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A Magazine for Sheffield

Lima: Climate Action

When I watched the launch of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on the 2nd of November, the message was crystal clear. The scientific community is not divided, there is no doubt, and action is needed from world leaders to avoid damaging global warming of more than 2 degrees. I was surprised that the atmosphere of this press conference was not one of foreboding but rather hope. It was quite clear that the solutions are out there. The estimated cost of climate action on Global GDP is only 0.06% and when factors such as cleaner air are introduced there may even be a direct economic gain. Compared with the alternative of inaction, leading to severe weather events, food insecurity and resource wars, climate action is the obvious answer. It seems so simple and yet the last time global leaders met to take action it failed. It is significant that the IPCC chose to launch the report in Copenhagen, because it was in Copenhagen in 2009 that the UN ‘conference of the parties’ (COP) met to agree a global action plan. This meeting failed, with some claiming ambiguity of the facts. Last month's press launch in Copenhagen gave the clearest message from the IPCC yet. There is no ambiguity. We now need global action to be agreed in Paris in December 2015 and the negotiations have already started. Crucial to these negotiations is the Lima COP from this month, the last meeting before Paris. A crucial aspect of these negotiations is the resourcing of the Green Climate Fund. This is important because the industrialised west is responsible for the majority of emitted carbon in the atmosphere, but it is those least responsible that face the fiercest impact of climate change. The cost to poorer and more vulnerable countries is hugely disproportionate and it is the responsibility of richer, industrialised countries to support poorer countries to transition. The Green Climate Fund is designed to do just that and this is where governments like ours need to take the lead. Our government needs to hear that we, the public, want action. In Sheffield we have the headquarters of a national campaign focussing on doing just that. Hope for the Future supports community groups to write to and meet their MP, getting climate change on the agenda. To focus resources effectively, Hope for the Future has picked several constituencies to focus on and four of them are in the Sheffield area. Paul Blomfield is MP for Sheffield Central and is on the business select committee, a potentially crucial voice for making business greener and reducing our carbon emissions. Nick Clegg is MP for Sheffield Hallam, and as Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Lib Dems has a huge voice in the current Government and any negotiations if there is a hung parliament in 2015. He has the added value as a potentially marginal seat because he faces a surge in Labour support. In a marginal seat, parties are particularly receptive to constituents as they fight for every vote. Caroline Flint, MP for Don Valley, is the shadow secretary of state for energy and climate change and plays a big part in shaping Labour policy on climate change. Ed Miliband, MP for Doncaster North, could be Prime Minister in 2015. These four seats are particular targets, but all MPs need to hear the message that the electorate wants action on climate change. They work for us. If you agree that we should act on climate change, take a look at the HFTF website. There you can find resources to write to or meet your MP and find out what’s happening elsewhere. The tide is shifting. People are speaking up and politicians are beginning to hear and do the right thing. Let’s keep it up. )

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