The 150 strong audience starting to gather
Beyond the important cross party agreement on climate change earlier in the year, there has been a remarkable silence on what the declaration states is “one of the most serious threats facing the world today”. Not only is this a lost opportunity to build public support for the critical changes needed, but it also hides from the view the very real differences between parties and indeed between local candidates and national party policy.
That’s why we invited Natalie Bennett, Greens, Will Blair, Conservatives, Jill Fraser, Liberal Democrats and Keir Starmer, Labour, all prospective MPs for Holborn & St Pancras, to take part in a debate on all aspects of climate change whether that be energy policy, tax, transport and international policy.
Being Holborn & St Pancras all candidates were in agreement about scrapping HS2 and the importance of tackling air pollution. But on broader issues such as fracking, nuclear power and tax there are significant differences. You can read a short summary of the candidates’ policies with a minute by minute analysis on greener good’s blog or by searching #climatehustings on twitter.
Sadly there is only a limited amount of time at a single hustings and we didn’t get chance to address all the questions people had. This is where you can help. Seek out opportunities to quiz both Holborn & St Pancras candidates and those in other constituencies on aspects of the debate that are important to you. Share the answers (you can email me, add them to the website or tweet) and put climate change back in the 2015 general election debate.
Many thanks to Camden School for Girls for hosting (and especially Martins Camisuli architects for sponsoring) and to Stephen Tindale for chairing.
I am always re-energised by other’s resolutions – the huge increase in the number of people cycling to work in the first week in January has inspired me to keep cycling despite the vagaries of weather and meeting no less than eight new members at Camden Friends of the Earth January meeting is leading to an exciting new campaign (of which more next newsletter).
And so it is that I am thinking also about CamdenCAN’s future and what impact we can have in reducing Camden’s carbon footprint. This newsletter, our website and twitter account are part of connecting people and organisations in Camden and inspiring them to do more.
CamdenCAN can be more than just an online presence though. Last year we developed a manifesto for sustainability to which both the Labour & Green parties here in Camden signed up to demonstrating the impact of bringing together local organisations when asking for change. With both existing MPs for Holborn & St Pancras and Hampstead & Kilburn constituencies standing down we have a fantastic opportunity to ask our local MPs to focus on climate change. I am looking at the possibility of holding a local hustings focussing on climate change and other sustainability issues and I’d be interested to hear from you if you’d like to get involved either as an individual or as a group.
Finally, as many of you will know, Prashant has recently moved to Hong Kong. It’s been great fun working with him on CamdenCAN and I wanted to thank him for all his support over the last year. His departure leaves a gap and I’d really love to hear from you if you are interested in helping me run CamdenCAN on a longer term basis.
So the dust has settled from the EU and local elections. Here in Camden Labour party had a resounding win, grabbing 40 out of the 54 council seats. This is up ten seats from the 2010 elections. The big losers have been the Lid-Dems who are down to just one councillor, who as recently as 2009 were the biggest party. So what should we expect from a Labour council on the environment. Of their five manifesto promises – one has an environment flavour: “Camden Labour will make Camden the best borough in London for cyclists and pedestrians”. The new exec member – currently Phil Jones – for Sustainability, Transport and Planning hasn’t yet been announced.
The Greens held on to their one seat in Highgate with Sian Berry taking over from the dynamic Maya de Souza who worked tirelessly on the sustainability task force, with the transition town groups and lobbied to improve council homes energy efficiency.
The Euro elections were of course dominated by UKIP. UKIP are unusual in having an ‘anti’ environment manifesto. They threaten to axe the 2008 Climate Change Act (luckily nothing to do with the EU elections). They go on to criticise the Large Combustion Directive – which is the reason why no one talks about acid rain anymore – and the EU renewables targets – which is preparing the EU for the post fossil fuel world.