This morning, BBC Radio Berkshire were kind enough to put in an appearance along the walk to work.
They were holding a live debate with the five General Election candidates for Reading East, which covers the centre of the town and its surrounds, stretching out into the Borough of Wokingham:
- Matt Rodda, Labour Party
- Craig Morley, Conservative Party
- Imogen Shepherd-Dubey, Liberal Democrats
- David McElroy, Green Party
- Mitchell Feierstein, Brexit Party
We were cornered by a lovely researcher and obviously couldn’t miss the opportunity to pose a question to the candidates. We don’t normally major on politics but here goes…
“We think that the environment should be one of, if not the dominant subject in this Election. Why do you think that there isn’t a party, or collective the parties, aren’t nailing it when it comes to the issues facing our planet?”
“We are probably the last generation who can address our climate change issues at the moment. We’re all wrapped up discussing Brexit in Parliament and we’re not discussing the real issues, which includes climate change. I fully agree with you. There is no planet B. If we don’t fix this and get a handle on this obviously the long-term effects are going to be quite critical to us. That really should be the number one topic, not Brexit. We’ve obviously got policies on… erm… err… making sure all new houses are carbon neutral, improving our public transport services, making sure energy services are 80% renewable in the next ten years, taxes on frequent flyers. ”
“Obviously we think that declaring a climate emergency isn’t enough. Ten years ago we could’ve been talking about climate change as a moral challenge. Now it’s one of self interest. It’s time that the other parties caught up and started dealing with the biggest issue of our time.”
“Yes we’ve declared a client emergency but we are getting no advice from central government.”
(When asked why they are standing against one another when they agree on so much) Imogen Shepherd-Dubey of the Liberal Democrats responded: “Yes, why are we standing against each other?” Before her Green Party counterpart David McElroy clarified that there are of course other issues on which they differ.
“I understand about climate change – I’ve been involved in this space for about 12 years… I know a great deal about this topic. We’ve deployed a lot of capital in carbon mitigation.
I think we need to address the situation with real solutions. I think there are solutions that are cost neutral. The term for what other parties are saying is greenwash.
What we need to do with coal is use the Methane – we can turn that into energy in a very cost effective manner.
And we’re building trees…
None of the other parties have come out and said we’re going to give everyone a carbon calculator. We have carbon calculators that my business has developed. People can evaluate how they are using energy and they can cut down on their consumption.
The big problem is China which accounts for 30% of emissions. China, the USA and India are about 54%.”
“It’s right that this is the fundamental issue facing humanity – we can’t brush this under the carpet or pretend it’s not happening… it’s our number one priority.
(The host pointed out that Jeremy Corbyn had said otherwise).
I’m a shadow junior minister in the transport team and our whole focus is to take carbon out of transport.
We want a grant for buses. We are investing in walking and cycling. We are taking a number of other steps.
We need better insulation too. Housing stock is a major part of the problem too.”
(The host quoted an earlier article written by Craig Morley, which read…)
“The alarmism and lexicon of emergency used in the current debate has lost sense of reality and proportion. There is no developing catastrophe and no smoking gun.
“It is a socialist Trojan horse for delivering failed socialist economic policies through using the emotive lexicon of ‘emergency’, disaster, and doom-mongering.”
“I think if people want to read my views and my background on climate change they can look at my website.
I took three years out of my life, moved to China with my family. Whilst I was out there I was tackling climate change for the British Government, working with the Chinese.
When people label me as a climate change denier, that’s deeply hurtful. Look at my record fighting climate change for this country.
We have a proud record in the UK and we will continue to tackle climate change here. The UK is responsible for 1% of emissions. The problem is India, China and the USA.”
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