open letter to guildford parliamentary candidates
Dear Zoe Franklin / Anne Milton / Angela Richardson / Anne Rouse
In June this year, local residents formed Extinction Rebellion Guildford in response to the escalating climate and ecological emergency, and the UK government’s failure to respond to this crisis. In just four months, over 400 people have joined the group, with many more involved through collaborations with other local movements.
The effects of climate change are no longer confined to the future. 1,000 children are already dying every day as a result of the climate crisis. The citizens of low-lying countries are already fleeing their homes, the first of hundreds of millions or even billions of climate refugees. Every day that passes, another 150-200 plant, insect, bird and mammal species on our diverse and beautiful planet are forced into extinction – nearly 1000 times the natural rate.
Many of these impacts are preventable. But only if we act now. If we do not, by 2030 we will pass the threshold of 2°C warming at which climate breakdown becomes irreversible. Emissions rates are not only failing to level off – they are in fact accelerating, putting us on track for 4°C warming. At 4°C warming, the planet may be incapable of sustaining even 1 billion humans. This means that over their lifetimes, our children will watch nine out of ten of their fellow human beings die from starvation, heat stress, extreme weather events and resource war.
This is preventable. Greed for short-term profit need not destroy the fragile civilisations humanity has built over the last 12,000 years – but we must act immediately. We ask you to respond to the following questions, and confirm that if elected you will vote:
1. For the government to declare a climate emergency which binds the country to urgent action, ending misinformation regarding the scientific consensus and informing the public about the true extent of the existential crisis we face;
2. To commit the UK to a goal of carbon neutrality by 2025, as recommended by climate scientists and economists, including those at the University of Surrey. As evidenced by CUSP, even a steady reduction in carbon emissions to net zero 2030 is not enough – immediate large emissions cuts are essential to allow ourselves time to realise longer-term reductions;
3. For the government to introduce binding, meaningful citizens’ assemblies focused on real solutions to tackling climate breakdown, including the revocation of oil and gas licences, urgent and rapid investment in renewables and energy efficiency, and the cancellation of unnecessary projects such as airport expansion.. The assembly proposed by the current government focuses disproportionately on individuals’ actions and has no power to affect change in parliament. It is a sham, to placate those calling on their representatives to act.
You stand in the unenviable position of potentially being a member of the last parliament that can avert the extinction of the human race. As your potential constituents, we require you commit to acting now should you represent us and 80,000 others come 13th December.
Signed on behalf of 400+ members of XR Guildford, their children, and grandchildren.
5th December 2019
DARA and the Climate Vulnerable Forum. Climate Vulnerability Monitor 2nd Edition: A Guide to the Cold Calculus of a Hot Planet. 2012. https://daraint.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/CVM2ndEd-FrontMatter.pdf
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Johan Rockström, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/may/18/climate-crisis-heat-is-on-global-heating-four-degrees-2100-change-way-we-live
Jackson T: Zero Carbon Sooner—The case for an early zero carbon target for the UK. CUSP Working Paper No 18. Guildford: University of Surrey. 2019. https://www.cusp.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/WP18%E2%80%94Zero-carbon-sooner.pdf