The challenge of climate change (Gerry McGarvey)

I write in reply to the open letter to candidates in next week’s General Election by Richard and Victoria Gibson which sought to find out the views of the candidates and their parties prior to this week’s ballot.

I was delighted to read this open letter especially given that while I have been on Shetland I have been living approximately three feet, if not less, above sea level, so I don’t think it would be possible for me to be more focused on this issue as the effects of climate change starkly stare at me as I look out the window onto the sea at Hillswick… almost at window level.

I believe that climate change is one of the most serious and complex challenges we face and that we need concerted, immediate and sustained action to reduce carbon emissions and to avert the potentially serious environmental and economic consequences of climate change – both in the UK and in developing countries.

I also appreciate that the effects of climate change hit the poorest hardest and that eradicating global poverty will only be possible if we tackle climate change.

That is why I believe climate change should be a key priority for the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will replace the Millennium Development Goals later this year). I also believe that climate change needs to be at the centre of the next government’s foreign policy and integral to our development agenda.

I am pleased, therefore, that the last Labour shadow international development secretary, Mary Creagh, stated that climate change would be a development priority for a future Labour government.

I also believe that 2015 is an absolutely vital year for international development and climate change, with the Paris climate change conference due to take place and the new SDGs to be agreed.

The UN Framework Agreement that was agreed in Lima in December 2014 could be an important step toward progress at the Paris Conference but I would like further action to be taken, including to ensure that the needs of people in developing countries are included in any final agreement.

I hope it will be possible to reach the bold and ambitious international agreement that is so badly needed on climate change and that the UK in the form of a Labour government plays a leading role in this because we not only recognise the seriousness of this issue, but are prepared to address it’s effects.

I can assure you, that if more people were sitting where I am as I write this with the tide literally almost lapping the window frames, there would be fewer climate change deniers, and this most pressing of issues be given the due urgent attention it warrants.

Gerry McGarvey
Scottish Labour Candidate for Orkney and Shetland


Add Your Comment
  • John Tulloch

    • May 4th, 2015 13:16

    At least, this should help you to avoid a “duck” at the polls, you’ll get the Gibsons’s votes after this nonsense.

  • John Tulloch

    • May 5th, 2015 17:14

    @Gerry McGarvey and Richard and Victoria Gibson. The Daily Telegraph has calculated the cost of Ed Miliband’s folly of pledging to cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from power generation by 90 percent, by 2030, pretty conservatively, to be over £200 billion.

    The UK’s entire CO2 emissions amount to 2 percent of world emissions and China’s increase by more than this amount EVERY YEAR.

    Given that all our main industrial competitors are committed, massively, in the cases of China, India and Japan and to a lesser degree, Germany, who are expanding coal-fired generation and the United States which is committed to gas-fired generation and whose electricity price is half that of the UK’s, don’t you think this is madness?

    And how is this going to be achieved, simultaneously, with a freeze in electricity prices, the privatised utilities aren’t ‘made of money’?

    These two extraordinary pledges are mutually-exclusive, are they not?

  • iantinkler

    • May 10th, 2015 7:43

    Sad about the liberals, quit funny about labour, but at least the Tories are no longer shackled to the green loonies climate fear brigade. By all means use renewables and thorium nuclear, but not concrete based windmills on peat land about 1000 miles from where the power is required. Only the scientifically totally ignorant or utterly stupid would consider that option.

  • David Spence

    • May 10th, 2015 18:55

    Ian, you know as well as I do, that as long as humans put greed, profit and selfishness (Capitalism) then the problems of climate change, global warming, the environment, the mass slaughter of species of animals towards the verge of extinction (excluding the meteorite which wiped out the dinosaurs, human activity has been responsible for the fastest extinction of species than any other cause, including natural events – volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tornado’s, ice-ages etc etc).

    No doubt (remember, Capitalists have tunnel but short vision – quick buck mentality) some people who air on the side of denying human activity not being responsible for the changes in our environment, the mass extinction of animals and where their vision is tainted with dollar/pound signs will arrogantly ignore the scientific evidence, no matter how convincing this may be………….as said ‘ the man-made concept of money will always take priority no matter what damage this will do. Capitalists care not the harm they create as long as they are making a profit.’.

  • iantinkler

    • May 11th, 2015 7:23

    Maybe every cloud does have a silver lining; “But the Conservative manifesto also angered wind industry executives because it promised an end to new public subsidies for onshore wind farms and a change in the law “so that local people have the final say on wind farm applications”. Now £1 billion on an interconector and more pressure on OFGEM to throw away money to enable Viking Energy. Perhaps not. Whoop, whoop!

  • David Spence

    • May 11th, 2015 13:39

    I really cannot see or the justification for the go ahead of the VEP (Viking Energy Project) given the huge costs involved, but moreso, the very little return for the CT (Charitable Trust) and Shetland, in respect to value for money in this, as is being proven, money drainage investment.

    I do think there should be a public inquiry as to who advised the CT to invest in the VEP, and who (may be not the case) within the CT will personally benefit from this investment.

    As far as I am concerned Ian, the Scottish Office refused to finance an Interconnecter Cable from N/W Scotland to the Hebrides because it was a too costly project for it be to justified. I believe the cost was around £720 million. The distance from Shetland to mainland Scotland, is x4 this distance. I think £1 billion is a very conservative estimate.

    Even if this conservative estimate is taken into consideration, and the cost of the wind turbines and associated infrastructures, the project itself is touching the £2 billion mark. Based on this figure and the estimated money made through the project for the CT, this return is roughly 1% – 2%. Who, in their right mind, would invest with such a low return?

    It does call into question the role of the CT, and the consequences for the CT in the future if it does not have the necessary funds to help the people of Shetland in the future with new proposed business investments.

    As more information becomes available within the public forum, this, I think, is certainly making people question the VEP, and the role of the CT, but moreover, the public are beginning to reject the VEP as source of sustainable income given the huge costs involved, but more importantly, the probable bankruptcy of the CT?


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