LibLink: Paddy Ashdown – Fighting climate change is moral, vital, and in our own interests

In the Independent, Paddy Ashdown shares his thoughts on the Doha climate change talks, currently ongoing and being attended by Lib Dem energy and climate change secretary Ed Davey.

Here’s an excerpt of what Paddy has to say:

Despite being in the midst of global recession, it is essential that governments in developed nations recognise that tackling climate change is not just a moral responsibility they bear to those in the developing world but an essential part of their national interest.

Climate problems faced by some will ultimately affect us all. Lack of action now will only increase the burden we face in the future, a burden that will likely fall on today’s children in the future.

In Doha yesterday, as discussions over climate finance remained tense, the UK showed international leadership by indicating that they will commit climate finance beyond 2012.

The UK will be allocating around 1.8 billion pounds in aid money to climate finance up to 2015, and Davey reiterated the UK’s support for contributing to the $100 billion a year by 2020 commitment of new and additional funds. This is a most welcome step.

Now the UK must show international leadership to galvanize further action – encouraging others to commit funds beyond 2012, and working with them to collectively mobilise new and additional funds up to 2020 and beyond for the Green Climate Fund.

You can read Paddy’s piece in full here.

* Nick Thornsby is Thursday Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs here.

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7 Comments

  • I agree with Paddy Ashdown. It is awful , really awful, to have local democrat politicians in the Stockport area including Mark Hunter MP support a dual carriageway through Cheshire’s greenbelt. Have they not realised traffic flows in Stockport peaked in 2001? Is this anything to do with the fact that Cheshire’s greenbelt is outside their constituency? This road goes through the narrowest stretch of greenbelt around Greater Manchester. Shame, just shame, on them.

  • Mike Lincoln 6th Dec '12 - 8:59pm

    I used to vote Lib Dem because of their environmental policies but this year I joined the Green Party because this Coalition Government are spending £30 BILLION of our money on road-building – simply to create ‘growth’ for growths sake. All the evidence points to the fact that investing in new roads destroys the countryside, increases carbon dioxide & other chemical emissions into the atmosphere and encourages out of town development which in turn generates more traffic….now that you are actually in power- partly because I voted for you in 2010 – you should be vetoing Osborne’s ridiculous road building policies – or face renewed mass direct action protests which we saw in the 1990’s.

  • The hypocrasy of the Lib Dems is utterly breathtaking. Taken at face value, Mr Ashdown’s comments are admirable. Unfortunately he needs to explain his logic to the Lib Dem run Stockport Council who are pushing as hard as they can to get a needless dual carriageway through East Cheshire greenbelt. This includes the destruction of protected ancient woodland which they have steadfastly refused to recognise. They have launched a public consultation without even having produced a completed environmental assessment and have not explained how they are going to mitigate the devastation this will cause to the local natural environment. This is bad enough, but their case for the road is based on incomplete documents and unsubstantiated claims – Lib Dems taking the moral high ground on environmental issues? I think not!

  • Richard Dean 7th Dec '12 - 12:58am

    I certaily agree with Paddy. A problem is that climate is a long-term issue, and populations and politicians are not too good at restraining themselves now for benefits they may not themselves see in their own lifetimes. But then there’s the commercial advantage from developing solutions now – we’ll have a truly captive market when the pain really hits!

    On roads, aren’t roads a a bit more complicated? Small winding roads can be fuel-inefficient because the distance from A to B is longer than a crow flies, and the windiness makes for poor MPG. Straight roads giving less miles from A to B and more MPG might sometimes be environmentally better. Even more for lorries, perhaps?

  • If we’re not going to invest significantly in making public transport usable then we might as well build roads. Cars are a lot less environmentally damaging when they are moving than when they are sat in queues.

  • I am utterly baffled by Paddy Ashdown’s comments. I would agree with every word were it not for the fact that the Lib Dems have gone against every pledge in their manifesto to discourage travel by road. The actions of Mark Hunter and Andrew Stunnell in particular are so out of line with the pre-election Lib Dem stance, I was under the impression the party had changed its mind on the importance of fighting climate change. These MPs have been battling tirelessly for a pointless, destructive dual carriageway through the green belt of East Cheshire. Their answer to local congestion is not to demand investment in public transport and safe walking and cycling routes, as promised, but to seek the funding to build another road, which will generate yet more traffic, make air quality worse and increase carbon emissions. The fact that traffic levels are falling and demand for public transport is soaring should be seen as a very timely chance to encourage a permanent modal shift. It is scandalous that the Lib Dems, of all the parties, is either not recognising – or worse, turning its back – on such an opportunity.

  • Craig Tomkinson 28th Mar '13 - 8:30pm

    Global warming You must be joking the Coldest Spring in 50 years at least. Just an excuse of extra taxation?

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