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Climate change - we need radically different policies

It's now more than a month since the International Panel on Climate Change published a dire warning that we must act now to avoid catastrophic climate change in the not too distant future.

A climate wrecking budget

Since then, we've had an Autumn budget from a government that seems either unaware of our danger or lacking the courage and imagination to take bold action. Greens had said that this must be an emergency budget for the climate and that it would fail if a single pound was spent on climate wrecking projects. And it did fail. Massively. Not a single word about the climate emergency and as Molly Scott Cato MEP and economic spokesperson for the Green Party said:

"Rather than action to avert climate breakdown we saw the chancellor accelerate faster towards it, throwing £30bn at road building and freezing fuel duty for the ninth year running. This now amounts to a £9bn tax give-away, enough to reverse all Conservative benefit cuts of the past 8 years. Compare these eye-watering sums to the pittance given towards the environment - just £60 million to plant a few trees."

What can we do?

We need to make political leaders realise that action on climate change is not a nice to have that can wait until "we can afford it". We can't afford not to take action.

Write to your MP and to government ministers insisting that they take the following actions:

  • Ban fracking

This is so obvious, it shouldn't even need saying. Even if fracking was safe and didn't massively disrupt the communities on which it is being imposed, starting the development of a new fossil fuel when expert advice is that much of the resources already available must not be burned is irresponsible madness.

But it's not safe and the disruption it brings has made it massively unpopular. Lancashire County Council, who rejected fracking only to have it imposed by the government are now forced to shoulder the bill for policing inevitable and justified protests. The same is likely to happen in Derbyshire.

  • Subsidise renewable energy not fossil fuels.

Since 2015, the government has been cutting subsidies to renewable energy, including the feed-in tariff for solar energy, capping the total subsidy to £100m by 2019. Fossil fuel subsidies are more than 30 times higher – companies running oil or coal-fired power stations received more than £3bn last year through the capacity market, funded partly by household fuel bills.

What's more, investors are encouraged by government policy to put money into an industry that should be winding down. Both the government subsidies and private money would be much better invested in developing our renewable energy. Instead, the government have rejected funding of tidal power in Wales and put an end to feed-in tariffs for small scale solar installations. Both the solar and tidal power industries were bringing high quality jobs to our country.

  • End the effective ban on on-shore wind

Since 2015, there has been an effective ban on new on-shore wind generation projects. So many hurdles have been put in the way of developing what is the cheapest form of renewable energy that planning applications have fallen by 94%. It appears that the government made no assessment of the impact of these changes on carbon emissions or on consumer bills. Insist that this irresponsible policy be reversed.

  • Bring in an integrated public transport system to make it easier for people to make journeys using buses, tram, and trains

Climate change is just one of the reasons why we should be promoting public transport and making it comfortable and economic for people to use. Most European countries have integrated systems where passengers can switch between bus, train and tram. Our public transport is fragmented, uncoordinated, expensive and often overcrowded.

  • Make a clear statement that no petrol or diesel motor vehicles will be allowed to be sold beyond a certain date. For buses and goods vehicles the date would be sooner.

Support the Green Party by joining the party and voting Green at local elections next year. The more people voting Green the more clear it will become that there is support for these policies.

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