Thousands march on Westminster in climate change protest

Thousands of people from across the UK are expected to gather outside Parliament today as part of a mass lobbying of MPs.

Photo courtesy of Nation of Change

Photo courtesy of Nation of Change

The ‘Speak Up’ event has been organised by The Climate Coalition, an alliance of environmental groups and charities, as part of its ‘For The Love Of’ campaign.

The coalition includes groups such as Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Oxfam, Christian Aid and others.

The marchers plan to lobby politicians outside Parliament, with constituents queuing to meet their local MPs to talk to them about climate change. The all-day event is expected to be followed by a rally with speakers outside Westminster at 4.30pm. 

Friends of the Earth acting CEO Joe Jenkins said, “Thousands of people from across the country are descending on Parliament in the middle of the week because they want the UK to act faster on climate change.

“The new Government faces crucial choices in the coming days that will define whether they are truly willing to act on global warming – with decisions imminent on fracking in Lancashire, opencast coal mining in South Wales and airport expansion in the South East.”

All 650 of the UK’s MPs have received lobbying requests for meetings with their constituents. Rickshaws will carry MPs to face-to-face meetings with those attending the climate lobby.

Global leader

The protest comes ahead of the major UN climate conference in Paris this December. Last week civil society groups criticised the sluggish pace of preliminary negotiations in Bonn

Jenkins added: “The UK won’t be taken seriously as a global climate change leader if it is failing on the basics at home.

“We can’t turn up in Paris urging a fossil-free future if we won’t give up our addiction to more gas, coal and oil.”

WWF-UK chief executive David Nussbaum said the event at Westminster would show MPs the popular feeling that not enough is being done by the UK.

“2015 is a year when all politicians can make a difference,” said Nussbaum. “It’s time to embrace a low carbon economy that works for people and the planet.”

Moral issue

International aid agencies and charities spoke out ahead of the march on problems facing millions worldwide who are most at risk from climate change. Christian Aid’s director of policy and public affairs Christine Allen said climate change was becoming “the moral issue of our times.”

“Those suffering for it the most in the developing world bear the least responsibility for creating it. As the first country to industrialise Britain has a duty to lead the way in addressing this global problem.”

While the Conservative Government has been consistent in its rhetoric about needing to limit climate change to 2C, global consultancy firm EY recently blasted its green policies as “absurd”.

“Only time will tell whether [the Government] realizes that simultaneously chasing a climate change target while abandoning the most cost-competitive renewable energy technologies is somewhat absurd,” said the EY report.

The march comes the day after the release of a new study from Michigan State University, which found that environmental activism does have a tangible impact on greenhouse gas emissions.

The lobbying as it happened

Matt Field


coal | fracking | gas


Energy efficiency & low-carbon
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