Politicians: think beyond the next general election and fight for the next generation

Posted by jossc — 13 October 2009 at 2:44pm - Comments

After spending the night on top of the Palace of Westminster, all the Greenpeace volunteers who took our 'Change the politics, save the climate' message to the heart of our democracy have been arrested, and are now in various stages of the process of being bailed and released.

Talking to some of the activists who put their liberty at risk to demand that politicians get serious about tackling climate change, it’s obvious that they are not attention seeking troublemakers, as some in the media try to portray them. Over fifty people from all walks of life, nationalities, and aged from early 20s to over 70, felt compelled to take action. Reasonable people like you and me who perhaps a year ago wouldn't have considered climbing up there. Why? Because time to act is running out and our politicians, for all their fine words, are still stuck in their old ruts - essentially fiddling while Rome burns.

As ever, Greenpeace is not just about identifying the problems. We are about practical action, and realistic and achievable measures that need to be taken to minimise the dangerous threats posed by the breakdown of the climate. That's why the Westminster rooftop vigil was accompanied by the launch of our Climate Manifesto - 12 steps that our government should be taking right now to protect the environment whilst also protecting our economy.

We're calling on all politicians to use the big economic levers to act quickly to solve this crisis. In the medium term climate change represents as big a threat to our way of life as another world war, and at its most fundamental their job is to protect and safeguard their people. That’s us. In less than two months the nations of the world will meet in Copenhagen to hammer out an agreement on climate change that should have lasting consequences - it's time for the rhetoric to stop, and for the serious action to begin.

And it’s not just Greenpeace that is saying this, or even the IPCC, or organisations like Oxfam and Christian Aid who are already seeing the consequences as climate change related deaths rise around the world. It's the government's own independent advisers, the Committee on Climate Change. They reported yesterday that we need to cut emissions from the UK power sector to close to zero by 2030. They added that meant there will be no role for unabated coal beyond the early 2020s.

Our politicians know that we need to massively reduce our carbon emissions, both nationally and internationally, in a matter of years. The 12 steps we're proposing can help Britain take huge strides in that direction. How? By shifting our energy production away from fossil fuels, ending airport expansion, and helping to pay for low-carbon development in developing countries - halting deforestation and protecting the world’s poorest people from the impacts of climate change.

That's why our message to MPs is "Change the politics, save the climate". It is a reminder that time to act is running out, and that we desperately need politicians who are willing to rise above the dogmas of tribal party politics to think beyond the next general election and to fight for the next generation.

Take action

Write to your MP and ask whether they're planning to sign up to our manifesto. If not, why not? If they don't believe the climate change threat is real - let them come out and say so. Otherwise, they need to get busy - inaction in the face of such clear and present danger is not an option.


Watch: videos from the Parliament occupation »

Read: our advert in today's Guardian and Times newspapers »

About Joss

Bass player and backing vox in the four piece beat combo that is the UK Greenpeace Web Experience. In my 6 years here I've worked on almost every campaign and been fascinated by them all to varying degrees. Just now I'm working on Peace and Oceans - which means getting rid of our Trident nuclear weapons system and creating large marine reserves so that marine life can get some protection from overfishing.

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