Sunday, 12 November 2017

Bonn breakthrough as Climate Summit agrees Local and Regional Targets

At COP23 in Bonn today at the Climate Summit of Local and Regional Leaders agreement was acheived to establish Local and Regional targets to help keep global temperatures below 1.5 - 2 degrees C.

Green Party Councillor Andrew Cooper who conceived the idea of Locally and Regionally Determined Contributions towards acheiving the climate goals of the COP21 Paris Climate Agreement said,

"I am really pleased by the decision today from delegates from around the world. It has been a 2 year journey from first having the idea to getting the EU Committee of the Regions to adopt it, to todays vote on the Summit Declaration of Local and Regional Leaders. The real work starts now in implementing Local and Regional Contributions towards reducing emissions in line with the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement"

The Summit Declaration which was adopted unanimously stated,

" We will establish our own Locally and Regionally Determined Contributions to help national Governments  achieve and exceed existing Nationally Determined Contributions"

Councillor Cooper said


"At COP21 in Paris 2 years ago National Governments expressed their efforts to achieve carbon emission reduction targets as ‘Nationally Determined Contributions’ - NDCs. In the case of the UK our NDC made no reference to the work being undertaken by Local Authorities to reduce emissions. Efforts at the local level such as improved building standards beyond building regulation, installing LED street lights, planting trees to capture carbon emissions etc were simply not measured or taken into account in those national contributions and therefore not valued. A system of Locally Determined Contributions would change all that and allow Local and Regional Authorities to determine their own targets with robust plans to acheive them.

There is of course a strong relevance here to those in the United States who are opposing the Trump Administration's abandonment of the Climate Agreement. Many States are already forging ahead with carbon saving plans despite Trump but an agreed system of Local and Regionally determined Contributions gives structure and legitimacy to their action based on an international agreement."

So what is it like at a Global Climate Summit?



I'm here at the COP23 Climate Summit in Bonn and I thought I'd try to convey to you what its like.

The first thing to say is that it is huge. There are over 20,000 people who are registered delegates for this event from all round the world so there is a very diverse and sometimes colourful array of people attending. The venue is essentially a huge  rigid tent like  structure with halls , meeting room, restaurants all connected
by corridors. The number of events is dazzling and you have to pick what you can go to
carefully.

I got an invite to a screening of Al Gore's new film 'An Inconvenient Sequel' with the man himself speaking afterwards which was a must do.

There is of course all the events around Summit of Local and Regional Leaders which have been my focus as part of my push for 'Locally and Regionally Determined Contributions. I've also done a number of media interviews which of course is a key reason to be here and to get the message across. There are a number of exhibition areas where national
delegations and NGOs have stands in big halls. Occasionally you'll meet someone you know as you travel between venues and catch up before you move on to the next thing. It is interesting, its different and big opportunity to make contacts and increase your knowledge on the biggest
challenge facing humanity.

 For me getting something tangible out of this unique experience is what its all about. Only a few hours to go to find out if that's been acheived.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Saturday, 4 November 2017

PRESS RELEASE - Green Councillor to take on Trump at Bonn Climate Change Talks


Councillor Andrew Cooper
Green Party Councillor Andrew Cooper is attending the COP23 Climate Change Talks in Bonn, Germany next week and he has a plan to tackle the Climate Change Denying US President, Donald Trump.

Andrew is a member of the UK Delegation to the EU Committee of the Regions that represents the views of Local and Regional Governments in the European Union. At a meeting of the Committee last month he successfully got this European Institution to back a policy that would give Councils and Regional bodies the ability to contribute directly towards the Paris Climate Change targets without referring to their National Governments.

“Currently all action to reduce carbon emissions goes through National Governments through a system of ‘Nationally Determined Contributions’.” said Councillor Cooper “My proposal is to establish Locally and Regionally Determined Contributions where Councils and bodies below National Governments could establish their own targets and produce plans to implement them.”

Now Councillor Cooper’s initiative has been passed at the European Level, the EU Committee of the Regions is taking it as one of their principal proposals to the COP23 Global Climate Talks in Bonn this month. Councillor Cooper will be attending the Summit of Local and Regional Leaders and will seek to get the policy inserted into the Summit Declaration.

“Adopting this policy will provide a way for State Governments in the USA to produce plans to reduce carbon emissions without seeking the permission of their President. We cannot allow the illogical and unscientific approach taken by President Trump to go unchallenged. This is a way he can be side stepped and give those politicians who take a rational approach in the USA the policies they need to make the action they take at the local level count towards international climate change targets.”

Councillor Cooper also explained the benefits of the policy for Councils in the UK

“This proposal is also very relevant to us in Kirklees. Action we take at the local level, such as mass insulation schemes, installing LED Streetlights or tree planting projects would not currently be taken into account in the UK Government’s Carbon Reduction Plans. Under my proposal any action we take to reduce carbon emissions would be taken into account and make it easier to achieve our challenging targets to reduce global greenhouse gases.”

The Climate Summit of Local and Regional Leaders will be held on 12th of November with the Summit Declaration being announced at the end of the day.

ENDS

A Briefing Note on Locally Determined Contributions
EU Committee of the Regions backs Local Targets on Climate Change

Contact

Councillor Andrew Cooper – Mobile - 07721 348619        Email – andrew.cooper@greenparty.org.uk

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Barry Sheerman on Brexit and Education

Every now and again someone will see me making a cup of instant coffee. I open the jar of granules and pour an unmeasured amount into the mug. " Why don't you use a teaspoon?" is often the question I'm asked. "I'm a politician and for me judgement is everything" is my usual 'smart arsed' reply.

Judgement was on my mind today as I watched Huddersfield Labour MP Barry Sheerman on The Sunday Politics. He said

"The truth is that when you look at who voted to Remain most of them were the better educated people in this country."

At one point the exasperated BBC Interviewer said "So thick people voted for Leave?"

Barry's defence was a bit feeble "I didn't say that".  No he didn't but he did!

The problem with referencing voters level of Education when looking at how people vote is that there is an implication that if you had your way that only people who had the right qualifications should be allowed to vote. Of course Barry Sheerman would rightly protest that this is not what he believes but then you would have to question his judgement at strongly making the link between education and the political choices voters make in the first place. There is an implied disrespect for those people with no or low qualifications. These are some of the people who may even have voted Labour and for him at the last General Election.

The facts are that there is a strong correlation between those people who voted Remain and educational attainment but so what? One of the many failures of the Remain Campaign was in not making its message accessible enough to convince a wide range of voters whatever OLevels/GCSE'/A Levels/Degrees they acheived. The Leave campaigns success was in making a difficult subject accessible to many different sorts of people. Admittedly it was misleading them but then their arguments were accessible nonetheless. Where is our £350 million/week extra for the NHS btw?

Education and Brexit featured in the Daily Mail this week as well. I was reading a copy in the Dentist and came across the headline "In their own telling words. How Academics push Remain propaganda".  My admittedly glib  tweet in response was " In other words why do people who know stuff oppose Brexit?". It also sinisterly asked students to 'shop' lecturers who may be 'guilty' of such 'crimes'. I guess the Mail would regard them as 'Enemies of the People'. Here we are seeing a strange education snobbery in reverse where the contempt for 'the Intellectual' and 'the Expert' is regarded as legitimate. For someone who favours moderate language in politics I find it hard not to make links between the Daily Mail and Fascism on frequent occasions.

So education snobbery was everywhere this week. If you were educated your views were suspect to the Daily Mail. If you were uneducated your views may be less valid than if you were educated to Barry Sheerman. Ultimately whether you are a politician or a voter the choices you make are all about judgement and weighing up the pros and the cons. The job of politicans is not to judge the voters but to give them the information that they need to make sound judgements themselves.

Here's Pink Floyd  - Another Brick In The Wall - "We don't need no education etc...."


Thursday, 26 October 2017

Kirklees prepares for Zombie Apocalypse or something like that.



This week a generator was installed in the new blockhouse adjacent to Civic Centre 3 in Huddersfield Town Centre.

The idea is to make the building reslient as an HQ during a time when we might have a major loss of electrical power. When unexpected events happen the Council together with the Emergency Services will stand ready to react and as the lights go out across Huddersfield the Civic Centre will stand as a shining beacon of hope. Council Officers will be stoically working to reestablish Western Civilization/'start again' while surrounded by confused citizens wanting answers and reassurance. We will then see what happens next after the meteor/nuclear strike on Heckmondwike or a catastrophic flood, or extraterrestrial invasion or zombie apocalypse.

Disasters and social collapse are mostly of the serious but often mundane, day to day nature like the 'boiled frog' of climate change. The slow but perceptible nature of the change leads the wilfully uniformed/misleading to question whether it is actiually happening at all, but if we don't act it surely will.

The new 'resilient' Civic Centre is all about preparing for the reaction to a crisis. To prevent climate change we need to make all buildings resilient through insulation/ energy efficiency measures and making best use of onsite renewable energy (usually solar). That's not just good for the homes that have such measures but for wider society that is less reliant on dirty and generally imported fuels such such as natural gas and uranium. It puts more money in peoples pockets who have less to fork out for energy bills. This would be a good aim of public policy in so many ways but also ensures that when disaster does strike that half a million people don't turn up at Civic Centre 3 to try to get their phones and electric toothbrushes recharged.

Here's 'Its The End of The World as we know it' by R.E.M.