Press Release: Cross-Party Climate Change Statement

On Tuesday 23rd April 2019, sparked by the visit of Greta Thunberg to the UK, the Westminster leaders of the UK political parties, except for the Prime Minister and the DUP (both invited), took part in a private round-table with a number of the leaders of the youth climate strikes to discuss the UK’s response to the deteriorating ecological crises.

At that meeting, the Westminster Leaders present agreed to three actions. These actions mark a significant cross-party response to Greta’s visit to the UK; the UK youth climate strikes and ongoing climate protests; the IPCC’s Special Report on 1.5 Degrees; the upcoming Committee on Climate Change report on a net-zero greenhouse gas target for the UK on May 2nd; and above all, the knowledge that it is young people across the world who will bear the brunt of the climate crisis.

There is an open invitation for the Government, and all other political parties, to sign-up to these cross-party actions.

Ongoing Cross-Party Cooperation & Dialogue with Young People

By working together collaboratively, political parties, even without the Government, can start to build the bold solutions and public consent needed to ensure young people are guaranteed a secure, safe and prosperous future.

Westminster party leaders therefore agree to ongoing cross-party roundtables with the youth climate strikers – and to increased cross-party collaboration on climate change, including an agreement to issue a statement endorsing the UK’s bid to host COP26 in 2020.

Supporting the UK Youth Climate Assemblies

Over the coming months, the UK youth climate strikers will continue to expand and build their movement – and it is essential that the views of young people are incorporated into the decision-making of politicians and political parties and that politicians have chance to engage directly with young people across the UK.

Westminster party leaders therefore agree to actively support and engage with youth climate assemblies in towns and cities across the UK.

Stress-Test UK Climate Policy

The United Kingdom has signed and ratified the Paris Climate Agreement – the international treaty negotiated in 2015 part of the United Nations’ climate framework – which places a commitment on the UK to meet the targets in the Paris Agreement, including efforts to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Westminster party leaders therefore agree, as a minimum, to accept and meet the imminent recommendation of the Committee on Climate Change on net-zero – and that they will seek a common framework to ensure party policy and manifestos are in line with CCC recommendations and the Paris Climate Agreement.

Alongside these initial actions, the Party Leaders reiterated their support for lowering the voting age to 16 and to ensure that knowledge and information about the causes and solutions to the ecological crises are at the heart of our education system.

Leaders Present: Caroline Lucas, Jeremy Corbyn, Ian Blackford, Vince Cable and Liz Saville-Roberts

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said: 

Greta Thunberg has already shown us how young people have managed to give much needed profile to the climate emergency our planet is facing.

We have today discussed how much more there is to do and the urgency with which governments globally need to act.

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17 Comments

  • David Becket 23rd Apr '19 - 10:01pm

    An Impressive start, four things this party should do today;
    Announce that:
    We will stop fracking
    We will stop opening new coal mines
    We willl halt airport expansion
    Every government will have a climate change indicator factored in. If the project increases emissions it should not take place.

    That is only a statr, but it could be done immediately.

  • David Becket 24th Apr '19 - 12:35pm

    If the number of comments on posts is a reflection of the interests of LDV readers then the future of the planet looks pretty grim.

    Cross Party Climate Change Statement 1 Comment
    Greta Thunbury 3 Comments
    Cable on Greta 1 Comment
    Change for changes sake 88 Comments
    Diane Abbott drinking on a train 44 Comments
    Lib Dem Landlords 114 Comments

    If you cannot get a debate on climate change going on LDV then where are you likely to get it?

  • David – I think lack of comment is likely to indicate assent rather than lack of interest.

  • Dilettante Eye 24th Apr '19 - 1:50pm

    “If the number of comments on posts is a reflection of the interests of LDV readers then the future of the planet looks pretty grim.”

    I too noticed this apparent lack of interest and wondered why?

    When I first heard about Greta Thunberg, I cynically thought here we go again another virtue, hashtag, dali-lama-esc environmentalist phenomena to make us all feel good about cleaning up a planet, that we’ve been happily fossil fouling for 250 years.

    When I heard the strength of her speech, I realised this was too abrupt for our tender ears. Yes we all want to do something about the environment, but we simultaneously don’t want to upset our individual life-plans too much, and we don’t want too much truth.
    And Greta told us the brutal truth and with an urgency too harsh to stomach. She tells us that lowering with targets is not ambitious enough. We just don’t have the luxury of time. We have to stop right now, doing things which we like doing.
    She made a particular point of saying she’d travelled “around Europe for hundreds of hours in trains, electric cars and buses, repeating these life-changing words over and over again.”
    She’s not just saying it, she’s making great efforts to adapt her life plan to a world of less, and she’s asking us why aren’t we as committed to a life of less?

    If we truly only have one or two decades to solve this environmental dilemma, then we can’t just cynically book one more ‘sneaky’ flight to burn another few thousand air miles on a last hurrah holiday.

    It means saying to ourselves, ‘I will never board an aircraft ever again’
    No more excuses of ‘well the plane was flying there anyway’, or ‘I simply have to be in (Name of country here!)’, or ‘My family deserve a good break in the Florida sunshine’.

    Maybe the comment silence is shock because there are no more excuses, and because a child, with no agenda other than to survive into relative old age, has told us that we are the problem, and our blasé attitude to burning fuel is just one last indulgent air-mile too far.?

  • Paul Barker 24th Apr '19 - 3:18pm

    I know why I didn’t comment on this thread, because I didn’t feel that I had anything useful to add. A thread of posters all saying Yeh! or Agree 100% ? What would be the point.
    I do have dis agreements with the methods of Climate Extinction but Caron has already made them on another thread, better than I could.

  • Christopher Phillips 24th Apr '19 - 5:29pm

    If we do well in the locals could we push for councils to do more about climate change, maybe solar panels on council property roofs. Each council should ask the officers to identify ways in which energy could be saved.

  • Only just picked up this information about the cross party reaction to Greta’ s speech to party leaders. It does not seem to have impacted main stream media, but then I’m not surprised, they are all fixated on Brexit and even otherwise intelligent people don’t seem to understand the reality of what is happening. During a chat with a friend about what he had given up for Lent (puddings to keep his weight down) I said I’d given up flying. He laughed and said how much do you fly during Lent anyway? I just said, no I’ve given up flying. I don’t he’s got it yet!

  • @ Christopher Phillips. Indeed, but the climate protesters don’t seem very interested in solar panels or anything incremental like that. They want travel by car and plane abolished overnight. Crashing the world economy, with the global poverty it would cause seems to be their way of saving the planet.
    I would imagine that few people have responded because there is nothing to say to a person who wants zero carbon,not by 2050 like Labour, not by 2040 like sensible environmentalists, but within 6 years.
    Please don’t misunderstand this post. I care as much as anyone, but my struggle is to get people where I live to accept 1 (yes, one) 30 m wind turbine. Tell them to dump their car ? Yeah, right !

  • David Becket 24th Apr '19 - 9:11pm

    In asking for zero by 2025 they are overstating their case and asking for the impossible. However unless we get moving we will not achieve 2040. It will mean unpleasant choices that will be difficult to get accepted. If we are going to avoid crashing the economy we need to use this threat to the environment by developing new industries. However plans could be blown by the increasing world population, which could lead to a group of right wing monsters proposing the final solution. Maybe we are ignoring all this because the challenges are too great, beyond our comprehension.

  • We have had quite a lot of climate change debates on LDV.

    I did think we were roughly doing enough in the UK but thanks to Extinction Rebellion, David Attenborough and Greta I have moved my opinion in the last week to thinking much more needs to be done much more quickly in the UK – if not quite as quickly as them. So my thanks go to them for their work and sacrifice.

    Unfortunately we have had a Government that has put Cameron’s “cut the green cr*p” into practice and many climate change programmes and funding have been cut and much more need to be done. This is clear from the website and report to Parliament from the independent Climate Change Committee who officially advise the Government. I would urge everyone here to look at their website and report

    https://www.theccc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/CCC-2018-Progress-Report-to-Parliament.pdf

    I would highlight in particular:
    Reversing the axing of the feed in tariff and more measures to encourage domestic solar power panels.

    Much more on domestic energy efficiency – we don’t have a good housing stock in this country.

    Investment in Carbon Capture and Storage technology

  • Dilettante Eye 25th Apr '19 - 12:36am

    “However plans could be blown by the increasing world population, which could lead to a group of right wing monsters proposing the final solution.”

    I think the growth of fossil fuel, has been the natural driver to massive population growth. If this is the case, then what we face isn’t a right wing issue, but a dilemma of nature.

    Imagine a 500 gallon vat full of sugar rich grape juice. Throw in a handful of yeast. Wait for 14 days. Over that 14 days that handful of yeast multiplies in population volume as it devours the sugar rich grape juice.
    In the process of devouring the sugar rich grape juice, the rising population of yeast create alcohol, which is a pollutant to the yeast. When the alcohol content reaches around 10% to 15% concentrations, the huge populations of yeast start to die off.

    If you are wondering what this got to do with our environmental dilemma then simply swap :

    500 gallon vat ~ with a finite planet
    Sugar rich grape juice ~ with the concentrated ‘sunshine’ in fossil fuel
    Handful of yeast ~ with the low human population around 1745 when fossil fuel first began to be used in the industrial revolution
    14 days ~ with the 260 years of fossil fuel use in modern society.
    Alcohol ~ with the carbon pollutants slowly killing off humanity
    10% to 15% concentrations ~ with the 1.5% to 2% climate change targets.

    Are we humans little more than very self-aware intelligent yeast, who discovered a rich source of fossil energy 260 years ago.? We then got caught up in a classic Tragedy of the Commons, by devouring fossil fuel, breeding beyond the sustainability of our finite planet, and expelling pollutants into our own planetary backyard which will eventually reduce the population naturally back to pre-1745 levels, before the time we discovered that energy rich concentrated sunshine

    Maybe it’s not about blame or a right wing thing either. Sadly it’s about nature.

  • Jayne Mansfield 25th Apr '19 - 10:16am

    @ Dilettante Eye.
    I would argue that poverty has been the main driver for population growth.

    In nations where families have an expectation that few , if any, of their children will survive into adulthood and having many children is a form of insurance policy of future family support. The link between added poverty with more mouths to feed, rarely needs explaining. However, sharing food with a few more new members of a family is the least bad option given the context of their lives.

    You may be aware that there has been a remarkable decline in fertility rates according to a study published in the Lancet where trends were followed from every country from 1950- to 1917.

    We can also see the phenomenon of convergence of fertility patterns amongst immigrant families from high fertility areas as generations adapt and assimilate over time to the norms of their new society.

    Life is not ‘cheap’ amongst those who have and lose so many of their children, and in my experience, the best way to ensure that fertility rates fall in high fertility nations is to raise expectations that any children born, will have a high chance of survival. The answer lies in changing social conditions within those nations.

  • Dilettante Eye 25th Apr '19 - 2:33pm

    Jayne

    “I would argue that poverty has been the main driver for population growth.
    In nations where families have an expectation that few , if any, of their children will survive into adulthood and having many children is a form of insurance policy of future family support.”

    You are absolutely correct, but (the insurance of), high numbers of poor children huddled in a damp draughty home with little to eat and only one fire, does not produce what is required to elevate the lifestyle of that family.

    It’s access to clean water, sanitation, healthcare and antibiotics, schooling and suchlike which raise the expectations out of poverty.

    It has been energy, in the form of fossil fuel, over the last two centuries, which have provided these life-enhancers out of poverty to relative wealth. Those life enhancing measures out of poverty were created by burning fossil fuel during the course of an industrial revolution.

    Fossil fuel gave us steam and transportation, the ability to clean water enough for drinking and washing, the processing of chemicals into soap, bleach, the ability to bake bricks, and produce building materials without the need to swing an axe, and swap 100 ‘Navvies’, with a shovel for a JCB full of diesel (fossil) oil.

    All the while, those regions of the world which never took advantage of fossil-industrialism, still sit in a shabby existence two centuries on, still with 8 children around a meagre fire of sticks.

    I see a family of two adults and two adult children across the road, all doing well by today’s standards. They are a four-car-family, and they have worked hard to achieve what they have, but there is a problem in that we all know that such a Western lifestyle is wasteful, energy intense and just unsustainable without being supported by copious amounts of fossil fuel, to keep the western ‘plates spinning’.

    I think the shift from (relative!), poverty to wealth has been so incrementally enriched over two centuries that we have forgotten how valuable the sheer volume of fossil energy which got us to this point. Our present energy delusion is that we can give up fossil fuel painlessly. Yes, we need to curtail our use-age of fossil fuel, but the road away from its use will be brutal on the expectations of a western lifestyle.

  • Peter Hirst 25th Apr '19 - 4:33pm

    Why does it require youth protests and the courage of a 16 year old to garnish some action from our politicians? Perhaps it is the clarity and urgency of youth rather than the confusion and inertia of politicians. If anything needs to be taken out of politics, it is this sort of global impending catastrophe. There needs to be a mechanism that takes these issues out of party politics by requiring super majorities to alter previous agreements.

  • Jayne Mansfield 25th Apr '19 - 7:09pm

    @ Dilettante Eye,
    Actually one can reduce fertility levels without a large carbon footprint, All the things you mention are desirable and sometimes crucial components, but I have seen tremendous falls in neonatal, infant , and childhood morbidity over the past couple of decades even when some of these are lacking , water can be boiled, dry lavatories can be built etc. One would be surprised how falls in neonatal, infant and child mortality can be effected with minimal environmental manipulation when in our western societies we are used to large sums and expensive technology being used to reduce the already low statistics.

    Over a couple of decades I have been party to immense cultural change in areas where parents request contraceptives or tubectomy (sterilisation ) after the birth of a second child because they are now confident that the children that they bring into the world will live to support them as they grow into adulthood. The most crucial input has been human resources with necessary skills, but sadly, in those countries, as in this country an inverse care law applies.

    On a bigger scale , yes there is a need to improved sanitation and clean water, but this is the responsibility of good government, and the people who will make the greatest improvements in the lives of the poor will be engineers not medical personnel.

    We are never going to tackle climate change unless we distinguish between wants and needs. When one has lived and worked in some of the areas that I speak of, I am still asked how I managed to adapt to the conditions I faced, I have to be honest and admit, it is always adapting back to a western lifestyle that I have found difficult. I was suddenly alert to the fact that I was surrounded by stuff, unimportant stuff, stuff that was not necessary to the well being of myself or my family.

    Those of us in the west might never want to live in a mud hut ( wonderful technology, though, warm in winter, cool in summer, but there is a balance to be had, and that I am afraid will mean some pretty major consumer ‘sacrifices’. If we aren’t prepared to start with self ‘ sacrifice’, we are in no position to lecture or blame others for the destruction of our planet.

  • @Val Cox – During a chat with a friend about what he had given up for Lent (puddings to keep his weight down) I said I’d given up flying. [24th Apr ’19 – 5:40pm]
    Enjoy the change in your thinking and work planning…

    For the best part of 20 years I was frequently on the red-eye flights (and on the M1/M25 at silly o’clock rushing to one or other airport), before I worked out that it was a way to appear busy whilst doing very little real work, it enabled me to significantly reduce my flights but not entirely stop flying (total flights down from 8+ a month to circa 4 a year) whilst still serving my international clients. Three years ago after scrapping a car I replaced it with a bicycle and an account at the local car rental business, this has been both health improving and an interesting learning experience.

    @Chris Cory
    I would imagine that few people have responded because there is nothing to say to a person who wants zero carbon,not by 2050 like Labour, not by 2040 like sensible environmentalists, but within 6 years.
    Sometimes what initially seems daft or impossible can be realised, but only if we accept the challenge – remember NASA put a man on the moon and got him back within 8 years. Yes, we might have to crash the world economy, but if the predictions are anywhere close to being correct that is going to happen anyway, however by accepting the challenge we can manage the crash…

  • Richard Underhill 2nd May '19 - 5:32pm

    Planting more trees is a good way of locking up carbon, but it only works while the tree is growing and is reversed when it dies or starts shedding branches in storms.
    Therefore please plant larger trees which will grow for longer and consume less land.
    If climate change gets much worse there will be more forest fires, so it helps if the trees are fireproof. These are not the only plants whose seeds are stimulated by fire.
    https://www.bing.com/search?q=sequoia+sempervirens&qs=n&form=QBRE&sp=-1&pq=sequoia+sempervirens&sc=8-20&sk=&cvid=6F305043D1564DA0B701BA4C4BC9767D
    The UK has some which are 100 years old or more, but on west coast USA some are more than 1,000 years old. I have visited Seattle, Washington State to visit relatives. I have planted four of them in our garden at the bottom of the hill to block the view of an industrial estate. They are fast growing and have outgrown other trees planted to protect them.

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