‘Threats to the environment are ever more immediate, and the nature of the climate emergency is unfolding before our eyes. However, balancing and outweighing that is that so much has changed [since 1986].
“We have got a generation of young people who are so committed to the cause. Some businesses are taking an alternative approach. The economics of shifting to a green economy are becoming clearer.”
This is a quote from Caroline Lucas as she announced she would be standing down as an MP at the next election.
Caroline is the first, and to date only, Green MP. She will be sorely missed. Often she seemed to be the only grown-up in the debating chamber of the House of Commons.
She is always radical, always logical and sensible, always calm and non-confrontational. Great attributes that I aspire to but have yet to realise. I often manage one or the other but never all three at the same time.
However, after many years of campaigning, I do share the optimism. Things are finally moving in the right direction.
There have been five identified episodes of mass extinction. Four of these happened in periods of very rapidly rising concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Exactly the conditions we have created.
Unless we act very quickly and decisively, humanity will be on this extinction list.
Caroline Lucas also said: “I have become ever more motivated to dedicate myself fully to climate and nature.”
I share this sense of urgency. It is not too late – yet.
East Hampshire District Council does not share this sense of urgency.
The world’s leading authority on climate change, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), warned the critical global warming temperature of 1.5ºC would be reached by 2030.
In the period of 2019 to 2020, many local councils declared a climate emergence. This committed them to make their operations carbon neutral by 2030.
In 2019 the Liberal Democrat councillor Ginny Boxall put forward a motion to declare such a climate emergency with the 2030 target date. The Conservative majority used a wrecking amendment that committed their climate change emergence to nothing more than planting 120,000 trees – by 2050.
This vital topic is one of seven in the EHDC’s regeneration and prosperity cabinet’s remit. It is called “climate awareness”.
It’s not awareness but urgent action that is needed. The days of mere awareness have long since gone. But not for the Conservative-dominated East Hampshire District Council, apparently.
The Green Party was invited on to an advisory panel to “climate awareness”. We refused as our presence would have been an endorsement of a thoroughly inadequate, thoroughly complacent, thoroughly cynical policy. The Liberal Democrats have followed suit.
So not the whole council supports this complacent “do nothing” policy.
If you value your grandchildren’s future you should never vote for any party that has such a “do nothing” policy.
What East Hampshire needs right now is real, effective and urgent action. Not the current cynical greenwash.
By Ian James
East Hampshire Green Party