G20:Time for talking is over- world must act on Green New Deal [Press release]

 As world leaders gather for the G20 Summit in London on April 2nd, the Green Party is renewing calls for action, not more fine words, to deliver the Green New Deal.
Governments are increasingly accepting the benefits of a major investment plan to help bring the world out of recession and tackle the looming threat of dangerous climate change. The Green Party believes that Eastern England could be in the front line of a green energy revolution if the political will is there to make it a reality. 

The Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband recently said (BBC News) that it was important for the G20 to make commitments on helping the environment as well as the economy. He said


“There are some people who will say you can either tackle the economic crisis or the climate crisis.


“But the truth is that both come together with this idea of a Green New Deal, of investing in the jobs of the future, which are going to be in the green industries of the future.”


Councillor Rupert Read, lead Green Party candidate for the European Elections on June 4th, will be going to the G20 on Wednesday afternoon and all day Thursday to take the Green message to the summit.

Cllr. Read said:
“The time for talking is over – the world must act on the Green New Deal, right now.
“Green Party Leader Caroline Lucas MEP helped formulate the Green New Deal, a concept being widely supported by Governments, yet not acted upon. It is simply unacceptable if world leaders are going to emerge from G20 with more pointless group photos and warm words, but no real action.
“A failure to implement a Green New Deal soon, in this country, across Europe, and across the planet, will both increase the likelihood of the recession worsening and fail to tackle the looming threat of dangerous climate change. Time is running out.
“The G20 must act boldly – we need a repeat of what Roosevelt did in the 30s, but on a worldwide scale, and with a deep-green-hue. The beauty of a ‘Green New Deal’ is how it makes such great economic sense: green jobs in renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable agriculture and public transport systems – an investment for the future in making our economy greener, cleaner and more efficient.
“Globalisation has failed catastrophically and utterly. I will be going to London on April 2nd, when the G20 meets in session, to add to demands for co-ordinated action now for global justice, for a Green New Deal, for a massive re-regulation of the financial markets.
“With the exception of Barack Obama, the G20 leaders are the very people who got us into this catastrophic economic and environmental mess that we are in, by handing power over to big business and big monied interests. It is time for the people to take that power back!”
The G20 marches in London this weekend were peaceful and raised the profile of the need for action on jobs and the green economy. The Green Party supports peaceful action in this way – the messages that need to be addressed to world leaders are too important to be clouded by non-peaceful actions.

Every town an eco-town

Every existing town should make the transition to being an eco-town, not just a handful of new towns – which may be far less green than they at first appear.
One of the Government’s planned ‘eco-towns’ is on the outskirts of Norwich. The plans are generally quite good, mostly on a brownfield site – but the scheme as it stands is dependent upon building a massive new dual-carriageway road around the north side of Norwich, if it is to work.
This is completely ridiculous – you cannot have a genuinely eco-town that is highly dependent upon a major road-building scheme. By definition, a true eco-town should be designed to maximise the use of public transport, cycling etc, as are the existing eco-towns in other countries that provided the original inspiration for Britain’s ‘eco-town’ plans.


At the start of April the Green Party campaign to win a seat in the European Parliament is going up a gear. Lead candidate Rupert Read is embarking on a whistle-stop tour of Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, in order to listen to his prospective constituents and to offer the Green Party’s distinctive solution to the credit crunch: the Green New Deal.
Rupert Read said
“Europe needs change and if enough people in Eastern England get behind the Green Party, we can help make that change happen. The Green New Deal aims to create 5 million jobs across the continent, including a million here in Britain, and at least 100,000 in Eastern England.
“The Green New Deal is a way to combat dangerous climate change and help end the recession at the same time. It would set the European economy on a sustainable path and place Europe at the forefront of the Green industrial revolution. For a greener economy and a cleaner politics, there is only one sensible option: Vote Green!”

Cllr. Read’s tour of Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, between April 1st and April 8th, takes in the following:


1st April Welwyn Garden City [Green Party Meeting in the evening]

2nd April London [for the G20 meeting]

3rd April Bedford [Meeting in the Market Square near Lord Roberts pub, 9 am, then campaigning around the town]

3rd April Bushey, south Hertfordshire [starting at 86 Park Ave. at 5pm: meeting the public]

4th April Hemel Hempstead [Meeting at Bank Court, 10.30 am: stall and meeting the public]

4th April Berkhamstead [Meeting at The Crown pub, 1.30pm to go out canvassing]

6th April Luton [Meeting outside the Town Hall, 1pm: meeting the public]

6th April St. Alban’s [Canvassing in the afternoon, and then a public meeting at 8pm that night]

7th April Hitchin [10 am visit to Church Farm, Hitchin, to look at sustainable agriculture in action]

7th April Leighton Buzzard [Meeting at the Market Cross at 2pm, and then campaigning around the town]

7th April Watford [Green Party meeting at Danny’s Pub near Watford Junction, 8pm]

Cllr. Read is available for interview or photo-opportunities throughout the tour, please see contact details below.



The Green New Deal includes the aims of

  • creating ‘green collar’ jobs for five million Europeans within 5 years, including jobs in renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable small-scale agriculture, and public transport 
  • mobilising a cohesive strategy for private and public investment in the green economy that amounts to 500 billion Euros over the next five years (0.75% of the GDP of the EU) 
  • keeping energy affordable
  • helping to fight dangerous climate change and green the European economy.

The clock is ticking.

According to scientific experts, we have less than 94 months left in which to begin to dramatically reduce our carbon emissions, if we are not to go down in history as the age of stupid… Here in East Anglia, we only have 2 months left to take the first major step, and elect another Green Party MEP, this Region’s first. Time is precious. We need to act NOW!

Just think for a minute of the signal benefits to our country and Europe that has come from us having Jean Lambert and Caroline Lucas in the European Parliament.

With long summer evenings coming, we have the opportunity to canvass [and leaflet] like we’ve never done before: and get a Green MEP elected here too, on June 4th.

Be a part of it! Help make history now, in 2009…

Why everyone in Britain who cares about Copenhagen or climate chaos should vote Green this June…

1. Everyone in the UK can vote Green in June.
2. A Green vote in June is the only way to send a clear message from the
ballot box to our National leaders to behave in Copenhagen – all other
parties greenwash but are compromised by (e.g.) wanting to bring back
economic growth.
3. Whether nationally you are Yellow, Red, or Blue or indifferent the only
way to be green in June is to vote Green – which won’t hurt your favoured
party’s national chances but will make a big difference for Copenhagen –
imagine the effect if Greens polled 20% in June!
4. The EU will play a major role in December in Copenhagen (even if it
‘plays its role’ by remaining silent).
5. Greens can win seats in the Euro Election in the UK (it is
proportional) – and a Green MEP or two from your region will help make
Copenhagen work…

[Thanks to Roger Creagh-Osborne for inspiring this post]

On the impossibility of Time Travel!

I promised the occasional philosophical reflection on this blog. Here's one:
If I 'travel' 'back' into the past, then I am there in the past.
BUT, in my past, an older version of me wasn't present, anywhere. Therefore,
one cannot travel back into the past: for, if one travels back into the
past, IT IS NO LONGER ONE'S PAST that one is travelling back into…


Green Party Councillors are asking Norwich City Council to oppose the Government’s plans to merge the fire control services of Norfolk and other counties in East Anglia into a regional control centre which would receive emergency calls and manage the fire service response.  The councillors say the plan, known as FireControl, lacks the confidence of firefighting professionals who are worried that regional centres would lack sufficent call handling capacity and local knowledge. 
Norwich Green Party councillor, Adrian Holmes is submitting a motion to the City Council’s next meeting, on Tuesday 31st March, urging the council to voice opposition and press the government to rethink its plan.
Councillor Holmes said
“Norfolk has one of the best fire services in the country and this plan will do nothing to improve it and may even damage its capacity to deal with incidents. Responses to incidents in Norfolk are best managed from a Norfolk control centre with local knowledge.”
Councillor Rupert Read, the Green Party’s Lead Candidate for the June 4th European elections said
“‘I am worried that in East Anglia the fire services’ capacity to cope during a major disaster, like the one which happened at Buncefield oil storage depot in Hertfordshire, may be diminished if the proposed new regional fire control system is pushed through, as there are grave doubts about the proposed system’s call handling capacity.
Regional fire control centres only make sense in the context of a regional fire service and regional government – ideas which the government has abandoned.
It’s also clear that the funds could be better spent. Management consultants have swallowed up over £40 million, underused regional control centres are costing many millions of pounds in rent and a report by the Institute of Public Finance (IPP) reveals that the overall project costs are exceeding £1.4 billion. This at a time when the region’s fire services still need money to be able to tackle major flooding incidents or outdoor fires. The people who risk their lives, the firefighters, are saying the funds would be better spent on frontline.”


The Motion: Protecting Norfolk’s Fire Control Service (Councillor Holmes to move): This Council Notes:
1. That the Government has acknowledged the excellent work of Norfolk’s Fire Control Service by placing it in the top rank of services throughout the country.
2. That the Government is planning to amalgamate county fire services into regional centres.  
3. The stated reason for the Government embarking on this reorganisation is to bring other fire services, ranked at a lower level, up to the standard of Norfolk.  
This Council believes:
1. That the proposed amalgamation would reduce the effectiveness of Norfolk’s Fire Control Service by taking away local knowledge and introducing inferior equipment. 
2. That the Government is misguided in trying to raise the standards of other fire services by reducing the effectiveness of Norfolk’s fire service.  
This Council resolves:
1. To write to the Government and ask that the reorganisation be suspended pending further investigation into the costs of the reorganisation and the likely deterioration in service. 
2. To write to Norfolk County Council and asking it to make similar representations to the Government. 
3. To write to the trade unions of Norfolk’s firefighters to express support for their stand against the proposed amalgamation.