Tag Archives: climate

Liberal Democrats join 100 MPs in backing the Climate and Ecological Emergency (CEE) Bill

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a great revealer. It has exposed the sections of our society that work well – the kindness in our communities, the brave and vital roles of our key workers, and the life-saving potential of scientific technologies – while also revealing the elements that need fixing. As the world begins a process of renewal and reform, climate change and ecological renewal must be at the centre of that positive change.

The climate and nature crisis is the most pressing problem facing the world. The question of how we can continue to sustain life on earth is existential. It would be easy to think that the pandemic has solved this quandary: as normal life ground to a halt, global emissions reduced by almost 8% in the first half of 2020 alone. But as the world begins to reopen, there is still much work to be done. 

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Too many adverts undermining the climate

It is almost exactly 17 years – though it seems longer – since tobacco advertising and marketing was banned in the UK. It is equally easy to forget that a reluctant Blair government was forced, finally, to act by a private members bill in the Lords by our then health spokesperson Tim Clement-Jones.

It was not right to let the tobacco companies outspend any government health messaging about the dangers of smoking – leading so many young people to an earlier grave.

So what are we to make of advertising now that undermines our expensive efforts to save the climate? Perhaps by advertising SUV cars as if they were good for the environment, when they actually clog the roads and clog the lungs of vulnerable children – making covid worse too?

I believe this might be an opportunity for Lib Dem councillors and campaigners to extend their campaign against cigarette advertising – and clearing their neighbourhoods of unsightly billboards at the same time?

What powers to local authorities have? Well, they certainly have some:

  • Over advertising billboards and screens located on council-owned land.
  • Over planning consent for advertising infrastructure – like the energy-guzzling digital billboards – and some advertising content.
  • Via passenger transport executives (such as Transport for London, Transport for Greater Manchester, Merseytravel, etc) which have control of advertising policies, and which are accountable to local democratic bodies such as Mayor’s offices.

About 1,500 local authorities in 29 countries have now declared a climate emergency. These declarations, taking place at every level of government, are leading to the development of local, regional and national climate emergency action plans.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 6 Comments

A trio of Tory / Liberal Democrat disagreements in government

Like London buses, Tory / Liberal Democrat disagreements are coming along all bunched together at the moment:

Energy Secretary Chris Huhne has criticised “climate sceptics” and others who he argues are decrying the UK’s potential for renewable power … His comments are being interpreted by some as a riposte to Chancellor George Osborne who is believed to be more sceptical about the investment needed. (BBC)

Vince Cable rejects proposal to abolish unfair dismissal laws: Business secretary said plan devised by strategist Steve Hilton was unnecessary and unlikely to improve labour market flexibility (The Guardian)

In order to safeguard the NHS, free at

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