Caroline Lucas on 13 years as the Green Party’s only MP

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Left Foot Forward has an exclusive with Caroline Lucas. She is set to resign as an MP at the next general election.

Caroline Lucas Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion. Official image by David Woolfall Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.
Caroline Lucas Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion. Official image by David Woolfall Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

While she is unsurprisingly damning about the prime ministers who have been in office over her 13 years in the House of Commons, Lucas has had to work closely with MPs from other parties. By virtue of being the only MP for her party, working cross-party has been central to much of her work. As a result, she offers strong praise for MPs on the opposition benches who she has worked with over the years.

She tells Left Foot Forward: “I work really closely with people like Nadia Whittome and Clive Lewis on the Green New Deal, and we have an all party group on the Green New Deal and we work very closely together on that. I enjoy working with Barry Gardiner actually on the Environmental Audit Committee just because he’s such a terrier when it comes to cross-questioning ministers. From the Liberal Democrats I work very closely with Wera Hobhouse on environmental issues, green issues. Plaid [Cymru] are very good on social issues and I’m probably closest to them of all the parties in Westminster.”

However, such praise is definitely absent from her assessment of the likely next prime minister – the Labour leader Keir Starmer. She starts by acknowledging that she and the Green Party would “prefer to see a Labour government than a Tory government”, but goes on to ask “what kind of Labour government” we are likely to get.

“I think there are real concerns over the U-turns that Keir Starmer has been performing – whether that is on what was originally a £28 billion commitment for green investment, he was going to scrap tuition fees, things like the two child benefit cap which is a really, really obscene policy and his own frontbench have said its obscene yet he has now said that he is not going to reverse that.

“He’s better on oil and gas to the extent that he’s said he won’t give licenses to new oil and gas. But then there’s a totally incoherent position of saying that he will allow Rosebank to go ahead. Whereas if he had said were he to get into government he would have tried to roll back that decision it would never have been taken in the first place, because the signal that would have given to Equinor, the Norwegian investor who is going to go ahead with Rosebank would have thought twice. So on oil and gas, there’s a problem there.”

Lucas says that on the economy and other issues, Starmer is operating with a “lack of ambition” which is “so desperately disappointing because he seems to think that if he just plays it incredibly safe, then he can tip-toe into Downing Street”, before going on to say “I think he needs to worry as well about the number of people he simply won’t be inspiring to get off their chairs and down to the polling station at all – and right now it is incredibly hard to say what Keir Starmer stands for”.

Given that Lucas spoke to Left Foot Forward the day after the major vote in parliament on whether the government should call for a ceasefire in Gaza, she also criticises Labour for failing to vote to support a ceasefire. “I think it was incredibly disappointing that Labour is on the wrong side of history on this”, she says.

Continue ReadingCaroline Lucas on 13 years as the Green Party’s only MP

Climate protests worldwide start a week of demonstrations

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Scientists protest at UK Parliament 5 September 2023.
Scientists protest at UK Parliament 5 September 2023.

Tens of thousands march in New York City to protest fossil fuels

Dharna Noor

Tens of thousands of people in New York City have kicked off a week of demonstrations seeking to end the use of coal, oil and natural gas blamed for climate change.

“This is an incredible moment,” said Jean Su of Center for Biological Diversity, who helped organize the mobilization.

Tens of thousands of people are marching in the streets of New York because they want climate action, and they understand Biden’s expansion of fossil fuels is squandering our last chance to avoid climate catastrophe.

Su said the action was the largest climate protest in the US since the start of the pandemic, with organizers estimating around 75,000 protestors taking to the streets in New York City.

She added:

This also shows the tremendous grit and fight of the people, especially youth and communities living at the frontlines of fossil fuel violence, to fight back and demand change for the future they have every right to lead.

In addition to celebrities and lawmakers, kids from across the country as well as elderly people showed up at the protests, waving climate signs and chanting alongside event organizers.

New York’s Democratic representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who previously championed the Green New Deal alongside Senator Bernie Sanders, is also expected to address the crowd later this afternoon.

Sunday’s demonstration comes ahead of the the United Nations Climate Ambition Summit, which the UN secretary general, António Guterres, says will focus on on bold new climate pledges.

Continue ReadingClimate protests worldwide start a week of demonstrations

‘This Is Huge’: Judge Sides With Montana Youths in Historic Climate Ruling

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Youth climate activists attend the Minnesota March for Science held in St. Paul in April 2017. Lorie Shaull / Flickr

Original article by JULIA CONLEY republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

“As fires rage in the West, fueled by fossil fuel pollution, today’s ruling in Montana is a game-changer that marks a turning point in this generation’s efforts to save the planet,” said one attorney representing 16 young plaintiffs.

Climate advocates on Monday expressed hope that an unprecedented ruling by a state judge in Montana, siding with 16 young residents who argued the state violated their constitutional rights by promoting fossil fuel extraction, will mark a sea change in the outcomes of climate lawsuits.

In Held v. State of Montana, District Court Judge Kathy Seeley ruled that rights of the plaintiffs—who range in age from 5 to 22— have been violated by the Montana Environmental Policy Act because the law has prevented the state from assessing the climate impacts of mining projects.

Fossil fuel emissions including Montana’s “have been proven to be a substantial factor” in heating the planet and causing pollution, Seeley said in the nation’s first ruling on a constitutional, youth-led lawsuit regarding the climate.

Because the Montana Constitution guarantees residents a “clean and healthful environment,” the state’s environmental policy law violates the document, said Seeley.

“This is HUGE,” said meteorologist Eric Holthaus.

“This is a landmark decision establishing enforceable principles of intergenerational justice.”

Julia Olson, founder of Our Children’s Trust, the non-profit law firm that helped represent the plaintiffs, called the victory a “sweeping win” that could have reverberating effects on the hundreds of lawsuits that have been filed in the U.S. arguing against the continued extraction of fossil fuels.

“As fires rage in the West, fueled by fossil fuel pollution, today’s ruling in Montana is a game-changer that marks a turning point in this generation’s efforts to save the planet from the devastating effects of human-caused climate chaos,” said Olson in a statement.

In their defense, state attorneys argued that Montana’s fossil fuel emissions are insignificant compared to global emissions, but Seeley said in her ruling that the state’s per capita emissions are “disproportionately large” and rank in the top six per capita emissions in the United States.

The state also ultimately rested its case on the argument that the state legislature should take up the issue of the environmental law rather than the judiciary—an admission, said Michael Gerrard of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University, that the climate science underpinning the plaintiffs’ case was indisputable.

“Everyone expected them to put on a more vigorous defense,” Gerrard told The Washington Post Monday. “And they may have concluded that the underlying science of climate change was so strong that they didn’t want to contest it.”

During the trial, the plaintiffs testified about their own suffering due to pollution and extreme weather, while climate experts explained the connection between the state’s fossil fuel activities and planetary heating, the wildfires and scorching heat that have overwhelmed parts of the West, and other extreme weather.

“Judge Seeley’s decision comes at a time when we’re seeing the impacts of climate change accelerate—from low streamflows and lake levels to unprecedented heat waves, floods, and wildfires,” said Melissa Hornbein, senior attorney at the Western Environmental Law Center, which along with McGarvey Law also represented the plaintiffs. “These are the climate realities the youth plaintiffs and expert witnesses told us about on the stand, while the state disclaimed any responsibility and dismissed them.”

“We’re relieved that the court recognized that these youth plaintiffs are already feeling the impacts of the climate crisis, as well as the dangers threatening their future if the state doesn’t take meaningful action to address it,” Hornbein added. “We’re also delighted that Judge Seeley recognized Montana’s significant role as an emitter on the global stage, as well as its ability—constrained only by a resistant government—to rectify its disproportionate contribution to the climate crisis.”

The Sunrise Movement, the youth-led climate action organization, said the ruling is “proof that our generation is unstoppable—we have the power to bring down the fossil fuel industry and win a Green New Deal.”

As Common Dreams reported last month, lawsuits around the world have emerged as a key driver of climate action as a wide range of plaintiffs—from children in the U.S. to senior citizens in Switzerland—have argued that their human rights have been violated by the companies and lawmakers that have promoted fossil fuel production despite scientific evidence of the danger it poses.

Out of approximately 2,200 worldwide climate cases, about three-quarters have been filed in the United States, according to the United Nations Environment Program and the Sabin Center, and the number of legal challenges has more than doubled since 2017.

The outcome of the Montana case could “open up the floodgates for more climate lawsuits,” said Jamie Henn, director of Fossil Free Media.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said that the next plaintiff to file a case against the fossil fuel industry should be the federal government, to hold companies accountable “for their role in the climate crisis.”

“This is a landmark decision establishing enforceable principles of intergenerational justice,” said Roger Sullivan, an attorney at McGarvey Law. “Simply stated, the government elected by this generation must abide its obligation to pass on a stable climate system to future generations.”

Original article by JULIA CONLEY republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).


Continue Reading‘This Is Huge’: Judge Sides With Montana Youths in Historic Climate Ruling

Young people stage climate protest at Starmer’s office: ‘stop breaking promises’

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Original article republished from the Skwawkbox for non-commercial use.

Anti-environmentalist Starmer finds climate-change protesters on his doorstep

Green New Deal protest Keir Starmer's office 14 July 2023.
Green New Deal Rising protest Keir Starmer’s office 14 July 2023.

‘Tree-hugger hater’ Starmer – who posed as climate-friendly as part of his con to get Labour members to vote him in as party leader then u-turned to enable the government to pass laws that will criminalise climate and other protesters and even said he hates ‘tree-huggers’ – had a little surprise on his constituency office doorstep yesterday.

Dozens of young ‘Green New Deal’ activists pitched up outside his office to demand that he stop breaking promises – Starmer has shown that his aren’t worth the air he emits to pronounce them – and decorated his office window to remind him they were there, as they explained on their Twitter feed:

The activists also staged protests at the offices of deputy leader Angela Rayner and the appalling Ian Murray in Scotland.

Tory-enabler Starmer has repeatedly fled from climate change protesters and reacted like an awkward robot when they protested at his speech last week.

But while the protest was good-natured, there is nothing remotely funny about Starmer’s contempt for protest, democratic and civil rights – and the environment. Unfit to run a tombola, let alone a political party or, worse still, a country.

Original article republished from the Skwawkbox for non-commercial use.

Hehe, “Unfit to run a tombola …”

Green New Deal Rising Events

Event nameEvent typeDateTimeLocationSign up
Keir Starmer Sit OutActionsEvery FridayLunch breakKeir Starmer’s Office, London, NW1 1TURegister at this link
Angela Rayner Sit OutActionsEvery FridayLunch breakAngela Rayner’s Constituency Office, Ashton-under-Lyne, OL6 7JURegister at this link
Ian Murray Sit OutActionsEvery FridayLunch breakMinto street constituency office, Edinburgh, EH9 2BTRegister at this link
Rachel Reeves Sit OutActionsEvery FridayLunch breakRachel Reeves’ Constituency Office, Leeds, LS13 2ETRegister at this link
Peter Kyle Sit OutActionsEvery FridayLunch breakCafe Nero, Hove, Brighton and Hove, BN3 2BARegister at this link
Pat McFadden Sit OutActionsStarts Friday 21stTBCCrescent House, Bilston, WV14 0BZRegister at this link
Jo Stevens Sit OutActionsStarts Friday 21stTBCJo Stevens’ Office, Cardiff, CF24 3RURegister at this link
Thangam Debbonaire Sit OutActionsStarts Friday 28thTBCBS32 0BQ

Continue ReadingYoung people stage climate protest at Starmer’s office: ‘stop breaking promises’

The climate credentials of Rishi Sunak’s cabinet :: Keir Starmer

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While Keir Starmer is leader of the UK Labour Party and therefore notionally supposedly opposed to Rushi Sunak’s cabinet and government, he’s a Tory pretending to be a Socialist, a red Tory.

Keir Starmer has abandoned every one of his Socialist ‘pledges’ on taking over the Labour Party. Included in these pledges is

3. Climate justice

Put the Green New Deal at the heart of everything we do. There is no issue more important to our future than the climate emergency. A Clean Air Act to tackle pollution locally. Demand international action on climate rights.

… He denied that the 10 promises he made during the 2020 race to succeed Jeremy Corbyn had been abandoned and insisted they remained “important statements of value and principle”.

However, Starmer refused to confirm that he stood by several of them, including public ownership of utilities and rail services and the abolition of university tuition fees.

He has been repeatedly criticised by some on the left of the party who accuse him of shifting away from the platform he stood on three years ago.

Challenged on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme over whether voters could trust him to deliver the five new national missions, Starmer said the pledges made during his Labour leadership bid “haven’t all been abandoned by any stretch of the imagination”.

He said: “What I’ve had to do is obviously adapt some of them to the circumstances we find ourselves in. Since I ran for leader, we’ve had Covid. Since I ran for leader, we’ve had the conflict in Ukraine. Since I ran for leader, we’ve had a government that’s done huge damage to our economy.” …

On climate commitments specifically,

9 Jun 2023 Labour postpones £28bn green plan as it seeks to be trusted on public finances

… Labour has scaled back plans to borrow £28bn a year to invest in green jobs and industry as the party’s leadership looks to review its spending in an attempt to prove its fiscal credibility.

The shadow chancellor, Rachel Reeves, delayed plans for a green prosperity fund to start in the first year of a Labour government, saying it would “ramp up” by the middle of a first parliament.

She said the decision had to be taken as a result of the poor economic backdrop and rising interest rates, after Liz Truss’s short premiership crashed the markets last autumn. …

18 Jun 2023 Keir Starmer to ‘throw everything’ at plan to get UK to net zero

… Keir Starmer will pledge to “throw everything” at net zero and the overhaul of the UK’s energy system and industries, promising new jobs in “the race of our lifetime” to a low-carbon future.

The Labour leader will seek to regain the initiative on his plan for green growth on Monday, having rowed back earlier this month on a pledge to invest £28bn in a green industrial strategy, a figure that will not now be reached until the second half of a Labour parliament, as well as damaging rows with trade unions over the future of the North Sea.

Announcing a package of policies designed to decarbonise the energy system and industry, Starmer will say: “We’re going to throw everything at this: planning reform, procurement, long-term finance, R&D, a strategic plan for skills and supply chains … Pulling together for a simple, unifying priority: British power for British jobs.” …

This is when the Tories started accusing Labour of pursuing Just Stop Oil policies. “Grant Shapps, the energy secretary, accused the Labour leader of being “the political wing” of Just Stop Oil.” There’s also actually a suggestion of terrorism in Grant Shapp’s comment … that phrase.

His team also rebuffed suggestions of a U-turn on the North Sea oil ban. Rescinding permission for projects that have cleared all regulatory hurdles before the general election would be costly and legally complex, so the party’s proposed ban on new oilfields will not cover projects that have achieved all three levels of consent, for exploration, development and production.

It is unlikely that many of the more than 100 North Sea licences the government is mulling would fall into that category, though one of the biggest – the Rosebank oil and gas field – could clear the final regulatory hurdles soon.

It’s not possible to get to Net Zero if Rosebank is permitted. Just like everything else, Keir Starmer and the Labour party can’t be trusted on the climate.

Which is why he gets heckled by climate protestors

Continue ReadingThe climate credentials of Rishi Sunak’s cabinet :: Keir Starmer