Greenpeace climate change petition – shouldn’t we be doing this sort of thing rather than still having “STOP BREXIT” on our home page?

The home page of the Liberal Democrat website, 10:55 22nd January 2020

This week, Greenpeace UK have collected almost 600,000 signatures for their petition to the government to act now on Climate Change.

The text of the petition gives a succinct list of initiatives which the government should be embarking on now to minimise the climate emergency:

Now that Parliament has declared a Climate Emergency, we need you to act like it. For starters, that means:

(1) Banning all new oil and gas production in the UK, including fracking
(2) Tripling renewable energy by 2030
(3) Planting 700 million trees
(4) Introducing a Frequent Flyer Tax
(5) Ending the sale of all new petrol and diesel cars by 2030
(6) Rolling out free bus travel for young people and those on lower incomes
(7) Ending carbon emissions from heavy industry like steel and cement
(8) Creating millions of jobs in a new green economy
(9) Retrofitting our homes to go zero carbon
(10) Radically changing the farming and food system to encourage a less meat-based diet

My question is: Isn’t this sort of petition the kind of thing we, the Liberal Democrats, should be doing?

Shouldn’t we be at the forefront of the campaign against climate change?

For example, as a simple move, wouldn’t it be great if finally we take off “STOP BREXIT” from our website and replace it with a message about our climate change policies?*

*With thanks to LDV contributor David Beckett for suggesting this in his article last weekend.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Graham Jeffs 22nd Jan '20 - 11:01am

    Sadly the ‘powers that be’ in the party are doubtless too busy gazing at their navels and worrying about diversity.

  • Adam Bernard 22nd Jan '20 - 11:02am

    We are in fact calling for very similar things to Greenpeace, and actively campaigning on the urgent need to halt climate change.

    Unlike Greenpeace we are *also* campaigning on Brexit, on civil liberties, on defending the independence of the judiciary, and so on — because we’re not a single-issue group, and nor should we be.

    It’s fine to object to what’s on the front page of our website, but just because we only can have one header image at a time, doesn’t mean we only have one campaign going.

  • Adam Bernard 22nd Jan '20 - 11:07am

    Graham Jeffs: please don’t try and use this issue to further your anti-diversity hobbyhorse. It’s not relevant. We can, as they say, walk *and* chew gum.

  • Yes, we need to accept that, whilst for at least a year Brexit will be an issue to campaign on, we can no longer campaign to stop Brexit and should no longer campaign for Brexit as thre centre of our policy offering.
    This year is crucial to engage our new members and supporters, gained because of our position in Brexit, in the wider campaigns and ideology of our party before we lose them.

  • I would be extremely disappointed if the Lib Dems became a one issue party and would review my support if we became the Green Party. While climate change will be at the forefront of the public’s thoughts there has to be a sensible and well thought out policy on this subject that takes into consideration the less well off in this country and indeed the world. There are so many things that are so wrong in our country that we must not get fixated on one policy.

  • Graham Jeffs 22nd Jan '20 - 11:44am

    Adam Bernard – you need to get your facts right. I am not ant-diversity, what I am saying is that this aim seems to transcend formulating campaigns that are of concern to the majority of the electorate irrespective of their ‘diversity’.

  • David Becket 22nd Jan '20 - 11:44am

    I have complained about the Stop Brexit, but it has got me nowhere. There is no way we can stop brexit happening next week, so why are we still going on about it. It makes us look irrelevant and foolish. Our joint leaders do not appear to care.

  • Unfortunately none of those points are anywhere close to the changes that are needed. Where is population control and reduction?: Also where is the land on which all these millions of trees are to be planted?

  • Phil Beesley 22nd Jan '20 - 11:54am

    (1) Banning all new oil and gas production in the UK, including fracking

    Shouldn’t we be addressing the problem of consumption rather than production? Isn’t it just hiding the problem under the carpet by pushing production to less regulated countries? I understand that “green fracking” is a ridiculous concept but that should not exclude less polluting UK production alongside demand reduction.

    (6) Rolling out free bus travel for young people and those on lower incomes

    Why not take a universalist approach and drive down the cost of public transport for all whilst ensuring availability?

    (7) Ending carbon emissions from heavy industry like steel and cement

    Rather like oil and gas extraction, this is just shifting the problem to places less able or willing to take responsibility for pollution. I understand that there are processes which use electricity rather than coal to make steel but know little about the economics.

    I would add a further point:
    (11) The UK should take responsibility for waste recycling, ship scrapping and other practices which export UK pollution. This would be very expensive but sometimes you have to do the right thing.

  • nigel hunter 22nd Jan '20 - 12:43pm

    Brexit will affect people for some time Rolls Royce laying off workers started when talk of brexit started Its consequences will be with us for some time . Stop brexit should be replaced with rejoin. What we have lost should be pushed on the doorstep That equally applies to what we w ill loose/gain by not campaigning on environment issues for they also will affect people. However people are slow to change so it will take time . Let’s hope that the next 4 years gives us time to grow. Our activists should report what is going on on the ground floor level AND be listened to by the high ups.

  • Stephen Howse, true but to some extent that’s my point. World population was around 3 billion when my parents were at school. Now it is around 6 billion predicted to reach 8 billion by 2050 and as you say 11billion after that. There is no way the planet can sustain 11 billion people anywhere close to a lifestyle which the western world currently still takes for granted. Population control and reduction is the elephant in the room as it impacts on individual reproductive choice and no democratic party will bite that bullet, yet.

  • Correction current population is around 7.8 billion, predicted to be around 9 billion by 2050, was using old source.

  • I hope your argument is correct Stephen,I really do, but we have known for decades about this and done nothing.
    Nothing that any government has seriously proposed goes anywhere near enough. some of the things that need to happen will be difficult to implement in a democracy, but time will tell it always does.

  • David Garlick 23rd Jan '20 - 8:36pm


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