Barbara Kentish and Fr Joe Ryan met with Jean Lambert, London’s Green Party MEP, on Friday 13th November at her London offices to discuss our pilgrimage to Paris as well as our hopes for the climate change talks.
She was very helpful and supportive, giving guidance and providing us with excellent background knowledge of the conference:
- The legally binding agreement we all want is looking doubtful at the moment because the US cannot sign up to it if they go to the Congress for agreement. The Republicans will throw out any such measure. So Obama is trying to work around this situation to bring about US participation in an agreement without it going through Congress. The US is needed for any agreement to be meaningful of course.
- The UK position regarding national plans to bring to the table in Paris is slightly different from other countries in that we have already got a legally binding climate act. But this government has gone back on several commitments, such as green building regulations, and subsidies for solar energy.
- Energy efficiency in housing and building is likely to be a key element in the London mayoral elections, and something we can lobby about.
- The oil and gas giant companies are ‘sacrificing’ the coal industry (i.e. publicly making commitments to do without coal), supposedly in the interests of greener energy, but in reality may be simply trying to kill off competition without reducing dependence on fossil fuel.
- Countries consisting of low-lying islands say that the 2degree figure is too vague and we should be talking more about the parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
- There is an NGO parallel ‘summit’ in Paris, which may also be of interest.
She said: “’It is genuinely inspiring to see your energy and commitment to the cause of action on climate change – if only all governments felt the same way! Climate change is affecting the lives of all on this planet and those least responsible will bear some of the heaviest burdens unless we can work across borders to provide solutions. An ambitious, binding agreement in Paris is important and the follow-up will need ongoing oversight and encouragement. I wish you an energising return journey.”
Find out more about the conference with A Bluffer’s Guide to the Climate.