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Climate change meeting with our MP

Eco congregation meeting

Brendan O’Hara with Jean Hodgson

 

The Ardrishaig church eco group invited Brendan O’Hara to a public meeting to enable us to share in the Christian Aid campaign to encourage our politicians to focus on the commitments made at the Paris conference last December.

Notes taken at the meting…..

Brendan spoke first:

Poverty is inextricably linked to climate change especially in Africa. Every day our actions are having an effect on poorer nations. We have to get that message out. Everything we do has consequences down the line on these least able to cope. Brendan is happy to be associated with this group (eco congregation). Proportionately far more women are affected by climate change than men. Increased temperatures and erratic prolonged rain and droughts is causing famine. 90% of Malawi farmers are subsistence farmers. They often have to sell their remaining cattle when some die from drought. There is no sustainability. They are then not able to send their children to school.

How do we get this message spread abroad locally and nationally?

Brendan believes climate change is man made. We are responsible so we must try to get the balance back.

Brendan is defence spokesman for SNP. One of his major concerns is climate change. Some of the predictions are extreme: There will be war over resources – especially water. There will be mass migration because of climate alterations. 75 % of people will live in mega cities by 2045. Lots of slums predicted. Seeking fresh water. This is a massive challenge for our generation.

 

Questions

What about the Chinese in Africa?  No altruism here. We can’t really criticise as we pillaged the continent for decades in the last centuries.

Removal of subsidy for carbon capture was a big blow. Government in London needs to let different areas of GB to do there own things. Energy policy is so important. Brings jobs and business in our part of the world. Clean energy is important to Scotland.

How far can we fragment? Can’t have a different policy in every county. We need to understand that energy is expensive. Brendan thinks energy policy should be devolved to SG. Not happy with the money spent on Hinckley B.

Far too many of our houses leak heat. We need to have Scandinavian standards. On shore wind – he is always in favour unless there is a genuine community objection – not nimby

What about a Scottish national grid?

France supplies a lot of energy to England. This will be an issue with brexit.

We need to find a way of storing energy as we sometimes have to switch off the wind turbines. Brendan has just joined the committee on energy storage. He was very impressed by Cruachan.

It is harder for local small schemes to get planning permission than huge schemes. Tangled web of regulations. Brendan will write to the minister to get an answer for the Dalavich scheme.

Worry for grandchildren. Positive feedbacks are worrying. We are very close to getting tipping points – ice in arctic – methane in tundra. Our lifestyle is based on economic growth which does not measure the important things. Climate change will not be solved until we have sustainable economics. Brendan does not disagree. Utopian dream. Trump has taken us a massive step backward.

Zambia – Marion- young musicians did a performance about climate change – blaming the west for the famines. In 20 years she has seen a lot more cars in Zambia – most are old, and brought in with tax concessions so they are cheap. So they are now polluting their own places. We have imported a culture into Africa and Asia that we are the first world – good – and they aspire to having the things that the first world has. There must still be some sort of tie up to let the cars come in so cheaply. The Japanese auction their old cars as their MOTs are very strict. There is a whole industry built up on repairing these.

Someone suggested we shouldn’t import anything that can’t be repaired. Too many things are disposable, rather than repairable.

The world population is growing very fast.

The circular economy idea started by Dame Ellen MacArthur eg Have a contract for a washing machine so they will be repairable rather than replace them.

Suggestions:

YouTube can help you repair your own things.

VAT could be removed from repairs. Will help poorer people.

Practical things we can do should have their profile raised in the public domain.

We need to be encouraging a change in values.

If you drive 60 miles less a week your benefit will be … and the benefit to others already affected by climate change will be … could be a good way to encourage less driving.

People are just ignorant – they wouldn’t hurt a child in Africa on purpose but we are all doing it.

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