, inclusive of the NHS and all local authorities.
Reflecting on the figures, Julie James MS thanked communities and organisations across Wales for their efforts but warned that globally and at home, much more needs to be done in order to avert climate chaos.
Social justice and tackling the climate emergency are at the heart of the Welsh Government’s priorities.
Now both the energy crisis and cost of living crisis show Wales needs to double down on efforts. Scientists have also been clear that Wales is particularly vulnerable to extreme flood events as climate change intensifies, with a failure of action guaranteed to jeopardise the wellbeing of future generations.
Net Zero Wales details over 120 policies and proposals, including building 20,000 new low carbon homes and increasing community tree planting, as part of efforts to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
An all-Wales plan which is underway highlights the need for everyone in Wales to do their bit to drive emissions down, with more than half needing to be driven by societal or behavioural changes with a large reduction in the amount of energy and natural resources we use. This means government, communities and businesses working together to change how we travel, shop and heat our homes, while switching to lower carbon diets.
Calling for a continued Team Wales attitude, Climate Change Minister, Julie James said:
Today’s data is an important step on our journey towards a cleaner, greener Wales. The figures show we are on track, and I want to thank all those who have helped us deliver on this crucial milestone.
While we must continue shouldering our global responsibility to protect our precious planet for future generations, the Welsh Government cannot work in silo to confront the climate and nature emergencies. Everybody in Wales has started to realise the benefits of change, and now is not the time to rest.
The 2020s must be the decade of action. Reducing emissions more in this decade than in any previous ten-year period will be an uphill challenge and we may need to take difficult choices. But, if we are to see a cleaner, stronger and more prosperous Wales, it is a challenge we can only face together.