Category Archives: What’s on

Open Letter to Frances Wilkinson, 6th July

AN ‘OPEN LETTER’ TO FRANCES WILKINSON, PLANNING OFFICER, NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTRY COUNCIL, ABOUT HER ‘DISMISSIVE’ RESPONSE TO SCIENTISTS’ TESTIMONY RE. THE PROPOSED OPEN-CAST MINE, NEAR DRURIDGE BAY, SENT ON 6TH JULY 2016

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An extract of this letter was published under the heading, “Opencast – Don’t dismiss our concerns” in the Northumberland Gazette, on 17th July 2016
http://www.northumberlandgazette.co.uk/news/opinion/letters/opencast-don-t-dismiss-our-concerns-1-8013442
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Please note that the author is writing only in a personal capacity, and as Development Coordinator of North East CALL TO ACTION.

Dear Frances Wilkinson,

I was astonished, indeed shocked and upset, that I failed to hear the words “climate change” so much as pass your lips, during the lengthy, detailed, and well-delivered summary of your Report to the Strategic Planning Committee yesterday. [I did listen carefully, but I might be mistaken – it has been known! If so, please let me know.]

Similarly, in your Report, you stated that, “The burning of the coal that would be extracted from the site would contribute to CO2 emissions. Establishing the extent of this would be based on very generic estimates and assumptions and so little reliance could be placed on any conclusions” (p. 57).

Do you really think that can so lightly (and so tritely) dismiss the emphatic warnings of the folly of this proposal by six climate and environmental scientists of international renown, three of whom are members of a university nearby, who took time out from their busy schedules to address this issue? Did you or your colleagues even take the trouble to consider them? I believe your treatment of my distinguished colleagues has been – yes, ‘dismissive’ is the word, even discourteous. They deserved better from you – and from me they deserve an apology for wasting their valuable time. [For a more detailed treatment of your statement, see the Appendix provided.]

According to Lord Robert May, then President of the Royal Society, the UK’s national academy of sciences, “Never have we faced such a global threat. The longer we procrastinate. The more difficult the task becomes.” That was in 2006, and here we are in 2016 planning to create a massive new coal mine – it simply beggars belief!

But such warning and appeals for urgent and radical action have been made repeatedly. For example, in 2009, twenty Nobel Prize winners, the world’s finest scientific minds, gathered for the St James’s Palace Symposium to assess the evidence for man-made climate change. In their ‘Memorandum’, they declared, “We know what needs to be done. We cannot wait until it is too late. We cannot wait until what we value most is lost”.

I conclude with the words of someone who, like me, is a scientist but not a climate scientist; and also, like me, a grandparent. I commend them to you, whatever your family circumstances: “How could I look my grandchildren in the eye and say I knew about this and did nothing?” (Sir David Attenborough)

Yours sincerely,

Dr David Golding CBE

Development Coordinator, North East CALL TO ACTION

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Druridge mine approved – but the fightback begins!

The Planning Committee of Northumberland County Council unanimously approved the application by Banks Mining Ltd for a new surface mine at Highthorn, near Druridge Bay, on 5th July, after hearing a detailed verbal report by the planning officer, Frances Wilkinson, during which the words ‘Climate Change’ did not so much as pass her lips – astonishing!

But the fightback is beginning already with plans to try to get the government to ‘call in’ the application – i.e., to send it to Appeal by way of a Public Enquiry.

David Golding wrote an ‘Open Letter’ to Frances Wilkinson on 6th July, and an extract of it was published in the Northumberland Gazette on 17th July. [See following post.]

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Entering Ballot for Great North Run

Newcastle University’s nationally acclaimed Great North Run initiative for…

‘Action on Global Poverty and Action on Climate Change’!

For further information, click here.

“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)

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

“This is the sort of intelligently compassionate response I applaud.” (Professor Sir George Alberti, former Dean of Medicine at Newcastle, and former President of the Royal College of Physicians)

No deductions for ‘expenses’!

Generous concessions are available to students!

Opportunity to support actions on humanity’s greatest challenges, via agencies with an outstanding track record!

What other team offers the following?

• On-campus training seminar and social;
• Briefings on kit, health and safety;
• Regular updates on training;
• Advice on preparing for the Big Day;
• Fantastic team photo’s just before the Run and at finish!

Joining the Team:

• Let Dr Golding, Team Manager, know you’re interested – david.golding@ncl.ac.uk

• Go to http://www.greatrun.org/great-north-run and click on the green ‘Enter’ button on right of screen.

• Login or complete the registration process (see below), and let Dr Golding know you’ve done so;

• Most of it is straightforward, but where it asks “Do you want to run for SimplyHealth’s nominated charity, Revitalise?”, click “No”;

Ignore the question which asks whether you want to run for a charity in the Great North Run! You do, but it’s Jubilee Debt Campaign (JDC), not one of the small number of mega-charities which are shown in the list provided! JDC is one of the hundreds of small charities registered with GNR which are not shown;

If you’re unlucky in the ballot, let Dr Golding know immediately. You’ll have a high priority for one of the team’s 25 ‘charity places’, at the same price (£54).

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 2017, it’s scheduled for Sunday 10th September, two weeks before the start of term.

Team photo just before the Run

Team photo just before the Run

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.

Raquel and Kristianne at the Finish (2016)

Raquel and Kristianne at the Finish (2016)

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] is an inspiration to everyone ready to follow into the challenge of the Great North Run” (Professor David Leat, Team Captain).

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MARK THE DATE – Thursday 2nd February

Dear Friends of NE-CAP,

PLEASE MARK THE DATE for our biggest event (correction, events!) since our ‘Service of Thanksgiving and Recommitment’ for Make Poverty History in 2006! These events represent an enormous ‘coup’ for Newcastle University and our regional campaign, so please make every effort to come to one, or preferably, both of the events.

And please spread the news far and wide, by Facebook, Twitter, email, etc. Flyer provided here.

THURSDAY 2ND FEBRUARY 2017, AT 5.30 pm, Curtis Auditorium, Herschel Building, Newcastle University (immediately opposite Haymarket Metro).

5.30-6.45pm: 4th ‘Newcastle Jubilee Development Lecture’ – but come early if you want a seat in the auditorium!

7.30 for 7.45pm, until 9.00pm: ‘Christian Responses to Climate Change – Commentary & Panel Discussion’.

PLEASE NOTE that only liquid refreshments and biscuits will be provided for those wishing to attend both sessions.

For further information, contact Dr David Golding CBE (david.golding@ncl.ac.uk)

4th NEWCASTLE JUBILEE DEVELOPMENT LECTURE

The 4th ‘Newcastle Jubilee Development Lecture’, entitled “Ten years after the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change: Looking Back, Looking Forward”, will be given by Lord Nicholas Stern.

The Lecture is sponsored by Newcastle University, the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle, and Jubilee Debt Campaign UK.

CHRISTIAN RESPONSES TO CLIMATE CHANGE

Professor Robert White FRS

Professor Robert White FRS

The Lecture will be followed, at 7.30 for 7.45pm until 9.00pm in the same venue, by “Christian responses to Climate Change – Commentary & Panel Discussion”, chaired by Rt Revd Mark Tanner, Bishop of Berwick. The topic will be addressed under the following headings:

• “Responding with hope”, led by Professor Robert White FRS, Director of the Faraday Institute at St Edmunds College, University of Cambridge, and co-author of ‘Hope in an Age of Despair’;

Maria Elena Arana

Maria Elena Arana

• “Responding with compassion”, led by Maria Elena Arana, national Campaign Coordinator for CAFOD;

• “Responding with lifestyle-choices”, led by Jo Herbert, a young activist from Tearfund.

Jo Herbert

Jo Herbert

This event will be sponsored by the Chaplaincies of Newcastle and Northumbria Universities, with the support of the Diocese of Newcastle, CAFOD, Christian Aid, Faraday Institute, Christians in Science, John Ray Institute, BMS World Mission, Tearfund, Northern Baptist Association, URC Northern Synod, North East CALL TO ACTION and other agencies.

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Newcastle University’s nationally acclaimed Great North Run initiative for…

‘Action on Global Poverty and Action on Climate Change’!

“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)

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

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

“This is the sort of intelligently compassionate response I applaud.” (Professor Sir George Alberti, former Dean of Medicine at Newcastle, and former President of the Royal College of Physicians)

Generous concessions are available to students!

No deductions for ‘expenses’!

Joining the Team:

• Let Dr Golding know you’re interested – david.golding@ncl.ac.uk;

• Go to

http://www.greatrun.org/great-north-run

and click on the ‘Reminder Service’ button. GNR will then send you a reminder when the General Ballot for places opens;

• Enter the ballot when it opens and let Dr Golding know you’ve done so;

• If you’re unlucky in the ballot, let Dr Golding know IMMEDIATELY. You’ll then have a high priority for one of the team’s 25 ‘charity places’, at the same price (£54).

1-pre-run-team-photo-2015-640x452

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 2017, it’s scheduled for Sunday 10th September, two weeks before the start of term.

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 each team member has a wide choice as to which agency should receive a substantial proportion of the funds they raise.

raquel-de-sousa-and-khristianne-greenhalgh

Left: At the finish, Raquel de Sousa and Khristianne Greenhalgh, students in the Faculty of Medical Sciences (2016)

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] is an inspiration to everyone ready to follow into the challenge of the Great North Run” (Professor David Leat, Team Captain).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CLICK HERE.

For photo’s, see below:

Pre-Run – team doing a ‘Mo’ (2015)

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.

At the finish: Professor David Leat, Team Captain (2016).

At the finish: fly-past by the Red Arrows – a great sight! (2016).

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The Great North Run, Sunday 11th September, 2016

14th Glorious Year for Jubilee Debt Campaign’s team for…
Action on Global Poverty & Action on Climate Change

The Great North Run is the biggest half-marathon in the world! Team recruitment was good this year, rivalling that in 2015, with nearly 70 registering to participate, many but not all of them staff and students at Newcastle University. Injury, illness and conflicting responsibilities conspired to reduce that number to about 60 people prior to the big day, which dawned warm and sunny – perfect for the spectators, but not so good for runners wanting to improve on their times!

A good number turned out for the Team Photo on the morning of the Run and they made a fine sight, doing their now traditional ‘Mo Farah’ and ‘Usain Bolt’ impersonations! The team included four university professors and Dr Phil Ansell, the university’s Dean of Sport, and Prof Emma Stevenson, Professor of Sport Science, joined them for Pre-Run photo’s.

After the Pre-Run photo’s, the Team Manager, David Golding, went across to the Finish and took ‘shattered but triumphant’ photo’s of team members. Whilst waiting for them, he enjoyed the spectacle of the aerial acrobatics provided by the Red Arrows.

Two team members came up from London to take part – namely, Charlie Tunmore, until recently a member of JDC staff, and Alysa Remtulla, a staff member at STOPAIDS. Both spoke on behalf of the campaigns on the previous evening, at a high-profile meeting to celebrate the Run attended by several community leaders and about 60 supporters of North East CALL TO ACTION, a regional member of JDC.

The team raises sponsorship funds for JDC and the wider global poverty and climate change campaigns and, excluding the present year, has raised over £180,000.

Photo’s, courtesy of Crispian Oates (Pre-Run) and David Golding (Post-Run):

1) Team members doing a ‘Mo Farah’ and a ‘Usain Bolt’ prior to the Run;

2) The ‘Professorial Team’ (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) Charlie Tunmore, former staff member with Jubilee Debt Campaign; and Alysa Remtulla, staff member at STOPAIDS, at the Run Finish;

4) Raquel Teixeira De Sousa and Khristianne Greenhalgh – both students in the Medical Faculty, at the Finish.

5) Professor David Leat, Team Captain, at the Finish.

6) Revd Bryan Vernon, Veteran of many Runs, at the Finish.

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7th Annual ‘Eve-of-Run’ Gathering, Saturday 10th September

7th Annual ‘Eve-of-Run’ Gathering, Saturday 10th September
to celebrate the Great North Run
and express support for those in need at home and abroad

Our ‘Eve-of-Run’ gathering was a splendid affair!
• The range of agencies which sponsored it;
• Our Special Guests, including Ms Lucy Winskell OBE DL, Deputy Lord-Lieutenant of Tyne & Wear, who had warm words of welcome for the gathering;
Chi Onwurah MP, who chaired the ‘Advocates for Justice’ campaigns event;
• Singer/Songwriter Gareth Davies-Jones moved us with two songs of justice and compassion;
• Speakers, Alysa Remtulla, runner, & staff member, STOPAIDS, Charlie Tunmore, runner, & staff member, Jubilee Debt Campaign, gave brief updates on their respective campaigns;
Andy Biggs, Chief Executive of Traidcraft, was an excellent keynote speaker;
• and The Revd Catherine Lack led the brief ‘Service of Blessing’, with which the evening concluded.

Our thanks to everyone who made the occasion such a success – including St Thomas’s Church which hosted it and the sixty plus people who supported it!

Images courtesy of Crispian Oates, to whom thanks are also due.

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‘Speak Up’ Week of Action on Climate Change, 8th-16th Oct – Press Release

PRESS RELEASE, FRIDAY 14TH OCTOBER

National ‘Week of Action’ on climate change marked by meeting with Rt. Hon. Alan Campbell MP at the iconic St Mary’s Island.

Taking as their theme, “For the love of people living by the coast”, about 30 supporters of North East CALL TO ACTION (NE-CAP) draw attention to the threat of sea level rise to people living in low-lying regions.

Speaking on behalf of NE-CAP, a member of the national Climate Coalition, Dr David Golding CBE quoted the words of an anguished Veena Khaleque, Director of the aid agency, Practical Action, in Bangladesh:

“I find it almost impossible to imagine how the poor of Bangladesh will cope”, she said, contemplating the prospect of sea level rise due to global warming.

Hardly surprising, given that ten million people live below the one metre mark in Bangladesh alone! And then there are the low lying, ‘Island States’, which will be completely submerged unless we get a grip on this issue.

Alan Campbell MP, David Golding - and T-Shirt - against the backcloth of St Mary's Island

Alan Campbell MP, David Golding – and T-Shirt – against the backcloth of St Mary’s Island


David thanked Mr Campbell for his exemplary support in the past on matters of global justice and sustainability and asked him to write to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to:

* Congratulate him for rapid progress on ratifying the Paris Climate Agreement, and to:

* Ask him to publish an ambitious low-carbon investment plan to transform the economy in line with the Climate Change Act.

But he had a word of warning for all our political leaders, stating that: “We’ve had the promises – now we need the policies!”, and “We’ve had the words – now we need the actions!”

Alan Campbell MP with campaigners (and dog!) at St Mary's Island

Alan Campbell MP with campaigners (and dog!) at St Mary’s Island


Mr Campbell responded by warmly thanking all those present for making the effort to turn out on such an unpleasant afternoon and assuring them of his support and commitment. He pointed out that, “David has, if anything, understated the threat of sea level rise, since about 150 million people world-wide live at or below the one metre level, and they also face the prospect of more extreme climate events, including damaging storm surges, etc.”

Photo’s, courtesy of Veronica Golding, North East CALL TO ACTION. High resolution images available.

The t-shirt presented to Alan Campbell bears the words “MPs against CLIMATE CHANGE” and David Golding jokingly told Mr Campbell that the campaigners would expect him to wear it in the House of Commons. David’s t-shirt is from the group “Grandparents Climate Action”.

Contact Dr David Golding CBE, david.golding@ncl.ac.uk

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

Notes for Editors:

North East CALL TO ACTION, a voluntary grouping of the supporters of the aid agencies, etc., is a member of the Climate Coalition, the UK’s largest group of people dedicated to action on climate change and to limiting its impact on the world’s poorest communities. The combined number of supporters in the Coalition’s 100+ member organisations is more than 15 million people. We have banded together to show our love for all the things we could lose to the impacts of climate change; and to ask politicians to put aside their differences, and commit publicly to do whatever is necessary to protect us and the things we love.

During the Coalition’s ‘Week of Action’, 8th-16th October, we are asking MPs like you to take a lead, locally, nationally and internationally. The UK has an opportunity to show its continued commitment to the wider world and its determination to remain a leading nation on climate change.

Now is the ideal moment to move ahead with ratifying the Paris Climate Agreement, so we applaud Prime Minister Theresa May’s announcement on 20th September that the UK will begin its domestic process for ratification before the next UN climate talks. This shows our continued commitment to the international fight against climate change, and will encourage the EU and its Member States to move more quickly to ratify the deal too.

One of the first acts of the new government was to set the fifth carbon budget into law, and we welcome that. This charts an exciting low-carbon future for the UK with a rapid, economy-wide transition over the next 15 years. We want this future to become a reality – so now the UK needs a plan to get there! We need the promised new “Emissions Reduction Plan” to drive forward vigorous and urgent action to transform the economy.

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‘Speak Up’ Week of Action on Climate Change, 8th-16th October

EXTREMELY EASY ACTION!

This was the this request for action sent to Committee Members, Constituency Contacts and Supporters in the run-up to the Week of Action.

3rd October, 2016

Dear Colleague,

Further to the two emails I sent to you earlier today, with ‘Fairly Easy’ and ‘Very Easy’ actions, I now provide you with one which is ‘Extremely Easy’! [But please read previous.]

All you have to do is to write legibly the message below (or something like it) on the A4 sheet of NE-CAP stationery Provided (or your own) and post it, together with the Briefing, to your MP as directed below, immediately before or during the upcoming Week of Action, 8th-16th October.

With the significant degree of success of the international Paris Agreement last December, and the Prime Minister’s promise to ratify it very soon, we really do have something to build on!

With appreciation, as ever,

David
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Find the name of your MP at www.writetothem.com – simply type in your postcode.
Send your letter to “House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA”;
Include your name, postal address, postcode and email address;
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MESSAGE FOR MPs:

Dear [Name of your MP],

The Climate Coalition – Week of Action, 8th-16th October

I write to enclose and endorse the Coalition’s MP Briefing, but underline our request that you write to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to:

• Congratulate him for rapid progress on ratifying the Paris Climate Agreement;

• Ask him to publish an ambitious low-carbon investment plan to transform the economy in line with the Climate Change Act.

We need the promised new “Emissions Reduction Plan” to drive forward vigorous and urgent action to transform the economy.

I would be most grateful to receive a reply.

Yours sincerely,

[YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS]

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‘Speak Up’ Week of Action on Climate Change, 8th-16th October

VERY EASY ACTION!

This was the second of three requests for action, sent by post and email, during the run-up to the Week of Action.

Dear Friend of NE-CAP,

The national Climate Coalition depends on NE-CAP, a member of the Coalition, and other supporters, to ‘Speak Up’ and make its voice heard in the region – and NE-CAP in turn depends particularly on YOU, its Committee Members, Constituency Contacts, and Supporters!

So I’m asking you to write to or email your MP immediately before or during the upcoming Week of Action, 8th-16th October.

With the significant degree of success of the international Paris Agreement last December, and the Prime Minister’s promise to ratify it very soon, we really do have something to build on! But ‘they’ need to know that there are plenty of us out here who really want to see ‘Policies, rather than Promises’, and ‘Actions, rather than Words’!

As usual, we’ve made it REALLY easy for you! See below.

With every good wish,

David

Dr David Golding CBE (Development Coordinator)

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Find the name of your MP at www.writetothem.com – simply type in your postcode.

WRITE BY POST:

Send your letter to “House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA”;

Include your name, postal address, postcode and email address;

Type, or write legibly (!) by hand, our message to MPs outlined below (or something like it).

WRITE BY EMAIL:

Your MP’s email address is as follows:

firstname.surname.mp@parliament.uk [So my MP’s address is: alan.campbell.mp@parliament.uk]

State your name, postal address, postcode and email address.

Type our message to MPs outlined below (or something like it).

Thanking you in advance,

David

Dr David Golding CBE (p/p the NE-CAP Organising Committee)

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MESSAGE FOR MPs:

Dear [Name of your MP],

I write as a supporter of North East CALL TO ACTION, a member of the Climate Coalition, the UK’s largest group of people dedicated to action on climate change and to limiting its impact on the world’s poorest communities. The combined number of supporters in the Coalition’s 100+ member organisations is more than 15 million people. We have come together to show our love for all the things we could lose to the impacts of climate change; and to ask politicians to put aside their differences, and commit publicly to do whatever is necessary to protect us and the things we love.

During our ‘Week of Action’, 8th-16th October, we are asking MPs like you to take a lead, locally, nationally and internationally. The UK has an opportunity to show its continued commitment to the wider world and its determination to remain a leading nation on climate change.

Please write to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to:

• Congratulate him for rapid progress on ratifying the Paris Climate Agreement;

• Ask him to publish an ambitious low-carbon investment plan to transform the economy in line with the Climate Change Act.

Now is the ideal moment to move ahead with ratifying the Paris Climate Agreement, so we applaud the Prime Minister’s announcement on 20th September that the UK will begin its domestic process for ratification before the next UN climate talks. This shows our continued commitment to the international fight against climate change, and will encourage the EU and its Member States to move more quickly to ratify the deal too.

One of the first acts of the new government was to set the fifth carbon budget into law, and we welcome that. This opens up the possibility of an exciting low-carbon future for the UK with a rapid, economy-wide transition over the next 15 years. We want this future to become a reality – so now the UK needs a plan to get there! We need the promised new “Emissions Reduction Plan” to drive forward vigorous and urgent action to transform the economy.

I would be most grateful to receive a reply.

Yours sincerely,

[YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS]

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