Letter to Harriett Baldwin
September 13, 2020
Response to tweet/ CEN letter 10.9.20 (by Isabel Jones)
In 1990 Margaret Thatcher told the second world climate conference: ‘The danger of global warming is as yet unseen, but real enough for us to make changes and sacrifices, so that we do not live at the expense of future generations,” according to a transcript of the speech archived online at the Margaret Thatcher Foundation.
“Our ability to come together to stop or limit damage to the world’s environment will be perhaps the greatest test of how far we can act as a world community,” she said. “We shall need statesmanship of a rare order.”
My son, born that year, is now 30. In his lifetime, very few of the changes and sacrifices suggested by Thatcher have happened. We certainly have not seen any ‘statesmanship of a rare order’ on this matter from any of our political leaders in Government.
While I understand from your membership of the CEN group that this should indicate an understanding of these issues, your own voting record shows remarkably little support for any substantial measures to protect our environment.
Your letter indicates that the UK is on track to meet its 2050 target: information from the Committee on Climate Change suggests otherwise, and further that this target is too late to protect us from the worst impacts.
None of the members of your group have offered support for the CEE Bill, which has been written with the input and support of leading scientists and academics, and is the first legislation to offer the UK a serious and comprehensive plan to tackle the emergency.
Given this and all previous governments’ track records, I wonder what indication you have that the current administration will pay any attention, even to the limited requests of the CEN group?
Would even those limited measures taken so far have happened, were it not for the groundswell of public opinion moving towards urgency created by the numerous ‘radical’ voices of the past couple of years: Extinction Rebellion, the School Strike movement, etc?
We have needed to move towards more determined measures including non-violent civil disobedience, because of the long-term failure of government to respond appropriately, which has lasted for decades. The dangers mentioned by Margaret Thatcher are no longer unseen, and the test is being failed.
We are making sacrifices so that we do not live at the expense of future generations. We have to do this so that we can look our children in the eyes, even though we are at least 30 years too late.