Labour’s Climate Conservatism

This recent article by Chris Saltmarsh, in Tribune magazine, is very welcome. 

Chris points to the apparent drift in Labour policy away from the radicalism of the 2017 and 2019 manifestos in terms of the environment.

Clearly this is at odds with Keir Starmer’s leadership campaign pledges to put the environment and the Green New Deal at the centre of policy.
That being the case, the present trajectory of Labour under a Starmer leadership does not bode well for Labour Party engagement at the top level with the COP 26 process and the climate activism on the ground around it.

Keir Starmer’s failure to involve grassroots campaigners in Labour’s climate strategy betrays a lack of radicalism in the party’s vision – which is out of step with the policies we need to prevent disaster.

On Tuesday 12th January 2021), Keir Starmer tweeted a Zoom screenshot of a meeting he held with the CEOs and Directors of Britain’s largest environmental NGOs. In attendance were Ed Miliband, Matt Pennycook, and Luke Pollard as members of the Shadow Cabinet with a climate brief. The NGOs represented were Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, the WWF, the Wildlife Trust, the RSPB, Green Alliance, and the National Trust. Continue reading “Labour’s Climate Conservatism”

Waste incineration- why it is making the climate crisis worse

Red-Green Labour activist Sean Thompson argues that far from being an answer to the problems of waste disposal and electricity generation waste incineration is a move in the wrong direction…

 

In 2015, the UK government set waste recycling rate targets of 50% by 2020 and 65% by 2035.  Unsurprisingly, the UK is on course to miss those targets, with only Wales hitting the 2020 target (indeed exceeding it, at 54.1%).

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Bill Gates’ Green Counterrevolution in Africa

This article from Jacobin argues that whilst The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation promised Africa a “Green Revolution” to fight hunger and poverty, in reality this hasn’t worked. Corporate agriculture’s profits have increased at the expense of local farmers who are being left empty-handed, and hunger is rising.

Bill and Melinda Gates. (Wikimedia Commons)

By Jan Urhahn, translated by Loren Balhorn.

Over the last five years, the number of people around the world suffering from hunger has been on the rise. Against this backdrop, a decades-old debate continues to rage, asking which agricultural approaches can provide everyone with sufficient healthy food.

One simplistic answer comes from governments in the Global North (and so, too, some in the Global South). They claim that international agribusiness could end global hunger if only it had the means to do so, boosting agricultural productivity through the use of pesticides, hybrid seeds, and other external inputs.

Continue reading “Bill Gates’ Green Counterrevolution in Africa”

For public ownership of seeds

This fascinating article in The Guardian points to a burgeoning movement of seed-sharing and exchanging and makes the case for public ownership of seed. Certainly something which should be discussed widely in the Labour and environmental movement.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/dec/28/seed-saving-movement-calls-for-seeds-to-be-publicly-owned

Covid has made people see how the food system is dominated by large corporations, say campaigners

An allotment

The pandemic encouraged an interest in allotments and seed saving. Photograph: Bill Allsopp/Alamy Stock Photo

Alexandra Genova

Seeds need to be brought back into public ownership, rather than belonging to a small group of agrochemical companies, say campaigners, after a year in which seed-swapping and saving has reached new heights of popularity.

Continue reading “For public ownership of seeds”

Labour- get your wellies on!

In this overview, Charlie Clutterbuck, who describes himself as a socialist soil zoologist, and author of Bittersweet Brexit: The future of Farming, Food Land and Labour, looks  at what lies in store for food and farming in the UK.

There was much post-Referendum talk about the opportunity to green our farming. There would be ‘public money for public goods’ and we thought that meant improving the earth. There would be a new ‘Environmental Land Management Scheme’ (ELMS) that would replace the old EU system of paying subsidies by land area.

False promises. The real news is not good.  Our author raises the alarm at the way some environmentalists are still seduced by the notion that ‘public money will go to public goods’. He also stresses how supine Labour and the unions have been in general and calls for make food and farming central to our political agenda from now on.

Continue reading “Labour- get your wellies on!”

Public consultation on gene editing lauched

From Beyond GM

https://beyond-gm.org/public-consultation-on-genome-editing-is-launched/

 

 

 

 

The UK government’s public consultation on the deregulation of genome editing is now open.

The plans for the consultation will be set out today by Environment Secretary George Eustice in his speech at the Oxford Farming Conference. Eustice is expected to tell the conference:

Continue reading “Public consultation on gene editing lauched”

Stop the destruction of Alaska’s Arctic wildlife refuge

As the Guardian article below explains, one of climate denier Trump’s last acts in office is to sell off Arctic wilderness to oil companies. We demand the incoming Biden administration reverse this disastrous policy and we stand with the  Gwich’in in defence of their ancestral home. See: https://ourarcticrefuge.org/ and https://www.facebook.com/DefendtheSacredAK/videos/394254038319376

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jan/05/trump-arctic-national-wildlife-refuge-lease-sales

Sales of drilling rights are the climax to one of the nation’s highest-profile environmental battles

Rivers run through the lush tundra valleys of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
 Rivers run through the lush tundra valleys of Alaska’s Arctic national wildlife refuge. Photograph: Acacia Johnson

In one of its last strikes against the American wilderness, Donald Trump’s administration will on Wednesday auction off portions of the Arctic national wildlife refuge to oil drillers.

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Gene-edited crops unlikely to make food system more sustainable

This article which first appeared at GMWatch.org and details failures of first-generation GM crops and points to unintended effects of new GM.

https://www.gmwatch.org/en/news/latest-news/19596

Report by Claire Robinson

Will genetically modified gene-edited crops, foods and animals improve the sustainability of food and farming? A comprehensive new scientific review addresses this question by investigating the record of old-style transgenic GM crops and the potential and reality of newer gene-edited crops and animals.
Continue reading “Gene-edited crops unlikely to make food system more sustainable”

Making carbon-trading globally legitimate

First published on the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy blog

https://www.iatp.org/blog/202012/making-carbon-trading-globally-legitimate-road-show-has-begun

When companies seek to attract investors, they go on “road shows” to pitch their goods, services and projected Return on Investment (RoI). Mark Carney, formerly the chair of the Financial Stability Board (FSB) and the Bank of England (BoE) and since December 2019 the United Nations’ Secretary General’s Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance, has begun a kind of digital road show that will take him to investor groups, industry associations and perhaps even to foreign government sovereign wealth funds. What Mr. Carney is selling is a private sector draft Task Force on Scaling Carbon Markets report, for which he is co-leader. IATP commented on the draft, which is scheduled for release as the final report in late January.

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Re-designing farms systems for the climate crisis

Ben Lilliston argues that the new Biden-Harris administration needs to go much further than its predecessors to build a climate resilient farming system and puts forward a series of policies which have a wider application than just the US.

Re-posted from the Institute Of Agriculture and Trade Policy blog:

https://www.iatp.org/blog/202012/roadmap-biden-harris-administration-re-designing-farm-systems-climate-crisis

As the Biden-Harris transition team rapidly fills key cabinet positions and senior leadership, it also is setting priorities for the first 100 days. If the “Build Back Better” mantra is to become reality, particularly in advancing equitable solutions to the climate crisis, the transition team will have to think systemically — not just agency by agency. Systems thinking is especially critical to create a just transition for farming. Our current policy framework supports an industrial system of production that is pushing out farmers while increasing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and climate risk to the food supply. We need a coordinated approach across multiple agencies to support a more resilient farming system.

Continue reading “Re-designing farms systems for the climate crisis”