MPs backing green initiatives

A SURVEY of Members of Parliament has revealed near unanimity over the need to tackle climate change by reducing carbon emissions but different approaches in East Anglia to how they are personally confronting the issue.

By Graham Dines

A SURVEY of Members of Parliament has revealed near unanimity over the need to tackle climate change by reducing carbon emissions but different approaches in East Anglia to how they are personally confronting the issue.

Many pledged to reduce their car use. Essex North Conservative Bernard Jenkin said he had switched to a diesel vehicle and was installing a wind turbine on his new home, and Labour's Chris Mole said he was replacing his central heating system with a condensing boiler and had bought a hybrid technology car.

Publishers of Rough Guide to Climate Change - which claims to bring readers “up to speed on the world's number one concern, quickly and painlessly” - sent a copy to every MP and asked them their views on global warming, what could be done to tackle it, and what they were doing to contribute to carbon reductions.


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A spokesman for Rough Guides said based on the replies, Liberal Democrats were the most aware of green issues, with 57 responding to the survey our of a total of 63 MPs, while 115 Tories replied out of 196. Only 114 Labour MPs out of a total of 328 responded.

Former Environment Secretary John Gummer (Conservative, Suffolk Coastal) told Rough Guides that climate change was the single most important issue facing humanity. “In my family and my companies we try to reduce our carbon footprint. We offset all travel and energy. We have a green tariff for electricity and we re-cycle as much as is possible.”

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He said his constituency association was initiating a programme of carbon saving, starting with its office in Woodbridge.

Mr Jenkin said the UK on its own could do very little directly to affect climate change, but it could lead by example. “I have switched to a diesel car which produces much less CO2. I am installing a wind turbine on a home in the constituency I am building, and I am looking into a solar-thermal panel for my London,” he said.

Sir Michael Lord (Con, Central Suffolk & North Ipswich) said he reduced his car use, switched to trains wherever possible, and installed energy efficient light bulbs and other low carbon measures.”

Mr Mole said: “I pursued a sustainable transport agenda as a former local government leader, encouraging public transport, park and ride schemes for Ipswich, pro-cycling and walking opportunities. “I have replaced my central heating boiler with a condensing boiler, turned the thermostat down and the family has acquired a hybrid technology car. However I prefer to walk, bus, cycle or car share to work where possible.”

Tim Yeo, Tory MP for Suffolk South and chairman of the Commons all-party environmental audit committee said: “The election campaign I fought last year was certified as carbon-neutral by Future Forests. I have increased the frequency with which I use alternatives to my car for travel to and from my constituency. I have taken steps to make my constituency home more energy efficient. I have reduced the speed at which I normally drive my car.”

Full details of responses can be found on the Internet at: http://roughguides.com/MPs

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