Archive for ‘Climate Change’

April 26, 2019

Medway Green Party welcomes Climate Emergency Motion #GreenMedway

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Clive Gregory campaigning in Hoo

Medway Green Party was very happy to hear that Labour’s Climate Emergency Motion received cross party, unanimous, support at Medway Council’s meeting yesterday evening but now the work really needs to start.  The Council currently has no plan to meet the carbon neutral goal but the Greens have not only been facing up to the situation but identifying solutions for some time.  Green Councillors are needed to provide ideas and hold the Council to account on this.

Part of our objection to mass housing development on the Hoo Peninsula (outlined in our responses to Medway Council’s Local Plan consultation) is that the Council is failing to take climate change into account in the plans it is making. Proper consideration of the impacts of climate change should rule out building there once and for all.  It’s now time for action rather than just words.  Below is a comment written last week by Peninsula candidate, Clive Gregory, on the climate emergency motion.

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Medway Green Party is hugely supportive of the motion to declare a climate emergency, expected to pass on the 25th April, with Conservative Leader, Alan Jarrett, confirming support on Radio Kent on 17th April.  Labour are to be congratulated for proposing a motion that has been campaigned for by local Green Parties throughout the country.

However, this is just the first step. Labour Leader, Vince Maple, and Conservative Leader, Alan Jarrett, seemed reluctant to suggest any concrete solutions when interviewed by Radio Kent. This is unsurprising as neither party manifesto mentions climate change and both parties have failed to take it into account in their support for development of the Hoo Peninsula.  In contrast I made it clear, in my Radio Kent interview, that a climate emergency meant every plan and policy being revised to mitigate climate change.  An example would be to realise the potential of the River Medway to supply our (heat) energy needs, just one of many essential ideas for renewable energy capture.

It strikes me that if the proposed climate change cross party working group is formed of nothing but Conservative and Labour Councillors, it will be extremely difficult to achieve the 2030 carbon neutral goal.  The old grey parties are out of ideas.  Input is desperately needed from people who really appreciate the emergency we’re facing.

Only the Green Party understands that addressing climate breakdown and pollution must be at the heart of policy development. If elected, Green Councillors would work with other parties to make this motion work.

Clive Gregory, Green Candidate for Peninsula

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July 14, 2018

Medway Greens call on Medway Council to “go back to the drawing board” with their Local Plan

Medway Green Party recently submitted a detailed response to Medway Council’s Local Plan consultation.  This was an article we sent to the press at the time…

Local Green campaigners have slammed the latest proposals in the Local Plan consultation describing the options as “serving the Council’s own laissez faire agenda”.

Bernard Hyde, Green Campaigner and local Architect says: “The rhetoric of the Medway Local Plan is worthy but the options presented are ill conceived and add to the problems we face instead of being part of the solution. We have to face up to the inevitable effects of climate change with all the many and varied impacts that it is going to have on all our lives. Our Council leaders, like Central Government, are avoiding the important issues, whether they be flooding, homelessness, failing harvests, lack of water or pollution, to serve their own laissez faire agenda”.

In particular, Medway Green Party has hit out at the proposal to build a new rural town on the Hoo Peninsula claiming that, not only is it unwelcome to local people, and damaging to the local environment, but that it stores up problems for the future because of the area’s clay soil.   Mr Hyde says:  “The developments will be built on clay which currently costs more to build on than chalk, will suffer more from the extremes of weather caused by climate change and may result in buildings that are uninsurable. Medway Council needs to go back to the drawing board on this”.

Clive Gregory, Medway Green and Hoo Peninsula resident adds: “There is little evidence that Medway residents were calling for development on the Hoo Peninsula.  In fact largely the opposite is stated in the Council’s own report on the last consultation.  It seems that the latest proposal is in the interests of developers and their short term profit rather than in the interests of the existing or future local population”.

Medway Green Party is however not without suggestions of how things can be done differently, and Mr Hyde delivered a hard copy of the Green Party response to the Local Plan Consultation to the Council Offices on Monday, together with a file of background information and references. He said: “The Local Plan consultation document is not particularly accessible to the average citizen due to the length of the consultation document and the mountain of material that accompanies it. We expect the planners to read the documents we have supplied”.

 

April 24, 2017

Party People – achieving truly sustainable development in Medway’s Local Plan

Please see below a piece written by Steve Dyke for Medway Messenger’s Party People column and published on 13th April.

Since writing this, the deadline for responding to the Local Plan consultation has been extended once again to 30th May so there is still time to get your response in!

Details of the consultation can be found here.

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With the deadline for responding to Medway Council’s latest consultation on its Local Plan approaching, my hope is that the Council will review all responses received and be prepared to adapt the Plan accordingly.

To achieve truly sustainable development in Medway requires boldness in planning in order to reduce our ecological footprint to a ‘one planet’ level.  This should be seen as an opportunity rather than a hindrance.  Imagine Medway with a proper cycle network, reliable, accessible and cheap public transport and low energy homes affordable for local people.  Developing the technological expertise locally to build off-site constructed energy efficient homes and renewable energy technologies could reinvigorate our local economy.  This is what is truly meant by “meeting the twin challenges of global competition and a low carbon future”.

We must also ensure that we protect valuable existing green spaces from development.  The most sustainable development option would be to focus on brownfield sites in urban locations close to travel hubs, suggested by the Council within one of the four options in their consultation document. However, they could go much further, such as making better use of existing space through utilising empty premises or building above car parks and in the air space above existing buildings.

Of particular concern is that the Council still wish to press ahead with major development at the Lodge Hill SSSI.  This is despite a policy approach stated in their consultation promising that “a high level of protection from damaging impacts of development will be given to Sites of Special Scientific Interest”.

Medway Green Party would love to see Medway become an inspiration for other areas on how sustainable development can be achieved.  My fear is that we will end up with piecemeal, destructive, unsustainable growth.  I hope the Council will prove me wrong.

October 10, 2016

Medway Greens select candidate for Rainham Central by-election

Professor George Meegan has been selected as the Green Party’s candidate for the upcoming by-election in Rainham Central.

george-meeganProfessor Meegan is passionate about both protecting our cultural and environmental heritage and creating a better future for children and young people.  He is a top international prize winner in the field of education who stood as an independent parliamentary candidate for Gillingham and Rainham in the 2010 General Election in order to promote alternative forms of education, but has since joined the Green Party.

Professor Meegan says:
“I am running for the Green Party for one reason: I recently became a grandfather and I want my granddaughter to experience the wonderful world that I have experienced. However I see a degraded and polluted planet. We are facing the biggest threat to humanity in the form of climate change. We are being subjected to polluted air daily and our rich cultural heritage and green spaces are at risk of being compromised. As well as the threat of their lives being devastated by environmental catastrophe, our young people are being denied the opportunities in life that we had before them. We need to do all we can to reverse this trend in order to protect the futures of our children and our grandchildren.  The Green Party is not like the other main parties.  The Green Party believes that decisions should be made as locally as possible by those it most affects, and that is why I am honoured to run for the Green Party”.

Rainham is George’s current and childhood home, although he has travelled extensively during his life and career. He was educated at Meredale, Wakeley Road, and Orchard Street Schools. He joined the Merchant Navy at 16, but later in his career (until recently) he worked as Associate Professor of Maritime Sciences at Kobe University in Japan and has delivered lectures across the world.  A programme of education that he designed has been incorporated into the Japanese school curriculum. He has now returned to live in Rainham, but frequently travels abroad to voluntarily further his work in education within indigenous populations.

He says: “I believe in working to ensure that each individual child receives the right kind of education to allow that child to be the best that they can be. This means that we need to move away from standardised curriculums and endless testing and focus on developing the interests and aspirations inherent in each child.  Yes, children are the future and the high stakes testing is wounding some kids.  I have been told that children here in the Medway Towns have developed Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome due to the pressure they are being put under. Not every child thrives in a one size fits all environment. The potential of any child is huge, but not always in academics. I am passionate about working to ensure that the education system serves all our kids well”.

His other passion is walking. In his younger years he received extensive media coverage for completing the longest journey on foot in history, of 19019 miles across the American continents, and has received many accolades and awards for his long walks, including eight entries in the Guinness Book of Records.

George says “I have never been afraid of a challenge. If elected, I will strive to deliver a better future for both residents in Rainham Central and for the Medway Towns as a whole”.

December 10, 2015

Last few days of climate talks 2015 (COP21)

In the course of the next 48 hours or so the climate conference in Paris will draw to a close. The stakes couldn’t be higher – and much is still to be decided.

Caroline Lucas, Green MP, is joining Greens from across Europe in Paris this weekend demanding the strongest possible action to tackle the climate crisis.

Our hope is that a strong deal can be struck which limits warming to 1.5 degrees, includes aviation and shipping and gives proper finance to poorer countries. Caroline’s put out this press release setting out her hopes: http://www.carolinelucas.com/latest/caroline-travels-to-paris-as-hopes-mount-for-climate-deal

Caroline’s also had an interview with The Ecologist published. In it she sets our why acting on climate change is a moral imperative – and why the Government’s actions on climate have been so deeply disappointing: http://www.theecologist.org/Interviews/2986636/caroline_lucas_acting_on_climate_change_is_a_moral_imperative.html

Below are a few of our photos from the People’s Climate March held in London recently in which local Greens joined 50,000 others in calling for action to be taken.

 

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December 8, 2015

Call to Earth – A Message from the World’s Astronauts to COP21

November 25, 2015

UN Climate Change Conference 2015

6143809369_5baf154344_zAs the UN Climate Change Conference approaches, one of our members, Steve Dyke, has written a few words:

Climate change affects all of us living on this fragile blue planet.

The global temperature has already increased by 1 degree above the 1850-1899 average and a rise of 2 degrees now seems inevitable. Two degrees is widely regarded as the tipping point at which the Earth will enter runaway climate change, with catastrophic results for everyone. The effects of the changing global temperature are already being felt all over the world.
For 20 years United Nations negotiations have sought universal agreement about climate change and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to limit the temperature increase, with only very limited success.
The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (“COP21”) begins in Paris on 30th November. The objective of COP21 is to finally achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate from all the nations of the world.
Next Sunday, the day before the conference starts, members of Medway Green Party will join thousands of others on the People’s Climate March in London to stress to David Cameron and all other world leaders that action needs to be taken NOW. Similar events will be taking place all over the world at the same time.
We hope that the recent horrific terrorist incidents are not allowed to overshadow this vital Conference and prevent the universal agreement needed. The survival of the human race depends on it.

 

Further information on the People’s Climate March, which is taking place in London next Sunday 29th November at 1 pm, can be found here.

May 3, 2015

Occupy Gandhi – (Climate change demo) Monday 4th May 2015 at 12 noon

Spotted on Twitter this afternoon – linked from article in the Ecologist – “This ought to be a ‘climate change election’ – so why isn’t it?”

Action: Please come and help demonstrate our determination to ensure urgent action takes place now! At the Mahatma Gandhi statue in Parliament Square, London, Monday 4th May, starting at 12 noon.

More information on Facebook and Twitter / #OccupyGandhi and Occupy Democracy. Telephone: 07947 884299.

Donnachadh McCarthy is a member of Occupy Democracy, co-organiser for Occupy Rupert Murdoch Week and is the author of “The Prostitute State – How Britain’s Democracy Has Been Bought”. contact@3acorns.co.uk

Occupy Gandhi: a tarpaulin meditation on urgent climate change

After the world’s warmest year ever governments are pouring trillions into fossil fuels ever year and the UK has even created a legal obligation on itself to maximise oil and gas recovery, writes Donnachadh McCarthy. But thanks to the UK’s media billionaires climate change has not even figured as an election issue. Join us to protest tomorrow!

The UK’s extremist right wing billionaire-owned media are ensuring that our general election campaign is being almost totally silent on this existential threat to the future of the UK.

Fifteen, fourteen, thirteen …

When Bill McKibben and 350.org launched their amazing fossil-fuel Divestment Campaign in 2013, we had 15 years in which to avoid exhausting the carbon budget. We now have only 13 years left and ticking.

The divestment campaign importantly is branding the fossil fuel industry as an unethical enterprise. But we need to now go even further and actually criminalise their genocidal and ecocidal activities.

An essential first step would be to criminalise further investment in fossil fuel exploration. McKibben’s carbon budget means that 80% of already discovered fossil fuel reserves must be left in the ground.

This means that globally the maximum we can afford to release is less than 475 billion more gigatonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere prior to 2050, to avoid catastrophic global temperature rises of more than 2C. Butaccording to 350.org the carbon in the world’s proven reserves of coal, oil and gas amounts to 2,795 gigatonnes.

So why are government pouring trillions into fossil fuels?

Yet despite this alarming statistic, the Overseas Development Institute reports that global governments and oil corporations are squandering $125 billion dollars a year on finding yet more destructive fossil fuels! Government subsidies for fossil fuels amounted to a further $500 billion globally every year.

Both Labour and the Con-Dem coalition governments in the UK have provided huge subsidies for fossil fuel exploration both in the UK and around the world. Labour, Lib Dems, UKIP, the Tories and SNP all promised to provide even more subsidies in their 2015 general election manifestos – while simultaneously claiming they were committed to tackling the climate crisis!

The UK government claims it is helping firms “to find fossil fuels within the UK to increase energy security, attract royalties and help with the balance of payments.” In November 2014 the BBC reported that George Osborne has introduced annual subsidies of up to £757 million.

These included tax breaks worth £528 million to Total (France), £256 million to Statoil (Norway), £144 million to Centrica (UK) and £45 million to Chevron (USA). Added to this, Business Secretary Vince Cable has been spending £418 million annually in public finance for oil exploration in Siberia, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Guinea and Ghana.

Con-Dems create a legal obligation to exploit fossil fuels

However, the corrupt influence of the fossil-fuel lobbying industry on the UK’s corridors of power excelled even itself in the pro-fossil fuel provisions it managed to get inserted into the 2015 Infrastructure Act.

Whilst fractivists were protesting across Britain against toxic polluting fossil-gas fracking in their communities, the oil lobbyists successfully got the government to legislate for a legal duty on the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change to “maximise the economic recovery of petroleum” and to legally collaborate with the petroleum industry to do this.

Remember this very same Secretary of State is simultaneously legally required to cut UK green-house gases by 80% by 2050 under the Climate Change Act!

A recent report by WWF and Ecofys, calculated that if we invested between$1-$2 trillion in renewable energy and energy efficiency per year now, by 2050 the world economy would be making a net saving of up to $4 trillion.

But there is good news – in January Bloomberg New Energy Finance reported that in 2014 we were already investing $310 billion on renewable energy globally. So if we switch investment in the suicidal search for yet more fossil fuels and the government subsidies, to investments in renewables/efficiency, it would add up to nearly a trillion dollars annually.

Challenging the extremist media billionaires

As the UK’s extremist right wing and climate-sceptic billionaire-owned media are ensuring that our general election campaign is being almost totally silent on this existential threat to the future of the UK, we are organising a peaceful direct action on the bank holiday Monday 4th May, starting at 12 noon.

It is calling for the criminalisation of UK fossil-fuel exploration and investment. We are calling it ‘Occupy Gandhi: A Tarpaulin Meditation on Urgent Climate Action’. It is part of theOccupy Democracy week of protests leading up to the general election in Parliament Square.

It will take place at the feet of the recently installed statue of Mahatma Gandhi, the global exemplar of peaceful civil disobedience, in Parliament Square.

As Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London bizarrely declared in October that tarpaulin is “a proscribed item” in the square, as he claimed it was “sleeping equipment” which has been banned by Parliament, the meditation will take place with us sitting on tarpaulin, which we are asking protesters to bring with them.

Even if you do not wish to join in the act of peaceful civil disobedience but wish to join the meditation in support of those of us who are, you and people of all faiths and none are very welcome.

The clock is ticking fast. There will be only eight McKibben years left at end of this Parliament! The time for effective action is now.

http://www.theecologist.org/campaigning/2854216/occupy_gandhi_a_tarpaulin_meditation_on_urgent_climate_action.html


November 11, 2014

#GreenSurge: Did you know that the Green Party is growing rapidly? Let me tell you why by Natalie Bennett

It is not simply young people who are making up the surge in Green Party membership, but with our national membership soaring by nearly 75% since the beginning of the year,  and lots of interest locally in the Greens as well, I thought Natalie’s comments in this article in the Independent worth blogging.

Carrie

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It’s not just our environmental policies that has led to a surge in our support.

“I’m sorry.” That was a message I delivered on Sunday to the students of Lancaster University, speaking as as a representative of my generation (I’m 48). “We’ve made a right mess of things.” In Britain, and around the globe, we’ve got three crises all coming together at the same time: our economic, social, environmental systems are all failing.

It’s clear that young people are increasingly understanding this – and that this timing isn’t coincidental, but the result of the failure of decades of free-market politics and economics, which saw greed as good and the natural world as a storehouse to be plundered. The coming together of these crises makes the need for genuine change in our economy and society apparent, and that understanding was evident in Lancaster — with more than 100 students giving up their weekend to talk politics.

We were talking about exciting ideas like the idea of an unconditional basic income for everyone, about cooperative business models, about the need to stop the proposed US-EU free trade deal (TTIP), and much more. This change, although it needs to start now, isn’t the work of a year or two, but of decades. It is the responsibility of young people today — and a huge opportunity for them .

I think it would be fair to say that the Green Party message went down well in Lancaster: making sure rich individuals and multinational companies pay their fair share of taxes and giving their workers a living wage, ending and reversing the privatisation of public services (particularly our NHS and bringing the railways back into public hands), defending the free movement of people in the EU and stopping the divisive, dangerous and damaging race to the bottom on immigration rhetoric. The response was a demonstration in person of the way politics is moving quickly — and one result of that is what’s known on Twitter as the #greensurge.

Membership of the Green Party has been growing steadily for a while, but in the past couple of months it has leapt, growing by around 1,000 a week, with numbers now over 80 per cent up on 1 January this year, having just past 25,000. That’s just England and Wales; the (separate) Scottish Green Party has seen an explosion – with membership numbers up by more than 450 per cent since the Scottish referendum.

The referendum has certainly been one factor behind this sea change. The idea that politics should be something that you do, not something that is done to you, is catching on fast, helped by the Scottish example of near-total political engagement.

And the idea that your vote can genuinely make a difference was also buoyed by the Scottish referendum, with just the threat of a “yes” vote drawing the “Devo-Max” promise from the political establishment. That feeling is what is also driving, I believe, the surge in the Green Party’s poll ratings, which have reached record levels, rivalling and sometimes exceeding the Lib Dem count.

The message I’m hearing with increasing frequency is: “I’ve been voting tactically for years, but no more.” Voters see no point in voting for the party or person they dislike the second-most, in the hope of stopping the party or person they really hate getting in. One reason is that it is increasingly hard to distinguish between those two options – the rhetoric of Labour and Tory might sounds a little different, but the policies are Identikit. When Labour says it will be tougher on welfare than the Tories, and will follow the same failed policy of austerity, what’s the point? Our political class is just continuing business-as-usual politics.

Just look at the past days: the Government has trumpeted its plans for building new roads, despite all the evidence about this being a massive, counterproductive waste of money. They should be investing in walking and cycling, local buses and local trains – helping local economies and communities to thrive.

We also know that new roads will inevitably put us on track to massively overshoot our legally-binding carbon emissions targets. No government can credibly claim to be tackling climate change whilst investing in exactly the kind of high carbon infrastructure that has driven us so close to the point of no return. The good news is that voters are increasingly recognising that it is within their hands to deliver change. Imagine a turnout of 85 per cent next May, with people voting for what they believe in: the Vote for Policies websitegives an idea of what a peaceful revolution that could produce.

So it’s simple, really: we have to entirely redesign the system. We have to make the same kind of leap that saw Thatcherism replace social democracy. We haven’t yet got a name for this system change – if I were being cheeky I might suggest “green political philosophy” – but rather than focusing on the label, I think it’s more useful to think about the basic criteria.

I’d suggest these are two: that the new system should provide everyone – in Britain to start with and eventually around the world – with a basic, decent, humane standard of living, and to provide that securely, removing fear. And the total system has to operate within the environmental limits of our one planet. We have to offer a new and inspiring vision of the future to young people. I’m convinced they’re up to, and up for, the challenge.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/greensurge-did-you-know-that-the-green-party-is-growing-rapidly-let-me-tell-you-why-9852207.html

September 16, 2014

People’s Climate March in London 21st September 2014

Thousands of people are expected to attend this march.  Further details can be obtained here.

The accompanying film “Disruption”  billed as “the film the fossil fuel industry doesn’t want you to see” is worth a watch.