Hope for the Future is supporting the Warm This Winter campaign, which brings together dozens of charities, activist groups, and other organisations to demand our elected representatives take action on the energy crisis. Solving this crisis is urgent and necessary, because of the direct human impacts of fuel poverty on people’s health and wellbeing. It is also fundamentally a climate issue. The solutions to the energy crisis are also climate solutions: more investment in renewables, retrofitting housing, and improving energy efficiency.
As the crisis continues through winter, government inaction is having dramatic effects. Over 1,000 people in England died as a result of living in cold, damp homes in December. Around 7 million households remain in fuel poverty, despite government support schemes. Many people are being forced onto pre-payment meters. These mean that people lose all access to heating and electricity if they can’t afford to top up, and also punish the poorest and most vulnerable by being much more expensive than other ways of paying for energy. The crisis is impacting everyone, but its effects are also being felt unequally, in turn reinforcing and deepening existing social and economic inequalities.
Currently we’re reliant on fossil fuels, which are at the mercy of events in global energy markets - most dramatically the war in Ukraine. Attempts to start new fossil fuel extraction projects in the UK are a false solution, not only would they be disastrous for the climate, the infrastructure for them takes many years to build. That’s why Warm This Winter proposes massively scaling up renewables, something which can be done on a much shorter timeline and will provide a permanent and sustainable solution to high energy bills. Rather than creating more subsidies for oil and gas extraction, they are demanding the government look to triple the amount of wind and solar and build a 95% zero carbon power sector by 2030.
Hope for the Future has worked hard to highlight the ways in which climate justice informs the necessary responses to the energy crisis. At our event in West Bromwich, we brought together community groups and campaigners concerned with a range of interrelated issues - housing, fuel poverty, and the climate. You can hear Hope for the Future’s Arran Rangi discussing this on Unity FM, in conversation with representatives of Greenpeace and Footsteps.
Last year we also held a really successful training session with Warm This Winter. We see our unique skill-set in effective communication with elected representatives as an important contribution we can make to the campaign, with the aim of genuine policy changes to tackle the energy crisis in a way that also moves us away from reliance on fossil fuels and protects the climate.
As part of our involvement with the Climate Coalition, we will be supporting Show the Love - an annual celebration of all that we love, but could lose due to climate change. Taking place to coincide with Valentine’s Day, people will make green hearts and share them on social media. The aim will be to show our political leaders that they need to take action - and that by showing the love for our planet, they can also protect other things that we care about. Including by tackling the rising cost of living that is causing so much suffering across society and which is intimately tied up with the climate crisis.