Time to defend UK wind energy

At the Campaign against Climate Change, we are currently supporting not one but two petitions to stop the government blocking wind energy projects that have already had local approval. Yes, that's right: blocking wind energy projects that have already had local approval.

That these petitions are necessary is mind-boggling. We all know that we are no longer in the days of 'greenest government ever' rhetoric. But you might have thought that the IPCC's recent dire warnings would have caused a moment's reflection, a touch of unease as to whether this is an appropriate response to the crisis facing humanity... apparently not.

The first petition, set up by Dan Grierson and hosted by 38 Degrees, refers to the Conservative Party's intended manifesto pledge to ban new onshore windfarms from 2020. The argument that they are doing this because wind farms are "unpopular" is a fascinating one, given the party's gung-ho support for fracking, a far less popular technology. DECC's most recent figures show a record 70% support for onshore wind, compared to 12% opposition.

IPCC WG3 - it's decision time for the UK and for the world

Last year, the IPCC produced a report on the science of climate change: it's here, it's because of us and it's set to change our planet fundamentally.

Then last month came the second report, on the impacts of climate change: serious consequences for people around the world even if we curb our emissions to keep warming to around 2C.

Now, the third report sets out a challenge for the world. If we act now, we can step off the path we are on, which would mean up to 5C of warming by the end of this century.

Our Statement on the latest Air Pollution findings

The latest reports on air quality in London are deeply concerning in terms of health but also in terms of climate change.

Air pollution is a visible sign of our inaction on climate change. Despite Boris Johnson’s claims that London would be the greenest city, nothing has been done to address the fact that most of London’s boroughs have been exceeding the legal limit of air pollutants.

The limits set by the World Health Organisation, are regularly over shot by London’s busiest roads and have enormous impacts on citizens’ health. This makes it much more difficult to promote less carbon intensive methods of transport, such as cycling or walking, when people face severe health impacts from breathing the air.

The notion that children should be encouraged to stay in schools, to avoid breathing the harmful air, rather than reducing the amount of emissions from vehicles is ludricous.

The latest findings on air pollution should be a wake up call for the UK Government. Green House Gas emissions from transport and factories, that contribute to our poor air quality, make up 30% of global emissions. If we are serious about tackling climate change, which given the most recent IPCC report we definitely should be, then we need to urgently act on reducing our use of conventional vehicles.

Both the causes of man made climate change and its impacts are the most harmful to vulnerable parts of our society. Emissions deeply affect the health of children and the elderly and the consequences, such as extreme temperatures, vastly increase the risk of fatalities within these groups of people.

This is a social justice issue as much as it is an environmental one. We need to heed these
findings and take them as a call for much needed action to protect our climate and our society.