By Rea Cris, Parliamentary Officer, RSPB Scotland
Frank Sinatra sung that he loved Paris in the spring time. I will be in love with Paris this winter when we make sure that political leaders know there is strong public support for ambitious commitments at the UN climate summit in December.
The current negotiations for a new global climate deal to replace the Kyoto Protocol are a minefield of acronyms and techno jargon – so I won’t bore you. They have also been ongoing for many years but what is scheduled to be agreed in Paris is a binding new agreement for all countries to limit climate change. It really is a last chance to get a deal which moves the world in the right direction, that’s why 2015 is a crucial year in the fight against climate change. Climate change is having an impact on our wildlife and it is only expected to get worse. Scientists have estimated that for every 1oC rise in global temperatures 10% of the world’s species will become extinct. A cruel irony is that climate change is already affecting countries and people in the global South who have done the least to contribute to carbon emissions. At 2oC rise would mean that small island states like Tuvalu would disappear under rising sea levels. Negotiations in Paris can secure binding targets for industrialised countries and money for developing countries to help them adapt.
Even if you aren’t able to come to Paris and march down the famous avenues you can play a part in the outcome. If enough of us make enough noise in the coming months, we can create a bigger impact at the negotiations as well as influencing the kind of future we want to live in right here at home. Scotland has some proud credentials, having passed some of the most ambitious climate change legislation in the world back in 2009, but with repeatedly recently missed targets it needs our help to keep politicians on track about what we care about most.
To help make the noise needed, there are some exciting events coming up to get involved in – for events in Scotland at http://www.stopclimatechaos.org/scotland/events. RSPB Scotland is a member of SCCS, a coalition of environment, faith and international development organisations, trade and student unions and community groups.
The most important date to keep free in your calendar is Saturday November 28th 2015 for Scotland’s Climate March: Show Your Colours for Climate, Justice and Jobs in Edinburgh. Join the worldwide movement marching for a better future – there will also be marches that weekend in London, Cardiff, Belfast and all round the world. Stand up for people affected by rising global temperatures and demand that world leaders agree an ambitious deal. Scotland needs to show its colours in Paris so let’s brighten up that dreich November day by donning our brightest glad rags as Scotland marches on this weekend of global action. This is the march you don’t want to miss; grab a friend and be sure to be there!
The History of Climate Change Negotiations in 83 seconds. https://youtu.be/B11kASPfYxY
Stop Climate Chaos: www.stopclimatechaos.org
Scotland’s Climate March: join RSPB at the march: http://www.e-activist.com/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=13&ea.campaign.id=43251&ea.tracking.id=internal
If you took part in our recent online action asking Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Amber Rudd MP, not to frack nature’s home, then thank you. Over 5000 messages have been sent to the Secretary of State.
If you haven't sent a message, then you can still do so.
We’d like you to ask your MP to write or speak to Amber Rudd MP, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. In February of this year, Amber Rudd promised an ‘outright ban’ on fracking in SSSIs and other protected areas. These places are home to some of England’s most special wildlife.
Amber Rudd still has time and a chance to fulfil this promise. But right now it doesn’t look like fracking in SSSIs will be banned as was promised.
Over the summer, Government awarded 159 new licences for onshore oil and gas. Within them fall 293 SSSIs that are outside the shelter of other protected areas where Government is promising to ban fracking, like National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Ruling out SSSIs from fracking would remove just an extra 0.9% of the land available to industry. It would make a tiny impact on fracking activity but represent a huge benefit for wildlife.
Rare and special wildlife like bitterns, water voles, adders and kittiwakes, is being put at risk. Let’s not allow the Government to frack nature’s home.
Please write to your MP to ask Amber Rudd to fulfil her promise and ban fracking in SSSIs.
We know that fracking poses a serious risk to the natural environment. The RSPB’s 'Are we fit to frack?' report published last year showed that a growing fracking industry in the UK could put wildlife at risk through loss of habitat, noise and light disturbance and pollution. That's why we want to see fracking banned in, under and near all protected areas, including SSSIs.
Three key points you may want to include in your letter are:
You can find out who your MP is, and how to contact them on the Find Your MP website (http://findyourmp.parliament.uk/) or by calling 020 7219 4272, alternatively all MPs can be reached in writing at the House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA.
Please send copies of your letters and any replies to my colleague Kim Matthews, Parliamentary Campaigns Officer, Don’t Frack Nature’s Home Campaign, RSPB, The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire SG19 2DL. Alternatively you can email us at email@example.com.
Thank you again for your support.
By Pip Roddis, RSPB Climate Policy Officer
Details announced recently of the UK Government’s review of the Feed-in Tariffs scheme, which includes proposals for deep cuts to subsidies for small-scale renewable energy, are likely to make it harder for the UK to meet its climate targets in harmony with nature.
The proposals, if implemented, would result in households and businesses receiving considerably less for generating electricity by installing rooftop solar panels, small wind turbines and hydro schemes. The consultation document even suggests that the scheme could be closed completely to new projects from January 2016 if the Government feels it will not be possible to sufficiently limit spending on renewable energy.
Despite the Government claiming that growth of renewables is on track, the UK Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has identified that the current projected cut in emissions from the energy sector up to 2030 is likely to be less than half of the recommended level. The CCC has recommended that the UK should have a virtually carbon-free electricity sector by 2030. The Climate Change Act 2008 sets a statutory target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% from 1990 levels by 2050.
These proposals, in combination with other proposals coming forward to limit support for renewable energy, will jeopardise the UK’s ability to remain within legally binding carbon budgets, and to meet them in a cost-effective way and in harmony with nature.
Climate change is one of the greatest long-term threats to wildlife and people. Renewable energy is an essential part of the response to this threat, and small-scale renewable technologies, such as rooftop solar panels, are increasingly cost effective technologies which also enable households, communities and business to participate and benefit from the low carbon transition.
Pulling the plug on supporting these technologies too early could have drastic effects on the sector and undermine efforts to date to build up the small-scale renewables industry.
Have your say – the DECC consultation is here