Members Huddersfield Friends of the Earth (HuddsFoE) travelled to London last Wednesday to lobby their MPs at Westminster as part of a mass lobby called “For the Love of” organised by the Climate Coalition. More than 9000 people from around the country attended the lobby, the biggest UK climate lobby to date. Huddersfield participants included Chayley Collis, Michelle Atkinson, Michelle Goodwin, Jack Atkinson and Caoimhe Doherty.
Both MPs were questioned on their views on the need to keep global temperature increases below 1.5 degC to avoid catastrophic climate change. They were were also asked about fracking, phasing out coal fired power generation and open cast mining by 2023, the need to curb airport expansion or major new roads, the need to meet World Health Organisation air pollution standards to stop people dying of its effects, reducing fossil fuel extraction, the need to create a carbon free power system by 2030, making warm homes an infrastructure priority and allowing schools to borrow money so they can install solar panels.
Michelle Goodwin member of HuddsFoE said “This is a crucial time for our planet, the climate talks in December in Paris must deliver carbon emission reductions which give the Earth the chance to recover.”
Jack Atkinson, currently studying at Aberystwyth University said “I was encouraged by the positive comments made by the MPs, but we need this concern to turn into urgent action on our behalf before climate change is beyond our control”
General election 2015 – Climate Coalition pledges
Huddersfield Friends of the Earth wrote to all parliamentary candidates for the Huddersfield, Dewsbury and Colne Valley constituencies on behalf of the Climate Coalition to ask whether they would support the following three pledges to tackle climate change:
- To seek a fair, strong, legally binding, global climate deal which limits temperature rises to below 2°C
- To work together, across party lines, to agree carbon budgets in accordance with the Climate Change Act
- To accelerate the transition to a competitive, energy efficient low carbon economy and to end the use of unabated coal for power generation
The pledges have already been signed up to by David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband in a real demonstration of cross party commitment and we wanted to ensure that any candidates elected in on May 7th also supports these commitments.
- Chas Ball – Green
- Cahal Burke – Liberal Democrats
- Jane East – Labour
- Jason McCartney – Conservative
- Paul Salveson – Yorkshire First
- Melanie Roberts – UKIP
- Melodie Staniforth – Independent
- Andrew Cooper – Green
- Mike Forster – Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
- Barry Sheerman – Labour
- Itrat Ali -Conservative
- Zulfiqar Ali – Liberal Democrats
- Rob Butler – UKIP
- Richard Carter – Yorkshire First
- Adrian Cruden – Green Party
- Steve Hakes – Christian Peoples Alliance
- Ednan Hussain – Liberal Democrats
- Simon Reevell – Conservative
- Paula Sherriff – Labour
- Mark Thackray – UKIP
If you are a PPC and would like to support the Climate Coalition pledges – please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Call to keep Kirklees frack-free!
Huddersfield Friends of the Earth took to the streets in Huddersfield on Saturday 18th October to campaign against the controversial technique of shale gas exploration called fracking. Fracking is the hydraulic fracturing of rock to release shale gas by drilling a well thousands of metres underground and pumping in a mixture of water, sand and chemicals at high pressure. Friends of the Earth is calling for a stop to fracking in the UK because of its contribution towards dangerous climate change and links to drinking water contamination in USA and Australia. Friends of the Earth also believes that the economic benefits have been overhyped and that fracking in the UK is unlikely to lower fuel bills. There is mounting community opposition to fracking, with groups in Lancashire, South Yorkshire, Hull currently fighting planning applications for fracking sites in their areas.
Chayley Collis, from Huddersfield FoE, said “Kirklees is frack-free at the moment but this could change and we need to send a strong message to the Government that we want to keep it out of Kirklees and the UK. We also need to take urgent action to prevent the Government’s current plans to make changes to trespass laws that would allow fracking companies to drill under homes in the UK without permission”.
Friends of the Earth is collecting signatures for an online petition to ask MPs to stop companies fracking under homes without permission. For a link to the petition, go to: huddersfieldfoe.wordpress.com
Back to school: saving money with solar power
As children around Kirklees go back to school this week, Huddersfield Friends of the Earth is looking for schools in the Kirklees area who would like to ‘Run on Sun’ and benefit from the energy and cost savings to be had from installing solar panels. The voluntary environmental campaign group can help interested schools to explore how they could get solar panels on school roofs, including a variety of funding options to pay for the upfront costs.
Research by Friends of the Earth shows that schools could save up to £8,000 per year through solar panels – meaning lower energy bills and more money to spend on other things, such as library books, playground facilities, and bee-friendly nature gardens. Friends of the Earth’s Run on Sun campaign is calling on the Government to make it easier for schools to install solar panels to help schools and communities generate their own renewable energy.
Huddersfield Friends of the Earth coordinator Chayley Collis, said: “It’s time to make use of the clean energy all around us for the benefit of future generations – there’s surely no better place to start than schools. Schools could save thousands of pounds every year through solar power – just think what they could do with that money. If you are connected to a school, as a pupil, teacher, parent, grandparent, or governor and would like to find how to help it run on sun, please get in touch by email at: email@example.com”.
SAVING FOR A PENSION OR A RAINY DAY?
Making sure our pensions are climate-friendly
Huddersfield Friends of the Earth are calling on pension funds to take climate change seriously to safeguard the investments of millions of savers. Fifty per cent of adults in the UK have a pension and, with the Government’s new auto-enrolment pension policy, that number is set to increase.
At its recent first meeting, Huddersfield FoE highlighted ShareAction’s Green Light campaign which encourages pension providers to take climate change into account when making investment decisions, engage with companies on the issue and ensure their own policies reflect the effects and consider the risks that climate change poses to long-term investments.
Chayley Collis, Huddersfield FoE co-ordinator, said: “We believe pension funds should use their financial clout to make sure climate change is a key factor in making investment decisions. If it is wrong to wreck the climate it is wrong to benefit from that destruction. Pension funds must consider the risks climate change poses, not just to the environment, but to the savings of millions of people who need a healthy pension pot and a healthy planet on which to retire.”
To support the GreenLight campaign and contact pension funds, go to: www.greenlightcampaign.org.uk
More information about Huddersfield Friends of the Earth is at www.huddersfieldfoe.wordpress.com
· ShareAction is a UK-based NGO campaigning for responsible investment by pension funds and other institutional investors. ShareAction demands transparency and accountability to the millions of people with savings managed by investment professionals. For more information visit www.shareaction.org
· ShareAction launched the Green Light campaign to encourage pension funds to embed climate-awareness into their investment decisions, dialogue with companies and into policy advocacy to protect pension savers from the financial risks of climate change. Download our Green Light report at www.shareaction.org/greenlightreport