Trump and May: climate disaster?

On 29 April, the day of the US People’s Climate March, hundreds will gather outside Parliament warning that Theresa May could be following Donald Trump ‘down the path to climate disaster’. In a human chain across Westminster Bridge, they’ll be spelling out the message with giant letters. “Trump and May: Climate Disaster,” just over a month before the general election.

At stake in June's election will be sweeping deregulation potentially associated with a ‘hard Brexit’ - bad news for climate commitments and environmental safeguards. The organisers of the protest say that despite the Conservative Party’s original strong support for the Climate Change Act, the current government’s record under first Cameron, then May is far from encouraging.

“Clean energy has huge potential in the UK and costs have fallen dramatically, but our government has seemed determined to slam the brakes on with taxes, unfair restrictions and sudden subsidy cuts. There have been 12,000 jobs lost last year in the solar industry alone and installation numbers have plummeted. It’s the same story with onshore wind and energy efficiency. Meanwhile fracking, hugely unpopular, is given determined backing.” said Claire James from the Campaign against Climate Change.

Campaigners are calling for commitments from all parties ahead of the election to:

  • Fast-track the UK’s (overdue) climate change plan, showing clearly how we can get back on track both with our own Climate Change Act and commitments made in the Paris climate agreement.
  • Rule out quick and dirty trade deals - with the US or any other countries - that sell out a safe climate and healthy environment or the rights of workers and consumers.
  • Implement a fair deal for UK solar and onshore wind industries, reversing the damage done in recent years.

“This is something that everyone except the most hardline climate sceptics should be able to get behind,” said Claire James. “If the US does pull out of the Paris climate deal as threatened, other nations will need to work together to safeguard our future in the face of US isolationism. The UK has far more to lose than we could possibly gain from cosying up to Donald Trump.”

The action on Westminster Bridge will take place from 1pm. It will be preceded by speeches from 12pm in Old Palace Yard opposite the Houses of Parliament. Speakers including Chris Baugh, PCS union, Lorraine Inglis, Frack Off London, John Hunter, Divest London, Jennifer Huseman, Sacred Stone UK Solidarity Network, and Sheila Menon, Plane Stupid, will talk about the climate crisis, the growing climate movement in the US and UK, and how people can get involved.

Notes

  1. Photos of the action can be sent on request.

  2. Contact for press enquiries: Claire James claire@campaigncc.org 07939 654914

  3. Government reportedly ‘preparing to scrap EU’s green energy targets after Brexit’ http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/government-preparing-to-scrap-eu-s-green-energy-targets-after-brexit-a7684771.html

  4. Less climate concern’ key to Brexit trade. https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/less-climate-concern-key-to-brexit-trade-g6lrs6cw3

  5. Long delayed UK ‘Clean Growth Plan’ (Emissions Reduction Plan) ‘in holding pattern’ because of snap general election https://www.edie.net/news/11/UK-Clean-Growth-Plan-delayed-after-snap-general-election-announcement/

  6. Solar job losses were found to be around 12,000 in a survey from July 2016. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jul/25/solar-subsidy-cuts-lead-to-loss-of-12000-jobs

  7. Solar subsidies were cut by 65% in December 2015, following cuts of 85% and 71% respectively to larger solar installations on roofs and in solar parks. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/damian-carrington-blog/2015/dec/17/uk-cuts-renewable-energy-make-a-mockery-of-its-pledge-paris-climate-talks

  8. A tax increase of up to 800% for solar panels on schools and businesses has just been introduced. http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/solar-industry-budget-2017-800-per-cent-tax-increase-green-renewable-energy-a7618191.html

  9. In the first quarter of 2017 there was an 81 per cent decline in new solar panel capacity compared to the average over 2016.http://www.solar-trade.org.uk/sta-sounds-deployment-alarm-solar-hits-crunch-point/

  10. Households helped with home energy efficiency (including those in fuel poverty) dropping from 2015 to 24% of the level in 2010-2015 http://www.ukace.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/ACE-briefing-note-2016-03-Home-energy-efficiency-delivery-2010-to-2020.pdf

  11. Since summer 2015 the government cut all subsidies for medium and large onshore wind projects and unique planning obstacles have been introduced. https://1010uk.org/blown-away-content/blown-away-policy-detail

  12. Onshore wind could soon proceed without additional subsidy for the most competitve projects – if government changed the rules, allowing it to compete for energy contracts alongside fossil fuels https://www.scottishrenewables.com/news/most-competitive-onshore-wind-projects-baringa/

  13. Following dramatic cost reductions, the solar industry says modest government support today could get solar subsidy-free by 2020 if it is not locked out of the market http://www.solar-trade.org.uk/cheapest-clean-energy-power-cut-uk-market/

  14. Other ways the government has gone backwards on climate since May 2015 include scrapping Zero Carbon Homes for new-build, freezing fuel duty, removing tax incentives for efficient vehicles, fast-tracking fracking /backwards and of course giving approval to a new runway at Heathrow /nonewrunways

  15. Committee on Climate Change warns with current policies we are on track for the UK to get half-way, or less, to the emissions cuts needed by 2030. https://www.theccc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/2016-CCC-Progress-Report.pdf