Tim Farron: President’s Update (November)

I wanted to pass on a thank you to you. Yes, you. And I also want to ask you to pass it on to your own army of volunteers – all the people you know who’ve ever stuffed a letter, knocked on a door, helped you win and kept you going when you don’t. Because two weeks ago, I had the huge pleasure of meeting Voltaire Alferez from the Philippines and he thanked me.

He thanked me for the support that the British Government has given to deal with the devastating consequences of climate change. I know, tangibly, that without our campaigning out of Government and our work in Government, Voltaire would not be thanking me.

And without your work all year round, we wouldn’t have the power to do this. We wouldn’t have the local strength we need as a party, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to prevent the Tories burying their heads in the sand and we wouldn’t be able to hold our heads high.

We’ve got some of the most significant international talks coming up on climate change. I had NGOs approaching me, asking me to persuade our conservative colleagues to pull their weight in European talks. And we did – Ed showed real leadership on this, backed by all of us. Since I wrote that article the UK Government moved it’s position from asked for 40% carbon reduction by 2030 to at least 40%. And we want 50%.

Closer to home, last month, I had the huge pleasure of going up to Orkney to help out in Alistair Carmichaels’ constituency. It’s a beautiful place, which you might expect, but it is also the site of a world leading industry. The European Marine and Energy Centre is a pioneering and international centre for wave and tidal energy. Their expertise is exported across the world. This is something to be proud of. They aren’t “green crap” – they’re a ground-breaking, wave-making industry which we should be lauding.

This time last year, on 8th November, the strongest tropical storm ever recorded to make landfall killed 6,300 people in the Philippines, devastating whole communities. This week, a year on, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that climate change is set to inflict “severe, widespread, and irreversible impacts” unless carbon emissions are cut sharply and rapidly. Those severe impacts include increasingly dangerous and unreliable weather patterns.

Whatever other parties would have you believe, climate change is a substantial threat, to our economy, our national security and our ability to live a free life. Whatever the other parties say, our work in Government has taken huge chunks out of that threat.

You are part of this. It’s not over – but we have lead the country on this. The world’s first Green Investment Bank, legislating to make all homes green, zero carbon homes from 2016, doubling investment in renewables like EMEC…we can hold our heads high on our green record. We were held back by our coalition colleagues. But I am not ashamed to applaud the hard-won progress we have made, while being even more ambitious for a greener and fairer world.

George Lund says

Great post. Makes today's Twitter campaign and publicity about fuel prices even more dishonest and disappointing, for me anyway. How many of our target market think bringing down fuel prices should be a priority for government right now, and how many petrol heads are going to give us credit for keeping petrol prices down anyway?

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