Michael Gove: ‘World must reverse nature’s decline in 2020’

The Environment Secretary says there is a political, economic and moral need to improve the state of the planet for future generations

The world must reverse nature’s decline in 2020.

That’s the verdict from Environment Secretary Michael Gove, who in a speech at Kew Gardens today, is to stress that “time is running out” on solving environmental issues such as rising temperatures, infertile soils, biodiversity loss and oceans polluted with plastic.

He will call for more action to be taken on curbing greenhouse gas emissions and protecting the environment, arguing there is a political, economic and moral imperative to slash emissions and live more sustainably.

He is expected to support a comprehensive bottle deposit return scheme (DRS) to incentivise the public to recycle plastic waste, noting that the UK and the rest of the world “cannot leave this planet to the next generation more polluted, more dangerous, denuded of its natural riches and increasingly inhospitable to all life”.

He calls to restore natural capital to ensure soils are not depleted to the point where they are incapable of yielding harvests or sustaining livestock and stressed water sources must not be allowed to dry up as a result of global warming or become contaminated through industrial processes.

He is to conclude that “the starting point for any ambitious and successful change must be certainty of direction”.

Last week Prince Charles warned international leaders they have 18 months to tackle climate change.

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