Getting political

Taking inspiration from a lecture by an ex-Greenpeace activist I have been inspired to find out more about the politicians who represent me and their opinion/policies on climate change…  

Day to day I try to complete as many personal actions on this topic as possible.  E.g. eating vegetarian, driving a hybrid/electric car, etc.  Also I work full time in sustainable finance.  However, politics was an obvious gap of inaction on my part.

I wrote via email to three politicians who represent my area:

·        The UK Prime Minister

·        My local MP (Labour)

·        The Mayor of London

I asked for their reaction and actions in response to the 2018 IPCC report on climate change and the Paris Agreement, which indicates policy action is needed to curb climate change.

First off, not all politicians have direct emails.  However, the online forms for number 10 Downing Street and the Mayor’s office are easy enough to use.  I was pleasantly surprised to receive a response back from all three politicians within 1 month.

My MP replied back with an hour or so and stated he would check and get back to me – I am guessing he was already familiar with my name from my Brexit-related emails!  True to his word, within 2 weeks I had a fulsome reply stating the labour party position.  I also got the same information pack in the post a few days later.  There is something weirdly exciting about getting a large envelope with the ‘House of Commons’ logo on the front.  This includes some bold Labour policies – committing to 60% renewable or low carbon power for the UK within 12 years of coming to power, banning fracking and bringing water back into public ownership – the latter with a view to cut down water wastage.

Next to come back was the PM’s office – I was surprised to get such as prompt a response seeing as it must be a very busy time.  The response was from an official at the department responsible – BEIS (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) Ministerial Correspondence unit.   It included a number of actions, such as the UK joining the Powering Past Coal Alliance and supporting clean growth.  It was a fulsome response, but not as radical as the Labour position.

Last but certainly not least was the Mayor’s office, it was worth waiting for.  It was a constructive and practical response, focusing on London’s 1.5 degree Compatible Climate Action Plan – launched on 12thDecember.  It is aligned with the highest standards included in the Paris Agreement.

I was shocked to learn andotally the majority of letters and emails to MPs are about potholes.  Although annoying, in my view potholes are not the most pressing item needing action in the world today!

Overall, I am unusually impressed by my engagements and thoroughly recommend we all make our voices heard by emailing and writing.  I intend to do this a lot more!  Politicians watch out – you will be hearing from me again on this topic 🙂

One thought on “Getting political

  1. Great to hear that you received these responses from our politicians. I’m surprised about the first two, but not about the Mayor of London, he’s so active on many of these topics – I’m a huge fan. I’m interested to continue hearing about where you go from here, as I myself swing between being active and a sense of resignation and lethargy when it comes to politics. PS I also remember being pretty unimpressed about the focus on potholes in the last government budget!

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