Friday, 27 November 2009

Committed To Copenhagen?

#rdgnews - As the build-up to the Climate Conference continues and China announces that it has set its' first emissions target ever, while locally Southern Electric begins a trial of energy efficient VPhase devices, concerns are growing over whether the deeds of the participants matches the rhetoric, or whether it will amount to warm words over global warming.

Obviously this is a big issue for Green Party activists.

Adrian Windisch says it is "extraordinary" that more than half of UK delegates intend to travel to the ceremonies by air, in a move which he reports many people are already calling 'hypocrisy'. He argues that it is "just another example of the Labour Government saying one thing and doing another".

David Young argues that politicians are ignoring voters, and that it is a problem of political leadership.

In a guest post on Adrian's blog, Chris Keene argues that we are at a climate crossroads, and that the Green alternative is to follow the 'Zero-Carbon Caravan' by cycling and sailing to Copenhagen.
Darren Bridgeman presents a list of issues showing how LibDems are leading and forging coalitions to challenge the current 'leadership.

Meanwhile the Labour administration in Reading has come under attack on similar grounds.

Cllr Daisy Benson reports on a concern raised via the social network Twitter that Reading's Christmas lights are being left on during the daytime, wasting high levels of electricity.

As the conversation grew twitterers said they were also angry that shop windows are left burning throughout the night and that it was the same last year too. It seems members of the public were highly engaged offering plenty of simple suggestions which could make a real difference.

As she followed up, she recieved the astounding response from Labour's lead councillor on environmental issues, Cllr Paul Gittings (a recent candidate for the Reading West selection), who pleaded ignorance but promised to respond.

Cllr Benson notes Labour has been vocal in offering support to campaigns of this nature, but argues it "simply does not make finanical or environmental sense" to have these lights blazing all day, every day.

She asks "what message does leaving them on all day send out about environmental responsibility?" and states the only possible conclusion is that "for all the fine words from Labour politicians in Reading about tackling climate changes there is still far too little action, far too little leadership."

It is particularly relevant since Reading Borough Council only recently signed up to the 10:10 Campaign with unanimous support from all sides.

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Update: Linda Fort doesn't think the environment is worth taking seriously - she says Cllr Benson is playing Scrooge!

Cllr Benson responds.

She notes from the official answer to her query that the decision to keep the light on during the day was taken back in 2006 and asks a few sharp questions:
  • Hasn't appreciation of the issues changed since 2006? 
  • Doesn't the episode highlight the inconsistency of Labour following their championing of other symbolic initiatives? 
  • Can the public trust Labour's commitment to the causes it espouses? 
  • Where is the overarching strategy linking together different aspects of policy? 
  • Doesn't this signal a lack of political leadership and will?
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More on the UN's Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change.

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