Climate Change – Action

 For the love of the planet, chocolate, wildlife, our rivers; all things that will be affected by climate change, can you spend five minutes emailing your MP Andrew Selous:  andrew.selous.mp@parliament.uk asking him to ask the government to come up with clear policies to cut CO in the UK in 2020’s. The government’s own  official advisors  are warning that the government is not on track to  meet its own climate targets.

Unless action is taken now, the public faces an unnecessarily expensive deal to make the shift to a low-carbon economy.

Although the government has made some big cuts ion CO the last few years,  and Theresa May has publicly committed to the  Paris Agreement, the government are not putting in place the necessary  policies needed to cut emissions  from 2023 onwards. Implementing a few  low cost actions could make  all the  difference to cutting emissions.
The government is missing out the low cost affordable options to cut carbon and which will create jobs and help the economy, such as using onshore wind and solar  rather than importing gas, insulating houses, so that people have energy bills to pay,or building new low carbon homes, like the Zedpods  built by Bill Dunster.

 

Government’s Biodiversity and Environment Strategy; Paul De Zylva from National Friends of the Earth Talk

Earlier this year, in January, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs published ‘A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment’. Since then National Friends of the Earth and others have been working to understand the document and to clarify meanings and intentions. Paul de Zylva, Senior Campaigner on Nature for Friends of the Earth, came along a few days ago to bring us up to date on that work and to link it in to the work that our group is doing.

The plan is, of course, only one part of the government’s approach to all things environmental. Energy, for example, is addressed in the Clean Growth Strategy, while other matters are currently addressed by policy. An example here would be that the approach to fracking is part of the current energy policy, and the plan would not be able to say anything that apparently altered that policy. All of which means that the plan has to be read strictly in context: cleaner air and water; plants and animals which are thriving; and a cleaner, greener country.

The plan sets itself a target of 25 years, a whole generation, or 5 general elections. This is ambitious, and very welcome. However, for those of us who are aware of the urgency needed in all environmental matters, the plan seems initially disappointing. There are gaps in coverage, a lack of clarity on how we get to there from here, and inevitable questions of funding. There’s too much detail to go through here, but Paul has published his own analysis on the Friends of the Earth site and it is well worth reading.

There are many points to welcome, including the commitment to current EU environmental regulations. In fact, quite sensibly, much of the document builds on existing initiatives. As an example, Central Beds council has had a policy on sustainable drainage systems since 2015, based on government standards. The plan builds on all of these initiatives with an implied intent to strengthen and extend the requirements. Among the newer proposals, there is support for nature recovery networks, building links between wildlife areas, reinforcing our own wildlife gardening efforts. And, in the short term, 2019 has been designated as a year of action for the environment, fitting well with our groups’ work in schools and public areas. Most importantly, the plan exists. Its implications will be discussed amongst us for some time to come, and we are looking forward to making the most of the year of the environment in 2019.