Throughout Lent, we’ve explored the different ways that change can happen in order to respond to the climate crisis.
Living Lent has focussed on individual action, and reducing your own carbon footprint by changing your daily habits. We’ve also unpacked how we can use consumer power to influence business, and how influencing investors and using our own finance might allow us to make progress. We’ve taken action to influence local decision makers, and worked to influence cultural attitudes towards climate change by having conversations and raising our voices.
However, in order to support the progress these efforts could make, we need our national leaders in government to be committed to implementing ambitious targets to avoid climate chaos. The influence of public policy on the commitments other leaders in society, like businesses and financial organisations, will make is crucial.
In 2008, the Climate Change Act committed the UK government by law to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% of 1990 levels by 2050. This act means that the government needs to set legally binding ‘carbon budgets’ to lead towards the final goal. These implement caps on the amount of greenhouse gasses emitted by the UK over five years. These budgets have to be set 12 years in advance to allow businesses, individuals and policy makers enough time to prepare.
Since the Climate Change Act, the UK government have been making progress. They were global leaders in the Paris Agreement in 2015, which saw a commitment to construct actions to keep global temperature rises well before 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and a further pledge to limit them to 1.5°C. To implement this, the UK promised to phase out unabated coal power by 2025. They’ve also pledged that half of all new cars sold will be hybrid or electric by 2030, and that all sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040 will be suspended.
However, we need to be more ambitious. Whilst they make a start, the commitments that the UK government have made so far aren’t significant enough. Christian Aid and other agencies have called for a UK target for net-zero carbon emissions before 2050, in order to avoid exceeding 1.5 degrees global warming.
You have a chance to play a part in helping to make this happen, by getting in touch with your local MP.
Your MP has a responsibility to represent your cares and concerns in parliament. Now is the time to show them that you and your community are committed to making change for the climate.
Call to Action:
The first step is to get in touch with your MP by email or with a letter. If you don’t already know, you can find out who your MP is here.
You can find out more about this process – how to contact your MP, and what kind of meeting to arrange – by using JPIT’s Meet Your MP resource.
When you get in touch with your MP, let them know you’d like to talk about climate change. You could talk about:
- How your community has taken part in Living Lent.
- Are you an Eco Church or Eco Congregation? Let them know!
- Why you think taking action for the climate is important.
Will your MP demonstrate leadership and respond to the call to be an ambassador for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050? In your letter, ask your MP to “call on the UK government to agree on a time well before 2050 where they will commit to a target of net – zero carbon emissions”.
On June 26th 2019, many organisations and individuals will be joining together to say ‘The Time is Now’ to act on climate change. Including a march to Westminster and an opportunity to lobby government, the event will raise awareness that the government need to act now to respond well to the climate crisis. You can find out more about The Time is Now, and sign up to get involved, here.
Why not arrange to meet your MP, either before or on June 26th? This is an opportunity to draw attention to the movements happening across the global community, and to invite them to join to set the necessary targets for change.
If you write to your MP, or arrange a meeting, let us know!
We’d love to hear how it goes. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
 This means any coal power not using CO2 reducing technology, such as carbon capture.
Hannah Brown is the JPIT Intern for 2018-19. Her role involves managing JPIT’s social media, working with the Peace and Justice Forum and collaborating with the team to research and communicate key areas of JPIT’s workplan. She recently graduated from the University of Nottingham where she studied English Language and Literature. She has a background in local church partnership and engagement.