Ignore weak Rio and act locally, UK government urged
DRAFT RIO+20 DEAL - WHAT SHOULD IT MEAN FOR THE UK?
The environment charity is calling on the Coalition to say how it will translate the vague ideas in the weak Rio+20 deal into ambitious real action at home.
• Commit to a Bee Action Plan to protect dwindling bee numbers and safeguard an indispensable pollinator of UK food crops. Research commissioned by Friends of the Earth earlier this year revealed it would cost the UK £1.8 billion every year to hand-pollinate food crops without bees.
• Ensure the UK's electricity market is carbon-free by 2030 by investing in clean British energy from the sun, wind and water. Reducing our reliance on dirty and expensive fossil fuels and slashing energy waste will also help protect households from soaring fuel bills caused mainly by the rocketing price of gas.
• Agree to end fossil fuel subsidies. Governments across the world are handing over almost a hundred billion dollars of tax payers’ money every year to the oil, coal and gas industries.
• Enable the Green Investment Bank to borrow and lend money from next year in order to kick start a clean economy and create tens of thousands of jobs.
• Limit the costs in the UK courts of fighting environmental cases to enable communities affected by environmental problems, such as air or water pollution, to bring legal action without significant financial risk.
Speaking from Rio, Friends of the Earth’s Policy and Campaigns Director Craig Bennett said:
“Our world leaders are in danger of losing all credibility on safeguarding our planet - the draft Rio deal is like trying to tackle a massive house fire with a water pistol.
“International leadership is more important than ever - and the UK has a crucial role to play.
“Urgent action is needed at home to wean the UK off dirty and expensive fossil fuels and protect our precious natural resources.
“The self-styled greenest Government must commit to clean British energy and protect nature across the country – starting with a National Bee Action Plan to save the bees that provide our food.”
1. Nick Clegg is due to address the Rio summit today (Thursday) at around 9.30pm BST (5.30pm in Brazil). Friends of the Earth campaigners in Rio will be available for reaction.
2. Friends of the Earth’s assessment of the draft final Rio text is available: http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/briefings/rio20_isthisit.pdf
3. You can see Friends of the Earth’s full report ‘Rio+20 Earth Summit: What the UK needs to do to make it matter’ at http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/briefings/rio20_ewni_report_2012.pdf.
4. Thousands of people have joined Friends of the Earth’s call to Nick Clegg to end subsidies for fossil fuel companies: http://www.foe.co.uk/campaigns/climate/press_for_change/dirty_energy_rio_36030.html?ref=36103&submit=Email+Nick+Clegg.
5. Chancellor George Osborne announced multi-million pound tax breaks for the coal, oil and gas industries in his March Budget. The expected impact of these will lead to the release of at least as much carbon dioxide as the UK produces in a whole year, according to Friends of the Earth calculations: http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/media_briefing/tax_breaks.pdf.
6. Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland is part of Friends of the Earth International, a federation of 76 organisations from 76 countries.
7. While he’s in Brazil, Friends of the Earth is calling on Nick Clegg to help ensure that:
• World governments stop handing almost $100 billion in taxpayers’ money to the fossil fuel industry every year, and use the money to help billions of the world’s poorest people get access to clean, affordable energy;
• Plans coming out of the summit don’t undermine existing agreements on sustainable development;
• rich countries stop pushing for dodgy deals to sell off the world’s forests and unique habitat and species-rich areas to the highest bidder;
• real progress is made to enable people everywhere to have a say in how the environment is protected and access to justice when it isn’t;
• everyone’s voices are heard and taken into account during the Rio+20 talks and decision-making – not just the opinions of businesses and politicians;
• the UN’s initiative to enable poor communities to access energy prioritises tripling the use of renewable energy by 2030 rather than using dirty energy that will lock poor countries into fossil fuels.
8. The environment charity also supports the alternative People’s Summit process in Rio, where people from around the world excluded from the UN talks are asking politicians to put the needs of the world’s poorest people and future generations before short-term profit.
9. Friends of the Earth’s The Bee Cause campaign is supporting individuals to make change in their gardens and communities to help bees, and on the Prime Minister to commit to a National Bee Action Plan. www.foe.co.uk/bees.
10. Friends of the Earth's Clean British Energy campaign is urging the Government to listen to the public and transform our broken energy system by developing clean and affordable power from our wind, sun and water. For too long the Big Six energy companies have locked Britain into importing costly gas and coal – causing our fuel bills to rocket. Backing renewable power and cutting energy waste will stabilise fuel bills and create new jobs. To back the campaign and simple steps on how to switch electricity supplier visit http://www.cleanbritishenergy.co.uk/.
11. For more than 40 years we’ve seen that the wellbeing of people and planet go hand in hand – and it’s been the inspiration for our campaigns. Together with thousands of people like you we’ve secured safer food and water, defended wildlife and natural habitats, championed the move to clean energy and acted to keep our climate stable. Be a Friend of the Earth – see things differently. To find out more visit www.foe.co.uk blog comments powered by Disqus