On Friday, 3rd October, a group of Hartley Wintney residents met with Ranil Jayawardena, their prospective parliamentary candidate, to explain why the Conservative party must strengthen its policies on climate change as part of the Hope for the Future campaign.
The group talked from various viewpoints on why climate change was important to them. Ruth Jarman said, ‘Doing our bit to reduce our own emissions is not enough. It is government that must decide where our energy comes from, how well insulated is our housing stock and how much to support low energy technologies. The Conservatives must stick to the country’s commitment to cut emissions by 80% by 2050, and decarbonise our electricity supply by 2030, as called for by the Committee on Climate Change.’ Ruth explained how since carbon dioxide hung around in the atmosphere for centuries, the 2050 target is actually not sufficient since it allows emissions to increase in the short term, whereas it is the cummulative emissions that matter.
In reply, Ranil, who is involved in the church where he lives in Bramley, agreed that we all have a responsibility to look after this world whether or not we have a faith, and that he is now even more aware of this because he and his wife are expecting their first child. ‘Whatever your view on climate change, it makes good sense for Britain to pollute less, at the same time as ensuring our energy supply is made more secure. While I don't support onshore wind farms, a shift to offshore renewables and nuclear will help keep the lights on and - with less pollution - improve the quality of life for people in our country and beyond,’ he commented.
Mr Jayawardena was given an envelope containing 25 letters from other constituents, asking for action on climate change and that the Conservative party set out clearly how they will meet emissions targets in their 2015 manifesto.