Speak Up Week Of Action, 1-9 July
As part of the Speak Up! Week of Action 2018 we encouraged people to write to, or visit, their MP to emphasise the importance of urgent action on climate change
If you're writing a letter, it's great to compose your own. Alternatively, if you're short of time we have put together a pre-written letter which you can just cut and paste into your own email, or edit at your convenience.
It is particularly effective to visit your MP and talk to them directly. Details of MP's surgeries are available on their websites, but let us know if you have difficulty finding out this information.
The following text is our suggested pre-written letter. Please remember to add your MP's name and your name & address where indicated:
Dear (MP's name here)
There's just three years left to stop dangerous climate change -
please reaffirm the UK’s role as a global climate leader.
Serious and comprehensive action on climate change is now urgent. Here are a few reasons why:
- To stabilise the temperature to a rise of no more than 1.5°C, as agreed at the Paris Climate Conference, we need to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere to no more than 350 parts per million (ppm). We are already over 405ppm. That means somehow removing CO2 from the atmosphere, and the more CO2 which is added, the less achievable this becomes.
- With emissions at their current rate, it has been estimated the Earth could warm by 6°C this century. With such a rise, the extinction of 95% of species is a genuine possibility. A rise of 3°C would see the rainforest disappear.
- The total volume of summer sea ice in the Arctic has declined by 75%.
- This year, two-thirds of the Great Barrier Reef has been severely damaged by “bleaching”, caused by warmer waters. This is the first time that a mass-bleaching event has occurred two years in a row. Many experts believe it is now too late to save the Reef.
- Humans are causing the climate to change 170 times faster than would be the case with natural forces.
- There is mounting evidence linking climate change to drought and food shortages in East Africa, where millions are threatened with famine.
- In 2012 it was calculated that, to limit temperature increase to a still very dangerous 2°C, we could only burn 20% of fossil fuel companies’ proven reserves of coal, oil and gas. They estimated then we would do this by 2028 – now just 11 years away.
- Just last week, international experts warned we have ONLY THREE YEARS LEFT to begin sharply reducing carbon emissions. Failure to do this will make dangerous climate change all but unstoppable. This really is our last chance.
With the newly elected government we need to refresh the UK’s entire approach to climate change. It will require unprecedented effort and coordination from governments, businesses, communities, citizens and scientists, but we have to realise the chance to embed climate commitments across all government departments and renew the UK’s role as a global leader in international efforts to tackle climate change. That’s where you, our MPs, can help. This week we are asking MPs to take a lead.
As our MP, we are asking you to WRITE TO THE PRIME MINISTER to:
1) Reaffirm the UK’s role as a global climate leader, working with international allies to fully implement the Paris Agreement.
As you know, 195 countries signed the ground-breaking Paris agreement in 2015, calling on the world to take urgent action and keep a global temperature rise this century well below 2OC, and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5OC, paving the way to a low carbon future. While this deal offers hope and a good basis for concerted global action, the commitments that governments have made so far fall well short of achieving the agreement’s aims. For instance, the Committee on Climate Change stated that current policies are likely to deliver at best around half the required UK emissions reduction from 2015 to 2030.
Particularly following President Trump’s decision to pull out of the agreement, the rest of the world needs to double down on its commitment to fighting climate change.
Richer countries like the UK must help poorer countries to tackle climate change, which hits them hardest, and to develop their energy services in a way that does not lock them in to using outdated, polluting fossil fuels.
We need to work with our international partners on potential initiatives such as a carbon tax which could price in the damage that fossil fuels cause the environment and encourage businesses to invest in low carbon technologies.
2) Ensure all government departments work together to produce an ambitious emissions reduction plan that will meet the Climate Change Act targets.
To achieve this, the emissions reduction plan needs to:
a) Unlock the potential of renewable energy
The renewable energy sector needs rapid expansion if we are to meet and improve on our carbon reduction commitments. To achieve this the government needs to provide certainty in the market. Over the last few years, cuts to subsidies have come too fast and too deep, and technological advances and falling costs, while impressive, have not been sufficient to compensate. Subsidies need to be restored to a level which is fair and economically sustainable, while government should be maximising support for research to further reduce costs and develop effective large-scale power storage which can fully address the issues of intermittent supply.
We also need fair taxes and planning policies which allow local initiatives, households and authorities to play their part and share in the benefits of a clean energy future.
We should abandon support for fracking. The vast majority of known fossil fuel reserves need to stay in the ground – to develop a whole infrastructure around finding new sources of fossil fuels is the very last thing we should be doing.
Instead, we need to see decisive government action to bring about a shift to a fairer, cleaner and more secure economy, a transition that will require a low carbon economy to be front and centre of the government’s emissions reduction plan and at the heart of its industrial strategy.
b) Cut energy waste in homes
Too many homes across the UK are leaking heat, which is wasting householders’ money and posing health risks. We need the UK Government to kick-start and support a major programme of ambitious, whole-house retrofits to cut unnecessary waste of energy in millions of the UK’s existing homes, starting with those in the poorest areas.
c) Tackle emissions and air pollution from vehicles.
Transport, which accounts for about one third of UK greenhouse gas emissions, is the only sector in which emissions have actually increased over the last 27 years. Not only does this hamper efforts to tackle climate change, but vehicle emissions poison our air. We need to tackle air pollution and reduce emissions by supporting cities and regions to move towards electric road and rail transport, with better infrastructure for walking and cycling.
d) Encourage low carbon lifestyles; keep the public informed
Millions of people are already playing a part in reducing carbon emissions by making low carbon lifestyle choices. For instance, many are choosing diets which rely less on meat and other animal produce. A more plant-based diet not only significantly reduces emissions, but requires far less land to support it. Government needs to consider how it can encourage and enable more people to consider carbon emissions when making their choices in life. This might be a combination of public education and shifting the burden of taxation onto environmental impact.
But most importantly, the government needs to keep the public informed of up-to-date research and facts on climate change so people are aware of the scale of the challenge that faces us. Only then can people make truly informed choices not only about their own lives, but also about the direction our government and economy needs to take if we are to secure our future and survival.
Thanks for your time and I hope you’ll give serious consideration to this request. I await your response as to your course of action.
(Full name and address here)