IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Climate protest pupils shame our MPs

08 March, 2019

School students in Westminster protesting over climate change

• LAST Thursday there was a gathering on the steps of Islington town hall, outside the full council meeting. Some of the students who had been on a “Climate Emergency” one-day strike from school were voicing their concerns and urging Islington Council to support urgent action on climate breakdown.

Earlier last week the House of Commons had its first debate on climate change for two years and only a handful of MPs bothered to turn up. Schoolchildren have a better grasp of the issues than MPs, who seem not to care.

The government promotes fracking to help its supporters’ investments, even when communities resist. The UN’s IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) estimates that there will be millions of climate refugees over the next 20 years, dwarfing the trouble we have seen so far.

Extreme weather is increasingly common as global warming breaks down the Polar Vortex (which has kept weather stable for centuries), giving us the warmest February on record at the same time as the US Midwest has record low temperatures (colder than Alaska or Greenland.)

Brexit is sucking the time and energy from every other debating topic and our MPs are obsessed with the wrong things, like giving themselves pay increases above the rate of inflation, further cutting funding to councils or wasting millions on the costs of Brexit.

Could it be that those at school know they will suffer the effects of climate change, while MPs are only thinking about the next months or so and their own finances and careers? Climate change is happening now, and change is much more rapid than we thought.

The rate of carbon emissions has increased – almost double the rate at the time of the Kyoto conference and its targets to reduce them. The government forces fracking and withdraws support from renewable energy.

School students are well aware that most MPs don’t care about the survival of the rest of us. It is no wonder they are concerned, or went on strike across the country, or that they demonstrated outside the town hall last Thursday.

In the opening words of David Wallace-Wells’ recently released book, The Uninhabitable Earth: “It’s worse, much worse than you think…”

We support the need for protest by anyone and everyone but we would need fewer empty classrooms if there were fewer empty Houses of Commons.

MIKE CROWSON
Islington Green Party

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