As parties begin to draw up their manifestos ahead of next year’s General Election campaign, Christian Aid, its supporters and faith groups across the UK are demanding that action to tackle climate change be at the heart of parties’ plans for government.
Climate change has long been the scourge of poor people around the world, but the reality of global warming was brought to UK shores last winter as floods caused misery and destruction to many parts of England.
This led to leaders from all parties to voice their concern about the impacts of climate change with Prime Minister David Cameron declaring: “I believe man-made climate change is one of the most serious threats that this country and this world faces.” Ed Milliband added: “The events of the last few weeks have shown this is a national security issue in our own country too with people's homes, businesses and livelihoods coming under attack from extreme weather,” and in November last year Nick Clegg said: “If there was ever a time to sharpen our focus on our green commitments, it’s now.”
Christian Aid and its supporters are now urging them to match words with action by including policies to address climate change in their manifestos.
Barry Johnston, Christian Aid’s Senior UK political advisor said: “They have all talked the talk, but if these warm words are to mean anything party leaders need to back them up with action.
“Voters care about the environment for all sorts of reasons, whether it’s insuring their homes, conserving their local environment, or concern for the dreadful impact of climate on the lives and livelihoods of people in the poorest countries. They don’t want to see these problems worsened by political point scoring.
“There was a strong cross-party consensus on the urgent requirement to tackle climate change at the last election. Our political leaders need to recommit to this to provide long term security to future generations and the world’s most vulnerable.
“The UK has a proud record of helping poor countries by giving vital development aid, but it’s in danger of seeing this good work unravel if it allows climate change to wipe out the progress that’s been made."
He concluded: “We’re calling on the British voting public to use their voice and ask their MPs, from whatever party, to ensure climate change is at the heart of their party manifestos.”
* Join Christian Aid’s One Million Ways campaign and email party leaders by visiting www.christianaid.org.uk/climate.