#SafeClimate

Safe Climate

Climate change is real and here. Now!

Every year that goes by without action by government, we slide closer towards irreversible damage to our environment, societal breakdown and economic disaster.

The Green Party will challenge the conventional thinking by:

  • working with other countries to ensure global temperatures do not rise beyond 2 degrees
  • phase out fossil-fuel based energy generation and nuclear power
  • invest in a public programme of renewable generation, flood defences and building insulation

See these Green Party links:

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Balcombe Five – Not Guilty!

News from the court in Brighton where five Balcombe anti-fracking protestors including Caroline Lucas MP are on trial.

And the verdict is… NOT GUILTY!

This is fantastic news.

But as Caroline Lucas said this afternoon from outside the court in Brighton:

“We are pleased that the court upheld our right to peacefully protest against fracking, but this judgement is not a victory. We will continue to campaign to end fracking and celebrate when that has been achieved.”

In the light of the UN’s latest report on climate change, it is clearer than ever that the only safe and responsible thing to do with shale gas is to leave it in the ground.

“All five of us would like to thank everyone who has turned up to support us and thank the thousands of people who have sent letters, emails and tweets to express their support.”

Caroline’s full reaction to the not-guilty verdict can be found here.

The latest opinion polls show that Britons favour onshore wind over fracking by three to one, so the fight for a safe climate and a frack-free future is looking hopeful, but we’ll all need to play our part.

Flood defence

floodFlooding in Tamworth appears to have become as inevitable as death and taxes but, whilst we welcome the investment made in flood defences, surely it is time far more was done to tackle the root causes at a local, national and global level?

The government’s own advisors recognise that houses continue to be built on flood plains whilst land disappears under concrete and tarmac- reducing the ability to absorb excess water.

It is acknowledged that we are already close to the limit of our ability to cope with flooding and further climate change could push us over the edge.

The UK is increasingly vulnerable to extreme weather events – severe winter followed by dry spring and then washout summer. But the government’s response that we need to ‘adapt’ and ‘build resilience’ is simply a sticking plaster to divert attention from the need to treat a serious wound!

We do need to put in place coping strategies but we also have to act now to prevent the ‘worse case scenarios’ from happening in the first place.

This will require action on an almost unprecedented scale; to radically reduce our reliance on fossil fuels by investing massively in renewable energy; to improve public transport as a real alternative to the car and to make energy efficiency and reduction the number one national priority.

Get Fracktious on 1st December!

NATIONAL CLIMATE MARCH, Assemble 12 noon at Grosvenor Square

Saturday 1st December – midway through the Qatar Climate Talks – COP 18

12:00 – 1:30 Assemble Grosvenor Square and build the “Grosvenor Square Keystone pipeline” from the Canadian High Commission to the US embassy !

1:30 – 3:00  March to Parliament

3:00 – 4:00  Build a giant mock fracking rig outside parliament!

This year has seen the passing of an awesome milestone in the accelerating escalation of the climate crisis – the record shattering disapearance summertime arctic sea ice, which has now been predicted to disappear completely by 2015 (see further here and here).

Something that was not predicted to happen till the end of the century is happening right now! But not only is climate change already altering the planet’s basic geography, the rapid changes in the arctic  have been linked to recent extreme weather events that have destroyed crops and sent food prices spiraling, hitting the world’s poorest hardest.

Yet even as the world is poised on the brink of a tragedy of unimaginable scale, none of our leaders seems to be so much as blinking an eyelid in response. Worse than that humanity is engaged in a madcap suicidal dash to unearth  yet more of what caused the problem in the first place – fossil fuels.

Even as some fossil fuels are becoming more expensive to extract, new types of – often more carbon intensive – fossil fuel are being discovered and exploited. We believe it’s time to get fracktiousabout the criminal insanity of the way we are responding to probably the biggest threat humanity has ever faced.

We will be acting in solidarity with the many local campaigns around the country in resisting the expansion into this country of the risky and destructive pratcice of ‘hydraulic fracturing’ or “fracking” for previously un-tappable “shale gas”. This is a major prop for George Osborne’s new “dash for gas” which threatens to expand the exploitation of this fossil fuel in a way that would effectively blow the (inadequate but hard fought for) Climate Act out of the water (see here).

To this end we will be building our own “fracking rig” outside Parliament to secure a definitive photo-op and to signal to government that fracking will not go ahead without massive resistance. See spoof about this here.

Meanwhile we will also be building a “Grosvenor Square Keystone pipeline” (see here) between the Canadian High Commission and the US embassy to signal our outrage at the continued exploitation of high-carbon tar sands.

We will also be demanding that President Obama end his “Climate silence”, speak out and spend some of his re-election political capital on action against climate change.

FULL TIMETABLE

11:00 am: Christian Ecology and Operation Noah are organising a Climate Service at Grosvenor Chapel, South Audley Street (just down the road from Grosvenor Square)  See more here.

12:00 noon: Assemble at Grosvenor Square.

1:00 – 1:30: lay the “Grosvenor Keystone pipeline”, Speeches on the Arctic and Obama’s Climate Silence and on Tar Sands by Jess Worth from the Tar Sands Network.

1:30 – 3:00: March from Grosvenor Square to Parliament

3:00 – 4:00: Build the Westminster Fracking Rig. Speeches, including from Eve Macnamara from REAF (Ribble Estuary against Fracking), John McDonnell MP (Labour, Hayes and Harlington) and Natalie Bennett (leader, Green party).

5:00 pm to late: After-Party at the Cock Tavern, 23 Phoenix Road, Euston (Euston Station, Euston Square Tube, Kings Cross Station). With the ‘Ratcatchers’, Chris Bluemel and others.

If you would like to help us by stewarding, please email us at stewards@campaigncc.org. We will have a prop-making day on Saturday 17th November at Grow Heathrow from 10:00 am (this may continue on the Sunday 18th.) See more here. Just turn up or email us in advance at info@campaigncc.org if you’d like to help us with this or prop-making and logistical preparations in general.

Demand reduction should take centre stage in Energy Bill

The government has today published its long awaited Energy Bill, detailing plans to reform the power sector.

Responding to the Bill, Green MP Caroline Lucas said:

“While I welcome the Secretary of State’s recognition of the huge opportunities offered by greater energy efficiency, I am disappointed that measures to help householders manage their bills, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and bring people out of fuel poverty are simply being tacked on to the government’s energy strategy – rather than taking centre stage.

“We have heard positive statements about incentivising businesses and industry to invest in energy saving, but unless this is much more of a priority in the Energy Bill, with concrete policies to match the Energy Secretary’s rhetoric, the potential identified by DECC to reduce electricity demand by 40% by 2030 will not be realised.

“The government’s weak Green Deal policy looks unlikely to deliver either for bill payers or the energy efficiency industry.

“The Chancellor should listen to calls from MPs to use the revenue from carbon taxes and the EU Emissions Trading Scheme to invest in a nationwide housing retrofit to ensure all of our homes need far less energy to keep warm.”

Lucas continued:

“The Bill also proposes £7.6bn of new funding for low carbon generation, bringing welcome green jobs.

However the government needs to do far more to offer long term certainty for the sector beyond 2020 by committing to a zero carbon electricity supply by 2030.

“In 2006, David Cameron said that ‘we need targets as well as technology’ to make the shift to a greener economy, yet he has allowed his Chancellor to completely disregard the Committee on Climate Change, his coalition partners, the renewables industry, NGOs and a raft of the UK’s largest businesses by scrapping the 2030 decarbonisation target.

“Equally deplorable is the goverment’s refusal to support binding energy efficiency and renewables targets for 2030 that would deliver the longer term certainty that green investors are crying out for.

“Amendments are also needed to this Bill to rule out a new dash for gas.

“Gas is the real threat to our energy bills, not green policies – it has been repeatedly shown that the UK’s ongoing dependence on expensive and polluting imported gas is what is forcing up energy bills.

“Yet Ministers have failed to tackle this problem. This government’s apparent determination to keep the UK hooked on gas even in the face of the UN’s latest warnings on climate change also raises serious questions about who Ministers are listening to over energy policy and the influence of pro-gas voices like Lord Howell.”

Commenting on the confirmation of plans to subsidise new nuclear power through Electricity Market Reform, the Green MP said:

“Coalition ministers have stated again and again that their pledge to spend no public money on new nuclear will hold, yet it’s obvious that EMR has been designed to allow subsidy via the backdoor.

“Ministers must now come clean about their intention to subsidise the nuclear industry after 2020 through the ‘Contracts for Difference’ mechanism in the Energy Bill.

“We also need to know how much of the new funding for low carbon generation will be used to support clean home grown renewables rather than CCS or nuclear.

“At an estimated cost of up to £7bn per power station according to EDF, nuclear is eye-wateringly expensive and there’s a real risk that householders will be saddled with the ever increasing costs of a new generation of inflexible expensive nuclear power funding when this support could be redirected to a range of renewable energy technologies instead.

The government must urgently ditch this obsession with nuclear power, which threatens to add a huge burden to household bills for decades to come.

“Demand reduction should take centre stage in this new Bill, rather than being tacked on as a consultation exercise.  MPs must also fight for an ambitious decarbonisation target, rule out a new dash for gas, and deliver support for smaller generators to break up the Big 6.”

“This Bill, coupled with next week’s autumn statement, is an opportunity to reduce UK dependency on fossil fuels and drive the transition to renewable home grown energy system – it’s critical that this opportunity is not wasted.”