Contacting 'difficult' MPs
Some of us are in strong Tory or DUP seats or with MPs who have had very poor records on Climate. But that doesn’t mean we give up! If anything we fight harder for representation.
If you have made any progress with your difficult MPs please tell us what you did and how you did it!
Leave a contact so we can ask you about it!
Make sure you have done your research and approach with a specific ask (Support the Bill!)
Another ask may be to forward it to Ministers of BEIS, DfT, DIT, Boris, or meet with you to talk about it further.
Offer that the Bill is still in development and they have an opportunity to contribute to it - what would they advise? (this shows you respect their opinion)
Manage your expectations, it takes time to build a relationship of trust.
Manage your emotions! Don’t let yourself get angry or overly frustrated, stay calm and firm in your arguments.
Appeal to their good nature: ‘I know you care about protection of the environment, our ancient woodlands, our beautiful coastlines etc’ Do they have kids? What do you have in common?
Try not to come across as a typical sort of person they might have prejudice against (e.g. ‘hippy’, angry leftie) Remind them ‘as your constituent…’
Find something you agree on - Wanting to reduce plastic? Wanting Government to give Local Authorities more money to support their own Climate Strategies? Once you have established where you’re both at you can then expand from there.
Do your research on them - try to understand their position.
Common reasons they may not be supportive:
They support some of our aims but not XR itself nor civil disobedience of any kind. The most common reason Tory and DUP MPs oppose is that they see stricter climate policy as inevitably meaning much higher taxation and regulation, and enlargement of the state (which to them means more bureaucracy, unaccountable quangos, bigger government and more state power)
They don’t actually understand climate science.
They are very wrapped up in other priorities: economic affairs, trade, industry laws. They will be trying to do good in some direction or another - find out what that is and empathise on it.
They are privy to lobbyists telling them lies: climate not that bad, we are terrorists etc.
They genuinely believe they are doing the best we can, 2050 target is ore realistic.
They believe UK is already leading on climate action in the world, and China, Russia and USA are the real problems.
They do understand climate science but are cynics - its coming, we won’t be able to stop it anyway, we just have to carry on as we are etc. * They believe in scientific solutions and investing in these - electric cars etc. For example: believers that planes will become fully electric support airport expansion because electric planes will need longer runways!
They have an ultimate, deep down, instinctive sense of entitlement, ownership, property etc - ‘Whats ours is ours, whats yours is yours - where you’re born is just bad luck’ etc.
Talk about migration increasing because of climate - and how it could be the UK thats hit by a natural disaster and that have to ask for help and refuge. (HARD Tory response is often - ‘well we would deserve other countries to take us in given what we have done for them….’ Be prepared for statements like this, don’t be shocked. Allow silence - reflect it back to them.) your MP
Target the wording to base their political party e.g. Youtube Video about Migration and Climate Change
Why not send a tweet in support of the CEE Bill, and at the same time ask your MP to give it their support?
Citizens' Assembly, but this time with bite
Critics of the CEE Bill may claim that the UK has recently held a Citizens’ Assembly (CA) – Climate Assembly UK – and there’s no need to hold another one. Don’t leave this unchallenged!
Climate Assembly UK, whilst recently giving an interim briefing about the post-COVID recovery with some positive findings, has no binding powers. In other words, it has no teeth. It also has the fixed objective of how to meet carbon net zero emissions by 2050.
In contrast, the CA proposed by the CEE Bill: Has the twin objectives of addressing the climate and ecological crises. Has “bite” ,meaning that recommendations with significant support within the CA (at least 80% of members) must be incorporated into Government policy.
Is not constrained by a target date for carbon net zero, ensuring action is based on scientific urgency and not political viability. The proposed CA will consider how the UK ensures it does its fair share to avoid going over critical rises in global temperature. In essence, it will be answering these questions:
- What do we need to do to meet our pledge of 1.5°C in the Paris Agreement?
- What changes do we need to make to get us there?
- How quickly must those changes happen?
Nature & Climate
The protection and conservation of nature and ecosystems, not just in the UK but around the world, is treated with the importance it deserves. There’s a recognition that the ecological emergency is no less urgent than the climate emergency.
The CA must take account of international & intergenerational equity, the UK’s historical emissions, and ensure that measures do not disproportionately impact minorities or deprived communities. This looks like a significant step in the right direction toward climate and social justice.
No Creative Accounting
It’s time to come clean on the real carbon footprint of the UK. That carpet was getting kind of lumpy anyway! Aviation, shipping and imports will no longer have a free ride.
No Magical Thinking
Reliance on speculative carbon capture future technologies to save the day has been a way of kicking the can down the road, and allowing the emissions of “business as usual” to continue. Not any more. Instead there will be an increased focus on the use of natural carbon sinks such as peat bogs, woodlands and soil.
Broad Campaign Team
This is not “an XR bill”, it has been drafted by an alliance of experts, including some XR supporters. Contributions have been made by respected climate, energy and ecology academics, alongside a lead author of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report.
There is an increasing consensus that a green revolution is needed for an “environmental necessity and an economic opportunity” leading to a “stronger, more resilient economy” , and the CEE bill would help companies have a level-playing field to do this, leading to significant long-term economic gains. The Smiths School has a lot of research on this, including
The Smith School Link conclusions on page 16, and supported by a long list of experts (page 27)
The Bank of England and Climate Financial Risk Forum are very clear on the increased risks due to the climate crisis, and have set deadlines for financial institutions to reduce their risks (e.g. SS3/19, FS19/6). This includes risks due to climate disasters. Many business leaders have stated in the Bright Blue May 2020 essay collection “Delivering Net Zero” that the government has a key role in this issue, which is supported by the CEE bill.