It is very disturbing that at the end of last week, that our nations Parliament failed to provide sufficient time and support for the second reading of a vital Private Members Bill. The Bill was submitted to Parliament by Caroline Lucas who happens to be my MP in Brighton Pavilion and the only Green Party MP in our Parliament. The Bill is called The Climate and Ecological Emergency (CEE) Bill that was initially presented in September 2020 so it is already over a year old. It now contains support from 115 MPs who represent from seven political parties. Tragically so far there are no Conservative MPs who support this Bill which is deeply disturbing, given their party claim that they understand environmental issues. I hope that following last weeks disastrous result that at least one more Labour MP will have endorsed the CEE as so far Peter Kyle does not support it which I find very disappointing. However, I am thrilled that along with Caroline Lucas, that Lloyd Russell-Moyle is endorsing the CEE Bill. Along with the 115 MPs there are currently 29 members of the House of Lords that support the CEE Bill which includes Sandip Verma who is the only Conservative Political representative currently. As well as the MPs and Lords there are currently 103 Councils that have endorsed the Bill, including Adur District, Brighton and Hove City, Lewes District and Lewes Town Councils. I think we could call for more of our Sussex Councils to adopt it. Along with these political agencies there are also four organisations in Sussex that have endorsed the CEE Bill. They are the Lewes Climate Hub, the Mid Sussex CEE Bill Alliance, the Adur and Worthing CEE Bill Alliance and the Hanover Action which is a Brighton organisation that has endorsed the Bill. One of the clear reasons for this Bill getting read for its second time that should have happened on Friday is that it refers to an Emergency that we are all very familiar with. Along with the urgency because of our climate there is also the very embarrassing impact that COP26 will take to our nation in a few weeks while our Parliament has failed to endorse this second reading. Given that several of our local MPs have referred to COP26 in debates one would have hoped that they would have been willing to support this Bill. One of them, Sally-Ann Hart stated back in July “Making a success of the conference and delivering for everyone across the globe is more important than ever.”
As Caroline Lucas stated recently “As COP26 hosts, the UK has to show read leadership in stopping global heating and do much more to actively restore our natural world. The IPCC report in August said the 1.5C goal was still within reach, but only if there are rapid emissions cuts over the next few years.” She has also stated that our world is “dangerously close to the 1.5 C temperature limit that countries signed up to in the Paris Agreement” Clearly these comments and the broad political support for this Bill indicates that we need it to become successful in a very short time. One of the opportunities for those of us who are in Brighton and Hove or who can participate online is the ReForest Brighton – towards a zero carbon city event that is taking place on Thursday at the Lighthouse Centre in Kensington Street at 1.30pm. The organisation that is running it is the Brighton Peace and Environment Centre. The event can be found from their facebook page. I hope that the event will go well and that part of its success will be an encouragement for all of us to thank our MPs for supporting the CEE Bill if they do or to ask some of the 535 MPs that currently are not supporting it, to do so as a matter of urgency. Along with the opportunity to contact our MPs about the CEE Bill, there is also another scheme that has emerged in Sussex recently. It is called Plastic Free Eastbourne and it is being organised by Oliver Sterno who I have corresponded with recently. As it happens Caroline Ansell has indicated her support for this campaign and indeed she is suggesting that she could set out a debate in Westminster Hall on this subject. It seems clear that the CEE Bill has a natural parallel with the Plastic Free campaign. Although this has started in Eastbourne, it is already being considered in a dozen other settings across the UK. If there is a clear parallel between the CEE and the Plastic Free campaign it would seem very strange if Caroline Ansell could not be enthusiastic to also support the CEE Bill and to promote it amongst her Conservative colleagues.