Two of the main parties commit to two of the Three Demands.
Environmental pressure group Extinction Rebellion Birmingham recently hosted a climate hustings where both main parties who spoke, Labour and Lib Dems, committed to supporting two from the three demands in the Extinction Rebellion 3 Demands Bill, which call for the decleration of a climate emergency, a commitment to cut greenhouse emmissions to a net zero by 2025 and the creation of a citizens assembly on climate and ecological justice. The Conservatives empty-chaired the debate.
Voters asked questions ranging from how to achieve both climate change and continue economic growth to how to combat air pollution in Birmingham. Liam Byrne (Labour Hodge Hill) and Jenny Wilkinson (Lib Dem Sutton) signed up to legislation on declaring a climate emergency and setting up a Citizens Assembly to decide on action to achieve zero emissions. Liam Byrne claimed voting Labour was the best way to achieve most although not perhaps all of XR demands. Jenny Wilkinson stated she was “absolutely committed to do everything possible” but that scientists say that 2025 is not possible.
Green Candidate Ben Auton (Sutton) claimed the Greens were closest to the three demands and the only party that could be trusted on climate. Kenneth Lowry (UKIP) supported the bill but also continuing to rely on fossil fuels while Colin Rankine (Yeshua) called for a more caring society based on Christian beliefs and and end to domination by the main parties.
Father Martin Newell, XR activist and debate chair says “All of them made an effort to impress with their plans and policies. Of course, the important thing is what they do if they get elected, and for all of us to get out and vote for the parties which are making the climate and ecological emergency the highest priority”.
The Ddbate came during a week when polls show the Tories continuing to enjoy an opinon polls lead sufficient to secure an outright majority. Meanwhile XR has declared twelve days of emergency with non-violent protests including some of the few remaining bees swarming round party leaders, and a series of powerful actions outside party HQs and on the campaign trail.
Extinction Rebellion Birmingham will be holding a welcome meeting for people interested in joining their nonviolent protests calling for action on climate change at Friends of the Earth in Birmingham on January 18th from 2pm to 4pm.