Posts Tagged Greenpeace

Signing up against HFCs

Signing up against HFCsMy Saturday mornings don’t normally include self-tagging in marker pen, then photographing the results. So why was I doing that today?

In the midst of all the debate about Copenhagen, Greenpeace has come up with one simple proposal that, if adopted, would see at least some good come out of the global climate summit.

As they explain, F-gases, or HFCs, are the super greenhouse gases that cool our drinks, our cars, and our buildings. They are a growing threat to our climate. Eliminating them is low-hanging fruit in the fight against climate change, because the solutions are tried, tested, and ready to go. Phasing out HFCs by 2020 is a key step in avoiding catastrophic climate change.

You can sign the Greenpeace petition, calling for a ban on the production and use of F-gases by 2020, here.

(In the de luxe version, you sign your name on part of your body and upload the photo. I couldn’t possibly comment…)

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Airplot!

I blogged before about how I’d become co-owner of a plot of land at Sipson village.

Sipson is the community that will be flattened if the Government implements its plans to expand Heathrow airport. And our field of dreams works on the principle that if we come together, they can’t build it.

Now the Airplot campaign has its own website.

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The plot thickens

plot-owner150
The entire Lib Dem frontbench has now signed-up to co-owning land at Heathrow.

So I am not alone in my west London smallholding; and you can join in too.

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Heathrow vote: and Emily Thornberry bottles it

Well, as predicted, it was close.

On Wednesday night Parliament voted on the Government’s plans to expand Heathrow by building a third runway. Liberal Democrat MPs and most Conservatives attempted to put a stop to the Government’s scheme by voting it down. 57 Labour MPs had previously said they opposed the plans, so what happened on the night? 28 Labour MPs rebelled, but the rest either abstained or voted with the Government, meaning that the motion was defeated by just 19 votes.

Our local Labour MP Emily Thornberry was one of the 57 – but when it came to the vote she was nowhere to be seen. Her absence, and that of other Labour MPs who claimed to oppose the plans, but then bailed out on the vote, has effectively given the green light to this very un-green project.

With a third runway, Heathrow will become the single biggest source of carbon emissions in the UK. The planning process alone is costing millions of pounds that could be much better spent as Britain faces recession.

So many groups and individuals in Islington have done all they can to fight Heathrow expansion. Not least because our borough lies directly under the flight path. I’ve become co-owner of a plot of land where the new runway is planned to be built. Islington’s Liberal Democrat council joined the 2M group of councils who are fighting the Government over Heathrow.

We can all sign petitions, go on demos, lobby and campaign. The one thing we have to rely on our MPs to do is to use their votes in Parliament. The Heathrow motion may have been tabled by the Tories, but it wasn’t a party political game.

MPs from all parties united to vote with their consciences and against Heathrow. Some Labour MPs even sacrificed their government jobs to take a stand. Emily Thornberry didn’t even have to do that. All she had to do was vote. But she still bottled it, putting petty party politics ahead of standing up for local people and the fight against climate change. Just as she did with Post Offices, the 10p tax rate, and funds for social housing.

The government’s support for Heathrow expansion leaves its green credentials in tatters. And any claim by Emily Thornberry to be a strong, independent voice for Islington is in tatters too.

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Greenpeace’s Heathrow campaign: an email too far?

There’s been some debate, reported over at the Wardman Wire, on the effectiveness or otherwise of Greenpeace’s latest lobbying technique.

Greenpeace wants to ensure, quite rightly, that the 57 Labour MPs who have said they oppose Heathrow expansion actually act on their words and vote that way in Parliament. So far so good.

But now Greenpeace has set up an option on their campaign website to mass email MPs. While mass letter-writing or phoning is time-consuming and expensive, mass emailing is quick and easy for the sender, but a nightmare for the recipients.

For what it’s worth, I used the Greenpeace email as a prompt to lobby my own MP, Emily Thornberry, who is one of the 57 currently targetted. I didn’t use the mass mailer as it could be counter-productive.

However I think it would be utterly pathetic for any of the MPs to use criticism of Greenpeace’s tactics as a reason to vote for Heathrow expansion, or sit on their hands and abstain!

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Field of dreams

I am now the proud co-owner of a plot of land in Sipson village, Hillingdon.

No I’m not planning to move. But there is now a corner of west London that is for ever Islington. I’ve signed up to be a beneficial owner of this field in the path of the proposed 3rd Heathrow runway, along with thousands of others. And anyone wanting to buy or develop our land will need to contact each one of us….

It’s all part of the Greenpeace-backed plan to make the expansion of Heathrow as difficult as possible: classic non-violent direct action. As the leading anti-expansion campaigner, Lib Dem MP Susan Kramer, says: “We will never give up this battle. We will use every weapon from tactics like this land purchase to taking the Government to court. The battles for quality of life in our area and on climate change are simply too important for us to give up. The Government brought this fight to us, but they will regret it.”

We protested before the decision and we’re not giving up now.

Giving the go-ahead for a third runway at Heathrow is so wrong, for so many reasons.

The third runway will be a disaster for the global and local environment: it will add an airport the size of Gatwick to Heathrow, and produce the same carbon emissions as the whole of Kenya. It will flatten Sipson village, ruin neighbouring communities and blight large parts of London (including Islington) with noise and pollution.

The economic benefits are limited: British Airways want Heathrow to expand as its hub, with most of the new passengers being in transit. Plus London needs regeneration to the east, not the over-developed and wealthier west. The planning process alone is costing millions of public money. The huge investment in building the new Heathrow is a diversion of money, time and effort, that could be better spent.

Expanding Heathrow is the wrong choice for the 21st century. In the face of climate change and the global recession, we should be switching to investing in green infrastructure, creating lasting jobs that will benefit future generations. Modern businesses meet online, saving time and money.

It’s a bad move for Britain in the world. How can we lecture the rest of the world about fighting climate change? And this massive new airport could be a prime terrorist target.

In a single decision, Labour have broken all their promises about fighting climate change, directing regeneration to help the poorest, showing an ethical approach to the world, or understanding the needs of the 21st century city. No rhetoric can compensate for this action.

The Government is too arrogant to let Parliament decide; and useless Labour backbenchers have failed to force a vote.

Let’s hope that an early election could change things. In the meantime, there are some green shoots in that field near Heathrow.

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Reasons to Believe: Lightbulbs

Great Greenpeace video, here.

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