Updated: Jul 21, 2022
What can we do to ensure that our next PM – whoever they are – leads urgent action on climate change? This question’s being increasingly asked, due to the absence of climate change as a key policy issue in the Conservative leadership election.
The UK currently holds the presidency of COP26, a vital role at a time when the urgent action to tackle the climate emergency is under threat from knock-ons from war and the pandemic. Already, there are fears of backsliding on the UK’s net zero commitments.
So how can we try to influence this vital debate and decision? Here’s a few suggestions:
Lobby regional Conservative MPs – can you make time TODAY to send an email asking your most local MP to challenge leadership candidates on their climate ambition? There's a template at the end of this blog that you can copy, paste and amend so it reflects your own views.
The nearest Conservative constituencies to Newcastle include Blyth, Hexham and North West Durham.
Altogether there are 11 Conservative MPs in North East England – more info here. Even after 21 July, these MPs will play a big role, so let's make sure they know how strongly voters feel.
Lobby the two leadership candidates directly! Whoever wins may be needing YOUR vote within three years, at the next General Election!
And we’ve six summer weeks to urge local party members, who’ll make the final choice of PM, to call out backsliding on all-important UK commitments following the Paris Agreement and COP26.
Between 21 July and the end of August, these members will decide who to select, based on visits by the two shortlisted candidates, Q and A sessions at hustings, media coverage and local debate.
If you’re a member, make sure you raise the key climate issues – here’s a link to the speech by Alok Sharma, President of COP26, urging the importance of speedy progress on national commitments.
If not a member, you can influence the debate through making sure your local Conservative Association knows why this is top priority for so many local voters. Contact information for Newcastle’s association is here.
Make the most of these summer weeks to save the world!
Between now and 5 September, these two sets of voters will decide our new Prime Minister. But we can all influence this because, ultimately, a much broader set of voters will get involved – we’ll all have a chance at the next general election! Opinion polls show how much climate policies matter to voters of all ages. Don’t be shy about spelling this out to the people who will eventually need our votes!
TEMPLATE FOR EMAILS/LETTERS
Dear [Name of your MP or Conservative association representative],
I am writing to you regarding the change in leadership of the Conservative Party and its bearing on the Government’s current net-zero commitments.
Recently, we have seen more and more devastating impacts of the climate crisis in our region: Storm Desmond left towns like Corbridge under water in 2015; Storm Arwen in 2021 left thousands of people without power and more remote communities cut off for weeks, and destroyed millions of trees here and in Scotland; Storm Franklin in 2022 brought more flooding and travel chaos. We have now seen UK temperatures exceed 40 degrees for the first time in recorded history. Many people in this country are deeply concerned about the impact these and future events will have on our planet and way of life.
According to a Green Alliance report in the weeks running up to the UK-hosted COP26 summit, the Government is still off track to meet net-zero targets. In the last few days, the High Court has ruled in favour of environmental groups who legally challenged the Government’s climate change strategy, deeming it “unlawful” as it fails to provide the policies needed to achieve emissions targets.
The world is looking to us, the UK – the current president of the pivotal COP climate change conference – for leadership, and I call on you to hold our new Prime Minister and their cabinet to account on their climate change strategy.
The following actions can be taken immediately to reduce emissions and, as a resident of the North East, I urge you to put pressure on the Government to make them an urgent priority: Immediately increase investment in and expansion of renewable energy, and divest from fossil fuels
Urgent investment and regulation to achieve the benefits of sustainable housing energy and insulation standards, reducing fuel poverty and wasted energy
Improve public transport links and cycle paths, and make public transport cheaper and more accessible
Subsidise sustainable farming practices
Prioritise land restoration projects
Implement legislation on the eradication of single-use plastics
We have now run out of time: everything possible that can be done, must be done. I hope you will help us in protecting our region and our planet.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Full address and postcode
LOCAL MP CONTACT DETAILS