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Monday, December 29, 2014

Festive greeting to MPs in the lead to the General election



Dear MP,  
 
Wishing you all a happy new year.  
 
The festivities and consumerism of this time of year make it difficult to appreciate the destruction we face from runway climate change and easy to forget the increasing danger posed by nuclear weapons. I guess this is why it is increasingly encouraged year after year.
 
You will already have had two emails from me which link our inability to address climate change with our decision to proceed with Trident. The first explained the super exponential growth of atmospheric CO2 means we are left with only a couple of years to move to the zero carbon economy needed to avoid the worst nightmares of climate change and that when we hit the critical tipping points the rapidly accelerating trend will drive us deep into the danger zone. The second, as an open email to Ed Davies, explained that the pursuit of Trident locks us into an industrial race that makes climate change agreements impossible.
 
I have received many replies to which I am grateful. A common point made in these was that  strict parliamentary protocol prevents MPs other than my own from taking action on my behalf.  However, emails on this matter to my MP (Geoffrey Clifton Brown) remain unanswered.  This is hardly surprising from a man who said in a hustings debate, with the dismissive arrogance that only an Etonian millionaire can mange, that there is nothing wrong with having more millionaires in the cabinet than women.
 
My inability to get representation contrasts sharply to the access that corporations committed to ecological destruction have to the levers of power. It illustrates a fundamental limitation to our democratic system and an inversion of processes - those of us that vote have no influence on critical policy and those corporations that don't vote do. 
 
The many replies reflected a range of views to which I am grateful. At one extreme David Davies (Monmouth) from the Conservatives claimed that the climate has not changed for the last 17 years. Perhaps as a keen amateur boxer, his brains have been too bashed out to see the obvious, or perhaps he is just more honest in his denial than those who pretend to do something, yet do nothing  At the other extreme where receptive MPs from all parties.
 
In my previous emails, I advocated that nuclear weapons and climate change talks must be integrated. In my book I have demonstrated that unless this is done, then the chance of success in either is less than finding a single atom at random from all the atoms that make our planet. The extraordinary collapse in the price of oil driven by the economic warfare Saudi Arabia is waging on Iran as a result of the nuclear weapons stand off and abetted by American actions to do the same to Russia has validated this more brutally than all the detractors could have imagined. It makes the failure of the Lima COP talks even more stark and keeps the chance of a worthwhile agreement in Paris at absolute zero. The result being a world about to embark on a last binge of cheap fossil fuel consumption as the ice cap collapses and methane belches from the Arctic.
 
The unavoidable reality is that the nuclear weapons standoffs around the world are making any chance of controlling the decent into the chaos of runaway climate change impossible. The extraordinary events of the last weeks make it more important than ever for us to recongnise the linkage between the decision we make on nuclear weapons and our failure to address climate change. Instead, we are increasingly being left with the question of how many more festive seasons there will be left to enjoy. 
 
Perhaps in the spirit of direct democracy that the independence vote in Scotland demonstrated and the EU referendum that the Conservatives promise, the decision to proceed with nuclear weapon deployments in the face of runaway climate change can be put to the people if the election result does not cause its abandonment. The nature of the UK political environment uniquely allows this debate and politicians should not squander the opportunity it provides.
 
Kevin Lister
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