South Asian MPs visit UK to urge greater climate ambition

Parliamentarians from India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are visiting London this week to assess the UK Government’s current levels of climate ambition.

The 11-strong delegation will meet Minister for Energy and Climate Change Greg Barker, together with officials from the British climate change department’s International Engagement team.

They plan to urge the UK to accelerate its transition to renewable energy and maintain an active role at the international climate change negotiations.

South East Asia could face increased levels of flooding, food shortages, heat waves, and disease pandemics if temperatures continue to rise.

Last Friday levels of carbon dioxide passed the 400 parts per million (ppm) mark, a target that had not been sustained for more than three million years.

Questions have been raised over UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s commitment to his 2010 pledge to run the ‘greenest government ever’

Scientists recommend a level closer to 350ppm in order to limit average temperature rises to less than 2°C above pre industrial levels, a target agreed by nations at the 2009 UN climate talks.

“Members of Parliament from both developed and developing countries have a vital role to play in the fight against dangerous climate change,” said Lord Foulkes of Cumnock, a trustee of the Climate Parliament, which is organising the visit.

“Every law and every budget must be approved by a national Congress or Parliament. Elected legislators are the one group of people in the world who have all the levers they need to solve the climate problem: they vote on laws, taxes and budgets, oversee the operations of government, and have direct access to Ministers, Prime Ministers and Presidents.”

The British Government has historically pushed for ambitious carbon reduction targets at the EU, but concerns are being raised over Prime Minister David Cameron’s commitment to cut emissions.

Last week his key climate change advisor left Downing Street, while leading climate sceptic Peter Lilley has recently been promoted to advise Number 10 on foreign policy issues.

Negotiations at EU level over new carbon targets are ongoing. The UK supports a new 30% emission reduction goal, although it opposes legally binding targets for renewables and efficiency.

Climate Parliament MPs have already achieved some success in the field of climate legislation.

In India, MPs from the Climate Parliament group led a campaign to raise the country’s renewable energy target from 6% to 15% by 2020, and were able to more than double India’s renewable energy budget under the next Five Year Plan.

In November 2012, Climate Parliament MPs from Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka signed a joint declaration, calling on their respective Governments to support renewable energy cooperation.

Read more on: Climate politics | India |