Cheltenham Labour Party brought people together for an important debate on how to address the climate emergency last Thursday (27th June).
The three speakers were:-
- Laurie Laybourn-Langton, who heads up research into Environmental Breakdown at the Institute for Public Policy Research;
- Fran Boait, the Gloucester Labour Party prospective MP and Director of the ‘Positive Money’ think-tank which campaigns for ‘a money and banking system that enables a fair, democratic, and sustainable economy’; and
- Red Kellino, an activist at the heart of Extinction Rebellion (XR).
There was agreement that the difficulties we face are far more serious and more fundamental than the public is led to believe, there being three distinct strands of environmental catastrophe coming together in a perfect storm that threatens the future of our planet; these are environmental pollution, including plastic waste; species extinction on a massive scale; and higher temperatures leading to the melting of polar ice, rising sea levels and extreme weather patterns. All will have a huge impact on the world as we know it, leading to social, environmental and economic disaster on a global scale.
As if this was not bad enough we learned that the timescale to avoid the point of no return, the 1.5° rise in average global temperature is probably only 5 years away, far less than the 12 years that has been widely publicised.
The Green New Deal, which amounts to public investment in green technologies, is thought to be an important part of how to address these issues, although there was acknowledgment that we have to be much more radical and more urgent. The big message from the evening is that we are not hearing the truth about the impending catastrophe and we are being let down by our political, religious and community leaders and that as citizens we have to come together to put pressure on our leaders like never before to ensure something is done and quickly.