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Future of the planet interrupted for lunch

By Clare Groves | 23 June 2011

On 22 June 2011 we launched an urgent campaign action asking UK MEPs to vote for a tougher EU target on carbon emissions cuts. This followed the Guardian's revelation that many Conservative MEPs intended to vote against this vital commitment.

The vote in the European Parliament was set for midday on 23 June 2011 and would have decided whether to strengthen the current target of 20% emissions reductions by 2020, to a 30% cut.

Christian Aid's response

With only half a day before the vote, Christian Aid rolled into action. We wrote letters to David Cameron and the leader of the Conservative delegation to the European Parliament, Martin Callanan urging them to take a stand on this crucial climate decision.

We sent press releases out to journalists, held a protest action outside Martin Callanan's Newcastle office, and launched an email action asking all MEPs to vote for stronger carbon emissions-cutting targets.

Your response

Over 1,700 of you took action, asking your MEPs to vote the right way and even calling them up to persuade them in person. In total, more than 11,000 individual emails to MEPs were sent - a fantastic effort in such a short timeframe.

A new deadline

Then, this morning, after all the preparation was done, we settled down to watch the vote unfold live in the European Parliament. The atmosphere was tense.

Electronic votes on other issues started to role in. At one point there was an impassioned debate about tractors, and later some stirring discussions around Europe’s nuclear waste… and the clock ticked on.

By the time we neared the crucial vote on the greenhouse gas emission reductions, the session was running 45 minutes over time. MEPs were starting to rush out of the Parliament building to catch their trains (or fill their stomachs!) And so this vital climate decision was postponed for a fortnight until the next session meets in Strasbourg.

We couldn't believe it!

This is such a vital issue, and it was being pushed back. Global carbon emissions cuts significantly greater than ction is re absolutely crucial if there is to be any possibility of keeping global temperature rise below 2oC.  Achieving this is critical to the world’s poorest people, who are already suffering first and worst from the effects of climate change. 

But there's a silver lining. We had more time to influence our leaders on this issue. We plan to find out how all MEPs now intend to vote, after our campaign offensive, and lobby each of them to keep the pressure up. 

Thank you for your support of this campaign so far, and for acting so quickly to call on your leaders for change. We hope that you'll follow the campaign over the next fortnight as we keep the spotlight on Europe’s climate policies.

You can keep up to date by checking our blog or following us on Twitter at @ca_campaigns.


Take action

The email action to MEPs is now closed for today's vote (5 July 2011). We'll update you shortly on the result.  

Tweet your MEPs directly!

We know that many Conservative MEPs are threatening to vote against stronger climate commitments. Please take a moment to tweet your local Conservative MEPs:

East Midlands - Roger Helmer 
Tweet @RogerHelmerMEP >

Northwest - Jacqueline Foster
Tweet @jfostermep >

Northern Ireland - Jim Nicholson
Tweet @jimnicholsonmep >

Scotland - Struan Stevenson

South East - Daniel Hannan
Tweet @DanHannanMEP >

South West - Julie Girling
Tweet @juliegirling >

If your region isn't listed above it means no local Conservative MEPs have a Twitter account that we are aware of.

About the author

Clare Groves

Clare Fussell is a campaigns officer for Christian Aid

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