Information for Meeting your MP
It can feel daunting to meet with your MP, but in our experience MPs are generally approachable and hoping to have a positive conversation with a potential voter. MPs have to engage with so many issues that it is unlikely that will be an expert on climate change themselves. We have put together a brief outline of background information which may be useful in preparing to meet your MP.
The Climate Change Act of 2008
The Act was the world's first legally binding target for greenhouse emission reduction. It means that the UK is legally bound to reduce its emissions by 80% from the 1990 baseline, by 2050. The motion was voted for by all but three MPs. You can read more about the Climate Change Act here.
The Climate Change Committee (CCC)
The CCC was set up under the Climate Change Act to monitor the progress of the government. The Committee's 2015 report makes clear that the Government still has a lot more to do if it is to reach the emissions reduction target by 2050. The report also has a list of recommendations which you may find a useful starting point for conversations with your MP. You can read a summary of the CCC's 2015 progress report and its recommendations here.
The Paris UN Climate Negotiations (Paris COP21), December 2015:
The United Nations held the 21st conference of parties (COP) to discuss action on climate change, including how the wealthier nations were going to curb their emissions as it is the poorest nations that will feel the greatest effects. An agreement was reached to limit global warming to 2 degree above pre-industrial levels with an aim of keeping temperatures below 1.5 degrees. As of December 2016, 194 nations have signed the treaty, 117 of which have ratified it. Enough countries that produce a certain proportion of the world's greenhouse gases have ratified the agreement, allowing it to enter into force.
The UK ratified the agreement in November 2016, making the pledge legally binding. We are now awaiting the release of a plan for a low carbon economy by Nick Hurd, the Minister for Climate Change.
Setting the Fifth Carbon Budget, June 2016
The Climate Change Act set a long term target of reducing UK emissions by at least 80% from 1990 levels by 2050. In order to ensure that this target is reached, the Act established a system of five-yearly carbon budgets. The fifth budget was released earlier this year, aiming for a 57% reduction in emissions by 2030. You can read more about the carbon budgets on the Climate Change Committee's website.
On 23rd June 2016, a public referendum decided that the UK would leave the European Union. David Cameron resigned following this decision and Theresa May took his place as an unelected Prime Minister.
The process of leaving the EU will take 2 years. This process will begin when article 50 is triggered which will happen when Theresa May has negotiated terms of the UK’s departure. There exists some concern over the environmental implications of Brexit, as the EU is responsible for much of the environmental legislation currently in place. Many campaigns and organisations are working to make sure climate change is a high priority for policy following Brexit. For example Greener UK, which launched on 8th December ’16.
Working with your MP
Building a long-standing working relationship with your MP will give you the best chance in making sure climate change remains at the forefront of their agenda, and even changing their mind if they don't see climate change as an urgent issue. See our page Meeting Your MP to find out more or contact us if you would like support or advice working with your MP.