Frack Free Lancashire representatives were invited to take part in a Climate Listening Event with Sir Keir Starmer on Sunday 8 March, in Birmingham.

Last week, Keir Starmer published a piece in the Guardian: “We can’t wait until 2024 to tackle the climate crisis – let’s fight for a green new deal now”, where he stated:

“We have the capacity, imagination and resources to radically, democratically and fairly decarbonise our economy and repair the natural world. Yet under the Tories the pace of carbon reduction is slowing down. Emissions fell by only 2.1% in 2018, less than half the average of the preceding five years. The government’s own Committee on Climate Change sounded the alarm last summer, warning that: “UK action to curb greenhouse gas emissions is lagging far behind what is needed, even to meet previous, less stringent, emissions targets.” We must urgently change course.”

Keir Starmer for The Guardian

He also published a paper on Internationalising the Green New Deal

Grassroots speakers at the event included: 

  • Mary Glasby, Birmingham Youth Climate Strikers
  • Sam Lees, Birmingham Youth Climate Strikers 
  • Barbara Richardson, Frack Free Lancashire
  • Oliver Newham, Woodland Trust
Climate Listening Event Panel

The panel members for the event were:

  • Farhana Yamin – Climate lawyer & activist
  • Lisa Trickett – Labour Councillor for Brandwood and Kings Heath, co-founder of Places in Common 
  • Sarah Wykes – CAFOD, Lead on Policy, Research and Advocacy on Climate Change & Energy 
  • Ashish Ghadiali – Wretched of the Earth 
  • Keir Starmer – MP for Holborn and St Pancras, Labour Leadership Candidate 

The conversations at the event were focused on the following questions. 

  1. How should the UK get our house in order through a domestic Green New Deal?
  2. How should the UK take responsibility for our historic contribution to the problem of climate change in its foreign policy?
  3. Can the UK use its Presidency of the COP26 to build an international net-zero coalition?

Frack Free Lancashire’s Barbara Richardson gave an intervention on behalf of the group. She said:

“It was really important for Frack Free Lancashire to have a voice on behalf of all those opposed to fracking, and all other forms of fossil fuel extraction, with the possible future leader of the Labour party and especially with COP26 taking place later this year in Glasgow. It was inspiring to hear from such a distinguished panel and other grassroots campaigners especially the youth climate strikers who were passionate and knowledgeable. I believe our demands were well received.” 

Nick Danby said: 

“This was a welcome opportunity to meet with one of the Labour party leadership candidates. We were able to discuss a range of environmental issues and, in particular, the urgent need for a transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.”

Gillian Kelly said:

“Listening to the excellent and well-informed speakers on the panel it was evident that this is the year, and this is the moment, for radical action. The possible next Labour leader, Keir Starmer, appeared to get this and prepared to undertake that radical action.”

You can read the full intervention from Frack Free Lancashire, as delivered by Barbara Richardson, below:

“Frack Free Lancashire has been on the frontline fighting fracking, not only in Lancashire but across the UK and overseas, alongside many other campaign groups, for many years now. 

“Fracking is a whole new dirty fossil fuel industry which, if allowed to happen, will impact on our ability to meet our climate change targets and will also detract from investment in green, renewable and sustainable forms of clean energy.

“We call for a complete ban on fracking, and all other forms of fossil fuel extraction both in the UK and overseas. 

“At present, there is a national moratorium on fracking but don’t be fooled; there are many ways around this for the oil and gas industry, using different stimulation techniques, such as acidisation, or using lower volumes of fluid. These are NOT covered by the Infrastructure Act and current moratorium.  

“Extracting oil and gas is still big business and it will continue unless we stop it. We must make life difficult for the polluters and penalise those who fail to reduce, or worse still, increase our carbon emissions.

“We need to stop giving out subsidies and tax breaks, taking donations from industry lobbyists, and instead encourage and reward investment in green energy, such as wind and solar, which will create many more sustainable jobs and help us meet our climate change targets. 

“There are many other things to address (too many to mention in this 2 minutes) but we must also look at energy efficiency projects, public transport and housing infrastructure, education and reforestation.   

“We need changes in legislation, planning policy, funding and finance and a massive investment to bring about a change for the better. 

“We want Labour to help bring this about, by working in collaboration with the current government, other political parties, NGO’s and the Trade Unions as well as empowering local communities by setting up climate action groups or citizen assemblies. 

“We want our right to protest protected in legislation. 

“We need to strengthen our environmental protections post-Brexit. 

“There is a lot to do if we are to meet our climate change targets. Time has run out, the time for talking is over. This is too important an issue to have political differences; it goes beyond political boundaries.  We must work together.

“We implore the Labour party to address all these issues, by working collaboratively, to bring about the necessary changes in legislation, policy and finance. 

“We want a Green New Deal for the sake of our environment, our health and well-being, our planet and our children’s future”.