10 May 2013

Landmark in climate emissions....

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Today the House of Commons Transport Committee calls for aviation expansion....it is also the day that officially we reach the concentration of climate-warming carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of 400 parts per million (ppm) - the highest level for 4.5 million years. As The Guardian article here notes: "The last time so much greenhouse gas was in the air was several million years ago, when the Arctic was ice-free, savannah spread across the Sahara desert and sea level was up to 40 metres higher than today."

Of course there's no obvious ecological difference between 399 and 400 ppm, but nonetheless, this is
perhaps a moment for reflection...Caroline Lucas's letter to Guardian tomorrow (see below) about the failures of the media in the recent elections only highlights the challenges......on Monday Transition Stroud are screening 'Do the Math' - see details here.

Popular support for Green party policies

Given the media hysteria last week about Ukip's better-than-expected local election results, you could be forgiven for thinking they had stormed the corridors of Westminster. Yet as Zoe Williams points out (Comment, 9 May), this remains a party with no MPs, no London assembly members and only six more councillors than the Greens. Where the media leads, David Cameron follows. So instead of offering a coherent vision for economic recovery to help the millions who are struggling against unemployment, rising living costs and savage welfare cuts, he chooses to sing to the reactionary tune of Ukip on issues like immigration. And instead of staying true to his pre-election pledges on climate change, the prime minister has been all too ready to drop the subject – not least from his list of priorities for the UK's G8 presidency.

Yet we Greens know there is huge support for our policies, whether on climate change and the environment, or social justice and public services. Out of 332,237 people surveyed in the Vote for Policies survey before the last election, where voted on policies alone (not parties or personalities), over 24% – more than any other party – chose Green policies. The last time people had a chance to vote in elections under proportional representation – the Euro elections of 2009 – the Greens won over a million votes, demonstrating again the growing support for action on the Green agenda.
As I highlighted in the amendment I put down to the Queen's speech this week, even the World Bank is now telling us that without urgent and radical cuts in emissions, global temperatures will rise by 4C or more by the end of the century, resulting in "devastating" environmental impacts for all of us. The case for political action has never been clearer. That's what makes the failure of the media to give serious attention to the growing relevance and success of the Green party so serious.

Caroline Lucas MP
Green, Brighton Pavilion

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