Minister told to fight hard for the climate at Durban
CHRISTIAN ECOLOGY LINK PRESS RELEASE 26 Nov 2011
Minister of State for climate change Gregory Barker MP faced questions from a local coalition of charities and environmental campaign groups at an ‘African Climate Connection’ event ahead of the United Nations conference in Durban, South Africa. The event took place on Saturday 26 November at St Peter’s Church, Bexhill a few days before Mr Barker was due to fly to Durban to participate in the negotiations.
Gregory Barker said ‘I am concerned about the lack of urgency at the climate talks. The COP climate conferences are becoming a way of life for some people. We need to look at the science. In Durban I want to close the gap between countries’ pledges and what scientists say we need.’ He pledged to work for global agreement for a single legally binding treaty to keep temperature rises below 2° while acknowledging how difficult this will be. He also wants to move forward the work on climate finance, adaptation and protection of forests started at
The group called for the government to take a lead at the climate talks by ensuring more finance is made available for developing countries to adapt to the effects of climate change, develop low carbon economies and protect forests. Denis Lucey of CEL and the WDM
said, ‘Climate change has largely been caused by rich industrialised countries like the UK. Poor countries like Bangladesh, Nepal and Mozambique desperately need funds to help them deal with climate change, but the World Bank loans being pushed by our government will only drive them deeper into poverty. We are asking Greg Barker to take our concerns to the UN talks and help ensure that solutions to climate change also tackle poverty. Otherwise they won’t work.’
Jack Doherty, local Fairtrade leader, asked the minister to take with him to Durban an apology from the developed world on the damage we have caused to the climate with our emissions.
CEL Secretary Barbara Echlin ended the meeting with a strong plea to the minister to fight hard for the vital global deal that the world needs if we are to avoid climate chaos, storms and droughts.
The event was attended by over 60 people and supported by a mix of local branches of national charities and agencies, and locally based groups: Bexhill Environmental Group, CAFOD, Christian Aid, Christian Ecology Link, Fairtrade Bexhill, Friends of the Earth, Operation Noah, Rother Environmental Group, Tearfund, United Nations Association and World Development Movement.
Photo: CEL and WDM members Barbara Echlin (foreground), Denis and Christina Lucey presenting Mr Barker (second from left) with a long paper chain bearing messages demanding climate aid be given as grants,
not as loans, and for the money to be channelled through the new green climate fund instead of the World Bank.
CEL Secretary Barbara Echlin chaired the meeting. She attends St Peter’s church and believes care of the environment to be a Christian issue. She has had an array of solar PV panels on her roof for five
years and is part of the CEL ecocell group trying to reduce household emissions – www.greenchristian.org.uk/ecocell
Press release sent out 24 November, 2011.
BATTLE FOR THE PLANET IN BEXHILL
Greg Barker MP for Bexhill and Battle to face questions from African Climate Connection ahead of United Nations conference in Durban.
A strong coalition of charities and environmental campaign groups will be asking Greg Barker MP, the UK Government’s Minister for Climate Change, some hard questions this weekend.
The Rt Hon. Gregory Barker, Member of Parliament for Bexhill and Battle, has been made an offer he can’t refuse to attend a question and answer session, and the screening of a film that draws the links between local climate change action and the international climate change conference to be held in Durban, South Africa in December.
The event is part of the African Climate Connection, a coordinated national campaign which will see dozens of local groups organising African-themed events during the first week of the United Nations climate talks, 26th November to 3rd December 2011. 
Groups at the Bexhill meeting will call for the Government to take a clear lead at the climate talks by ensuring more finance is made available for developing countries – to adapt to the effects of climate change, develop low carbon economies and protect forests. 
Barbara Echlin of Christian Ecology Link said, “Asking Mr Barker questions on the role the United Kingdom plays in the UN climate negotiations is a chance to let him know that we, his constituents, want him to show strong leadership in Durban. We want agreement on legally binding international cuts in carbon emissions at a level
adequate to stop catastrophic climate change. And to have such a deal in place by 2015.” 
The Bexhill World Development Movement group will present Mr Barker with a chain of linked pledges, as a sign of the responsibility he bears in the coming talks.
The organisation network for the event is a mix of local branches of national charities and agencies, and locally based groups. These include Bexhill Environmental Group, Cafod and Christian Aid, Christian Ecology Link, Fairtrade Bexhill, Friends of the Earth, Operation Noah, Rother Environmental Group, Tearfund, United Nations
Association and the World Development Movement.
The event will take place on Saturday 26th November 2011, between 11:00 am and 12:00 noon; St Peter’s Church, Old Town, Bexhill TN40 2HE. This event will be just days before Mr Barker, the climate change minister, is scheduled to fly to Durban to participate in the negotiations, and the organisers of the event hope he will be both challenged and encouraged to do what it takes to secure a global climate treaty.
CONTACT DETAILS : For further information, contact Barbara Echlin : 07708 564782 or email : firstname.lastname@example.org
 Updated information on the number of events and people attending will be available at http://www.the-african-connection.org
 The benefits of the policy demands include : “Greater resources for developing countries to respond and adapt to extreme weather events, and for developing countries to conserve rainforests so that they continue to store carbon and protect wildlife… Increased trust in international climate negotiations through action at home to reduce our emissions and through delivering on our commitments for climate finance that will support developing countries to respond and adapt to extreme weather events.”
 To replace the Kyoto Protocol currently the European Union is looking at a timeline of ‘by’ 2020, which could theoretically include shorter timelines, but with China and India having called for a 2020 date and the United States also pushing ambition as far into the future as it possibly can, this is worrying politically – and in terms of limiting the impacts of climate change. We need the UK and the EU to support agreement of a fair ambitious and binding deal by 2015 based on the IPCC AR5, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Assessment Report 5, entering into force (or provisionally applied) by 2018 to cover the period 2018 – 2022.