Climate Lobby Meets MP

St John’s Justice & Peace and Cafod

Occasional Bulletin July 2015 Number 5

Parishioners from St John’s were among a group from Bath who recently met Ben Howlett MP in Westminster to lobby him on Combating Climate Change. The meeting was set up by Cllr Peter Turner [of this parish and a CAFOD Speaker]. This was part action to meet all MPs by over 100 organisations who accept the science of climate change. CAFOD is a partner in this Climate Coalition, and one of the organisers of the day.

CAFOD campaigns on climate change, “One World ~ One Climate”, because 400million of those most likely to be affected are in the poorest countries of the world. Columban and other Missionaries, and Cafod’s partners see the impact of climate change and want to prevent further poverty that will be caused by it.

Ben Howlett MP met supporters of Christian Aid, OXFAM, CAFOD, WWF, 38 Degrees, and members of Bath and Bath Spa Universities, and Conservative, Labour and Green Party Activists to talk about climate change. They met as part of a national action day organised by the Climate Coalition to highlight the need for leadership on the realities of climate change.

We began with Prayer, calling to mind Genesis, that The Globe is God’s creation; That Jesus said Love God and Your neighbour; and recalled Chardin: “The world is round so that love can encircle it”.

The climate campaigners questioned Ben on his position on climate change and what this government is doing to support renewable energy and cut emissions. Ben has researched the issue and accepts the science.

“Climate change is not only a significant issue but a moral one as well” he stated and “we need to act now”. Ben promised to push the government to ensure it keeps its aim of cutting emissions by 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2050.

“I am proud of the last government’s record but I think the Government can go further”, said Ben. They trebled renewable energy production to 19.2%, setting up the World’s first Green Investment Bank and signing the deal for the first new nuclear power plant in a generation. These are great first steps. Others would emphasise the gaps in the Governments efforts and the lack of support for renewables.

“I was very pleased to welcome the climate lobby to Parliament to discuss this very important issue. I was pleased to listen to the lobby, I promised that I would continue to lobby the government to ensure that we not only meet our targets but go further to incentivise individuals, businesses and corporations alike to invest in green technology and help cut emissions”.

Ben has promised to lobby the Secretary of State for Education to try and ensure climate change is taught in the school curriculum. He will also contact the Housing minister to ensure Councils are incentivised to ensure the carbon zero home standard from 2016 is not only implemented, but also rigorously enforced. He will ask the Secretary of State for the Environment to incentivise more individuals to go green. In Bath 70% of the homes we will live in 2050, our target date, are already built, so an intense programme of retrofitting insulation and sustainable heating is required.

An advocate of Justice & Peace and supporter of OXFAM & CAFOD [Ozzie ffield] commented: " We are pleased with the meeting and fortunate to have an MP who acknowledges the reality and science of climate change, and that it is most likely man-made and a moral issue.

“Climate change is real for over 400,000 of the poorest people in the world. That is why we call for strong leadership. We thank Ben for the discussion and for taking forward these issues. We look forward to working with him in the future.

The investment and employment opportunities was raised by Colin Smith a Chritian Aid supporter. He pointed out in the South West in sustainable energy if the Government would help. Some of these opportunities are going to companies in other countries such as China with the nuclear power station  and also with the upcoming tidal power project in Cardiff Bay.  Similarly the company which made windfarms closed due to slow investment and these now come from Germany.  Windfarms are by far the cheapest form of renewable energy.

Probably the majority of the current in-take of MPs accept the science that Climate Change is a reality; Ben told us, and they accept that it is most likely caused by human activity, predominantly. We need to let them know that we back them.

To influence global action we need to stay in the EU, and reform some of the current practices that adversely impact on these issues; that to achieve more action on these issues requires that Climate change goes up the political agenda, so that they attract more funding.

On the global arena Ben pointed out that the countries that are least inclined to collaborate on joint action are China and Russia, and in USA there are many who do not accept the science and necessary action required by all of us to achieve reduced emisssions and more sustainable living for all.

Fracking was discussed. It needs close scrutiny, and Ben accepted the concerns about water pollution; that it is a nation wide issue and especially so for Bath. He said that there will be an independent agency to closely monitor developments.

Climate change group

CAFOD works with partners on the ground in over 40 countries who are telling us it is the desperately poor people who are hardest hit when a harvest fails, when their animals are weakened by drought, or when the glacier that supplies water for their crops is melting and shrinking. CAFOD’s ongoing campaign One Climate One World focuses on climate change and sustainable energy. It calls for political action to secure an ambitious global deal on cutting carbon emissions, is encouraging people to make changes in their own lives and to support a transition from polluting fossil fuels that are the major cause of climate change to reliable, sustainable energy sources for people in extreme poverty.

Authors: Ben Howlett’s Chief of Staff, Phil Coombes, & Ozzie ffield [parishioner]

Ffi: Tel: 01225 3145 345 with a statement from CAFOD HQ Ver1 8 July 2015