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Come back from the brink on Europe's carbon cuts, charities urge MEPs

June 22 2011 - Leading campaign groups have launched a flurry of actions urging Conservative MEPs to rethink their plans to oppose deeper cuts in Europe’s carbon emissions.

Fears that a relatively small group of British Conservatives could tip tomorrow’s European Parliament vote against more ambitious action on climate change prompted a demonstration by Christian Aid campaigners today (Wednesday) outside the Newcastle offices of Martin Callanan, the Conservatives’ European leader and MEP for the North East.

The Assistant Bishop of Newcastle has also weighed in, saying he is ‘very unhappy to hear that attempts are being made in the EU Parliament to block the wider acceptance of the courageous policy of the British Prime Minister to reduce EU emissions by 30% in the next ten years.’

The Right Revd Frank White added: ‘Poor people across the world are always the most affected by climate change and they will not thank us if we don't follow Mr Cameron's lead on this issue.’

Christian Aid, Oxfam, Greenpeace, WWF and Green Alliance have meanwhile written to the Prime Minister, urging him to bring Mr Callanan and his fellow MEPs back into line with the coalition’s support for 30 per cent cuts in European emissions by 2020.

Under current EU plans, emissions will be cut by only 20 per cent from 1990 levels - dramatically less than is needed from Europe in order to lead global efforts to keep the temperature rise within safe limits.

In a separate letter to Mr Callanan, Mohamed Adow of Christian Aid has expressed the development agency’s deep disappointment at Conservative MEPs’ opposition to cuts of more than 20 per cent.

‘You are aware of the accepted science confirming that emissions cuts significantly greater than this are absolutely vital if there is to be any possibility of keeping global temperature rise below 2 degrees,’ says Mr Adow, Christian Aid’s Senior Adviser on Global Advocacy. 

‘Achieving this is critical to the world’s poorest people, who are already suffering first and worst from the effects of climate change. With that perspective, a commitment to cut by 30% is the minimum acceptable.

‘Already, more than 70 businesses representing 3.8 million jobs and one trillion Euros have expressed their support for the 30% target. It is increasingly accepted that Europe’s future prosperity depends on a low carbon economy and this vote is a key opportunity to promote principles of green growth.

‘This target is in the EU’s energy security and economic interests, and the vote provides an opportunity for the EU to take political leadership on these issues at a global level.

‘We urge you to reconsider your position and to vote, and ensure that your ECR colleagues vote, in favour of the proposed 30% emissions reduction target.’


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For interviews and more information, please contact Rachel Baird on 0207 523 2446 or rbaird@christian-aid.org


Notes to Editors:

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in nearly 50 countries. We act where the need is greatest, regardless of religion, helping people build the lives they deserve.

2. Christian Aid has a vision, an end to global poverty, and we believe that vision can become a reality. Our report, Poverty Over, explains what we believe needs to be done – and can be done – to end poverty.  Details at http://www.christianaid.org.uk/Images/poverty-over-report.pdf

3. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of 100 churches and church-related organisations that work together inhumanitarian assistance and development.  Further details at http://www.actalliance.org

4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire

5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid visit www.christianaid.org.uk