Government fails to back words with action on climate change


The Government this week rejected a Liberal Democrat proposal to sign up to the 10:10 campaign and reduce carbon emissions from the public sector by 10% by the end of 2010.

10:10 is a campaign run by climate activists to get all sectors of British society to reduce their carbon emissions by 10% by the end of 2010, the amount they estimate Britain needs to keep down to play its part in preventing dangerous climate change.

In the House of Commons this week, the Liberal Democrats put forward a motion calling on the Government to put its weight behind the 10:10 campaign, however it was rejected by Labour MPs.

Jo, who has signed up to the 10:10 campaign, criticised the Government in the debate for praising the 10:10 campaign while refusing to commit the House of Commons and the public sector to its aims.

Commenting, Jo said:

“Just this week the Prime Minister was warning of a ‘climate catastrophe’ should global warming continue, but yesterday his Government failed to back up those words with action.

“It is relatively easy for governments to commit to far-off targets when they know they will have long since left office, but in order to achieve those targets we need to start taking action now. The 10:10 campaign is a great opportunity to do this – an opportunity which this Government has rejected.

“I think it is important for everyone to try and do what they can to achieve this 10% cut. My offices in Westminster and Bishopbriggs will be attempting to achieve the 10% cut through a variety of energy conservation measures such as ensuring all appliances are fully turned off and not left on standby, as well as trying to cut down on our paper and stationery consumption.”

The text of Jo’s intervention in the debate appears below:

Jo Swinson: I thank the Minister for giving way to me at last; it just shows that it pays to persevere. I praise the work that she has personally done on tackling climate change, but does she not recognise that it is strange to praise the 10:10 campaign while refusing in the amendment to sign up Departments and, indeed, this House, to it? This House is not covered by the Government numbers that she just mentioned and it should have the opportunity to sign up to the 10:10 campaign. Today’s Liberal Democrat motion is a way of doing that.

The full text of the Liberal Democrat motion appears below:

That this House believes that it is vital that the UK demonstrates political leadership at all levels in response to the climate crisis, and that this is particularly important ahead of the United Nations Climate Change summit in Copenhagen if there is to be an international agreement which will avert the worst effects of catastrophic climate change; further believes that immediate practical responses to the crisis should include a massive expansion of renewable energy and energy efficiency and a commitment for all homes in Britain to be warm homes within 10 years; acknowledges that action taken now to tackle the climate crisis will cost less than action taken in the future; notes the declared support of Labour and Conservative frontbenchers to the objective of the 10:10 campaign which calls for 10 per cent. greenhouse gas emission reductions by the end of 2010; agrees that the House will sign up to the 10:10 campaign; calls on Her Majesty’s Government and all public sector bodies now to make it their policy to achieve a 10 per cent. reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the end of 2010; and further calls on the Government to bring a delivery plan before this House by the end of 2009 on how these objectives will be achieved.

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