Climate Change: A Year of Going Backwards

On 8th May, the current government will have held office for one year exactly.

A lot has happened in that time and many battles have been fought. However, one of the most alarming developments is often overlooked by the public at large.

So on 8th May, the Campaign against Climate Change, with other campaigners, will be going to Whitehall to raise the alarm: the government is going backwards on climate change and putting our future at risk. We'll be bringing the message home in a rather visible way by by marching backwards down Whitehall. Fun, yes, but the message is serious (Join the protest or find out about others round the country)

The context for our action is a world that is rapidly heating up. Although 2015 was the hottest year ever, it was quickly surpassed by successive record temperatures in January, February and then March 2016. And we're seeing the impacts across the world - from the melting Arctic to a sick and bleached Great Barrier Reef, from repeated 'once in a generation' UK floods to South Asian drought. The need to act on climate change has never been more urgent.

So at the Paris climate talks, David Cameron made a speech. Quite a good speech actually. "Instead of making excuses tomorrow to our children and grandchildren, we should be taking action against climate change today."

Unfortunately his government at home has been going in the opposite direction. Rather than building on existing programmes and policies to invest in clean energy, warm homes and sustainable infrastructure, there has been a virtual bonfire of what Cameron was once alleged to have termed "green crap".

Renewable energy has been first in the firing line. Onshore wind has long been a target for many Tory backbenchers, indeed the party's 2015 manifesto contained a pledge to halt the spread of onshore wind farms - the cheapest form of clean energy. But support for solar energy too has been slashed, at a cost of some 18,700 jobs. Renewable energy projects are being cancelled or scaled back - both major ones and small community-owned projects feeding benefits back into the local area. Even the Swansea tidal lagoon scheme, supposed to be a flagship project, looks likely to be dumped. 

If we are to avoid catastrophic climate change (and meet our legally binding emissions targets), we need to switch from fossil fuels to clean energy - but just as vital is to reduce the amount of energy we waste. Despite up to 15,000 deaths a year directly attributed to cold homes and fuel poverty, George Osborne has cut funding for energy efficiency programmes including those focused on the poorest households. The effect of this will be to reduce installations to just a fifth of previous levels, stalling action on both climate change and avoidable deaths.

The government's transport policy is also failing both people and the planet. While they are prepared to spend billions on massive new roads and a climate-wrecking new runway in the South East, vital bus services are being cut in rural areas and illegal levels of air pollution affecting children's health in cities like London.

Read more about a year of going backwards on climate change and about climate jobs and positive solutions.

Claire James
Campaigns Coordinator

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  • tamara sherwood
    commented 2016-05-04 09:54:30 +0100
    Not only your contents but also the way you present the issue is awesome. Particularly this one is articulating the sense of the discussion. Your word power is awesome. Keep it up.

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