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Climate change sceptic questions candidates at city election hustings

The climate change protest outisde City Hall in Norwich at the end of September. Picture: Submitted

The climate change protest outisde City Hall in Norwich at the end of September. Picture: Submitted

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A climate change-focused election hustings in Norwich was punctuated by climate scepticism from a spectator.

Jess Barnard, Labour candidate for Broadland. Pic: Labour Party.Jess Barnard, Labour candidate for Broadland. Pic: Labour Party.

Parliamentary candidates for Norwich North spoke about their parties' environmental policies at the event, organised by Climate Hope Action in Norfolk, at St Mary Magdalene Church in Silver Road on Friday.

But one audience member questioned the science of climate change and said there was more "scare-mongering than sensible debate" on the subject.

Green Party candidate Adrian Holmes said a "whole bevy of scientists" supported the research, adding: "We were ignorant during the industrial revolution, we didn't know what we were doing putting that CO2 in the atmosphere, but we are not ignorant not any more."

Dr Hayley Pinto, who chaired the hustings and gave an opening presentation on global climate change, said research into the impact of human activity on the climate had achieved the "gold standard".

Adrian Holmes, Green candidate for Norwich North. Pic: Green Party.Adrian Holmes, Green candidate for Norwich North. Pic: Green Party.

"This means there is less than a one in a million chance that it is not something we have done that is causing climate change. There is no scientific organisation in the world that does not agree with this," she said.

READ MORE: How UEA climate email leak scandal changed global warming fight

Conservative candidate Chloe Smith said the UK was already a world leader on climate change as the first to pass a climate change act and having the fastest decarbonisation rate in the G20 since 2000.

The party's manifesto includes pledges to create jobs in clean growth, a Blue Planet fund for ocean conservation and £800m for a carbon capture storage cluster.

Chloe Smith, Conservative candidate for Norwich North. Picture: Neil DidsburyChloe Smith, Conservative candidate for Norwich North. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Ms Smith said: "I think we do have a climate emergency and we should all be thinking about what we can do about it."

Labour candidate for Broadland Jess Barnard, who stood in for the party's Norwich North candidate Karen Davis, said: "I do not buy the argument that tackling the climate change crisis means we will have a poorer quality of life. We should never accept that argument."

She read a statement from Ms Davis in which she said Labour would "kickstart a green industrial revolution" that would create one million jobs as well as setting up a £250bn green transformation fund for environmental and transport projects.

Liberal Democrat candidate Dave Thomas listed policies from his party manifesto including doubling the percentage of UK energy from renewable sources, making all new homes more energy-efficient and creating a Department for Climate Change.

Dave Thomas, Liberal Democrat prospective parliamentary candidate for Norwich North. Pic: Liberal Democrats.Dave Thomas, Liberal Democrat prospective parliamentary candidate for Norwich North. Pic: Liberal Democrats.

He added: "Everything is driven by money and capitalism at the moment. I don't think we can wait for people to morally click, we have to motivate them to make the change."

Mr Holmes reiterated the Green Party's pledge to spent £100bn a year on tackling climate change for the next 10 years, with the goal of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2030.

He noted that the Tory-run Norfolk County Council agreed with the 2030 target for carbon neutrality - 20 years ahead of the 2050 target date in the Conservative manifesto.

He added: "There is no point saying 'we cannot do it now because it's not fiscally appropriate' because we have to do it now."

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