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Our Chair’s editorial on the Climate Change Conference in Paris

United Nations Conference on Climate Change 2015 (COP 21 Paris).

Where are we now as inhabitants of the planet Earth regards the talks and decisions made at the COP 21 Paris talks on Climate Change?

George Monbiot - (a political and environmental campaigner), responded in his column in the Guardian, 12th Dec 2015, saying, 

By comparison to what it could have been, it’s a miracle. By comparison to what it should have been, it’s a disaster.

In Paris the delegates have solemnly agreed to cut demand, but at home they seek to maximise supply. The UK government has even imposed a legal obligation upon itself, under the Infrastructure Act 2015, to “maximise economic recovery” of the UK’s oil and gas. Extracting fossil fuels is a hard fact. But the Paris agreement is full of soft facts: promises that can slip or unravel. Until governments undertake to keep fossil fuels in the ground, they will continue to undermine the agreement they have just made.

Kumi Naidoo - (South African human rights activist and the International Executive Director of international environmentalist group Greenpeace), response,

Parts of this deal have been diluted and polluted by the people who despoil our planet, but it contains a new temperature limit of 1.5 degrees. That single number, and the new goal of net zero emissions by the second half of this century, will cause consternation in the boardrooms of coal companies and the palaces of oil-exporting states and that is a very good thing. The transition away from fossil fuels is inevitable.

Now comes our great task of this century. How do we meet this new goal? The measures outlined simply do not get us there. When it comes to forcing real, meaningful action, Paris fails to meet the moment. We have a 1.5 degree wall to climb, but the ladder isn’t long enough. The emissions targets outlined in this agreement are simply not big enough to get us to where we need to be.

Amber Rudd - (Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change), according to Roger Harrabin, BBC environmental analyst, response,

“…the priority is to keep the lights on and bills as low as possible; as well as to reduce the carbon emissions by 80% by 2050."

Where does the responsibility lie? Do we sacrifice the wellbeing of the globe by focusing on the business as usual attitude? We have a duty to ourselves, our children and others,that we share this planet with, to protect it from the selfish destructive road that, the UK Government, seems to have chosen.

Change is possible but it needs hard work from all of us from grassroots upwards.

Ginny Lee
Chair Transition Malvern Hills

This is due to be published in our next newsletter.