A scamper through February's news, views and action
What can you do in 12.9 seconds?
Not much I'd guess. But that's how long it took the House of Commons to agree that donations to political parties in Northern Ireland can continue to be kept secret. Admittedly, this was after an earlier 24 minute debate in the Sixth Delegated Legislation Committee - which I'm sure we all follow with great interest. Friends of the Earth Northern Ireland have been leading a campaign to increase funding transparency and were rightfully outraged at this.
Not everything moves so fast.
After many years of campaigning, including by Friends of the Earth, the Grocery Code Adjudication Bill finally has cleared Parliament. This paves the way for setting up an adjudicator to make the super-strong retailers comply with the Grocery Code and give suppliers a fairer deal - obscure but important, especially in light of the horse meat fiasco which my colleague Vicki Hird blogged about brilliantly here.
Let's hope that we succeed shortly in winning an electricity decarbonisation goal within the Energy Bill currently being debated in Parliament, rather than unnecessarily having to wait until the next Government is in place, which is the hope of George Osborne and other backward looking Conservatives. The pressure is building in Parliament since Tim Yeo (Conservative) and Barry Gardiner (Labour) put down an amendment to the Bill requiring a decarbonisation target be set this side of a General Election. Friends of the Earth's excellent regional staff have been working with local groups and national staff to host public meetings on the issue in key constituencies around the country, especially seeking to convince Liberal Democrats to do the right thing. As Business Green reports, more and more Liberal Democrats are lining up to back the amendment. Hopefully after their Eastleigh by-election victory they will feel more emboldened.
It goes to show that great campaigns take time, as well as lot of hard work from the grassroots to nationally.
Air pollution is an issue which was once regularly in the headlines but now rarely. Friends of the Earth has joined up with scores of others across Europe to influence a forthcoming review of the European Commission's air quality strategy. You wouldn't know it from reading the papers but there are nearly half a million premature deaths across the EU due to poor air quality. In London Boris has a plan, in 2020 he wants to introduce an ultra-low emissions zone; the law says he has to meet air quality standards by 2015 points out our London Campaigner Jenny Bates.
Our regional campaigners have also been busy across the country working with grassroots campaigners battling for wind-farms to get the go-ahead, here's just one example of this critically important work in the South East to turn aspirations into realities, but the hard graft is happening across the country. And in Wales our campaigners have been working with others to beef up the Welsh Government's proposed Sustainable Development Bill.
In previous monthly news reviews I've dedicated lots of space to the ineptitudes and wrong-doing at HM Treasury, presided over by young George Osborne. This time I'll restrict myself to pointing out its jaw-dropping stupidity in cancelling a review of potential impacts of resource scarcity and climate change on our economy. What world do they live in?
If you want more on Treasury stupidity then I'd recommend reading our economics campaigner Dave Powell's blog on unburnable fossil fuels and Treasury tax breaks or visit Greenpeace's fracking operation in George Osborne's constituency.
To finish up this 12.9+ seconds scamper through news, views and action over the last month I'll briefly highlight the great progress we are making in our fast moving bees campaign, read here to keep up to date, our up-with-the-times augmented reality digital graffiti action on Apple and Samsung, and the 'at bl**dy last' positive moves on common fisheries policy resulting from years of campaigning by our local groups, conservation groups and scientists.
This blog is dedicated to the No Dash for Gas campaigners who are threatened by a £5 million lawsuit by energy giant EDF. As our Head of Activism Neil Kingsnorth says, we are standing with them against this dangerous claim.
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