threegenerationsleft

human activity and the destruction of the planet


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Citizen’s assembly planned for 2020 in Birmingham

From the UK parliament website:

https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/business-energy-industrial-strategy/news-parliament-2017/citizens-assembly-climate-change-19-20/

Parliament sends 30,000 invitations for citizens’ assembly on climate change

02 November 2019

From Wednesday 6 November, 30,000 invitation letters will be landing on doormats across the UK – including Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – inviting people to join Climate Assembly UK.

Participants in Climate Assembly UK, which was commissioned by six cross-party House of Commons Select Committees, will look at how the UK will reach its net zero emissions climate target, and what can be done by members of the public to help reduce carbon emissions. The citizens’ assembly has been launched before the dissolution of Parliament, to ensure that the assembly’s report is available to the new Parliament as it begins its work.

In June this year, following a recommendation by independent advisors the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), the UK became the first major economy in the world to adopt a target of reaching net zero emissions by 2050. This means that by 2050 the UK will have to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases it produces to a much lower level than today, and balance its remaining emissions by absorbing the same amount from the atmosphere.

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Chair’s comments

Commenting, Rachel Reeves MP, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee said:

“Adopting the net zero target was a major milestone for the UK, reflecting the strong cross-party support for action on climate change.

“We now need to set out a clear roadmap for the actions to achieve net-zero. It’s very clear that we will all need to play a part in meeting this target and that we all share a responsibility to future generations to do so. Finding solutions which are equitable and have public support will be crucial. Parliament needs to work with the people and with Government to address the challenge of climate change.

“The Climate Assembly UK will advise Parliament on how people want us to meet the net zero target, and suggest policies that the Government can implement to secure success.”

Citizens’ assemblies bring together people from all walks of life to discuss important issues. They have been used all around the world, including in the UK, to help shape the work of governments and parliaments. 30,000 addresses have been chosen at random to receive invitations to participate in Climate Assembly UK which will run over four weekends between late January to the middle of March next year in Birmingham. A representative sample of the population will then be selected from those who respond to the invitation, with 110 people taking part in the assembly.

Treasury Chair’s comments

Commenting, Mel Stride MP, Chair of the Treasury Committee said:

“Public concern around climate change is as high as it has ever been and this is a chance for people from all parts of society to come together, to decide how we as a country can best meet our net zero emissions target.

“Net zero is an opportunity, therefore, for people to not just explore ways in which the UK can end its contribution to climate change, but also create a cleaner, healthier environment as well as benefit from the opportunities around creating a low-carbon economy.”

Key themes to be discussed at Climate Assembly UK will include how people travel, what people buy and household energy use. The outcomes of discussions will be presented to the six select committees, who will use it as a basis for detailed work on implementing its recommendations. It will also be debated in the House of Commons.


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People living near the Norfolk coast will need to relocate due to sea level rise

A report in the Mirror on September 10th 2019:

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/thousands-flee-homes-uk-coast-19985006

Thousands of families on the British coast will have to move inland as sea levels rise, an international commission has warned. It is claimed that entire communities may need to relocate to higher ground due to the effects of climate change.

north norfolk

A report from the Environment Agency states: “Protecting against or accommodating sea level rise in low-lying areas may no longer be possible and coastal residents may need to systematically retreat.”  Emma Howard Boyd warned in May that “it was not possible to protect against flooding by building “infinitely high walls and barriers”.

The Committee on Climate Change has also warned that the number of UK homes at risk from coastal erosion could rise from 5,000 to 32,000 by 2050.

happisburgh1

Happisburgh

A new report from the Global Commission urges governments to invest more in urgent adaptations to incursions from the sea.

The District Council leader in North Norfolk said: “Climate change is the fault of everybody so why should a few people at the coast bear the problem?”

Charles Lydon & Jonathan Staley.

The UK is to be the host of the key United Nations climate talks in Glasgow in November 2020. The COP26 meeting is the most important summit since the global Paris Agreement in 2015.



 


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Commons motion passed to declare an environment and climate emergency

Last night Parliament voted for the UK to declare a Climate Emergency.  Whilst this is momentous – and historic – it will have no impact whatsoever unless the government accepts and acts on it.  The debate was started by Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who called for the motion to “set off a wave of action from parliaments and governments around the globe”.

The symbolic move – recognising the urgency needed to combat the climate crisis – follows a wave of protests launched by the Extinction Rebellion strikers in recent weeks.

Opening the debate, Corbyn urged his fellow MPs to accept their “historic duty” and back Labour’s motion. He used his speech to make a passionate and comprehensive case for “rapid and dramatic action” for social and environmental justice. On current rates of decarbonisation, and following government cuts to renewable energy, the UK will only reach net zero by the end of the century, which is at least 50 years too late.

The Labour leader argued that we are already seeing the effects of climate change, including extreme weather in the UK. He told MPs they should listen to those “who bear the highest cost” and are “least to blame here and around the world for the destruction of our climate”.

Corbyn told the Commons that he was “deeply moved to see the streets outside this parliament filled with colour and noise by children on strike from school chanting ‘our planet, our future’and that “Parliament rarely leads change, it usually drags its feet” but will urge MPs to “not repeat that pattern” and “respond to the younger generation” by saying “we hear you”.

Labour used an opposition motion to push Parliament to act with urgency to avoid more than 1.5°C of warming, which requires global emissions to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ before 2050.

Last year, UK carbon dioxide emissions fell by only 2% – a rate that means that the UK would not reach levels compatible with net zero before 2100, far too late to avoid dangerous climate change.

Rebecca Long Bailey, Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, decried this slow rate of change saying “winning slowly on climate change is the same as losing”.

Jeremy Corbyn has also spoken in a video on this theme:

 

The Commons debate showed cross-party support of the motion, though many of the Conservative back-bench seats were empty during the debate.  In his reply to Jeremy Corbyn’s speech, the Environment minister, Michael Gove, defended his Government’s record on introducing methods to reduce carbon emissions. Some say that his long and passionate speech was delivered, partly as an attack on Corbyn but also in a bid for the leadership of the Conservative party.



Also important in this whole context is the report that was released today by the Committee on Climate Change.  This is outlined on the BBC website:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-48122911

It stated that the UK should lead the global fight against climate change by cutting greenhouse gases to nearly zero by 2050.  The BBC then goes on to say that a target of 2050 was likely to damage the UK economy.  Yet , Extinction Rebellion and others are calling for a much closer time (2025) to achieve carbon zero.  Indeed, the IPPC report has shown that keeping global warming below 1.5ºC is essential, if the worst effects of climate change are to be avoided.

It would appear then that the Committee on Climate Change has been very conservative in its recommendations.