Make climate change an issue in the May 2017 County Council election
To keep global warming below 2 degrees, we need action locally as well as globally.
Climate change is too important to be a party political issue. We must make the planet safer for future generations and for all life on earth - animal, plant and human.
When someone knocks on your door to ask you to vote for them, say you want more action from the County Council to tackle climate change. You want more renewable energy and you want cuts in overall energy use.
You could also write to candidates, and raise questions at public meetings.
2016 was the hottest year on record. More than one degree hotter than pre-industrial time.
Floods, storms, heat waves, droughts and wildfires are now much more common worldwide.Climate scientists increasingly can attribute climate change as the principal cause of many such events.
Climate change is melting ice which causes the oceans to expand and sea level to rise. This will threaten up to 187 million people worldwide this century.
The 2015 Paris Agreement commits us to keep global warming well below 2°C. The UK is also committed to cutting emissions by 80% by 2050 relative to 1990.
We can only achieve this if action is taken now at all levels - by governments at international, national and local levels and by individuals.
Things to raise
Ask your Hampshire County Council candidate if they will press for the Council to:
- Make climate change a high priority?
- Take action to prevent vulnerable people from its effects (over-heating in summer, flooding, storms and snow)?
- Continue “Hitting the Cold Spots” that helps people save energy in their home, and keeps them warmer and healthier?
- Refuse applications for fracking (fracking for shale oil and gas just adds to the pollution caused by burning fossil fuels)?
- Make a commitment to support - and put money into - local renewable energy such as onshore wind, PV farms, sustainable wood fuel and anaerobic digesters to provide electricity and heat? [The UK target for generating energy from renewables is 15% by last year, 20% by 2020. Yet according to a study by Hampshire Renewable Energy Co-operative just 1.8% of ampshire's energy came from renewables - Hampshire is still getting more energy from coal than from renewables! UK faces energy crisis in 2025 – growing gap between supply and demand -– the amount of electricity the UK can generate is decreasing as polluting coal-burning and ageing nuclear power stations are closed so each winter the UK is teetering close to the edge of a gap between supply and demand.]
- Overturn its ban on wind farms on Council land?
- Encourage walking and cycling, making sure that roads and transport systems are designed from the start to give priority to people on foot? [health benefits, fewer exhaust emissions and less air pollution]
- Divert more waste that could be recycled before it's burnt in the incinerators?
- Work with bus companies to get people out of the car and onto the bus – including more frequent and reliable bus services?[fewer car journeys, fewer exhaust emissions]
- Work with business to encourage companies to drive less, insulate their buildings, shut shop doors and save energy? [official statistics show no decrease in commercial electricity consumption in Winchester since 2005 unlike all other local authorities in Hampshire, bar one, official statistics show that fuel consumed by commercial vehicles actually increased since 2005]
- Keep the HCC commitment to work with Winchester City Council to develop a coherent movement (traffic, walking, cycling etc ) plan for Winchester town?
- Cut traffic in Winchester town [more use of P&R, fewer central car parks, less air pollution and fewer exhaust emissions]
- Encourage smaller, low-emissions cars; Winchester city centre air pollution exceeds EU/UK limits for lung-damaging particulates and nitrogen dioxide[large gas guzzlers take up too much space and cause more damage to verges and roads; free parking for electric vehicles, higher charges for biggest cars]
- Press for the County Council to go ahead with its plans for District Energy Networks in Winchester town [reduce emissions and cut carbon footprint]
If someone is already a Councillor, ask what they and the County Council have done to tackle climate change already.
See the list of Hampshire County Councillors for Winchester District.
Some facts to help you….
About climate change
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stated in 2014 “.. greenhouse gas emissions ..are now higher than ever. ..Their effects .. are extremely likely [95-100% certain] to have been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century”.
The emissions largely come from the burning of fossil fuels which has caused atmospheric carbon dioxide to now exceed 400 parts per million. This is 43% up on pre-industrial times, highest for 800,000 years and possibly 20 million years.
This high level of carbon dioxide, and other greenhouse gases, is causing the Earth to warm up.
Can we avoid dangerous global warming of 2°C?
Only if immediate action is taken to cut emissions NOW.
195 governments meeting in Paris (COP 21) last in December 2015 recognised “ that climate change represents an urgent and potentially irreversible threat to human societies”. The Paris Agreement entered into force in November 2016.
Climate modelling shows the world has less than 20 years to get to net zero emissions if we are to have a 2/3 chance of avoiding 2°C warming.