Preparing to meet your MP
MPs roles' require them to respond to and engage with an enormous range of issues and it isn't possible for them to be an expert in every field! Whilst meeting with your MP can feel like a daunting prospect, chances are they wont be a climate change expert themselves. Nevertheless, being well prepared for your meeting means you are more likely to leave with some constructive outcomes. Here are some ideas for ways in which you can prepare for meeting with your MP.
The 2008 Climate Change Act
Whether or not your MP thinks we are doing enough to combat climate change, it is important to know about the Climate Change Act which was the world's first ever legally binding target for greenhouse emissions cuts. The Act means that our Government is required by law to work towards an 80% reduction in emissions by 2050 from the 1991 baseline. The Climate Change Committee (CCC), an independent body set up under the Act, states in its 2014 progress report that, 'even if the Government's ambition for [current] existing policies could be fully delivered... much more is needed if future carbon budgets are to be met'. We are therefore not on tract to meet the UK's legally binding target.
Find out a bit more about your MP
It is helpful to know a bit about your MP's stance on climate change. You could simply do an internet search for your MPs name and 'climate change', or could also search for your MP on www.theyworkforyou.com and click 'Profile' to find out if they have any specific roles in parliament which may be related. To find out more about your MPs voting record, click 'Votes'. Select 'See a Full List of Topics Voted On' and scroll to the bottom of the page to find a summary of their votes on climate change under 'Miscellaneous Votes'.
The 2013 Energy Act
One vote to particularly look out for is the decision as to whether there should be a decarbonisation target set as part of the Energy Bill of 2013. Parliament voted on 4th June and the setting of a target was postponed until 2016.
The Climate Change Committee (CCC) is an independent body set up under the Climate Change Act to advice the government on reaching its green house gas emmissions targets. The CCC's 2014 progress report strongly advises the Government to set a decarbonisation target for 2030 (page 14). If your MP voted against a decarbonisation target, it could be worth asking them why, and if they will commit to the setting of one in 2016.
Why is climate change important to you?
Research has shown that facts alone are unlikely to change a persons' opinion on climate change. Skeptical Science have some useful resources on this, particularly in how to 'debunk' climate myths. We have also put together some suggestions for how to have a constructive conversation with your MP about climate change, and additional resources for ways of talking about climate change specifically with a Conservative MP.
Why are you passionate about climate change? Is it because you have children or grandchildren, because you have relationships with people overseas who are already affected, or because you live by the coast and UK sea levels have already risen by 12cm and are set to raise another 11-16cm by 2020? Have you or people you know been affected by the increase in UK flooding? Are you worried about the extinction of certain species? Do you think it simply makes more economic sense to take action on climate change before it is too late? We have a list of suggested issues you may wish to raise here. Be prepared to share with your MP how you have come to care about climate change.
Have some clear asks
What do you hope to achieve from your meeting? Ask your MP if they would be willing to commit to certain actions, and then you can hold them accountable. We suggest that you pick no more than three requets as too many can seem unmanageable. We have some suggested asks here that you might like to use here.