Climate Change – Green Question Time 2015

On 10th April we hosted a Green Question Time, attended by Steven Jackson (Conservative) and Angela Smith (Labour) and chaired by Paul Bridges. Here is the question about climate change

Given the consensus on climate change, why are mainstream parties failing to address the issue?

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Steven Jackson for webI don’t see it as climate change but an increase in extreme weather events.

I studied marine biology at university and saw how the effects of increased CO2 are even more extreme under water than on land. Whatever we do, it needs to be carbon neutral.

I don’t think political parties are doing enough. We need to address issues of power generation and cars. We need to build on the international consensus and the UK is leading the world in this respect by the actions we have taken. There is little we can do as the UK alone – all the world leaders need to take action. We need to get away from the short term.

Angela Smith for webGoing over 2oC would be dangerous. There is broad political consensus but there are still back woodsmen such as the former Secretary of State for the Environment who was a climate denier. This government has missed opportunities.

We need concrete policies at home in order to be listened to on the international stage. We need to be a leader and not a follower and Labour’s policy of de-carbonising electricity by 2030 is an example. We can’t argue in Paris (the next Climate Change talks) that everyone else should act if we haven’t. Developed countries have to take more of the burden.

Audience comment:

The short-termism of 5 year elections takes precedence over the long term policies needed to tackle climate change.

Agreed by both candidates

Personal/Party Statement – Green Question Time 2015

On 10th April we hosted a Green Question Time, attended by Steven Jackson (Conservative) and Angela Smith (Labour) and chaired by Paul Bridges.

Both candidates were invited to give an opening statement about their Party’s environmental policies and their local priorities:

Steven Jackson for web

After the 2010 General Election the conservatives were the largest party and promised to be the greenest government ever. However, the financial crisis and governing in a coalition meant that to some extent environmental policy and Big Society was sidelined. However we still have a proud record over the last five years. Recycling rates are four times higher than in 2010, waste top landfill is down by 2 billion tonnes, 11 million trees have been planted and 10,000 km of rivers cleaned up. Marine Conservation Areas have provided protection for sensitive areas for the first time.

The use of brownfield sites through regeneration for housing and commercial use is something I have been involved in personally.


  • To ensure that unproductive wind farms are stopped
  • To build more housing while protecting green field sites
  • To build public and community transport

Angela Smith for webMy priorities would be

Legislation for the de-carbonisation of the UK electricity supply by 2030 to ensure that the targets in the Climate Change Act are met

To ensure the UK has strong representation at the next Climate Change talks

The development of a low carbon economy through the great opportunities in new green businesses and energy efficiency. There are about 1 million potential jobs in the sector. Labour would give borrowing powers to the Green Investment Bank to fund new green businesses

Invest heavily in energy efficiency. The Green Deal has been done poorly.

Introduce a national adaptation programme for climate change. And a 25 year plan for the recovery of nature

On animal welfare – halt the badger cull, maintain the hunting ban and introduce new laws covering the breeding and sale of dogs to improve their conditions

Final Question

(but recorded here as it is a more personal statement than a position on an issue)

What would you want to know before making a decision for or against something?

Angela Smith for web

Is it in the long term interests of the country and everyone living in it?

Steven Jackson for webI would like to be able to see a snapshot of a household 50 years into the future and effect that the decision had.

Green Question Time

The environment is a vital issue for the next Government but often gets ignored in election campaigns. Issues such as planning, energy supply, climate change, agriculture and food, transport, water, biodiversity and pollution all have a great bearing on our lives .

Candidates for website

We have organised an election hustings, the Green Question Time, which will be the ideal chance to grill Penistone and Stocksbridge candidates about where they stand on issues before votes are cast.

Green Question Time is on Friday 10th April at St Andrews Church Hall, High St, Penistone (next to the library). Entry is free, the doors open at 6.30 pm for refreshments and the event will start at 7pm.

So far, two candidates have confirmed they can attend – Angela Smith (Labour) and Steven Jackson (Conservative). The candidates from other parties (Rosalyn Gordon, Liberal Democrat and Graeme Waddicar, UKIP) are currently unable to attend and give us their perspectives on environmental issues.

We held a similar event in the run-up to the 2010 General Election which about 50 people came to. We all went away feeling more informed about how different parties would act on environmental issues and what candidates would do locally to protect the environment.

The Green Question Time is open to everyone, and the chair will take questions on the night. Or, for those who cannot make it, questions can be emailed to The chair will be Paul Bridges, a member of the St Andrews Congregation.

Do you know where your election candidates stand on important environmental issues? What will the parties do to slow down climate change? How will biodiversity be protected? How will housing be made more sustainable? How can we provide the UK with enough low carbon energy? And how does protecting the environment fit in with other priorities?

What will you ask?