This week I was proud to be alongside Simon Hughes MP and Islington’s own Cllr Greg Foxsmith at the national launch of the 10:10 campaign – pledging to cut our carbon emissions by 10% by the end of 2010.
Islington is one of 9 councils nationwide to sign up at the start; there were to have been 10, but Labour Greenwich pulled out at the last minute (although they have now followed dozens of other organisations and signed up since the launch). Simon Hughes was the only MP speaking at the event, and one of the comperes was Camden’s eco-champion Alexis Rowell; so the Lib Dems are visibly leading on the fight against climate change.
Islington’s already taking a lead on the green agenda. Public buildings and street-lights run on sustainable energy, including solar heating of the water at Highbury swimming pool. Libraries and primary schools are bieng insulated, and the borough’s new council housing meets high environmental standards. And the innovative Climate Change Fund has helped families, businesses and local groups to cut emissions through energy saving and using renewables.
I’m pleased to have played a part in setting Islington on this road with initiatives like switching the streetlights over to renewable energy, and opening our recycling education centre.
So when Friends of the Earth called me this week with an appeal as part of their Get Serious about CO2 campaign, and started telling me how “councils like yours” are failing to act, I was not impressed. Why criticise all councils when some are doing the right thing? It’s unfair and lacks credibility. I’ve already got a standing order to FoE, but I declined to increase it this time. And I sent an email complaining about their fundraising script. FoE replied the next day, saying:
“In our recent appeal mailings about our new Get Serious about CO2 campaign we talked about positive examples of what some councils are already doing to cut their emissions. We wanted to use these to inspire other councils to start cutting theirs. As it stands there are only very few councils really starting to tackle CO2 emissions of which Islington is one….We have made an amend to the telephone script to point out that it’s not all councils who need to change.”
I’m really pleased that FoE is not only campaigning for more action but also giving credit where it’s due.
The 10:10 initiative comes from the Not Stupid team; at the launch, the fantastic Franny Armstrong reminded us that we are the first generation to fully know about climate change, and the last to have a chance to stop it. You can join in here.