4 Dec 2010

10:10 Now more than ever we need to play our part

As the Cancun climate conference gets underway there is a last chance to send a message to Government about what is needed - see FoE campaign here. Meanwhile Thursday next week is the GCC and Citizen award ceremony for 10:10 in Gloucestershire.

Photo: Green councillors sign up to 10:10

I was invited to write a piece for The Citizen which I copy below:

10:10, launched last year, reaches places where other campaigns have failed. It is a simple idea: we all commit to reduce our carbon emissions by 10% in the year and work together to make it happen. Across the world people are signing up. 7,000 events took place on 10th October, the 10:10 international campaign day.

The Citizen has led the campaign in Gloucestershire with regular stories and monthly supplements on how to cut carbon emissions. They have teamed up with the County Council to honour individuals who have gone the extra green mile.

Thousands have signed the 10:10 pledge, from Sara Cox and Kevin McCloud to the 6 Green Party District councillors in Stroud. Thousands of organisations have signed: Gloucestershire College, University of Glos, WI, O2, the Royal Mail, plus faith and health organisations including NHS Gloucestershire. Stroud District Council was among the first ten Councils in the country to sign, with Glos County Council, Glos City, Cotswolds and Cheltenham Borough following.

All this is good news, especially as there has been undue scepticism about climate change in the media. The scientific evidence for climate change is growing all the time. Add to this concerns about energy security; Lloyds of London warn of “catastrophic consequences” as they predict a possible $200 per barrel of oil by 2013.

The greatest risk lies in not taking any action.

The Coalition Government has signed up to 10:10, but we must be very concerned that key resources for a low carbon economy are to be run-down or axed. Why slash environmental bodies instead of pursuing tax avoiders to raise funds? Why spurn the easy and multiple benefits of channelling serious resources into job-rich energy efficiency and renewable technologies?

Worse still the climate change summit in Cancun is unlikely to bring the change we need. Pledges to reduce emissions, made by 80 countries in 2009, won’t hold the global temperature rise to 2C. Yet 2C is the temperature where complex environmental changes are expected to start to interact, making their dynamics harder to predict and control.

But now is not the time for despair. A better future is possible. Everyday communities, businesses and individuals are acting to create the change we need. There are huge possibilities in innovative, green technologies. We can create a happier, healthier society for ourselves and future generations. I like the description of hope as "a verb with its sleeves rolled up". Hope requires us to act. Now more than ever we need all of us to play our part.

Cllr Philip Booth is a campaigner, community activist and a Green party Stroud District councillor for Randwick, Whiteshill and Ruscombe ward

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