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Lucy's blog... 9 June 2008

Climate Change Bill Latest

It’s been, ahem, three months since I last blogged about the Climate Bill, and now I’m writing to say that, taking us slightly off guard, the process has unexpectedly sped up!

What’s going on? Has nothing happened in the last threee months? Well, today sees ‘our Bill’, the Climate Change Bill, arrive in the House of Commons for its Second Reading. For those of you following the news, you’ll know that the Planning Bill with all the politics around it has been postponed, and it’s the Climate Bill that’s partly filling the gap.

This will involve a minister from Defra (the government department responsible for the Bill) introducing and outlining its purpose. The debate will take place today in Parliament at 3.30pm.

I’m no parliamentary expert, and have had to ask colleagues lots of questions about the process a Bill goes through, to know when the key times are, that we as campaigners need to apply pressure. And with the Second Reading we’re about to hit another.

Here’s how it works…

  1. MPs will be able to table amendments, to change - either for better or worse - the Bill. I’m waiting to hear from a colleague at the end of tomorrow, the numbers of the two amendments which we’re expecting to be tabled, which call for the Bill to be strengthened in two ways:
    The right level of ambition, with a carbon dioxide reduction target of at least 80% instead of 60% cuts in emissions by 2050 - and the UK’s share from international aviation and shipping in the emissions reduction targets... At that point
  2. we’ll put the finishing touches to our campaign materials. Then...
  3. we’ll be back in touch with you to ask you to once again, please contact your MP asking him or her to sign their support for the amendments. I know we’ve asked you to contact your MP absolutely loads, and you may be wondering whether this time will really make the difference. The reason we need MPs to sign their support for the amendments is that it will help these changes make their way through... 
  4. ‘Committee stage’...
  5. Report stage...
  6. Third reading, and finally
  7. Royal Assent - when we will have a Climate Act.
    Click here for more on Bill process 

Essentially, through MPs showing their support for the amendments, MPs will demonstrate the strength of feeling amongst them, reflecting their constituents’ concern, and put pressure on the Government and the Committee to modify the Bill accordingly.

All of the 80 organisations in the Stop Climate Chaos coalition back these changes, representing a huge swathe of UK voting population - let’s help the Government give us the Climate Change Bill we deserve.

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