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Our letter to the candidates

Dear ______________________,


_________________  party policy on climate change

To have some chance of keeping future climate change from moving into unknown and possibly catastrophic levels, climate scientists agree that global temperature increase must be restricted to below 2˚ C.[1] Accordingly, at the Copenhagen Conference in 2009, 167 of the world’s governments – representing countries responsible for 87% of carbon emissions and including our own – subscribed to that figure.

To keep within that limit, it is calculated[2] that the world can afford to pump only one trillion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere – that is the total global carbon budget. It doesn’t matter exactly when this is done but the limit must not be exceeded. This in turn means leaving 80% of known fossil fuel reserves in the ground. [3]

On behalf of Low Carbon Headington, Low Carbon South Oxford and Global Justice Oxford, we are writing to all prospective parliamentary candidates to ask the following:

  • Does your party accept the need to leave 80% of known fossil fuel reserves in the ground?
  • Which of your party’s policies will ensure the rise in global temperatures is restricted to below 2˚C and how will they achieve this level?
  • What is your personal commitment to ensuring these limits are adhered to?

On 14 February 2015, David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband signed a joint pledge to tackle climate change. Point three of that pledge stated the intention “to accelerate the transition to a competitive, energy-efficient low-carbon economy and to end the use of unabated coal for power generation.” Capping the exploitation of fossil fuels at 20% of known reserves will force that transition to occur. We think it is essential for political parties to work together on this and strongly support the joint pledge. Will your party commit to working towards a cross-party agreement to pursue policies nationally and internationally to cap the exploitation of fossil fuels at 20% of known reserves, in order to ensure global warming is less than 2˚C?

We would be grateful for a reply before March 31st so we can share your response with our members, supporters and local residents.


Yours sincerely,









[1] See The Guardian, 8 July 2014: “U.N. Issued With Roadmap On How to Avoid Climate Catastrophe”

[2] See eg article in the Guardian by Damian Carrington, 7th January 2015 reporting research from U.C.L. on un-burnable fossil fuels.

[3] See eg Carbon Tracker report 2011, “Un-burnable Carbon” warning that the world’s financial markets are carrying a “carbon bubble”.