Faith groups mobilise supporters in marginal constituencies over climate

Faith groups mobilise supporters in marginal constituencies over climate

By staff writers
7 Apr 2010

A coalition of development agencies and environmental groups is mobilising thousands of supporters in 51 key marginal constituencies across Britain to try to make climate action central on the General Election agenda.

Called 'Ask the Climate Question', the groups involved estimate that they have around 8,000 supporters in each constituency. The average number of voters in each constituency is 68,500.

The coalition is aiming to mobilise supporters to get all parties to raise the profile of climate change in their election campaigns, and secure bold commitments by party leaders.

The groups emphasise that the initiative is not aimed at getting supporters to vote for any particular candidate or party.

Candidates and party workers will be approached on doorsteps, by email and through social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. ‘Climate Question Time’ husting events are also being organised in each of the constituencies.

The coalition is made up of WWF-UK, RSPB, Christian Aid, Oxfam, Tearfund, Greenpeace, Stop Climate Chaos Coalition, Green Alliance and others.

Paul Brannen, head of Christian Aid’s advocacy and influence division, said: "The aim of this campaign is to encourage everyone who is concerned about climate change to make their voices heard in the seats where the political parties are listening hardest. We are not trying to influence how our supporters or the general public vote, we simply want to ensure candidates and parties take climate change seriously. Why? Because climate change is already killing some 300,000 people a year in developing countries, we have to act now."

“We can all do our bit to limit the emissions through lifestyle changes,” said Paul Cook , Tearfund’s Advocacy Director. “While it matters to us that addressing climate change is urgent and candidates of all parties need to make it a priority in their campaigns, it matters considerably more to the 500 million people globally that are currently at risk from climate related disasters. Whatever the colour or creed of the next government, it mustn’t ignore the poorest people at risk.”

A recent IPPR study suggested that almost one in five people in marginal seats consider climate change to be amongst their three or four top priority issues. Four out of five people support the target to generate 15 per cent of renewable energy by 2020.

Supporters are also calling for a ‘fair share’ of climate finance from the UK to go to the developing world for adaptation and low carbon development, in addition to existing commitments on overseas development aid.

For further details on Ask the Climate Question, to find your local Climate Question Time, or to discover other ways to ask your climate question visit www.asktheclimatequestion.org.uk

[Ekk/2]

Keywords: climate change
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