Today Robin & Eve from the campaign met Deputy PM Nick Clegg. Here's what happened:
Eve made a passionate statement about the primary importance of Climate Change politically, summarising her second letter, and asking for this to be a top priority in the Lib Dem manifesto for the 2015 election. When told that that his office response to her original letter had not mentioned this essential point, Nick Clegg apologised. He told us how important both he and the LibDems considered climate change to be, and how they had done a good job in office keeping this going.
He also said that he wanted to see the Committee for Climate Change made a statutory committee (at present only advisory).
His foremost concern is European and International negotiations for agreement on future global emissions targets. In particular he mentioned this week’s discussions with Angela Merkel and the possibility of raising the European target for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from 40% to 50% by 2030. He believes that the European carbon trading scheme will be effective, in spite of its initial failure.
When tackled on delays and target changes by the coalition, he effectively said the LibDems had done the best they could and he was proud of what was being achieved, such as the current roll out (with substantial government financial subsidy) of ultra low emission electric cars; when tackled about this being 2-3 years behind schedule, he expressed impatience with those who would not accept such achievements as significant progress (e.g. Friends of the Earth).
On the question of the abandonment by the government of the target for the proportion of electricity generated from renewables after 2020, he said that the relevant carbon budget was the vital requirement, and a separate renewables target could divert attention from this.
We asked Nick what campaigning groups (such as HfTF) could do to help him keep climate change in the forefront of political and popular concern. He said he wished to think about that and would contact us if he had a suggestion. He was interested to receive the current trifold HfTF leaflet.
Before the above meeting, we chatted with the case worker who was acting as receptionist. She said that although they tried to respond to all letters received, a batch of identical letters or emails had much less impact than those individually written, showing some understanding of the topic rather than regurgitating the current prose. So do please follow this advice and get writing now - the sample letter is only there as a guide!
Thanks for your support.