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Saturday, March 03, 2007

Meeting with David Drew MP

Click here to read my magical fairy story and click here for letters to MPs, Ministers and the Advertising Standard Agency and links to various reports


I am delighted to say that I have had an excellent meeting with David Drew this morning on the subject of global warming and our responses to it.

David is supportive on all the main action points that I have given him which follow below. In addition he is prepared to pursue a private members bill for the introduction of a compulsary environmental health warning on airline adverts, in the same way as is currently done on cigarettes. This follows some of the blatent distortions of the truth that the airlines have been peddling recently in the press, (see my letters to the Advertising standards agency in protest against Easy Jet and Ryan Air on the blog). I will support David in this initative by researching into the way the legislation was handled with the tobacco industry and what can be learnt from that experience. If anyone on the mail list has any knowledge of how this was engineered and how the tobacco companies were defeated in their objection to the warnings, please let me know, or if you are able to help me research this and put material together also let me know. Email at kevsclimatecolumn@btinternet.com

We also had an interesting discussion on how important it was that communities act together to jointly reduce C02 emissions and what constituted a community, we agreed that communities can be from local level up to international level. At one extreme we discussed the possiblity of making Nailsworth a carbon neutral area to the other extreme of creating a community at an international level, were countries form "collitions of the willing" on specific issue areas. For example if the UK and Holland both agreed to stop competing in the race to develop airports, it would be far more effective than relying on the industry to join a flawed system such as the European Carbon Trading Scheme. As Holland is already below sea level and at serious risk from global warming, they would probably be receptive to this. David has agreed to give thought as to how we could move this forward.

On the specific issue of the proposed Staverton Aiport development, I have just learnt that at a full council meeting Tweksbury councillors agreed to sign the Nottingham Declaration on climate change. The declaration commits councils to work with the Government to implement the UK Climate Change Programme locally. Also, Staverton Airport have withdrawn their 5 year business plan stating that it contains commercially confidential information. The letter that I sent Tewksbury County Council is on the blog.

The list of things that I would like David Drew to do:

  1. I would like you to increase awareness of the need for robust and meaningful action to reduce CO2 emissions within the House of Commons and encourage ministers to lead by example. It is not acceptable that our Prime Minister holidays abroad whilst telling everyone else that we need to make cuts.
  2. I have replied to the letter sent to me by the Transport Secretary’s representative, details are on my blog. I have had no reply. I would like you to follow up this with Douglas Alexander and his representative (Emily Robertson).
  3. I would like your assurance that you will actively oppose the government’s airport expansion policies. There are currently no international mechanisms or agreements that will limit the growth of aviation, let alone its curtailment. The Chicago agreement prevents fuel tax being levied on international flights and the ETS scheme is unlikely to be effective. Unilateral restrictions in supply are the only available means of limiting emissions.
  4. I would like you to lobby MEPs to gain a consensus that airport expansion across Europe in general should be stopped.
  5. I have written to the ASA regarding the Easy Jet and Ryan Air adverts. I would like your support in following up these complaints.
  6. The airline and travel industry is able to buy significant press coverage every day through their adverts. After the misleading articles published by Easy Jet and Ryan Air, I would like you to pursue a campaign that every advert and plane ticket carries a warning along the lines of “Flying seriously damages the environment,” in the same way that cigarette adverts are controlled.
  7. I would like your support in opposing the developments in Staverton Airport. I have written to all the councillors in Tewskesbury. Recent developments are encouraging. Tewkesbury Borough Council has signed the Nottingham Declaration on climate change committing them to work with the Government to implement the UK Climate Change Programme locally.
  8. I would like you to press for further increases in APD, as existing levels are too low to be effective.
  9. I would like you to lobby for an immediate and urgent start to iron sulphate seeding of the desolate and non fertile parts of the oceans. This has been demonstrated to massively increase phytoplankton activity and absorb enormous quantities of CO2. Furthermore, this reduces acidity of the oceans. There is also evidence that it will increase cloud formation, thereby providing further cooling. It can be done at relatively low cost and low environmental risk.
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