Yesterday someone scoffed at the idea of the UK doing enough to secure my future on this planet. They told me that the idea that the UK could go to the EU and push for 40% emission reductions was “laughable”!
That person was Pete Betts the director of international climate change at DECC (The Department for Energy and Climate Change). Also known as Jan’s boss! He was in town for a couple of days to take part in some bilateral negotiations and meetings. The UK Youth were given time to go in and speak to him and put our views across of how we feel the UK is doing.
One thing we raised with him was the question of the UK pushing within the EU for the strongest possible targets. Currently the EU is at 20% there is the opportunity for us to go to 30% if lots of other things happen and other countries do certain things, but even that is looking unlikely.
We wanted him to be more ambitious than that, we wanted him to go to the EU and push for 40%.
40% is the minimum the science demands if we are to have any chance of stopping runaway climate change.
40% is the minimum vulnerable people demand if they are to have any chance of mere survival.
40% is the minimum I demand if I am to have any chance of a future.
40% is not laughable.
But the feeling in the UK seems to be that we are already leading on emissions reductions and that basically we are doing enough.
Undoubtedly the UK is ahead of many countries, but that’s not saying much- it would be hard not to be ahead of countries like Canada and Japan.
So we do have the opportunity to take a leadership role, but presently we are sitting back enjoying not being the bad guy for once. The time for that is over!
If the UK is to lead we need to push for targets as strong as the science demands and work hard to convince others to join us. To do this we also need to lead domestically, how can we claim we have the integrity to lead when we are still making decisions like Kingsnorth and Heathrow.
How will we ever lead if we view the minimum we need as laughable.
The young people in that room didn’t find the chance of not having a future laughable. And with quite some emotion we told him.
We told why we are here putting our lives on hold. We told him why we are here, working 16 hour days, getting only 4 hours sleep a night. We told him why we are here speaking to him, pushing him, begging him, to lead.
We are fighting because our very lives depend on it!
But I’m not sure Pete was really taking it in.
So if you are with us please contact Pete and let him know that it is our future he is messing with!
Let him know we want better leadership from the UK, on targets, on finance, on domestic policy, whatever he may think we do not believe we are doing enough! Please tell him to pass this message on to everyone in his department because they hold our future in their hands.
Tel: 020 7238 1214 Fax: 020 7082 8599
(and please do copy me in firstname.lastname@example.org)
The only thing laughable about 40% is that is only the MINIMUM we need!
About the authorAnna Collins
Born and bred in Warrington in the *sunny* North of England, Anna was brought up by parents with a deep sense of justice and taught to always fight for what she believed is right. "I guess you could say it was in the blood, my gran went to Greenham Common in the 80s."