Q&A session with the Climate Change Secretary 30 November 2009 Lambeth Town Hall
Several hundred people attended a Q&A session last night hosted by Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate’s Chuka Umunna. If elected, Chuka will be the first MP for Streatham who grew up in the area. TTB is thrilled that he clearly aspires to work towards helping us solve our deepening environmental crises. Lambeth Town Hall was filled to capacity with local residents and several groups of sixthform students who participated in a Q&A session on one of the last days before Ed Miliband’s departure for Copenhagen.
Both Chuka Umunna and Ed Miliband made a case to move swiftly towards a strong deal in Copenhagen. Unfortunately, Ed Miliband failed to answer important questions. Meanwhile, global networks of environmental grassroots activists are organising in preparation for the fact that we have very little faith in an effective or fair deal in Copenhagen.
The Copenhagen agreement will not solve our problems because:
1. The climate crisis demonstrates that itâ€™s impossible to have infinite growth on a finite planet. The Sustainable Development Commission’s report Prosperity without Growth describes how ‘perpetual economic growth is totally at odds with our scientific knowledge about the finite resource base and the fragile ecology on which we depend for survival’. The negotiations at Copenhagen do not address this dilemma.
2. The climate talks put corporate profits before the needs of people and the atmosphere. We need a deeper analysis of the problem and more support for communities developing solutions.
3. The market based solutions being pushed in the UN Climate talks lead to land grabbing and more inequity. False solutions like carbon trading will not solve the climate crisis.
4. We need a just transition and systems change not climate change! Transition Towns is one example of a grassroots movement working for a world which is both just and sustainable.
1. Government policy must start to reflect the recommendations of Prosperity without Growth.
3. Whatever happens in Copenhagen, local communities in transition are in need a much greater level of support and cooperation. Â£10m has been found for 20 communities in the UK to pioneer the Low Carbon Communities Challenge. Lets put this in context; the refurbishment of Brixton Central Square costs Â£9.5m. Is Â£10m, the amount it cost to give Brixton a new square, an adequate amount to help one community stop catastrophic climate change? What about the hundreds or even thousands of communities that are not part of the chosen 20?
The deal on the table in Copenhagen suffers from the same problems that made the Kyoto Protocol a failure. We are no closer to reducing greenhouse gas emissions than we were when negotiations began fifteen years ago. Emissions continue to rise at ever faster rates – including emissions in this country if the embedded emissions in the products we buy from abroad are included in calculations. Solutions on the table are unjust and are unlikely to reduce net emissions.