(See published press article here.)
Friday 7th October (National Week of Action on Climate Change 8th-16th October)
MEPs back local climate action group
Gloucestershire politicians from across the political spectrum have signed up in support of rapid and effective action to combat climate change. Gloucestershire Climate Action network (GlosCAN.org) wrote to local Members of Parliament and Members of the European Parliament (for the South West Region) asking them to sign up to say they agree with GlosCAN’s starting points and aims. Not all chose to do so, but three out of the six MEPs did sign up, drawn from Conservative, Labour and Green parties.
Julie Girling MEP (Conservative) wrote:
“I am very happy to support the strategy GlosCAN has outlined which is in line with the work I have been doing as a member of the Environment Committee in the European Parliament for the last seven years.
Climate Change is a huge challenge, a global problem that must be addressed. I welcome GlosCAN’s initiative and will work with them to achieve their goals.”
Clare Moody MEP (Labour) wrote:
“Climate Change is one of the biggest challenges that we face, which is why I welcome organisations like GlosCAN that are dedicated to furthering the science based debate and action that is so badly needed to address this global problem. The South West can and should be a source of many of the solutions to climate change but, post the Leave referendum result, campaigns like GlosCAN are essential to ensure the government not only deliver on their Paris promises but also support the green energy industry in our region.”
Molly Scott Cato MEP (Green) wrote:
“As a Green MEP I constantly try to ensure we have the legislation that will both mitigate against the future impacts of climate change but also legislation to reduce the likelihood of experiencing significant global warming. As a politician however there are limits to what I can do. That is why I am delighted to support local organisations such as GlosCAN that raise awareness of not only the problem but also the potential solution within our communities.”
Hugh Richards (Chair of GlosCAN) said, “It is good to know that elected politicians from opposing parties support our aims, which include raising awareness of the inadequacies of the current global and national commitments on climate change. One of the local MPs (who are all Conservative) responded positively to our aims but stopped short of signing up. We will continue to engage with them and challenge the Government to make the UK’s climate policy match up to the global objectives agreed in Paris last year. Locally, we will campaign for actions that will help Gloucestershire do its bit to meet these objectives. That will mean supporting things like public transport improvements and renewable energy projects and opposing things like airport expansion and fossil fuel extraction (including fracking).
Neil Carmichael (MP for Stroud) said, “Gloucestershire Climate Action Network (GlosCAN) is the type of local, autonomous and grassroots based movement that can make a real difference. It is particularly encouraging that GlosCAN has begun by stating the obvious and fundamental positions so often lost in the high academic language of climate science. GlosCAN’s starting points are simple and straightforward, the aims inclusive and effective; together, I am confident these values will allow for strong local progress to be made.”
Hugh Richards says “Climate change has not been in the news much this year, but we know from national opinion polls that a big majority of people in this country are concerned about climate change. We hope that more people in Gloucestershire will want to express their concern by signing up to our aims and become registered supporters. It only takes a few minutes and we don’t ask for money or personal details. It’s great that some public figures are now signing up, but as Neil Carmichael says, we are a grassroots organisation and the more supporters we have, the more powerful our campaigning will be.”
Further news from MPs
Since issuing the press release, GlosCAN has been pleased to hear from another Gloucestershire MP.
Laurence Robertson (MP for Tewkesbury) wrote: “I acknowledge the responsibility we have in mitigating the effects of human behaviour on the environment, and also to change our behaviours in recognition of these effects.
Already we are seeing evidence of how altering our behaviours and lifestyles can impact positively on the consequences of climate change. For example, scientists have shown that the phasing out of harmful chemicals in the 1980s has contributed towards reducing the size of the hole in the ozone layer. However, I agree that we need to do more and that we must be diverse in our approach to tackling the issue.
I am supportive of the Paris Climate Agreement and want to see the UK fulfil its responsibilities in this respect. However, the importance of this agreement should not be understated, and I feel that it often is. It is significant that every country in the world has now signed up to play its part in halting climate change, including some of the largest producers of emissions, such as China. Britain has already been leading the way, and will work towards reducing emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.
I also recognise the disproportionate effect of climate change on the developing world. We are well aware of the issues which follow natural disasters, especially with regards to food security and global health . I visited Ethiopia this year in the midst of the country dealing with drought, which causes significant concerns for farmers and those living in the poorest areas of the country.
Therefore, I am sympathetic to many of GlosCAN’s aims and look forward to following the work of the group as we move forward in tackling these issues.”
Note: we hope that MPs will sign up to show that they agree with GlosCAN’s Starting Points and Aims. The three MEPs quoted above have all done so.