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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Email to Councillor Garnham - he is extremely offended by climate change

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Dear Mr Garnham,

Thank you for your email (see at the end of this text). You may want to explain which part of the letter actually offends you. I can only speculate.

Is it because I refer to the conclusions of the IPCC report that forecasts with the business as usual scenario that we are pursuing, we could be facing a temperature increase of 6 deg C by the end of this century, which will lead to the extincition of virtually all life on this planet. I can understand you being offended at this, it makes us all feel guilty about the carbon emissions that the we produce and our complicity in the end of the world.

Is it because I compare the situation with the lead up to the second world war? Again I can understand you being offended by this, because it raises the famous question as to whether or not countries go to war because the populations are evil or because they are led by evil. Gloucestershire airport claims that the majority of people support them. If this is correct, it does not prove that there is a case for the airport, just in the same way as popular support for war in Germany before WW1 and WW2 did not prove war was correct. In our case, it merely proves that the majority of people are either unaware of climate change or so self interested as to not care. I can understand discussion of this being offensive to you.

Is it because I highlight the cancer risk associated with living near an airport? Heathrow has some of the highest incidents of respiratory illness, heart disease and cancers in the country. I can understand people who are keen on flying being offended by the thought of killing the people on the ground around them.

Is it because I highlight the absurdity of a company hoping to provide a helicopter taxi service in the face of cataclysmic climate change, and to be operating from an airport that once said on its web site that it was concerned about the global warming? Again, I can understand you being offended by the knowledge that a company which the Council owns, behaves in such an appalling manner.

There are probably many other things in my letter that could have led me to offend you. However, I suffer huge offence every time I switch on the TV and hear of the latest Airbus delivery, or the latest airport expansion, or the latest bio-fuel development that is destroying the rain forest, knowing full well that each one of these is another nail in the coffin for my children. I however, am not in elected office, you are, and while you have any say or influence in a decision that will affect my children I will continue to use my democratic right to raise my concern in every way I can. I will, therefore not be removing you from my mail list unless you make it absolutely and unequivocally clear that you will oppose the airport expansion and use your influence to persuade other councillors into doing the same.

I would also ask you to recognise the magnitude of the imminient crisis that we face. Your party recently backed away from any significant policies on climate change at the last conference, in common with recent moves from Labour. I will therefore not have any reasonable choice of policies on climate change in the next election. I find that deeply offensive, especially in a democracy.

Kevin Lister

"GARNHAM, Cllr Rob" wrote:

Mr Lister,

I find the tone of your letter to be extremely offensive and would ask that you remove me from your circulation list.

Cllr Rob Garnham.

Cllr Rob Garnham
Cheltenham Borough Councillor for Park Ward
County Councillor for Lansdown, Park and Warden Hill Wards.
Chairman of Gloucestershire Police Authority
tel 01242 673325

From: Kevin Lister [] Sent: 07 November 2007 16:57

To: Gloucester Echo

Subject: Fully consider the facts before supporting the airport- Letter to the Gloucester Echo.

As the organiser of Camp Hope at Staverton, I have watched the emerging debate in the letters page with great interest over the recent weeks since the camp. Whilst there have been a number of letters opposing the airport, it still amazes me that so many people refuse to connect their actions and desires with the desperately critical problem of climate change which faces us all.

It amazes me further that people are prepared to suffer noise and pollution, whilst simultaneously underwriting an investment that will provide little, if any, direct benefit to them as the airport claims it intends to attract primarily private jets and scheduled services to Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dublin.

Only last week the airport announced that one of its operators intends to run a helicopter taxi service to the Cheltenham Gold Cup, which is aimed at those arriving at the airport in private jets. At a time when the government is urging us to reduce our emissions; this is absolutely ludicrous and insulting. It totally undermines the airports claims that private jets are somehow critical for business and that they are concerned about the environment.

During the camp one visitor from Staverton village complained that every second house in his street has a cancer victim and this highlights that the issue of local pollution is under debated. There has been much world wide research on cancer clusters around airports which are caused by fuel vapours, exhaust products and de-icing fluids. It maybe coincidental that one of the airport’s senior members is also suffering from cancer, but it does force the importance of proper debate on the cancer issue and we wish him a speedy recovery.

For those people who still support the airport, I would challenge them to become fully conversant with the facts before commenting further by reading the IPCC report, which is easily available on the web. This is the most authoritative statement on climate change and agreed by all the world’s governments. It demonstrates that our children face catastrophic climate change which will completely dwarf World War 2 in its impact unless urgent action is taken to reduce emissions. As World War 2 is the nearest crisis of in terms of size that we have faced, we must look to it for solutions and inspiration.

I would ask those who support the airport to consider how they would like to be remembered if they were a German citizen during the war. Would they want to be associated with those who watched silently as the Jews were taken to their deaths and asked no questions, or would they want to be remembered as the inspirational Oscar Schindler who risked his life and fortune to save as many as he could from certain death and highlighted the injustice of the system that he had to live under? To stand by and watch whilst doing nothing in the certain knowledge that many of today's children will face death from climate change, is equivalent to watching the jews being transported to the death camps and doing nothing.

It is worth remembering this airport issued a report denying and ridiculing the science of climate change in its attempt to expand its business. Wilful ignorance of a warning as critical and unequivocal as that given on global warming to support an environementally damaging development breaches the human rights of today's young people. Our solicitors are reviewing legislation such that we can bring a case against the councils and the airport in the event that the planning application is successful for a breach of human rights.

Kevin Lister
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