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Hardly a day goes by without some new warning about the scale and urgency of the climate crisis. The frequency of severe weather events is a sign that the crisis is already upon us, even here in the UK. It's far and away the biggest issue facing the world and should be at the top of all parties' manifestos for the general election - yet there are party leaders who still refuse to discuss it in public. At election time we ordinary voters have an opportunity to push the climate crisis up the agenda locally, by lobbying the candidates in our constituencies. One way we can do this is to ask them all to take Friends of the Earth's Climate Action Pledge.

imageHave all our candidates taken the pledge?

The Climate Action Pledge

If elected, I pledge to:

  • Make the climate crisis a deal-breaker in how I vote in parliament
  • Vote to support measures that help us rapidly cut greenhouse gas emissions and build a fairer and greener society

Ask your favoured candidate to take the pledge

FoE have created a database containing information about which candidates have taken the Climate Action Pledge. To find out the latest situation, visit friendsoftheearth.uk/general-election/climate-pledge and fill in your postcode. Then ask your favoured candidate to sign, if they haven't already (and even if they have, the more messages they receive, the more the message will sink in).

As at 30th November, only one of the five candidates for Enfield Southgate had signed:

candidates who have taken the pledge 30 nov 2019The situation as at 30 November 2019. Click here for updates.

What needs to be done?

So how to translate these pledges into effective action? FoE have drawn up their own manifesto consisting of ten policies which they say should feature in all parties' manifestos. And they have been analysing the published manifestos and other statements to see to what extent the individual parties are ready to grasp the nettle and make the required changes.

In the boxes below are excerpts from the FoE manifesto and their latest analysis.

FoE's manifesto demands summarised

foe logoClimate change, nature, and human wellbeing are inextricably linked. If these are not addressed adequately, then the cost to current and future generations in terms of lives lost, livelihoods damaged, and economic harm will be severe.

Yet the worst can still be avoided. The solutions are readily available, many of which will also bring significant benefits such as green jobs, clean air, warm homes and thriving nature for all. This will require investment on the same scale as education and defence, with £42 billion needed per year over the next spending review.

But taking the right actions and investing just 5% of government spending (or 2% of GDP) will show international leadership and be an appropriate response to the protests and concerns of people across the UK and the rest of the world.

1. Climate change

Commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions as fast as possible, including bringing international aviation and shipping emissions into the UK’s carbon budgets, ruling out the use of international offsetting, meeting our fair share of funding international climate finance and stop funding fossil fuels abroad.

2. Surface transport

Spend an additional £11.5 billion per year in public transport (including free buses for the under 30s) and cycling and walking by reviewing the road building programme and HS2. Speed-up the transition to electric vehicles and ensure clean air everywhere.

3. Aviation

Reduce emissions from aviation, including through the introduction of a frequent flier levy, and cancel airport expansion.

4. Energy

Speed-up and scale-up the development of renewable energy. Ban fracking. Increase the cost of fossil-fuel use and commit to phasing out the use of natural gas.

5. Homes

Invest at least an additional £3.3 billion per year over the next few years into a local authority led insulation and eco-heating programme. Improve the energy efficiency standards of the private rented sector, and improve the standards of new build homes.

6. Food, farming and land use

Commit to doubling UK tree cover to capture carbon and let nature thrive. Reduce the use of pesticides, commit to deliver a strategy that leads to diets with less but better meat, and set a binding target to halve food waste.

7. Nature

Invest an additional £5.6 billion a year into nature protection and restoration (including important carbon sinks such as peatbogs), introduce targets and powerful new legislation to protect the environment, and introduce a new law to end the scourge of plastic pollution.

8. Local authorities

Require and fully empower local authorities to deliver on the climate emergency, including through providing sites for renewable energy developments, enabling local authorities to raise significant sums for low carbon investment, and rewriting planning rules.

9. Brexit

Oppose a No Deal Brexit under all circumstances, and support a close and cooperative future relationship with the EU. Guarantee in law that high environmental standards and protections will be maintained (without regression) and enhanced over time. Include in legislation a focus on "public money for public goods" in farming, and ensure any future trade deals promote global sustainability and maintain standards.

10. Rights and democracy

Improve democracy by enabling 16- and 17-year olds to vote in future elections, introducing proportional representation, introducing a Future Generations Act for England, overhauling electoral law, and protect the right to protest.

Friends of the Earth will assess the political party General Election manifestos based on how and if they include our 10 manifesto demands. Read our manifesto in full on our policy website.

Friends of the Earth is independent of all political parties and we do not endorse or favour any particular party. We are calling on all political parties to adopt these policies in their manifestos and will hold them to account for any promises made following the election.

Source: friendsoftheearth.uk/general-election/our-manifesto-2019-general-election

The box below contains an excerpt from FoE's findings as at 30 November - they will update this as new information comes in.

FoE's take on the party manifestos: summary

So far it seems that the Green Party most consistently meet our demands with a manifesto of great ambition and numerous detailed policies. Labour and the Lib Dems come next, both of whom are very strong on ambition and funding for renewable power and home energy efficiency, but have important gaps in other areas. The Conservative Party are bringing up the rear, with policies which are generally less ambitious, entirely absent, or in some cases actively damaging.

However this isn’t the end of the story. Our aim at this election is to persuade all the parties to adopt the strongest possible environmental policies overall (to which we will hold them if elected). The manifestos are the main way they set out their platform, but important pledges can be made throughout the election, in TV debates or mini-manifestos for example. So, we’ll continue to record their promises to act and produce a final score closer to polling day. Watch this space.

Read the full report: General election - our take on the party manifestos

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