Election candidates invited to debate climate change policy

Suffolk Coastal election candidates to debate climate change policy. Photo: John Giles/PA Wire

Suffolk Coastal election candidates to debate climate change policy. Photo: John Giles/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Three parliamentary candidates will set out their parties’ policies for tackling climate change at a meeting devoted to the issue this weekend.

Environmental group Greener Sax has invited Suffolk Coastal candidates to discuss what should be done to combat global warming and cope with extreme weather events.

The lead speaker at Saxmundham’s Market Hall will be writer and environmentalist Andrew Simms, who will argue that affirmative behavioural shifts can help cut consumption of resources and reduce harmful emissions.

Author of Cancel The Apocalypse: The New Path To Prosperity, Mr Simms said: “Activities like volunteering, sleeping more, spending more time with friends and exercising, have little to do with the classic vision of consumers buying more stuff to fuel an economic recovery – but they have a lot to do with the human recovery needed if we are to find a better way to be in the world.”

Mr Simms is co-founder of the New Weather Institute think-tank and a Fellow of the New Economics Foundation where he was policy director for more than a decade, founding its work programme on climate change, energy and interdependence. He also works with Global Witness, a non-governmental organisation campaigning against natural resource-related conflict and corruption, and associated environmental and human rights abuses.

Candidates for all political parties contending the Suffolk Coastal seat at this May’s General Election have been invited to attend the 10am meeting.

Labour’s Russell Whiting, Liberal Democrat James Sandbach and Green candidate Rachel Smith-Lyte are all due to attend and set out their parties’ proposals on climate change.

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UKIP candidate Daryll Pitcher has also been invited to the meeting, while Therese Coffey, Conservative MP for Suffolk Coastal, is unable to attend due to a prior engagement.

Greener Sax secretary Nigel Hiley said: “We want to get a broad spread of political opinion and to give the candidates every opportunity to say what their stance is on the issue – that’s what democracy is all about.

“Andrew Simms has written several books on the subject and we are looking forward to hearing his views.

“Organisations like ours are quite small but we really want to raise the issue of climate change in people’s minds. One of the ways of doing that is by holding public meetings. The fact we have a general election coming up helps because people are more likely to engage with us at this point than at other times.

“We are hoping for a good turnout and would like to welcome people not signed up to environmental groups or yet to be persuaded one way or another.

“The meeting will ask what the impact of climate change will be in Suffolk Coastal. We would like our MP, whoever that may be, to push the sustainable agenda both locally and nationally.”