Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Climate change: and the general election

What effect will Brexit have on climate change targets?
Leaked docs show UK lobbying to weaken EU climate targets despite Brexit - Energydesk
Futures Forum: Brexit: and climate change >>> the UK’s future participation in the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme

And what effect will the US presidency have?
G7 talks: Trump isolated over Paris climate change deal - BBC News
Futures Forum: Climate change: the future of the Paris Agreement

Meanwhile, what are the UK parties' policies on climate change? 
There is some pretty good analysis to be had:
UK Election 2017: Climate Change and Energy | DeSmog UK
Election 2017: What the manifestos say on energy and climate change | Carbon Brief

Naturally, the Green Party is critical of the other parties - but things are a little more nuanced, according to the Independent:

The Tory manifesto said the party would ensure that the UK will “lead the world in environmental protection” and reiterated an earlier pledge to “leave the environment in better condition than we inherited it”.

The Greens described it as an “absolute car crash for the environment”, but Friends of the Earth praised its rejection of Donald Trump-style climate science denial.

Labour’s manifesto said it would ban fracking “because it would lock us into an energy infrastructure based on fossil fuels long after the point in 2030 when the Committee on Climate Change says gas in the UK must sharply decline”.

The UK is currently not going to meet targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the late 2020s and early 2030s, but Labour said it would “put us back on track” to meet commitments under the UK Climate Change Act and the Paris Agreement.

The Labour Party dismissed the premise of the Greens’ question as “nonsense”.

“Labour are committed to protecting our environment. In our manifesto we explicitly pledge to transition to a low-carbon economy and meet climate targets, introduce a new Clean Air Act and to defend and extend environmental protections,” it said in a statement.

Green Party asks Labour and Tories why they are not talking about climate change and the environment | The Independent

The 10:10 campaign is more upbeat:

Three reasons climate change matters this election, and what you can do about it

It’s vital we talk about climate change in this election.

By the time the next one comes around, we’ll have used up our chance to keep warming below 1.5°C. So we can’t wait until then. We need to ensure that our politicians know we expect them to act on climate change now.

Over the next five years, three big things are going to determine how much we can step up the pace on climate action:

If nothing changes, investment in renewables will fall by 95% by 2020. We cannot tackle climate change without expanding renewable energy - which means we need politicians to back it.

Brexit will change the game for all areas of policy. Quite simply, everything is up in the air - and we need a government that will see us through with UK climate leadership intact.

If we’re going to meet our legally binding carbon budgets in the next two decades we need plans and policies across all of society to make sure we get there. To take our carbon cutting up a gear, we need real political will.

The good news is we have many of the solutions, and thousands of us are already getting stuck into making them happen. Renewables are winning every day, all over the world. Like last year, when renewable energy gave us more than one fifth of global electricity. Or when wind produced more electricity for the UK than coal for the first time ever.

This is incredible stuff. But we need more of this action, and we need it faster - which means we need our politicians to step up to the challenge too.

So what can you do…?

+ Ask your candidates to back climate action

If you come face-to-face with one of your candidates over the next few weeks, here are three questions to help you get to the bottom of their commitment to climate action.

1. How is my village/town/city playing its part in tackling climate change - and how will you support it?

People are used to hearing about climate change as a distant, global issue. This makes it super easy for politicians to avoid getting specific by trotting out their party’s manifesto line. If you kick off by asking your candidate about what’s happening in your area, and how they’re going to support it, it makes it harder for them to duck the question.

This might be a good opportunity to ask them about community energy in your area too. While lots of people are eager to generate their own energy, our system is still skewed in favour of big companies. How will your candidate work to change this?

2. How will you back UK leadership in renewable energy?

The UK has huge potential for renewable energy - we’re one of the best places in the world for wind power! Renewables are giving us more and more of our electricity ( 40% last Christmas Day! ), and they’re getting cheaper every year. But we’re not fulfilling our potential. If we’re going to do something about climate change, it’s vital the next government supports more renewables across the UK.

3. How will you prevent energy waste?

The cheapest unit of energy is the one that doesn’t get used. To meet the climate challenge, the UK needs to move beyond energy waste and become more efficient. With some of the leakiest houses in northern Europe, this is a big challenge - but it’s one we must rise to, and we stand to save billions in the process. Government leadership will be key to unlocking this potential in UK homes and businesses.

And if you’d like to know more about the different parties’ climate policies, check out Carbon Brief’s handy analysis .

+ Ask your friends to back climate action

If you don’t get a chance to talk to your candidates, don’t worry, because elections aren’t just about the politicians. A big national event like a general election is a really great time to talk to your family, friends, colleagues and anyone else who’s listening about what you value and what sort of future you want.

So, when you’re having the talk with someone about the candidates on offer this June, why not ask them if they’ve thought about climate change? Or if they know where their candidates stand on climate action?

But we get it. We’ve all had confusing, disappointing, frustrating or downright mind-boggling conversations about climate change. So if you want some tips on why your climate conversations keep going wrong, and how to make them better, we’ve got a great guide for you.

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