New term, new Minister, same challenges

This blog was published on the Click on Wales site on September 17th, the original can be read here .

This week we start a new Assembly term with a reshuffled Welsh Government team, with Carl Sargeant taking on responsibility for climate change, on the eve of a UN summit challenging world leaders to cut climate emissions and tackle climate change.  The first time in five years global leaders have met to discuss this issue.

There is a strong cross-party commitment in Wales to tackle climate change and for Wales to play its role by cutting our carbon emissions. Wales led the way in introducing an annual carbon emission reduction target of 3% in the One Wales programme for government and followed it a few years later with a cross party commitment to cut all our emissions 40% by 2020. And there has been action from the Welsh Government, such as the Arbed home energy efficiency programme and statutory recycling targets.

But, as the recent Assembly Research paper shows, emissions in Wales as a whole went up 5% in the last year we have records for (2011-2012), and emissions for the things we use and consume – which the 3% annual cuts relate to – only reduced by 2%.

If we continue like this we’ll break the promise to cut our emissions and lose our reputation for leading the way on green issues.

This is despite the most rigorous scientific evidence, produced by the IPCC earlier this year, confirming unequivocally not only the science of climate change but the urgency and scale of action necessary to keep us within a temperature rise of 2 degrees Celsius and mitigate against some of the worst impacts of climate change.

We’re badly in need of a revived and re-energised approach to climate change in Wales – a recommitment to the targets unanimously agreed by the Assembly, and a definite action plan for how to achieve it, including assessing the carbon impact of major strategies, projects and the annual budget.   We have previously set out the case here for these measures, and for climate targets to be put into law in Wales.  The Well-Being of Future Generations Bill provides an ideal opportunity.

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing the world in the 21st century and we must take immediate action to tackle this. Otherwise we face environmental, economic, cultural and social impacts which will affect future generations, and disproportional impact people in poverty within Wales and across the globe.

Yet despite the seriousness, twice in three months the Welsh Government has postponed its promised policy refresh.

This could be a real positive for Wales, not just environmentally but for tackling poverty and developing a low carbon economy, as the new report from the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate shows.

In a survey of public perceptions of climate change in Wales published by the Climate Change Consortium of Wales last year, 84% of respondents were concerned about climate change, 73% of respondents agreed that Wales should aim to set an example to the outside world when it comes to addressing climate change, 80% were concerned about the effects of climate change in developing countries and 90% were concerned about the effects on wildlife and the natural world.

And tackling climate change is vital to ensuring the well-being of present and future generations. The report prepared as a result of the National Conversation ‘The Wales We Want’ earlier this year identified climate change as being the most critical issue for the well-being of future generations.

Last week a wide range of influential Welsh organisations signed Stop Climate Chaos Cymru’s open letter to the Welsh Government, calling for leadership and firm action to tackle climate change for the love of all the things we care about and will be affected by climate change – our family, our coastline or even a cup of coffee.  Many of those organisations will be representing Wales at the London Climate March this Sunday.

We have high hopes that the new Minister can grasp the work started by his predecessors and deliver a plan of action. It’s vital there isn’t further delay.

Haf Elgar, Chair of Stop Climate Chaos Cymru

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An open letter to the Welsh Government

[Scroll down for Welsh]

Dear Minister

We all love different things that will be affected by climate change. It could be our family, our beautiful coastline or even a nice cup of coffee.

And we’ve already seen things that we love damaged and hurt. Here in Wales, winter storms and floods have harmed our communities and our wildlife. In developing countries, we’ve seen harvests destroyed, leading to hunger.

Through the IPCC reports, scientists made it clear that we need to act quickly. We must make major cuts in greenhouse gas emissions to tackle this threat.

Yet according to recent figures, Wales’ emissions went up in 2012.

We have a target to cut our emissions by 40% by 2020, based on 1990 levels. But with just a quarter of the time remaining, we are less than half way there.

If we continue like this, we will break the commitment of cutting our emissions.

On 21st September, people will show support for action to tackle climate change at demonstrations across the world, including London. These take place ahead of the world leaders’ summit on climate action convened by Ban Ki-moon.

He has asked these leaders to use the Summit to announce bold actions to address climate change. He wants them to set out how they will reduce emissions, make us more resilient to the effects of climate change and mobilise political will for a meaningful legal agreement in 2015.

The people of Wales have spoken too. The recent “The Wales We Want” report put climate change at the top of public concerns for the wellbeing of future generations.

So we want you to take action.

In the next few months, the Welsh Government can show leadership on climate change. It can follow the rhetoric with firm action.

Your Climate Change Strategy ‘Refresh’ must show renewed commitment. It must include a clear plan, across all government departments, to reduce emissions. We want you to set climate targets in law, based on science. And the Well-being of Future Generations Bill must make tackling climate change a key part of public bodies’ decision-making and future planning.

For the love of Wales, and the world, we call on you to show leadership and deliver on your commitments.

Haf Elgar, Chair, Stop Climate Chaos Cymru

Kieran O’Brien, CAFOD Wales

Ann Jones, Chair of the National Federation of Women’s Institutes – Wales

Anne Meikle, Head of WWF Cymru

Kirsty Davies, Head of Oxfam Cymru

Gareth Clubb, Director, Friends of the Earth Cymru

Cathrin Daniel, Head of Christian Aid Wales

Rachel Sharp, Chief Executive Officer, Wildlife Trusts Wales

Jane Lorimer, National Director, Sustrans Cymru

Paul Cook, Advocacy and Media Director, Tearfund

Sarah Kessell, Chief Executive Officer, Wildlife Trusts South West Wales

Sharon Thompson, Head of Conservation, RSPB Cymru

Paul Allen, External Relations Director, Centre for Alternative Technology

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Annwyl Weinidog

Rydyn ni i gyd yn hoff iawn o bethau y bydd y newid yn yr hinsawdd yn effeithio arnyn nhw. Yn eu mysg gall fod ein teulu, ein harfordir hardd neu hyd yn oed cwpanaid bach da o goffi.

Eisoes rydyn ni wedi gweld pethau rydyn ni’n eu hoffi’n cael eu niweidio a’u brifo. Yma yng Nghymru, mae stormydd gaeaf a llifogydd wedi niweidio ein cymunedau a’n bywyd gwyllt. Mewn gwledydd datblygol, rydyn ni wedi gweld cynaeafau’n cael eu difetha, gan arwain at newyn.

Trwy adroddiadau’r Panel Rhynglywodraethol ar y Newid yn yr Hinsawdd, mae gwyddonwyr wedi nodi’n glir bod angen i ni weithredu ar fyrder. Rhaid i ni leihau allyriadau nwyon t? gwydr yn ddirfawr i fynd i’r afael â’r bygythiad hwn.

Eto i gyd, yn ôl ffigurau diweddar, cynyddodd allyriadau Cymru yn 2012.

Mae gennym ni darged i leihau ein hallyriadau 40% erbyn 2020, ar sail lefelau 1990. Ond gyda dim ond chwarter y cyfnod hwn ar ôl, rydyn ni lai na hanner y ffordd ato.

Os byddwn ni’n mynd ymlaen fel hyn, byddwn yn torri’r ymrwymiad i leihau ein hallyriadau.

Ar 21ain Medi, bydd pobl yn dangos cefnogaeth i weithredu i fynd i’r afael â’r newid yn yr hinsawdd mewn gwrthdystiadau ledled y byd, gan gynnwys yn Llundain. Bydd y rhain yn digwydd cyn uwchgynhadledd arweinwyr y byd ar weithredu ar y newid yn yr hinsawdd, sydd wedi’i chynnull gan Ban Ki-moon.

Mae ef wedi gofyn i’r arweinwyr hyn ddefnyddio’r uwchgynhadledd i gyhoeddi camau gweithredu beiddgar i fynd i’r afael â’r newid yn yr hinsawdd. Mae eisiau iddyn nhw ddweud sut y byddan nhw’n lleihau allyriadau, ein gwneud yn fwy cydnerth yn wyneb effeithiau’r newid yn yr hinsawdd, a sicrhau ewyllys gwleidyddol i gael cytundeb cyfreithiol ystyrlon yn 2015.

Mae pobl Cymru wedi llefaru hefyd. Yn yr adroddiad diweddar “Y Gymru a Garem” y newid yn yr hinsawdd oedd prif bryder y cyhoedd o ran llesiant cenedlaethau’r dyfodol.

Felly rydyn ni eisiau i chi weithredu.

Yn ystod yr ychydig fisoedd nesaf, gall Llywodraeth Cymru ddangos arweiniad ar y newid yn yr hinsawdd. Gall ddilyn y rhethreg gyda gweithredu cadarn.

Rhaid i’ch diweddariad ar y Strategaeth Newid Hinsawdd ddangos ymrwymiad newydd. Rhaid iddo gynnwys cynllun clir, ar draws pob un o adrannau’r llywodraeth, i leihau allyriadau. Rydyn ni eisiau i chi osod targedau hinsawdd yn y gyfraith, wedi’u seilio ar wyddoniaeth. Ac mae’n rhaid i Fil Llesiant Cenedlaethau’r Dyfodol wneud mynd i’r afael â’r newid yn yr hinsawdd yn rhan allweddol o waith cyrff cyhoeddus wrth wneud penderfyniadau a chynllunio ar gyfer y dyfodol.

Er mwyn Cymru, a’r byd, rydyn ni’n galwch arnoch chi i ddangos arweiniad a chyflawni’ch ymrwymiadau.

Haf Elgar, Cadeirydd, Atal Anhrefn Hinsawdd Cymru

Kieran O’Brien, CAFOD Cymru

Ann Jones, Cadeirydd Ffederasiwn Cenedlaethol Sefydliadau’r Merched – Cymru

Anne Meikle, Pennaeth WWF Cymru

Kirsty Davies, Pennaeth Oxfam Cymru

Gareth Clubb, Cyfarwyddwr, Cyfeillion y Ddaear Cymru

Cathrin Daniel, Pennaeth Cymorth Cristnogol Cymru

Rachel Sharp, Prif Swyddog Gweithredol, Ymddiriedolaeth Natur Cymru

Jane Lorimer, Cyfarwyddwr Cenedlaethol, Sustrans Cymru

Paul Cook, Cyfarwyddwr Dadleuaeth a’r Cyfryngau, Tearfund

Sarah Kessell, Prif Swyddog Gweithredol, Ymddiriedolaeth Natur De a Gorllewin Cymru

Sharon Thompson, Pennaeth Cadwraeth, RSPB Cymru

Paul Allen, Cyfarwyddwr Cysylltiadau Allanol, Canolfan y Dechnoleg Amgen

 

 

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Stop Climate Chaos Cymru Response to the Environment and Sustainability Committee inquiry on the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Bill September 2014

SCCC response Stage 1 FG Bill

Click the link above to read our submission to the Environment and Sustainability Committee Inquiry into the Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill

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Climate change hits small-scale farmers from across the globe first and worst

writes Kieran O’Brien from CAFOD

Climate change has an impact upon the lives of billions of people throughout the world. Its effects are wide-reaching and complex. Small-holder farmers in particular are suffering from the impacts of dramatic climate events such as severe storms, drought and flooding; while unpredictable weather patterns have impacted on harvests, preventing farmers from feeding themselves and undermining their livelihoods. It has also increased pressure on water resources in many already drought-stricken regions and, in some areas, led to intensifying competition for natural resources and violent conflict.

CAFOD has worked for 50 years through grassroots organisations across Africa, Asia and Latin America to tackle poverty and injustice. In that time we have seen more and more examples of how communities already facing the problems of poverty have had their situations made even worse by changes in climate and environmental damage. These impacts are particularly evident in those communities that rely on agriculture to feed themselves and make a living.

We’ve carried out research into poor people’s priorities and perspectives for development. The research showed that the impacts of climate change, such as a trend to increasing natural disasters, are one of the most important factors that keep people in poverty. These new factors are in addition to a range of inequalities that have existed for decades. As a result, the wellbeing of many people in poverty has deteriorated over the last 15 years.

One of the main priorities expressed by the people we interviewed for the research was to have employment or access to assets such as livestock and land, which allows them to build viable and sustainable livelihoods. But the effects of climate change have harmed the livelihoods of many small-scale farmers, hindering their ability to earn a living and trapping them in poverty. Unless action is taken to help them adapt to climate change and to tackle its root causes, their chance of building viable livelihoods will diminish even further in the future.

We have to remember that it is the small-scale farmers from across the globe that have contributed very little towards climate change, yet are suffering disproportionately from many of its associated consequences. That is why in CAFOD we see climate change as a justice issue; we who are responsible for the causes of climate change also have a responsibility for the solution.  So it falls to developed countries, such as Wales, who bear the greatest responsibility to show leadership.

Whilst there are positive signs that the Welsh Government is taking climate change seriously, there is still room from improvement. The government target for a 40% reduction of all greenhouse gas emissions in Wales by 2020 is an ambitious one, but one that we must hold our government to account, as this outlines the total impact from Wales on the world. As poor communities from across the globe struggle with the affects of climate change, meeting these targets is our moral obligation in Wales.

Read CAFOD’s new report on Climate Change What have we done? How the changing climate is hitting the poorest hardest 

 

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