Sunday, 23 January 2011

KENT NEEDS A 'WAR FOOTING' TO TACKLE CLIMATE CHANGE AND ENERGY CRISIS

Dr Hazel Dawe, a Campaigns Officer of Kent Green Party, comments on a major new report jointly published by the Green Party and the New Economics Foundation:

"The Battle of Britain was fought and won mainly in the skies over Kent. The battle for a sustainable and prosperous Kent and Medway requires a similar effort as the recent report, THE NEW HOME FRONT, suggests. We can grow more food in Kent. We can extend our forest cover. We can produce energy from all our buildings. We can raise our recycling levels. And each step towards sustainability will create new long term employment. But we cannot achieve high levels of useful employment if the Government continues to undermine front line public spending through its failure to collect taxes which are due (1). Similarly, our new 'Home Front' effort needs the additional revenues which could be obtained by closing all tax havens in British jurisdictions.(2)"

[national Green Party release on this topic: ]


_Six-month nationwide search begins for best ideas from the
generation who ran the Home Front_

Britain must move to the equivalent of
a "war-footing" if we are to overcome the threat of climate change,
according to the New Home Front initiative, launched at the Imperial War
Museum on Thursday 20th January 2010.

The New Home Front is launched by
Green MP Caroline Lucas, with a report written by Andrew Simms, Fellow of
nef (new economics foundation) and author of _The New Economics_. Along
with experts on climate change, food and community organisation, the new
initiative looks at how Britain finally mobilised in the approach to World
War Two, in order to see what can be learned to help with the urgent threat
posed by climate change and the end of cheap, abundant oil.

Caroline
Lucas, Green Party leader and MP for Brighton Pavilion said: "While the
nature of the threat we face from climate change is clearly very different
from that which we faced in 1939, the level of the threat means we will
need to mobilise on a scale not seen since the war. If we're to overcome
the climate crisis, we must move onto the equivalent of a 'war-footing',
where the efforts of individuals, organisations, and government are
harnessed together - and directed to a common goal.

"In doing so, we can
learn much from the creativity and boldness shown by the public in those
years which we can re-interpret for today.

"That's why we're also
launching today the 'Home Front Wisdom' initiative, to spend time talking
to people whose imagination and resilience helped Britain to survive and
thrive all those years ago. We want to learn from their experience, and not
let it go to waste. All the best ideas will be collected, published and
presented in Parliament, and to the government."

Andrew Simms, fellow,
new economics foundation, added:

"More recently, it took a war-like
effort internationally to stage a short-term rescue of the economy. Almost
overnight, the billions required to bail out the banks were found -
something that, in a properly regulated system, should never have been
necessary.

"Yet it sets a real precedent for what governments can do when
the political will is there. The New Home Front, responding to climate
change, energy security, peak oil, and threats to the food chain, presents
the next battle line and call to action. No longer should anyone be able to
say, this cannot be done."

The report reveals that:

* In just six years
from 1938 British homes cut their coal use by 11 million tonnes, a
reduction of 25%.

* By April 1943, 31,000 tonnes of kitchen waste were
being saved every week, enough to feed 210,000 pigs.

* Between 1938 and
1944, there was a 95% drop in the use of personal motor vehicles, while
public transport use increased 13%.

* The nation's health improved as
diets changed and people become more active, while infant mortality fell.


* A determination to enjoy life grew. Spending on "amusements" went up
10%, while suicide rates fell.

Over the next six months, the New Home
Front is calling on people to speak to friends and relatives who lived
through those times to see what can be learned from how they survived and
thrived. We want people to tape, film and write down their ideas and
experiences which might help us deal with the new realities of changing
climate and needing to make a rapid transition to a low carbon economy.


Prof. Kevin Anderson, Tyndall Centre, said:

"Matching step for step the
relentless rise in emissions has been the escalating rhetoric on the
importance of climate change. The Rio Earth Summit was in 1992, yet the
subsequent nineteen years have seen little more than appeasement - with
national initiatives on mitigation, international agreements on climate
change and many conferences - but no sign of emissions abating.

"Whilst
elaborate mechanisms and markets to make carbon count have failed to bring
emissions down, this report goes back to basics and demonstrates how
lessons from history may offer practical guidance to meaningful mitigation.
At a time of abject failure to curtail emissions, the New Home Front offers
a refreshing and essential read for all those with the courage to think
differently about climate change."

The report can be read at
www.greenparty.org.uk/reports [1]

Links:
------
[1]
http://www.greenparty.org.uk/reports
Published and promoted by Spencer Fitz-Gibbon for the Green Party of England & Wales, both at 1a Waterlow Road, London N19 5NJ. Original release at www,greenparty.org.uk

Kent comment promoted by H.Dawe and published by Kent Green Party, both at 27 Audley Avenue, Tonbridge, TN9 1XF.

Note:
1. HM Revenue and Customs has admitted that, in the year to April 2010, it failed to collect an estimated £42 billion.
2. These include the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands.

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