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Eastenders talk climate with Hackney MP

By Julian Boys | 16 June 2011

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On Monday, Christian Aid staff and volunteers gathered in the rain outside Hackney Town Hall to lobby Meg Hillier, the local MP and shadow secretary of state for energy and climate change.

The drizzle in east London was barely an inconvenience, but for small-scale farmers in poor countries facing unprecedented floods and droughts as a result of man-made climate change, the weather is a matter of life and death.

In an oak-panelled meeting room we talked to Hillier about Christian Aid’s climate change demands.

First we talked about the long-running campaign to make companies publicly report their carbon emissions.

Hillier was optimistic about companies’ support for such requirements, saying ‘I’ve met lots of businesses who are very keen to go green.’

Politically it was encouraging to hear the Labour shadow minister assure us that her ‘party has no problem with this.’

She promised to write directly to the prime minister, as well as the minister in charge, Caroline Spelman, in support of mandatory carbon reporting.

Secondly, we talked about our campaign to stop the World Bank, whose mandate is to fight poverty, from investing in fossil fuel energy projects which heat up the planet.

‘The irony is not lost on me. I’m completely with you on this,’ said Hillier.

We told her about the World Bank’s current energy strategy review and the need for it to commit to investing in green energy and ensure modern energy access for the poor: 1.5 billion people - one-quarter of the world’s population - currently lack access to electricity.

Hillier was clear about the UK’s role. ‘As a country that has been through the industrial revolution we need to be prepared to pave the way in green energy,’ she said.

‘If we do it right in the UK we’ll be better equipped to support developing countries.’

She also agreed to write to Andrew Mitchell and Chris Huhne, urging them to use their influence with the World Bank.

So that’s four letters to government from a senior opposition MP. Not bad for a morning’s work.

And sure enough, by the time we stepped outside the Town Hall the sun was shining.

If you’d like to find out more about lobbying your MP on behalf of the world’s poor, email campaigns@christian-aid.org

Thanks to Eva Baker, Rosie Underwood, Hannah Henderson, Emma Flynn, Hannah Griffiths and Matthew Cunningham for taking part in the lobby. 


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Julian Boys

Julian Boys is an economic justice policy volunteer

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