The other day I found out about this really cool new website called Note My Vote, which basically lets you vote on potential new laws before they’re debated in parliament, and tells your MP what you (and your fellow constituents) think.
The website, which has no political affiliation, basically conducts lots of opinion polls, and sends each MP their constituent’s results. It also shows your MP’s voting records and has some demystifying information on how the UK legislative process works.
The site’s logo. Image from notemyvote.co.uk
So on Tuesday, 23rd September 2014, the UN held a Climate Summit in New York, which was attended by over 100 heads of state and over 800 leaders from business, finance and civil society.
Not my image.
I wrote about the aims of the Summit a couple of weeks ago, but basically it was meant to galvanise political momentum towards the all-important COP-21 meeting in Paris 2015, where a global legally binding climate deal will finally be signed.
These world leaders descended on the UN headquarters just two days after over 600,000 people took part in the largest climate mobilisation in history – hailing from 155 different countries, but with an amazing 300,000 marching in New York.
The New York march. Not my image.
The Summit didn’t produce an agreement or decision. But that’s okay, because it wasn’t planning to. It wasn’t a negotiating session. It consisted of all the leaders giving small speeches, offering pledges and commitments for their country, or at least promising to do so before Paris 2015. Some of the pledges are exciting, but most of it appears to have been simple lip-service. However, the key thing is that the Summit (and the global People’s Climate March) has put climate change firmly back on the agenda. That seems to be what UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon had in mind, which explains why he described it on the website as a resounding success despite many of the national pledges being very vague. Continue reading
Today I went to London for the People’s Climate March, a global mobilisation of people demanding bold climate action, ahead of the UN Climate Summit in New York on Tuesday. Over 2,600 events took place around the world today, in 156 different countries.
Even just in terms of organisation and phenomenal use of social media and logistics, that’s a huge achievement. The fact that so many people, from all walks of life and all around the world, could be bothered to spend their Sunday marching and rallying for action on climate change is incredible.
It’s easy to think people don’t care much about this stuff. Apathy is evident everywhere. But today while I was marching in solidarity with thousands of strangers, waving placards and chanting our demand for clean energy, I felt such a sense of shared passion, energy and determination that it was almost overwhelming. Continue reading
Did you know there’s a UN Climate Summit in exactly one month?
I have to admit it slipped my mind, and I like to think of myself as in the environmental loop.
I’m not sure what the news coverage has been like in other countries, but in the UK it’s definitely been nowhere near the top of the agenda. I know this because preparations for my dissertation have seen me rifling through the top four serious newspapers of the land for the last couple of weeks. I was looking for articles on sustainable development, in order to analyse how the concept is construed in the news print media. And yet I barely found any.
I wasn’t too surprised. I though to myself, “oh well, what do you expect. Sustainability only comes into the news in a major way when there’s some big event, like the run-up to a UN summit or the aftermath of a natural disaster”.
Only the other night I realised it was the run-up to a big UN summit.
Not my image.
In dear David Cameron’s so called “reshuffle” of his cabinet, (in preparation for next year’s general election), he appears to have done what we previously thought impossible: made his party even more of a sick joke. Why am I being so harsh? Well, his new environment and energy ministers both oppose green energy. Continue reading
This is just about the best idea I’ve heard of in a very long time.
Solar Roadways are pretty much what they say on the tin: solar panels that cover the roads, generating clean electricity. They can also cover car parks, pavements, cycle lanes and any other impenetrable surface. The solar panels are encased in modular, hexagon-shaped tiles that can be replaced individually and are topped with a special kind of glass which can withstand even the heaviest trucks driving over it. The tiles are partly made with recycled materials, and they heat up slightly so as to melt snow and ice – meaning less snow-clearing costs, safer winter roads and of course year round functionality of the solar panels.
And the best bit?
How much energy these things could actually generate. The calculations, which use conservative estimates based on one of the least sunny states, show that if all roads in the USA were solar roads,each year they would generate three times the power the whole country used in 2009.
Let that sink in for a minute. Three times the amount. Continue reading
So the results of the European election are out.
…And UKIP won. Labour came a close second, then the Tories, then the Greens, with the Lib Dems being pushed into fifth place.
Apparently this is the first time in 100 years that neither Labour nor the Conservatives have won a UK national election.
But I just can’t believe the majority of voters thought the bigoted neoliberalism-on-steroids party was a good idea. Continue reading
Great news, everyone.
The Guardian’s live stream tells us the EU Commission has agreed on the climate targets for 2030:
- 40% cut of GHG emissions, from 1990 levels
- At least 27% of energy coming from renewables – binding
- At least 25% improved energy efficiency – non binding
- The EU carbon trading scheme will be reformed Continue reading
Tomorrow, Wednesday 22nd January 2014, the EU will be announcing the carbon cutting target for 2030 and the renewables target for the same period.
Europe seems fairly united in the need to tackle climate change, and they’ve already decided a fifth of the budget will be allocated to climate related policies. But dangerously, corporate lobbyists from the fossil fuel industry are using this final window before the announcement to clamour for attention and weaken the deal. If you want the EU to seal an ambitious deal and seriously tackle climate change, please take a moment to send a message to EU Commision President Jose Barroso, through Avaaz.
https://secure.avaaz.org/en/save_eu_climate_legacy_d/?aUKFedb Continue reading
A few months ago I wrote about why we need to Stop the Gagging Bill. Last week I wrote about how happy I am that my city is officially opposing it. On Thursday I went to a local public meeting about it, where two MPs and two other speakers hashed it out with 300 concerned local people. The meeting was organized by people power group 38 Degrees, and they’ve also got a petition that’s being presented to the House of Lords tomorrow – if you haven’t already, please sign it!
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/page/signup/fix-the-gagging-law#petition Continue reading