Letters to Ministers

Letters to Ministers

How can we get our views heard by those with the most influence? Lets find ways to write letters that go further than just our local MP’s, asking important questions of those that can initiate political action in response to climate change. It might make a difference.

Climate Policy Questions

Is our government the greenest government ever, and is achieving this really their priority?

There is a view that personal agency towards achieving climate targets is limited by the way our politics and carbon trading works? Our day-to-day choices might not have the impact that we think they have, and without strong unified political change, it will be difficult to meet our global targets whatever lifestyle changes we make as individuals. So can we change this? An important step is to demand clarity from our government.

Why not write to your MP. Here are some quotes and questions that you can incorporate into a personal letter to your local MP. It might get them scratching their heads, and have them refer questions to DECC Ministers and the Secretary of state. The more letters they receive, the more likely they are to take note. The UK has legally binding emissions targets, so if they can’t provide a satisfactory explanations, there is a grounds for further action.

We will post more key questions here as we think of them or any others that you think up.

Let us know where you get to – the more of us that do this, the more chance we have of achieving more action.

  1. The Committee on Climate Change 2012 report stated that we ‘urgently need a four-fold increase in the pace of underlying emissions reductions’ for the UK to meet its emissions targets.[1] Yet the government recently stated that the UK is on target to overachieve its first three carbon budgets[2] – can you please explain why the CCC analysis does not match the government’s comments?
  2. Dame Julia King of The Committee on Climate Change has stated that ‘the Committee adopted an approach to risk management which suggests that a sensible climate objective would be to keep median estimates of global temperature increase by 2100 to close to 2°C over pre-industrial levels, and to keep the risk of temperature increase above 4°C to very low levels (e.g. less than 1%).’[3] Yet analysts such as Kevin Anderson[4] say empirical data demonstrates that we have virtually no chance of achieving this. Do you disagree with Mr Anderson? If so, can you evidence why? And if not, can you explain why we aren’t, as a developed nation, reducing our C02 equiv budgets immediately?
  3. The CCC has stated that we still need a four-fold increase in the pace of emissions reductions[5], when we should already have a robust cap and trade mechanism in place that prevents us breaching these budgets. Can you explain why this is the case, and why we are still committed to a cap and trade approach to emissions management, if it is so unreliable?
  4. Is our government engaged in ongoing empirical analysis of global emissions, adjusting our budgets in accordance with what is actually going on in the atmosphere?
  5. Dame Julia King stated ‘that actions by the UK which reduce traded sector emissions below the UK share of the EU-wide cap will reduce the need for emission reduction elsewhere in the EU. Ideally, therefore, we would like to see a tightening of the EU ETS cap consistent with the EU moving to an overall 30% emission reduction commitment by 2030.’ If this is so, can you explain to me how individual agency is preserved? In order for individuals to influence demand, rather than redistribution alone, is the only way not to tax emissions at source (the tax rate linked to actual atmospheric C02 content)? Why has such an approach not been implemented within the UK?
  6. The now redundant Sustainable Development Commission, in considering whether ‘the best way to achieve (emissions) targets is to keep growing the economy’, concluded in their 2009 report[6] that, ‘as an escape from the dilemma of growth it is fundamentally flawed’, ‘the truth is that there is as yet no credible, socially just, ecologically sustainable scenario of continually growing incomes for a world of nine billion people?’ Why therefore is the current government still committed solely to an economic model based on growth? Whom is the government taking advice from in continuing to pursue an economic growth to avert climate change and other issues such as biodiversity loss?
  7. Can you provide the empirical evidence of the decoupling of emissions from GDP that would already have needed to happen for this strategy to work?
  8. Is the government certain that economic growth is still compatible with the 2 to 4C temperature target – can you evidence how?
  9. Is there concern amongst government ministers that the UK’s commitment to sustained growth might actually be detrimental to combating climate change?
  10. Has an agreement been made within government, that ministers or MP’s remain publicly united in the pursuit of economic growth?
  11. Has the CCC stated to the government that current policies are not sufficient to meet the targets that they are requesting? If so, what is the governments response to this?

[1],[5] CCC – Meeting the Carbon Budgets – 2012 Progress report to Parliament, and supporting presentation (CCC Website)
[2] Letter from Greg Barker to Anne Marie Morris constituent – 5th February 2013
[3] By email to constituent member – 11.9.2012
[4] Kevin Anderson – Is avoiding dangerous climate change compatible with economic growth enough? (talk on Tyndall website)
[6] SDC – Prosperity without Growth, SDC report (2009)

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