On November 6th, as part of a global day of action, in the middle of COP26, we delivered a list of demands to our MP, Nadhim Zahawi. These echoed and built on the demands of the COP26 Coalition for climate justice, at home and internationally.

In sum, we called for the UK government to:

  • Keep fossil fuels in the ground.
  • Reject false solutions and harmful projects: cancel the government’s £27bn road building; restrict production of new SUVs;  tax frequent fliers, ban private jets & cancel airport expansions; support green rather than blue hydrogen; develop a plan for meat and dairy reduction; and sideline corporate lobbyists.
  • Support a genuine green new deal, with spending meeting the scale of the crisis, and including a jobs guarantee, deep insulation of all UK homes, development of renewable electricity for more than just electricity & full funding of council plans. The burden of payment should fall on the wealthy, who have done and are still doing most to cause the climate crisis. If this is incompatible with the existing economic system, that system must be changed.
  • Pass the CEE Bill, which calls for a nature recovery plan, to repair ecological damage, pesticide pollution, sewage and agricultural pollution of our rivers, and species loss in the UK.
  • Mobilise UK power overseas, as a consumer and financial power. Prioritise the climate in trade negotiations, and ally with countries in the global south calling for a global green new deal.
  • Acknowledge the importance of climate justice, in recognition of the historic responsibility of wealthy nations for the climate crisis. To allow poorer countries to decarbonise, cancel punitive debts and provide them with climate finance for their own green transitions.

You can read our full list of demands, with explanations, here.

In response, Mr Zahawi sent us the following letter: 

Dear ——-,Thank you for your letter, in which you set out a list of demands.I am strongly encouraged by the progress and agreements achieved at COP26 in Glasgow in November 2021. The Glasgow Climate Pact calls on countries to accelerate efforts towards the phase down of unabated coal power and phase out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, while providing targeted support to the poorest and most vulnerable in line with national circumstances and recognising the need for support towards a just transition. I appreciate you raising your concerns about the Cambo oil field. The original licensing consent for the Cambo oil field dates back to 2001 when it was approved by the then Labour government. Development proposals for fields with existing licences, such as Cambo, are subject to a rigorous scrutiny process and environmental impact assessment. No decision has yet been taken on the Cambo project. When it comes to decarbonising our oil and gas sector I can assure you that the government has world-leading plans through the North Sea Transition Deal ensuring that whilst we make this transition we protect and secure the tens of thousands of jobs dependent on this sector. While I am pleased that the Government is working hard to drive down demand for fossil fuels, I do also appreciate that there will continue to be ongoing demand for oil and gas over the coming years, as recognised by the independent Climate Change Committee. At COP25, countries highlighted that existing sources of funds from a wide variety of sources, including disaster reduction and response funds, respond to loss and damage. I understand they also urged donors and other funds to scale up support relevant to averting, minimising and addressing loss and damage in the most vulnerable countries. Therefore, I was strongly encouraged that at COP26 in Glasgow, more public and private finance was mobilised to support climate action in developing countries than ever before and I am encouraged that the global financial system is aligning behind a net zero world. New pledges made at COP26 bring developed countries closer to meeting the $100billion annual climate finance target in 2022 and ensure it is exceeded after that, as well as mobilising billions in private finance and green investment. Governments have committed to double the overall finance for adaptation and better address the threat of loss and damage in climate-vulnerable countries, and I know the UK will now work with all countries to make good on those pledges. I am encouraged that the Glasgow Climate Pact requires countries to return next year with a more ambitious 2030 emissions reductions target in line with the 1.5C target, ensuring crucial momentum on climate action this decade is maintained. I do not agree that the £27 Billion figure for road repairs and developments is a ‘false’ solution. As I have written previously, £1 Billion will be going towards conserving cultural heritage, improving flood resilience, and increasing access for cyclists. Crucially, the £27 Billion investment is expected to save millions of hours of travel through reduced journey times, and will support the use of electric vehicles in the long-term.

The UK has the expertise and assets to support both green and blue hydrogen. I am confident that the Government’s twin-track approach to enable both routes will drive cost-effective supply volumes in the 2020s. This approach is in line with the ambition to create 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030 whilst scaling up green hydrogen. It was reaffirmed in the recently-published Hydrogen Strategy which also noted that further detail will be announced in 2022 when the Government publishes its production strategy. The Strategy lays out the Government’s vision to kick start world-leading hydrogen economy set to support over 9,000 UK jobs and unlock £4 Billion in investment by 2030.The Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution included £500 million investment in hydrogen to trial homes using hydrogen for heating and cooking. I am encouraged that the Government aims to develop a hydrogen neighbourhood in 2023, a hydrogen village in 2024, and plans a potential hydrogen town pilot by 2030. These pilots will help the Government make a strategic decision on the role of hydrogen in heating, which will be made by 2026. The Government is providing £240 million for the Net Zero Hydrogen Fund out to 2024/25 for co-investment in early hydrogen production projects. This fund is scheduled to launch in 2022.The £12 billion Government investment in the Ten Point Plan is expected to create and support up to 250,000 green jobs. As part of this plan, £160 million is being invested in wind energy. This funding will be used to create jobs, reduce carbon emissions and boost exports. More broadly, it will upgrade ports and manufacturing infrastructure across communities in the UK. This new investment will see around 2,000 construction jobs created and these new plans will enable the sector to support up to 60,000 jobs directly and indirectly by 2030 in ports, factories and the supply chains, manufacturing the next generation of offshore wind turbines and delivering clean energy to the UK. In addition, the Green Jobs Taskforce has been established and forms part of the Government’s ambitious plan to build back greener and achieve net zero emissions by 2050. The Taskforce will develop an action plan to support 2 million good quality, green jobs and the skills needed by 2030. Its aim will be to focus on the immediate and longer-term challenges of delivering skilled workers for the UK’s transition to net zero including supporting workers in high carbon transitioning sectors, like oil and gas, to retrain in new green technologies. The North Sea Transition Deal will also be a key component in ensuring the oil and gas sector work with the Government over the long-term to deliver the skills, innovation and new infrastructure required to decarbonise North Sea production, as well as other carbon intensive industries. The UK is on course to protect over half of our waters. We now have 357 Marine Protected Areas of different types and no activities deemed damaging to designated features will be allowed to take place in these areas. We are also leading coalitions of ambitious countries to protect at least 30 per cent of the world’s land and water by 2030, to redirect land use subsidies globally to support sustainability and renewal, and to break the link between commodity production and illegal deforestation. I was strongly encouraged that, at COP26, more than 130 leaders, representing over 90 per cent of the world’s forests, pledged to end deforestation by 2030, backed by almost £14 billion of public and private funding.The poor in developing countries are likely to be hit first and hardest by climate change. This is why it is right that the UK’s ICF reaches those most in need and that the Government is committed to doubling the UK’s ICF to £11.6 billion over the next five years. This is within the UK’s official development assistance budget.Thank you, once again, for your letter. I look forward to speaking to you next month.

Warm regardsNadhimNadhim ZahawiMP for Stratford-on-Avon

 

We will be meeting Mr Zahawi later this month (December 2021) to discuss this response further. We will also produce a public response in due course. In the meantime, please let us know if you think it meets our demands or – more importantly – the demands of the climate emergency itself, in a comment below (please engage with the issues – we already know about the horses!).

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Richard Whittaker

    It is rumoured that the US hid behind the watering down of the final wording ‘phase down’ instead of the preferred ‘phase out’ coal, forced on us by China and India, so we all continue to burn coal for the foreseeable future. The powerful and most polluting nations still have a vested financial and political interest in burning fossil fuels look at their economies, look at Nadhim Zahawi’s past, are they about to sacrifice their (fossil burning) income streams for what…. a lowering of living standards, of course not without much persuasion. So what is now needed is an alternative to the COP forum by nations serious about putting real pressure on the polluters, where a single nation can’t veto the agreement agreed by the other 196 nations as they can now and there are no ENFORCEMENT mechanisms under COP. I would say that it is the very COP itself the way it is set up, that is the fundamental flaw to creating peer pressure. At home on a local level, more of the same pressure is needed, like the letter to NZ sent by SCA and all the other activities the group undertakes, but he won’t be likely to ignore the party whip unless his seat is at risk, however if the excellent efforts continue to be a pain to his popularity, there may be a cause for optimism, or better still an alternative representative/party replacing him in the future, I think there IS a changing public opinion here in SUA, even certain media sometimes agrees too 🙂

  2. Julie Jones

    Love what you are doing but he’s a career politician who owns oil fields and mixing in dubious circles and oh he loves money and luxury – don’t think he gives a lot of thought to looking after our beautiful precious world. I would concentrate on getting a candidate for the next MP who has a soul and a passion for the environment. Doubt he even read your letter it will have been written by one of his aides.

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