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Green Party Reply

Green party policy on climate change

From: ann@greenoxfordshire.com

Sent: Monday, March 23, 2015 10:19 AM

To: winsomelosesome@jillhaas.plus.com

Subject: Re: Follow-up letter

Dear Jill, the documents on the Green Party's policy pages are background documents, updated or amended as and when they are debated at conference - so inevitably there's a time lag; and of course 'Core Values' are more general, and less likely to be amended regularly.  It is probably some years since the Core Values document was reviewed - you shouldn't draw the conclusion that the Green Party is not completely au fait with developments on such a critical issue!

The Green Party is completely opposed to fracking for a whole host of reasons.  Even if the technology was benign - which it isn't - it represents a massive diversion from the real investment that is needed i.e. in renewables.  I think probably if the same effort and money that is being wasted on fracking exploration were expended on renewables development, as much energy would be generated.

I'm not a climate scientist, but I know enough about the science involved to know that estimating the percentage of fossil fuel reserves that need to be left in the ground in order to keep average global temperatures below 2°C is a phenomenally complex calculation with thousands of variables.  I would be foolish to claim knowledge I don't have.  We have to listen to the voices of those experts that do this work, and I believe 20% is the figure they are suggesting.  Whether it's 5% or 75%, the direction of policy is absolutely clear -- divestment from fossil fuel industry, an immediate end to exploration and development of new fossil fuel reserves, and massive, urgent investment in renewable energy and strategies for reducing the demand for energy.

The Party's manifesto has not yet gone public, so you will have to keep an eye out for it.  I think there is very little doubt that if this is the issue someone is concerned about, the Green Party is the party they must vote for.  The other parties cannot be trusted on it.

As regards 'working with other parties' - it's one thing to vote with other parties on specific motions (you can't help but do that), another to work with sympathetic representatives of other parties on particular bills or parliamentary committees, but quite a different matter to form a coalition - that is, an agreement binding on your party's MPs to obey the whips of the coalition parties.  I am fairly confident when I say that the Green Party in parliament will not be entering any coalitions!

On 2015-03-20T15:22:11+00:00, "Jill Haas"

<winsomelosesome@jillhaas.plus.com> wrote:

Dear Ann,

Many thanks for your very thoughtful letter of 14 March and apologies for approaching you again at what obviously must be a very busy time.

Although it wasn’t listed as a question per se, we speak of the necessity of political parties working together for the objectives listed. Your reply made no mention of the Green Party cooperating with other parties.

Would the Green Party aim to do this?

In addition, the Green Party Core Values document – as far as we could see – does not speak about capping the exploitation of fossil fuels at 20% of known reserves as one of the party’s objectives. It only talks about greenhouse gas emissions.

We hope very much that there will be a commitment in the Green Party manifesto not to extract all possible UK sources of fossil fuels (eg by fracking) and to work towards an international agreement for a global cap on their supply. If this is not in the manifesto, we would like to know whether you are willing to argue within the party for such a commitment.

[1] Could you please clarify this for us?

And thanks again,

 

Jill

-----Original Message-----

From: ann@greenoxfordshire.com

Sent: Saturday, March 14, 2015 10:04 PM

To: winsomelosesome@jillhaas.plus.com

Subject: Re: Green Party Policy on Climate Change

 

Dear Jill, thank you for your letter on behalf of Low Carbon Headington regarding Green Party policy on Climate Change.

Unlike any other political party, the Green Party takes as the starting point for all its policy formation the need for a sustainable relationship between humanity and the planet.  In this sense, every one of the party's policies feeds into the low-carbon objective.  You will find our core values

expressed at http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/core-values.html

The knowledge that 80% of currently recognised fossil fuel reserves have to stay in the ground has been the driver for the birth of the fossil fuel divestment movement.  Green activists have been at the heart of that movement from the beginning.

The Green group of six city councillors in Oxford successfully brought a motion on fossil fuel divestment to City Council recently, as a result of which the City Council is committed to divestment.  I am clear that divestment from fossil fuel extraction is now a moral issue and one to which we must devote a lot more energy than before - and at the same time we (the international community) need to work out mechanisms for 'turning off the tap' of fossil fuel extraction which are fair, effective and as fast as possible.

Since the present world order is dominated by global finance and corporate power, the prospect of 'stranded (fossil fuel) assets'  (with the consequent impact on balance sheets) puts considerable power in the hands of the politicians who will determine the carbon ceiling.  The Bank of England and large finance houses are already modelling the potential impact of a lower ceiling.  It is my hope that the politicians will seize that opportunity in Paris in December, and were I there I would be pressing for at least a 20% ceiling.

However, committing to carbon reductions must be accompanied by robust actions now to enable our currently resource- and fossil fuel-hungry economy to adapt quickly enough.  This is where the gulf between the Green Party and the grey parties of the centre opens up.

The economic thinking of the traditional parties, still wedded to the mantra of 'growth', has not caught up with the realities of the task ahead.  Though I welcome it, I would have more confidence in the Cameron/Clegg/Milibandjoint statement if I were convinced that they actually knew how to "accelerate the transition to a . . . low-carbon economy".  The trillions of pounds that have been poured into subsidising fossil fuels and nuclear power in the UK (three times as much as is spent on subsidies to renewables) -- as well as propping up a corrupt and failed banking system, whilst leaving those at the bottom of the pile deeper in poverty and debt -- don't inspire us to believe that their hearts are where their mouths are. Neither do they seem to have appreciated the magnitude of investments needed in renewable energy, greener public transport, insulation of existing buildings, etc. -- which will also create about a million 'good' jobs.

The last thirty years has seen the progressive monetisation of everything and a wholesale assault on the public sector -- as Oscar Wilde might have noted, they know the price of everything but the value of nothing.  The deregulation of the financial sector, which Maggie Thatcher and Ronald Reagan started, and which Labour did nothing to change (Andrew Smith MP was in the Cabinet for five years from 1999-2004, including three years as Chief Secretary to the Treasury) was, in my view, the principal cause of the financial crisis.  And, after the Coalition 'found' £375bn to prop up the banks, George Osborne used the resulting deficit as an excuse to push through the most punitive attack on the poor for half a century -- whilst the current chairman of Barclays awards himself a £1.1m bonus.