Think Global. Act Local!

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Labour's 10:10 failure

Sent to: Exeter University Green Society
Exeter MP,Mr Ben Bradshaw
Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Mr Ed Miliband

Action: Please circulate this message to people who will be interested

At the beginning of the month the Exeter Labour MP, Ben Bradshaw, told me in writing that he supported the 10:10 campaign's ambition to cut emissions by 10% in 2010.

Yesterday the motion was put to the house of commons, and was overwhelming blocked by Labour, including a negative vote from my MP. The motion received strong support from the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives, but was rejected at 297:225.

A heavily watered down version passed the house without a further vote, and it does commit £20 million to assist central government to reduce their emissions.

The main aim of the 10:10 campaign is to send a strong message to the world that we are ready to commit to ambitious and binding targets in Copenhagen this December. What is most baffling is that the 10% cut is completely in line with the Labour government's existing commitment of a 12.5% reduction by 2010-11.

The Liberal Democrats want the UK to take the lead on the issue of climate change, they proposed this bold motion, they unanimously supported it, and of all the parties they have the highest turn out to vote. Maybe it's time we all vote Liberal in Exeter? Does the Green Society actively support a political party?

See the full break down of votes on this motion here.


  1. Ben Bradshaw's response:

    Hi Ian, and everyone CCed,

    Thanks for the email about last night’s Liberal Democrat Opposition Day Debate regarding the 10:10 campaign.

    The mitigation of climate change is very important to me, as it is to the people of Exeter and I am keen to support any campaign to help reduce our national carbon footprint.

    I believe that the 10:10 campaign is an excellent motivator for the public to get involved and help tackle climate change on a personal level and I hope this campaign will inspire a collective behavioural change in our approach to our own emissions. Recently, as Secretary of State, I was pleased to commit the Department for Culture Media & Sport to the campaign, which is partly what the motion was calling for.

    The debate held yesterday was an opposition day debate called by the Liberal Democrats. I did not vote for this motion because this issue has already been voted on in Parliament – supported by the Liberal Democrats and the Tories.

    The Climate Change Act 2008 set out much more ambitious targets for the UK than 10:10, with the Government legally bound to reduce emissions by 80% by 2050, and structured to ensure that this is achievable. Just five months ago we put flesh on that framework when Parliament agreed the first three carbon budgets for this country. Those budgets are 3 five year cycles moving from last year to 2022. It would have been a retrograde step to therefore sign up to the 10:10 campaign.

    The Liberal Democrats and Tories have a very poor record in Local Government for opposing renewable energy schemes, particularly here in the South West. Their MPs might be better off spending their time persuading their councillors at local level to stop blocking measures to reduce climate change, rather than trying to score politics points against this Labour Government which is recognised across the world for the leading role it has played on the issue of climate change.

    The Climate Change Act was the first legislation of its kind in the world and sets out a series of carbon budgets that enables Britain to set itself a low carbon pathway for the future. The carbon budgets ensure that both Whitehall departments and the public sector actively create policies that will significantly reduce carbon emissions year on year to 2022, not just 2010. The government has also now made available £20 million for its departments to further reduce carbon emissions at an accelerated rate.

    However, parliament must not become complacent on this issue and must look at new ways in which it can reduce further its carbon emissions. The best way to achieve a solution to climate change is a multi-lateral international agreement. This is why I have written to the Department for Energy and Climate Change, on behalf of my constituents, urging the department to broker a climate deal that commits developed countries to cut emissions by at least 40 per cent by 2020 (from 1990 levels) with at least three-quarters of cuts being made domestically. Moreover, developing countries should be provided with at least $150 billon of public funding annually, from developed countries, for adaptation to climate change, clean development and addressing deforestation.

    On a personal level, all Labour Ministers’ travel on official business is carbon offset and I have offset my private travel for several years now. I do not own a car, and cycle most places – not only does it reduce my carbon footprint, but I can stay healthy as well!

    I hope this helps. In the meantime if I can be of any further assistance please do not hesitate to get in touch.

    With very best wishes,


  2. My response inviting Exeter Liberal and Conservative parliamentary candidates to respond:

    TO: Ben Bradshaw, Graham Oakes & Hannah Foster, Exeter University Green Society

    Dear Ben,

    Thank you for your rapid response. I commend your personal efforts on tackling climate change, and for the most part I have been pleased, and pleasantly surprised by the achievements of this Labour government.

    As we go into the new academic year here at the University the question I am looking to answer is: Which party best represents our climate and environmental interests, both in Exeter and nationally?

    I have read both Ed Miliband's response:
    and our Exeter MP, Ben Bradshaw's, response (below) to the outcome of yesterday's debate on a 10% cut in emissions in 2010 and I still do not understand Labour's reluctance to support this initiative.

    (See the full break down of votes on this motion here)

    I believe that the main aim of the 10:10 campaign is to send a strong message to the world that we are ready to commit to ambitious and binding targets in Copenhagen this December and break some of the fragility that currently surrounds the meeting.

    I invite Exeter parliamentary candidates Graham Oakes (Liberal Democrats) and Hannah Foster (Conservatives) to respond to the two messages below, firstly on whether their personal commitments to climate change can match that of Mr Bradshaw's, and secondly on their party's response to the solid foundations that Labour have begun for tackling climate change.

    Graham: I believe that the Liberal Democrats are given only three opposition days in any year, and I would like to know why you would 'waste' this opportunity to set the agenda in Parliament to push what would be "a retrograde step to therefore sign up to the 10:10 campaign." (please see Ben Bradshaw's message below).

    Best wishes to all,

    Ian Elliott

  3. Hi Ian

    It is no surprise that people are turned off from politics! Voting against something you claim to support, just because an opposition party proposes it, is plain daft.

    The Liberal Democrats are widely viewed to be the greenest of the main political parties in the UK and at our recent conference in Bournemouth there was widespread concern that the governments targets were too little, too late - however this government has tried to do something.

    Climate Change is not a big issue, it is the big issue of our generation and failure to tackle itt now will be disasterous for our planet.

    Action needs to be local and international.

    Locally we need to enable people to reduce emissions is a range of ways: improved home insulation (walls & attics) - the governments scheme is a good first step but is not resourced to make a significant impact. With only just over 1 million house insulated each year it will take far too long to make the reductions we need.

    Busineesses need to be helped to reduce their emissions, as major CO2 emitters.

    The alleviation of congestion will also have a significant effect as will the new all electric cars coming from various manufacturers in 2011 - the government however needs to build the grid of charging points.

    Micro generation has a small but important part to play and the list goes on ....

    Internationally the EU must lead to get a range of acceptable and challenging targets, I fear mistaken self interest and selfishness will result in a fudge.

    I do agree with Ben that we will need to financially support the developing countries to reduce their emissions.

    Finally I'm pleased Ben is still on his bike - though David Cameron has given many people a jaundice view of peddling politicians.

    I will forgive him his swipe at the Lib Dems. The Opposition debate was clealy not wasted on this vital issue and with Labour are now the third party in Exeter and green voters will need to decide if they want a Tory of a Lib Dem at next year's General Election.

    Graham Oakes


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