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Lib Dem MEP responds to Tory MEPs Climate Change comments

Published: 11th December 2009 10:49
Response to Giles Chichester's Letter (10 December 2009) on Climate Change ("Flat Earth Followers")

MEP Graham WatsonMEP Graham Watson

"Giles Chichester's comments on climate change come as no surprise to me, and are in line with many other Tories. They are further proof that the Tories have not changed, despite David Cameron's best efforts to give the "Nasty Party" a makeover.

"I am sure it will worry the 81% of people who want to see the EU take the lead on climate change that I am the only South West MEP to campaign for action on climate change.

"The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a UN body of scientists that evaluates hundreds of official and varied reports from around the world. They have concluded that there is a 90% chance that humans are causing climate change.

"There is a 10% chance that "global warming partisans" like myself are wrong. But as one of my Lib Dem colleagues recently asked, what would you do if the pilot of a plane you were about to board announced that it had a fault, and there was a 90% it would crash?

"Giles Chichester would apparently get on the plane and think about it as they took off.

"He wants to stall by demanding more discussion and debate, but we have had 40 years of this. Now is the time for action. If we do not act now, catastrophic climate will be unavoidable.

"There will be 1bn climate refugees by 2050, vicious wars over resources and wild weather extremes causing overwhelming floods and misery in communities all around the Westcountry. I am disappointed that Giles cannot see this and that his views contradict the many hundreds of constituents who have contacted me over the past year.

"I hope Giles is as concerned as I that, when it comes to climate change, his views are remarkably similar to Nick Griffin's, who is flying the flag for "flat-earthers" in Copenhagen"

Liberal Democrat MEP for the South West and Gibraltar

Graham will be attending the Copenhagen Conference from Sunday 13 December to Wednesday 17 December, as Chairman of the e-Parliament (www.e-parl.net ).

He will be reporting back to his constituents through his website and an emailed newsletter; to sign up for this, email euro_office@cix.co.uk .


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Mary H
At 13:08 on 11th December 2009, Mary H commented:
Dear Mr. Watson,
I understand your point about being safe rather than sorry. But I am one who finds the bullying aspects of all this climate change is actually going on.
I haven't been on a plane to anywhere for over 10 years. But I feel that soon I will be demonised for leaving my lights on for too long at night. Also, because I never intend to go on a plane again will I be creditted for this? I doubt that. The internet could be used for a good purpose: why don't all the high-flying execs/MPs/MEPs et al conduct their meetings online instead of travelling all that way and telling the little people we have to cut down on our carbon footprints.
Graham Watson
At 17:54 on 16th December 2009, Graham Watson commented:
Dear Mary H,

Please accept my apologies for the delay in replying to your comment; this week has been particularly hectic!

It is sad and wrong that anyone should feel “bullied” about climate change. You seem to be particularly conscientious about your energy use and certainly should not feel demonised.

This is an issue that must, by its very nature, be confronted by communities (locally, nationally and globally) cooperating and working together; threats and bullying have no place in the fight against climate change.

However, as you rightly indicate, the choices we make as individuals are key to saving our planet. 40% of UK carbon emissions come from households, and this can be drastically cut if everyone, takes some very simple, money-saving steps (helpfully set out at www.actonco2.direct.gov.uk).

You are also right that when politicians are encouraging people to be green, they must act too.

Personally, I try to keep my carbon footprint as small as possible; I use green energy suppliers in my home and office, try to limit my travel (as much as one can as an MEP) and when I do have to travel, make sure my emissions are offset.

As you say, the internet and advances in communications technology also offer tremendous opportunities. Email is now my ordinary form of communication and I find I am increasingly taking part in video and telephone conferences.

You should also rest assured that the mass descent of world leaders on one city
will not be a regular event. Once (hopefully) nations come to an agreement, the hard work of implementing climate change legislation will fall to parliamentarians around the world.

Communication and coordination will be key, but the planet, let alone the taxpayer, will not be able to afford regular face-to-face conferences. That is why I am proud to be the Chairman of the e-Parliament (www.e-parl.net), an online organisation that links 18,000 legislators from all around the world. By using the e-Parliament, we can make sure we respond to climate change in an effective and environmentally way.

Thank you for your comments; I hope I have been able to address some of your concerns. Please feel free to contact me again (euro_office@cix.co.uk) or visit my website (www.grahamwatsonmep.org). I also send out a weekly emailed newsletter which may interest you.

Yours sincerely,

Graham Watson

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