Category Archives: What’s on

‘Brilliant Meeting’ with Sir Alan Campbell MP for the national ‘Virtual Lobby of Parliament’.

Supporters of NE-CAP took a leading role in staging what Fiona Dear, Head of Campaigns at The Climate Coalition, called a “Brilliant Meeting” with Sir Alan Campbell, MP for the Tynemouth constituency, on 2nd July, as part of the national ‘Virtual Lobby of Parliament’.

Frustrated at the lack of focus on the core ‘asks’ at last year’s Lobby, in Westminster, David Golding adopted a ‘managerial (high-handed?) approach’ to this year’s on-line event. Opening statements were most ably made by Anna Wardle and Jack Newton,both of whom will be entering the 6th Form at Whitley Bay High School in September.

Anna Wardle


Jack Newton

Then Crispian Oates and Susanne Wardle summarised two of the Coalition’s ‘Priority Asks’, on ‘Investment in climate- and nature-friendly infrastructure’, and the ‘Recovery of nature at home and abroad’, respectively.

Crispian Oates

Susanne Wardle

Sir Alan responded most sympathetically to all he had heard and promised to bring our proposals to the attention of the Prime Minister.

Sir Alan Campbell MP


David rounded off the formal part of the meeting by thanking Sir Alan and all those involved, and emphasised the “desperate urgency” of the issues involved, following which the meeting was opened up for comments from others attending.

David Golding


David says, “I appreciated everything which was said, but what sticks in my memory most of all is Anna’s closing plea to Sir Alan, “I ask you, not to let my generation down!” I’m sure she would say the same thing to each one of us older folks – may God grant that we’ll all take it to heart.

Notes:

The text of the main presentations made at the lobby may be viewed here.

Four of those making major contributions to the lobby are members of Whitley Bay Baptist Church, whose Church Leadership Team had unanimously commended the event to its members and friends.

The Climate Coalition is made up of over 130 organisations, with a combined membership of 20 million. On Tuesday 2nd, over 220 on-line meetings with MPs took place, and there are still more to come in the days and weeks ahead. Almost 14,000 people from all walks of life participated.

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Be Part of History – Join the first-ever Virtual Lobby

Dear Friend of NE-CAP and The Climate Coalition,

You can find the Climate Coalition’s ‘Priority Asks’ here.

LAST YEAR WE MADE HISTORY TOGETHER with ‘The Time Is Now’: the biggest ever mass lobby for climate, nature and people. 12,000 people from all walks of life travelled to Westminster to talk to their MPs about how the UK needs to tackle climate change and nature’s decline.

They included a good contingent from NE-CAP. 🙂

NOW WE’RE ASKING IF YOU’LL BE PART OF HISTORY AGAIN.

[Veronica and I have already ‘thrown our hats into the ring’!]

We can’t all travel to Westminster, but we can make our voices heard online. On Tuesday 30th June we are coming together for a virtual lobby, inviting you, and thousands of others to ask MPs to put people, climate and nature at the heart of our nation’s recovery.

BE PART OF HISTORY! Sign up now, at:

https://www.theclimatecoalition.org/virtual-lobby/

We’re holding this virtual lobby now because the UK is at a turning point. As we build back from the current health crisis, OUR BEST CHANCE OF BUILDING A STRONGER ECONOMY GOES HAND IN HAND WITH TACKLING CLIMATE CHANGE.

We can rebuild a resilient economy that benefits everyone in society and tackle climate change & nature’s decline; creating jobs and protecting the most vulnerable in the UK and around the world. Or we can let the moment for change pass us by, go back to old ways and wait for new crises to hit.

Using our voices to call for action is more important than ever. Have a virtual cup of tea with your MP on Tuesday 30 June and tell them that #TheTimeIsNow to put a healthy, greener, fairer future at the heart of plans to rebuild from the Coronavirus crisis.

Be part of history. Sign up to be part of the first ever virtual lobby for climate, nature and people.

SIGN UP NOW! Go to: https://www.theclimatecoalition.org/virtual-lobby/

You can find the Climate Coalition’s ‘Priority Asks’ here.

With every good wish, and thanking you for your support,

David and the Committee of North East CALL TO ACTION,

Together with The Climate Coalition team

 

 

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Hope in an Age of Despair

“Hope in an Age of Despair”

A reflection for the 50th ‘Earth Day’, 22nd April 2020,

for St Luke’s Church, Claremont St, Newcastle upon Tyne

Dr David Golding CBE

In talking about “an age of despair”, I’m not thinking only of the alarming impacts of the Coruna virus pandemic, although the infection and the illness it causes are certainly the source of immense distress, and the economic and financial effects which lie ahead may well be even more so.

Our age drives people to despair for many and various reasons, many of which are truly alarming, so much so that Sir Martin Rees, the former President of the Royal Society and one of the UK’s leading and most sober-minded scientists, has stated that, “there is only a 50% chance that civilisation as we know it will make it through the present century”.

As some of you know, the climate and wider environmental crisis is one which has occupied much of my attention for nearly 15 years – and with good reason: “We are in terrible, terrible trouble and the longer we wait to do something about it, the worse it is going to get,” says Sir David Attenborough.

The science is as clear on this, as it is on the reason for the current health crisis: the world is hitting record-breaking temperatures, and the poorest communities are being impacted first and hardest. The devastating decline in wildlife is set to wipe out a million species. Our oceans are choking in plastic, our children are breathing toxic air, and we are feeling the impacts. This is not a future problem: the time is now.

And then, along comes the Corona virus and its threat to the global economic system – we don’t have to look far for reasons which drive many to despair.

My title is, in fact, taken from a book published by IVP entitled, “Hope in an Age of Despair – the gospel and the future of life on earth”, by Jonathan Moo and Robert White. The authors are an American theology professor and a professor of Geophysics at Cambridge University, respectively – both of them evangelical and reformed – and they are eminently well qualified to deal with the book’s subject. I’ve produced a ‘Digest, Commentary & Critique’ of it. [Me being me, ‘critique’ was bound to feature somewhere!]

The authors acknowledge that the Bible’s teaching on care for creation and care for the poor have clear lessons for our response to the environmental crisis, but they’ve opened up a highly original vein of biblical teaching, pointing out that Christ at his coming will make ‘all things new’, and discussing what that means for our lives now, for which they cast a compelling vision. It is this hope – what is called the ‘ultimate’ or assured hope – which should indwell and empower us, and not some misguided, pseudo-pious, and unfounded optimism about the future during this present age.

What they are saying, in essence, is this: there’s a glorious kingdom coming, in a new creation, and it will be characterised by complete shalom – peace, health and justice – in the relationships between God and humanity, between human beings, and between humanity and the rest of creation. But the kingdom is here right now, albeit in its infancy, since it was inaugurated by the coming of Jesus, and believers are members of it right now! Similarly, the new creation is here right now, albeit also in its infancy, since we are “new creatures in Christ”.

Consequently, imbued with an assured hope of our participation in the coming kingdom, in the new creation, we should personify the values of that coming kingdom, and exemplify the characteristics of that new creation, in all we do right now!

These considerations inevitably provide a devastating indictment of the attitudes and behaviour which we have shown to date: our casual selfishness in how we use the world’s resources, and in how we treat our global neighbours. Our grotesque abuse of God’s creation, and our gross oppression of the world’s poor in consequence, are, according to Moo and White, “revealed for what they are: an affront to God, an abrogation of the responsibility given to us and a rejection of our identity as his children in Christ”.

The world looks very broken indeed sometimes, but Jesus reminds us that the smallest seeds can grow into trees that bring shelter to many. Every small part of our daily lives can restore relationships, bringing justice and abundant life to all – and doubtless those of you listening will encounter many opportunities for just such acts of ‘kingdom living’ in the months to come.

Philippa Strickett, a Tearfund supporter, has described how, “Being a Christian changed our eating habits! [Exclamation mark] We have eaten a lot less meat, etc.”, and concluded by saying, “We certainly fail sometimes [join the club, Philippa!], but step by step, with a spirit of generosity and grace, we’re trying to follow Jesus with our whole lives.”

Isn’t that wonderful?! I was particularly struck by that bit where she says, “Step by step, with a spirit of generosity and grace, we’re trying to follow Jesus with our whole lives.” “With a spirit of generosity and grace” – please help us to exemplify such a spirit, Lord, even in current, trying circumstances!

But suppose we start to personify the values of the coming kingdom, and exemplify the characteristics of the new creation. What if not enough people do that and, anyway, the governments of the world continue in their current wicked folly, what then?

I’m convinced that anything we do right now to reflect the values of the coming kingdom, and to exemplify the characteristics of the new creation, is of lasting significance! Such lives are “not in vain in the Lord” (I Cor. 15.58). In ways we can barely imagine, lives lived now which reflect the character of the coming kingdom, in the renewed creation, have enduring value and their echoes will sound on into eternity.

Prayer:

“Help us, dear Lord, to live such lives and to do so, like Philippa Strickett and her lovely family, “With a spirit of generosity and grace”. Amen!

David W. Golding CBE PhD DSc DCL

Associate, Faculty of Science, Agriculture & Engineering, and Honorary Chaplain, Newcastle University;

Development Coordinator, North East CALL TO ACTION on global poverty and climate change; Founding Trustee, Jubilee Debt Campaign; Trustee, Blue Sky Trust (ACET North East); Spokesperson for Tearfund in NE England.

d.w.golding@talk21.com

david.golding@ncl.ac.uk

 

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Banks Mining Company still peddling the same, discredited arguments for its shameful proposals

NEWS RELEASE:

Banks Mining Company still peddling the same, discredited arguments for its shameful proposals

… ‘either profoundly ignorant’, or ‘blinded by money’

“Shameful”? “It would be shameful were the UK to open this new coal mine” (Sir David Attenborough, 2nd February, 2019)

“’Either profoundly ignorant’, or ‘blinded by money’”? “The individuals pushing ahead with the proposals are either profoundly ignorant of the risks of climate change, or so blinded by money as to be a menace to our children and grandchildren.” (Professor Sir John H. Lawton CBE FRS, Former Chair of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution)

NEWS RELEASE:

Banks Mining Company has ‘changed its tune’ in its justification for a new opencast coalmine at Highthorn, near the beauty spot Duridge Bay, but is still hopelessly ‘off-key’. Initially, it based its proposal on the need for coal for electricity generation, but since this argument was refuted (indeed, denounced) by a body of distinguished scientists at Newcastle University, and elsewhere (including Sir David Attenborough), it has claimed the coal is required for the manufacture of steel and cement.

However, the Company’s argument has not really changed at all, being based on the assertion that it is better to produce the coal in the UK, rather than importing it. Superficially plausible, this argument is seriously flawed, since every new mine will, almost inevitably, increase the total amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere when the coal is burnt.

Consequently, it is NOT preferable to source the coal in the UK if this means creating new mines, since this will, almost inevitably, increase the total amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere when the coal is burnt!

Banks attempts to burnish its green credentials by drawing attention to the CO2 emissions involved in the transport of imported coal, but this argument is also flawed: first, the carbon cost of bulk transport is minor (about 1% of the footprint of the coal) and, second, the carbon costs involved in creating a new coal mine are substantial.

Professor Sir John H. Lawton CBE FRS, Former Chair of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, states that  “The threat of climate change is now so obvious and so deeply worrying that we need to be closing coal mines as quickly as possible, not opening new ones.”

We do indeed, since the vast majority of coal reserves SIMPLY MUST be left in the ground if we are to avoid the worst excesses of climate change. So how are we to proceed, given industry’s continuing need for coal in the short term? We need to run down the extraction of coal, both at home and abroad, as a matter of urgency, whilst, in parallel, reducing the need for it in the ways proposed by Professor Rebecca Willis et al. (“The case against new coal mines in the UK’, Green Alliance, January 2020)

David W. Golding CBE PhD DSc DCL

Associate, Faculty of Science, Agriculture & Engineering, and Honorary Chaplain, Newcastle University;

Development Coordinator, North East CALL TO ACTION on global poverty and climate change; Founding Trustee, Jubilee Debt Campaign; Trustee, Blue Sky Trust (ACET North East); Spokesperson for Tearfund in NE England.

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Newcastle University’s Great North Run Team – 18th & Final Year!

GREAT NORTH RUN, AN ICON OF THE NORTH EAST – 13th SEPTEMBER, 2020!

Ballot for places now open! Get Guidelines for entering from…
david.golding@ncl.ac.uk

Newcastle University has been nationally acclaimed for taking…

‘Action on Global Poverty and Climate Change’!

On 1st February, at 3.45pm, Sir David Attenborough ‘phoned me to express his appreciation and support for the University’s work in addressing the climate crisis.

“The University has undertaken amazing campaigning and fundraising efforts and helping us to win some really important campaigning victories… ” (Sarah-Jayne Clifton, Director, Jubilee Debt Campaign UK)

“A huge thank you for your wonderful support… We’re so grateful… Fantastic! … Good luck to everyone taking part!” (Lucy Moulsdale, Save the Children)

Our Great North Run initiative is unique, yes really!

It has contributed to some amazing global achievements!

It supports action on these daunting global challenges!

“It’s a credit to our institution. I commend it”
(Professor Chris Day, Vice-Chancellor)

———————

The Great North Run, Sunday 13th September 2020

Ballot for places now open!

GET GUIDELINES FOR ENTERING FROM:

david.golding@ncl.ac.uk

———————

AMAZING ACHIEVEMENTS:

* “It’s important not to be complacent, but the halving of absolute poverty in a single decade is a stupendous achievement.” (Mona Chalabi, Royal Statistical Society, 2019)

* Number of children under five dying needlessly in 2018 was a shocking 5.3 million – but it was 12.7 million in 1990 (data by UNICEF, WHO, etc., 2019)!

DAUNTING CHALLENGES:

“It is especially unacceptable that these children died largely of preventable or treatable causes.” (World Bank)

“We are facing the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world”, because of climate change. (David Attenborough)

GREAT PERSONAL EXPERIENCES:

“One of the most amazing experiences of my life and it was an honour to take part… Your work is invaluable – please keep up your efforts.” (David Chambers, BSc Engineering)

GENEROUS CONCESSIONS are available to students!

‘The leanest team in the Run!’ It’s organised by volunteers, so no staff costs and no deductions for ‘expenses’ – unique!

Entering the ballot and joining the Team:

• Save yourself a lot of grief by letting the ‘Team Manager’ know you’re interested and getting his guidelines for entering the ballot – email david.golding@ncl.ac.uk;

• Enter the ballot (£58), following the guidelines provided by the Manager – and let him know you’ve done so;

• If you’re unlucky in the ballot, let the Manager know immediately. You’ll have a high priority for one of the team’s 25 ‘charity places’, at the same price.

The Great North Run is the greatest mass-participation sporting event in the world and over a million people have taken part in it. Each year, it’s covered extensively on BBC 2. It’s a ‘Run’, not a ‘Race’, and anyone in reasonable health who’s prepared to take the training seriously can complete it and enjoy doing so. For 2020, it’s scheduled for Sunday 13th September, two weeks before the start of term at Newcastle University.

Our nationally acclaimed ‘University Team’ raises awareness and funds for what are surely the two greatest challenges facing the human race – namely, global poverty and climate change – and to support action on the horrendous humanitarian crises currently in the news. Each team member has a wide choice as to which agency should receive a substantial proportion of the funds they raise.

A training seminar and a social, at which technical know-how and experience is shared, instil a sense of community and purpose; help with fundraising is varied and imaginative; and team photo’s before the Run and individual ones at the Finish provide great mementos of a wonderful experience.

“Hand on heart, I have to say that the support given
by Dr Golding is an inspiration to everyone.”
(Professor David Leat, Team Captain)

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CLICK HERE!

David W. Golding CBE PhD DSc DCL
Team Manager

david.golding@ncl.ac.uk
Office (0191) 20 84866
Home (0191) 252 6165

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A Christian Response to Climate Change

A Christian Response to Climate Change
– Responding with Faith, Hope – and Action!

Following on from our successful climate film event in Whitley Bay, on 15th June, we are holding two more of the same – in Hartlepool (click here), on Tuesday evening, 17th September; and Hexham (click here), on Friday evening, 20th September:

Hartlepool for Global Peace & Justice
& West View Baptist Church

Tuesday 17th September, 7.00 p.m. to 9.00 p.m.,
West View Baptist Church, Miers Avenue,
Hartlepool TS24 9JQ

Churches Together in Hexham

Friday 20th September, 7.00 p.m. to 9.00pm,
Queen Elizabeth High School,
Hexham, NE46 3JB

Each will be an evening of short, varied and inspiring films with an opportunity for questions and light refreshments, chaired by Dr David Golding CBE.

Program

• “The next great human achievement” (The Climate Coalition, 2019)

• “American worship leaders at Paris Climate Summit, 2015” (Micah Challenge)

• “Global Healing” – Part 2 of film inspired by Pope Francis’ encyclical, ‘Our Common Home’

Opportunity for questions and discussion

Interval with refreshments

• “You are stealing your children’s future” (Greta Thunberg at the Climate Summit in Poland, Nov 2018)

• “Till and Keep”, by Christian Aid

• “Zoe’s Restoration Story”, by Tearfund

Opportunity for questions and discussion

• “The next great human achievement” (The Climate Coalition, 2019)

Close

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Sir David Attenborough and other scientists savage proposals for coal mine

Sir David Attenborough and other world-renowned scientists savage proposals for coal mine near beauty spot, Druridge Bay

News Release

Support by leading scientists for ‘Save Druridge’, and other efforts designed to block the creation of new coal mines, culminated in a ‘phone call to Newcastle University’s veteran campaigner, Dr David Golding CBE, from the legendary Sir David Attenborough.

Others involved are from Newcastle and three other northern universities, with further support by three former chairmen of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (each a ‘Professor Sir… FRS’!), who are among the UK’s most distinguished environmental scientists.

Sir David says: “It would be shameful were the UK to open this new coal mine at precisely the moment the world at large is recognising the dreadful effect of burning coal on our planet’s climate.”

But David Golding says that such strong language is typical: “Distinguished climate and energy specialists have reacted with a most ‘unacademic’ fury to the application by Banks mining company to create a new, opencast coal mine at Highthorn, near the beauty spot, Druridge Bay:

“‘Shameful’, ‘dreadful’, ‘profoundly ignorant’, ‘sacrilege’ and ‘simply insane’ may evoke echoes of Donald Tusk (!), but they haven’t been the most unrestrained comments sent to me!

“Those pushing the proposals are ‘either profoundly ignorant… or so blinded by money as to be a menace to our children and grandchildren,’ according to Professor Sir John Lawton FRS, a former Chair of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution.”

The reference to ‘children and grandchildren’ reminds me of the address to world leaders at the Climate Summit in Katowice, Poland, in November, by the 15 years-old schoolgirl, Greta Thunberg:

“You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes. You’re not mature enough to tell it like it is – even that burden you leave to your children!”

We hear you, little one, and will, ourselves, try to be worthy of your leadership.

David Golding is available for interview (contact details below).

David W. Golding CBE PhD DSc DCL

Associate, Faculty of Science, Agriculture & Engineering, and Honorary Chaplain, Newcastle University;

Development Coordinator, North East CALL TO ACTION on global poverty and climate change; Founding Trustee, Jubilee Debt Campaign; Trustee, Blue Sky Trust (ACET North East); Voluntary Spokesperson in the NE for the Climate Coalition UK.

d.w.golding@talk21.com
david.golding@ncl.ac.uk

OFFICE:

Dr David Golding CBE
Devonshire Building (4th Floor)
Faculty of Science, Agriculture & Engineering,
ewcastle University,
Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7RU

HOME:

Dr David Golding CBE
38 Brierdene Crescent
Whitley Bay
NE26 4AB

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University’s Great North Run Team, ’19

‘Action on Global Poverty and Climate Change’!

A genuine ‘University Community’ initiative

open to all members of our institution without exception

“A credit to our institution. I commend it” (Professor Chris Day, Vice-Chancellor)

———————

The Great North Run, Sunday 8th September 2019

Ballot for places now open!

Introducing the University’s GNR Initiative, 2019
Guidelines-for-entering-the-Ballot-19

———————

Our nationally acclaimed team hopes to reach and burst through
the £250,000 barrier in this, our 17th year!

It has contributed to Great Global Achievements!

Child mortality has been more than halved globally – reduced by more than two thirds in 74 countries (2017 data) – amazing!

It confronts Great Global Challenges!

“We are facing the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world”, because of climate change. (David Attenborough, 2018)

It provides Great Personal Experiences!

“One of the most amazing experiences of my life and it was an honour to take part… Your work is invaluable – please keep up your efforts.” (David Chambers, BSc Engineering)

Generous concessions are available to students!

‘The leanest team in the Run!’ It’s organised by volunteers, so no staff costs and no deductions for ‘expenses’ – unique!

———————

Entering the ballot and joining the Team:

Save yourself a lot of grief by letting the ‘Team Manager’ know you’re interested and getting his guidelines for entering the ballot – hard copies can be collected from the information tables/reception desks in the Ridley Foyer, Devonshire Building, and Students’ Union, or the foyer of the Courtyard Restaurant, or from david.golding@ncl.ac.uk.

Enter the ballot (£56), following the guidelines provided by the Manager – and let him know you’ve done so;

If you’re unlucky in the ballot, let the Manager know immediately. You’ll have a high priority for one of the team’s 25 ‘charity places’, at the same price.

The Great North Run is the greatest mass-participation sporting event in the world and over a million people have taken part in it. Each year, it’s covered extensively on BBC 2. It’s a ‘Run’, not a ‘Race’, and anyone in reasonable health who’s prepared to take the training seriously can complete it and enjoy doing so. For 2019, it’s scheduled for Sunday 8th September, two weeks before the start of term at Newcastle University.

Our nationally acclaimed ‘University Team’ raises awareness and funds for what are surely the two greatest challenges facing the human race – namely, global poverty and climate change – and to support action on the horrendous humanitarian crises currently in the news. Each team member has a wide choice as to which agency should receive a substantial proportion of the funds they raise.

For the coming year, JDC will generously donate 60% of the money raised by the team for efforts to combat global poverty

and climate change by other agencies – so 10% will go to the StopAIDS (the UK’s advocacy coalition on HIV/AIDS); 10% to the national Climate Coalition; and 40% to British aid and environmental agencies for their work on global poverty and sustainability. Each runner can choose which aid or environmental agency s/he wishes to support with that 40%.

A training seminar and a social, at which technical know-how and experience is shared, instil a sense of community and purpose; help with fundraising is varied and imaginative; and team photo’s before the Run and individual ones at the Finish provide great mementos of a wonderful experience.

“Hand on heart, I have to say that the support given by Dr Golding is an inspiration to everyone.” (Professor David Leat, Team Captain)

Contact details:

Dr David Golding CBE (Team Manager), david.golding@ncl.ac.uk

For photo’s, see below:

1. Pre-Run: Ready for the ‘off’!

2. Pre-Run: The ‘Professorial Team’ (2016) (l-r): Prof Bernard Golding; Dr Phil Ansell, Dean of Sport; Prof Emma Stevenson; Prof David Leat (Team Captain); Prof Steve Vincent; Prof Phil Taylor.

3. At the finish: Raquel de Sousa and Khristianne Greenhalgh, Faculty of Medical Sciences

4. At the finish: Will Camps, School of Biomedical Sciences

5. At the finish: Neil Gibson & David Young

6. At the finish: fly-past by the Red Arrows – a great sight!

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Banks Mining Company’s Appeal against rejection of its Druridge Coal Mine

Banks Mining Company appeals against the Government’s decision to reject its application to create a new, opencast coal mine, near Druridge Bay.

BACKGROUND: Banks Mining Company lodged an Appeal against the Government’s rejection of its application to create a new, opencast coal mine at Highthorn, near Druridge Bay, Northumberland, and this was heard at the High Court in London on 17th and 18th October, 2018.

As Banks’ barrister made clear, the main battle over the proposed opencast coal mine, near Druridge Bay, is being fought over its possible impact on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, which Sajid Javid, the then Communities Minister flagged up in his extraordinary decision overturning the recommendation of the Inspector whom he had himself appointed to conduct the Public Inquiry.

Note by David Golding: I wasn’t able to attend the hearing, but a comment of it can be read on the website of Coal Action Network.

NEWS RELEASE

Keith Anderson, the chief executive of Scottish Power, recently explained his company’s new focus on renewable energy with reference to climate change and the IPCC’s stark warnings, published on 8th October. He stated that (Saturday 20 Oct) “My absolute belief is that [industrial] organisations need to be at the forefront of that change [called for by the IPCC]. We can’t be part of the problem, we have to be part of the solution.”

How very different the approach of Banks Mining Company, which has taken the Government to court to try and overturn its rejection of their application to build a new, opencast coal mine within a stone’s throw of the beauty spot, Druridge Bay. Its head remains stuck in the sand more deeply than that of any ostrich! As a signatory of 2015’s Paris Agreement, the UK is both morally and legally bound to “pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase…to 1.5C” – an enormously challenging goal, which allows no latitude whatever for ‘carbon indulgence’. But Banks doesn’t seem to have noticed! Likewise, on 16th November last year, Claire Perry, the UK’s Climate Change Minister, declared that “The time for coal has passed”, when she launched the Government’s new ‘Powering Past Coal Alliance’ initiative. But this also seems to have passed Banks by, leaving it like an old record, where the needle is stuck in one of the grooves, playing the same old, tired tune, over and over again!

Nathalie Lieven QC, for the company, says that the Government’s decision was “plainly wrong”, but she ignores the message which approval of the mine would send to the country’s industry and finance – namely, that it’s still “business and usual – so carry on polluting”. But even more serious would be the damaging impact of this message abroad. John Ashton CBE, who served three Foreign Secretaries as Special Representative on Climate Change, told the Public Inquiry that: “The goal of UK climate diplomacy has been to accelerate the move away from fossil energy, and especially from unabated coal, across all the major economies… But the foundation for all effective diplomacy is action at home. If you do not walk your talk, those you seek to influence stop listening… If we were to press ahead with the development of new coal resources at home… we would be cutting our climate diplomacy off at the knees, and undermining our fundamental national interest in a successful global response to climate change.”

Just so – we have to “walk our talk”! In contrast, consent for any new coal mine here would serve as a ‘green light’ for further exploitation of this most polluting of fuels throughout the world. “The time for coal has passed”, stated Claire Perry. It has indeed – and so has the time when it was acceptable for us to treat the atmosphere like an open sewer into which we can discharge our pollution. It’s time for Banks to wake up and drag itself into the new, low carbon world.

David W. Golding CBE PhD DSc DCL

Associate, Institute for Sustainability, and Honorary Chaplain, Newcastle University; Development Coordinator, North East CALL TO ACTION on global poverty and climate change.

david.golding@ncl.ac.uk

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Jubilee Debt Campaign’s National Mobilisation, 29th September

The gathering marked 20 years since Jubilee 2000’s mould-breaking ‘Human Chain’ at the G7, in Birmingham. It revealed that JDC’s supporters are in good heart – and that the campaign still have important and innovative things to say! Among the contributors were those well known to NE-CAP, such as Ann Pettifor, the former Director of Jubilee 2000, and Nick Dearden, the former Director of JDC and now Director of Global Justice Now.

David Golding was asked to give a presentation on Saturday on, “The role and importance of local groups and grassroots campaigning, both in the 1990s and 2000s, but also in the present day”. [In 10 minutes. Gulp!] The headings are as below, but the full text can be found here.

First, Jubilee 2000 brought home to us not only the terrible reality of the lives of so many people trapped in what the Millennium Declaration calls “the abject and dehumanising conditions of extreme poverty”, but also, perhaps more important, the role that Western governments were playing in consolidating those conditions. To people of my generation – I was born just south of London, in 1940, this was a profound shock! [And so on.]

Second, Jubilee 2000 and the Chain brought home to us what could be achieved by working together. [Quoted Longfellow’s poem,] And so on… One other important point about working together locally can be summed up in the familiar exhortation, “Bloom where you’re planted”. [And so on.]

“A final lesson I learnt from Jubilee 2000 (says he provocatively) is not to follow its example and stand down too soon. How many of the promises on debt relief made prior to the end of 2000 would, in fact, have been honoured, had Jubilee Debt Campaign not ‘kept their feet to the fire’?

Similarly, would ‘Drop the Debt’ have been so prominent on the Make Poverty History agenda had it not been for our pressure? And would relief have been given to Liberia and Haiti? And would our leaders have passed the Vultures Bill?

In each case, probably not, and from this I conclude that perhaps the greatest contribution made by grassroots campaigners to the debt campaign was the ‘right rumpus’ we kicked up at the prospect of the closure of the campaign at the end of 2000.

So one of the great lessons from Jubilee 2000 and its transition to Jubilee Debt Campaign, as from the anti-slavery campaign, is the need for persistence… [And so on.]

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