WinACC asks you to write to your MP ( Steve Brine or George Hollingbery) about the Government's actions on climate change and  the coming Paris global climate conference.

Ony write to your own MP, and ensure that your address is on the letter. MPs only take notice of their own constituents.

We suggest you choose just two or three issues, as a short letter is more likely to be read. And put it in your own words, as MPs take much less notice of anything they feel is a pre-written circular.

So here are some suggestions - or add your own.

I am pleased that the Prime Minister has pledged “to seek a fair, strong, legally binding, global climate deal which limits temperature rises to below 2oC, the threshold of dangerous global warming. I would like to know that you agree with the Prime Minister on the importance of taking action both in the UK and world-wide to keep below this 2oC.

I assume that this means that the Prime Minister will ensure that the government will do all it must to stick to the UK legal obligation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% in 2050 from 1990 levels. I have a number of concerns about how the government is currently going about this, in particular: 

  • The removal of subsidies for onshore windfarms. 
  • The likely removal of the Renewable Obligation subsidy and a huge reduction in the feed-in tariff for solar power generation. (Apart from making the installation of these power generation systems more expensive, it also makes future prospects for the growing UK renewables industry far less secure and therefore less attractive to investors and manufacturers, who are likely to concentrate their efforts and employment opportunities in other countries.) 
  • The removal of the low level of Vehicle Excise Duty (“car tax”) for cars with low level emissions, and the removal of the high level of VED for high emission vehicles. (All vehicles, except those with zero emissions, will have the same £140 level of VED). This removes one of the incentives for people to buy fuel efficient cars. 
  • The scrapping of the zero carbon homes plan. (This would have ensured that all new dwellings built from 2016 would generate as much energy on-site – through renewable sources, such as wind or solar power – as they would use in heating, hot water, lighting and ventilation). 
  • The scrapping of the “green deal”, a not very effective way of helping homeowners bring down their energy bills through installing insulation, and fitting new boilers and draught-proofing. However it has not been replaced by a more effective system. 

(These latter two remove two methods of encouraging homes to be energy efficient, an extremely important way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.) 

  • While there is likely to be a place for gas fired power generation in the medium term, I don’t agree with the government’s enthusiasm for the extraction of shale gas in the UK - fracking.  It is expensive to produce, the amount that could realistically be produced in crowded UK is very limited, there may be environmental issues in its production, and it appears increasingly likely that, because of leakages, it releases as much greenhouse gas as coal. While subsidies are being removed from renewable energy, tax breaks and cash for local communities are proposed for fracking.

Thanks and good luck!