CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Climate change is an emergency that won’t wait

06 June, 2019

Ahead of Extinction Rebellion’s meeting with Sir Keir Starmer MP, three members have issued this letter to him

• THANK you for agreeing to meet with Extinction Rebellion.

Climate change is an emergency that cannot wait. We anticipate that this is the first of a series of meetings with you about climate policy in the UK.

As our children are teaching us: our house is on fire and it is time to panic urgently and constructively. Issues such as Brexit won’t matter to UK society if the world’s temperature continues to rise.

With each fraction of a degree warming, we are further at risk of uncontrollable positive feedback loops leading to runaway climate change and “global hothouse” effect.

This will increase the frequency and intensity of extreme weather such as droughts, floods and storms. Droughts, floods and storms destroy food crops threatening our global food supply. This is happening here too.

In the UK we have been warned by the Committee on Climate Change that the most fertile topsoils in the east of England – where 25 per cent of our potatoes and 30 per cent of our vegetables are grown – could be lost within a generation.

This warning came three years ago and nothing has changed. While we welcome Labour’s Green New Deal, the targets are too slow and need to be ramped up immediately.

The government, with pressure from your opposition party, must do its utmost to reduce carbon emissions in the UK to net zero as soon as possible.

Good intentions and guidelines won’t stop the planet warming. We need legally-binding policies to reduce carbon emissions in the UK to net zero by 2025 and take further action to remove the excess of atmospheric greenhouse gases.

It must co-operate internationally so that the global economy runs on no more than half a planet’s worth of resources per year. It is therefore essential that you represent us and attend climate-related parliamentary business.

As a part of XR’s three demands in the UK: Tell The Truth, Act Now and Beyond Politics, and as citizens of Camden facing a climate crisis, we”d like to work with you to:

• Explore the need to establish a ministry for climate emergency and lobby for an urgent government climate emergency spending review. This is essential to get funding to local authorities to take action to increase greener practices across the country.

• Oppose the third runway at Heathrow Airport, HS2 and all UK fracking.

• Introduce legislation for all new buildings to be carbon neutral – and for no further buildings to utilise fossil fuels, for example, as Member of Parliament for Holborn & St Pancras prohibit the use of gas heating in the Euston station rebuild. This should become national building standards.

At future meetings we wish to discuss further agenda items, to include:

• Legislation for fossil fuel companies to have health warnings on their advertising and products (like tobacco) and divest in such companies.

• Ban single-use plastic and protect trees and green spaces from developers’ destruction.

• Retrain people for employment opportunities in the green industry.

• Ensure that the citizens’ assembly is conducted according to agreed principles including: selected by sortition, that everyone is given adequate notice, expert instruction and support is available, and the outcomes are implemented.

For your information we are also seeking a meeting with the local authority leader, Georgia Gould, to press for continued support for urgent local efforts in Camden:

• To prevent any further loss of trees and green spaces in Camden.

• Stop planning permission for construction and buildings that will worsen pollution.

• Demand the council to immediately cease using glyphosate.

• Encourage individual awareness and action.

• Remove all single-use plastic in Camden.

• Green streets surrounding our schools.

ISABEL
FARHANA YAMIN
DOROTHEA HACKMAN
Extinction Rebellion Camden

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