Analysing MP Replies
We are monitoring replies from MPs about the CEE Bill. This is such an important subject, it’s vital to ensure that our MPs are fully briefed, and that any misunderstandings are ironed out.
Standard Reply 1
This is the first of a number of standard replies received by constituents.
Thank you for contacting me about the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill.
I understand that this Bill has been developed by campaign members of Extinction Rebellion, Big Ask and Power for the People.
We welcome that the UK took the first step with the Climate Change Act of 2008. However, Net Zero by 2050 is now considered by most independent scientists to be too late to be confident of avoiding temperatures exceeding the critical 1.5ºC set out in the Paris Agreement. Beyond 1.5ºC, we risk seeing global heating run out of control due to breach of various tipping points.
Furthermore, the 2050 target was only ever proposed on the understanding that deep cuts would be made immediately, buying us time to continue emitting carbon for a little longer. This did not happen, and does not appear likely in the coming year. So we are burning through our remaining carbon allowance far too quickly, leaving us with less time to reach net zero.
Unfortunately climate change obeys the laws of physics, not the laws of governments, economics or social acceptability. So yes, we need disruptive urgent change, but that also means creating huge new employment opportunities in the green sector which will power our post-covid recovery. It means cleaner air and warmer, healthier homes. The price tag will be high, but the cost of burying our heads in the sand will be far far greater in terms of flooding, mass migration, crop failure and storm damage. Read more.
Of course 2030 may now be too difficult. But what’s clear is that we need to step out of our comfort zone and cut emissions as fast as humanly possible, and well before 2050. We are now paying the price of having ignored the scientific advice for decades. Every delay now, even months, will only make the changes needed more drastic still.
According to a WWF 2020 report, nearly half of the UK’s carbon footprint involves overseas emissions which we do not currently recognise. This is primarily because we have outsourced so much of our production to countries like China. These emissions are caused by our purchase decisions so we clearly can’t ignore them. We also don’t count international aviation or shipping emissions. Accounting for such emissions will help to drive change, including encouraging more manufacturing to happen here in the UK – what’s not to like about that?
The Millennium Development Goals mentioned above are nothing to do with the UK’s global carbon footprint. They were about eradicating global poverty. So this question has not been addressed at all.
The UK gave £4.6bn to overseas fossil fuel projects between 2010 and 2017, which is incompatible with the country’s climate and development goals.
More than half of the support for energy projects abroad went on fossil fuels during the period. By comparison, just 17 per cent was spent on renewables, according to an analysis by Catholic charity CAFOD and thinktank ODI.
“It’s a bit of a no-brainer if we want to get to net zero and keep below 1.5°C, we shouldn’t be using public money for fossil fuels,” says Sarah Wykes of CAFOD. Read more in New Scientist.
Industrial bottom trawlers are systematically breaking the law while fishing in the Dogger Bank and directly destroying the Dogger Bank’s protected feature, the seabed, which is in “unfavourable” condition. There are no permanent restrictions on fishing activity in the Dogger Bank protected area, making it protected in name only.
WWF, Client Earth and other NGOs lodged an official legal complaint against the UK, Dutch and German Governments in 2019 over their failure to properly protect the Dogger Bank from bottom trawling. Greenpeace has been campaigning for a ban. Read more at WWF.
This was a welcome step, but three major flaws mean its effect has been very limited:
- there was no obligation for recommendations to be debated by parliament, and a large number were simply ignored;
- the Government’s did not permit the CA UK to question its net zero emissions target of 2050, widely regarded as way too late; and
- the CA UK was not called upon to consider adaptation or biodiversity.
We need a properly publicised Citizens’ Assembly, convened with the full backing of the Government.
We have demonstrated that this is just not true.
‘While Mr Johnson creates jobs and cuts carbon dioxide with one hand, he’s either increasing emissions – or leaving them uncut – in at least 10 other areas. These are road-building, SUVs, high-speed rail, aviation, overseas finance, oil and gas, coal mining, farming, meat-eating and peat.’ Roger Harrabin for the BBC
As most other countries around the world, UK is falling far short of the action needed. We don’t have any time to wait. We must act now, setting an example and urging other countries to follow.