Local CAFOD Group members from St John the Baptist’s Burnley attended the lobby at the Constituency Office of Gordon Birtwistle. The group included: Monica Atherton, Burnley grandmother and long-term CAFOD campaigner, Eileen Ennis, grandmother and CAFOD campaigner, David Hartley, grandfather and long-term CAFOD supporter and Dominic Anger, CAFOD campaigner. Monica, Eileen and David are active members of St John the Baptist’s CAFOD Group in Burnley, which celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 2008. Monica, Eileen and Dominic all attended the Wave in London last year, the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition march in which 50,000 protesters walked through the streets of London to urge the UK government and world leaders to reach a fair and binding Climate Change Deal in Copenhagen. Monica said: “It was great to meet Gordon again and hear his views and the government’s plans to combat climate change; however, we need a fair, ambitious and binding (FAB) climate deal for the entire world not just the developed world. We in the west have done most to fill the atmosphere with carbon dioxide; it is only fair we share our technologies with the developing world to help them find other means of development which doesn’t rely only on the use of carbon based fuels: coal, oil and gas. We must help them also financially to cope with the effects of climate change which is happening right now, parts of Kenya haven’t seen rain for more than 3 years. Where once there was pastures, there is just desert.”
This lobby was part of the #Big Climate Connection (BCC) organised by the SCC Coalition, a mass lobby of UK MPs to urge the UK government to act on energy efficiency, emissions from power plants and international climate finance. These three asks are centred on the Energy Bill before parliament later this year, the Climate Change Act introduced by the last government and the international climate change talks in Cancun to be held later this year. It was a positive meeting, with Gordon Birtwistle, who informed the lobbyists of the Coalition Government’s plans to combat climate change here in the UK. However, the problem of climate change is a global problem and Gordon was not confident of progress at the UN international conference (COP16) on climate change to be held at Cancun in Mexico from 29th November to 10th December. These international talks in Mexico should lead to a fair, ambitious and binding Climate Change Deal for the world, to help stop the worst effects of climate change. Last year the world’s leaders failed to agree a deal at Copenhagen (COP15), however, it is hoped something very positive will result at Cancun.
Gordon went onto say: “This government hopes to make a £500 million investment in Carbon Capture for coal powered power stations. Subsidies are available for homes to have solar panels and all new homes must be energy efficient. It is investing heavily in offshore wind turbines and hopes to establish wind turbine assembly plants at Inverness and at a location in the North East of England. Electricity generating wave machines are under trial in Scotland, as are tidal turbines.”