Monday, 19 September 2005

Is the Government doing enough about climate change?

The Big Ask is Friends of the Earth’s priority climate change campaign. It’s about empowering people to ask the Government to do more about climate change by committing to annual carbon dioxide emission reductions.

The national launch of the campaign took place on 25th May. It was marked by a press conference attended by Friend’s of the Earth’s special representative - Radiohead’s Thom Yorke - and cross party MP support including Michael Meacher, John Gummer and Norman Baker.

The campaign also witnessed the launch of the Climate Change Bill on the 13th July in the House of Commons. The Bill is supported by former environment Ministers from both Labour (Michael Meacher MP) and the Conservatives (John Gummer MP) and the current Lib Dem environment spokesman (Norman Baker MP). The Bill would:

• Set a legally binding target to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by three per cent every year.

• Compel the Prime Minister to report annually to Parliament on progress towards meeting the target.

• Introduce a series of measures to get emission cuts back on track if they do not meet the three per cent target report. This would include: requirements on ministers to introduce new policies; greater powers for Select Committees; and ultimately symbolic pay cuts for the Ministers failing to cut emissions.

A coalition of organisations are working for this new climate law – including Help the Aged, the Association for the Conservation of Energy, Christian Aid and WWF-UK.

Sheffield Friends of the Earth is one of over 125 groups that signed up to the Big Ask day of action. We used the stall at the Sheffield Green Fair to collect lots of signed postcards to be sent to local MPs. So far we know that the local MPs to sign up are Clive Betts (Labour) and Nick Clegg (Lib Dems).

At a national level, nearly 250 MPs have said they will support our Climate Change Bill. But we still need more MPs to sign up. Please help by asking five of your friends or family to take action at
www.thebigask.com

To further the message of the Big Ask, Friends of the Earth has produced a 60 second cinema advert which aims to get people thinking about climate change. It features young children expressing their fears, feelings and understanding of climate change, as spoken thoughts. It's based on the principal that climate change will affect our children more than it affects us but that we are the ones that need to do something about it now, for them. The advert directs viewers to www.thebigask.com where they can write to their MP and find out more about the campaign. Although the advert will not be displayed at any cinemas in Sheffield it can be viewed online at www.TheBigAsk.com

If you have any ideas of screening opportunities for the ad, then please do contact Claire Martin at national Friend of the Earth  (clairem@foe.co.uk) to share your ideas. Please let us know too.