Urbis under water

13th October 2007
news
release

Photo Opportunity: Saturday 13 October, 10am, outside Urbis in Cathedral Gardens, Manchester: Deep water divers will accompany a model of Urbis submerged under water to symbolise the catastrophic effects of climate change on Manchester if politicians fail to take action. The divers will also be asking members of the public to send postcards to Tony Lloyd MP to demand strong action on climate change.

High-resolution photos available

People visiting Urbis this weekend will get a glimpse of the future, as they find the iconic exhibition centre has been ‘submerged’ by flooding and is accompanied by deep water divers. Campaigners from Manchester Friends of the Earth [1], kitted out in diving equipment, will be at Urbis on Saturday with a model of the ‘submerged building’ to symbolise the serious consequences of climate change for Manchester. They will be asking local residents to contact Tony Lloyd MP, who has been invited to the event, to demand strong action on climate change.

A draft Climate Change Bill was published by the Government earlier this year [2], but Friends of the Earth and three influential committees of MPs [3] have all concluded that the Bill in its current form contains some serious flaws. Friends of the Earth is calling on the Government to strengthen the Bill and commit the UK to cutting its emissions by at least 3 per cent a year. Strong legislation on climate change would make it easier and cheaper for us all – individuals and business alike – to be climate friendly.

Nick Geyman, campaigner and city centre resident, said:

“Climate change is a local threat as well as a global one, and Manchester is just one of the many cities around the world which will be seriously affected if we don’t take action now.

Parliament will be debating a new Climate Change Bill this autumn. If the Bill is going to work, it needs to include annual targets based on the latest science and count all emissions including those from international aviation and shipping.

MPs like Tony Lloyd hold the future of the planet in their hands. Log on to www.thebigask.com and urge them not to let us down.”

As well as the local action, Manchester Friends of the Earth are also encouraging people to join celebrities like Jude Law, Gillian Anderson and Stephen Fry on an “online march”, by recording a short video message to their MP and posting it up on The Big Ask website at www.thebigask.com.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

[1] Manchester Friends of the Earth is an award-winning environmental campaign group, raising awareness and lobbying for policy changes at a local, regional, national and international level. The group consists entirely of volunteers, and its campaigns are funded by membership fees and individual donations. Up-to-date information is available on its website: www.manchesterfoe.org.uk.

Manchester Friends of the Earth is part of a network of over 220 local Friends of the Earth groups (further information can be found at www.foe.co.uk).

[2] www.defra.gov.uk/news/latest/2007/climate-0313.htm

[3] www.foe.co.uk/resource/press_releases/
joint_committee_on_draft_c_03082007.html

Further information about The Big Ask:

Last year 412 MPs (almost two thirds of all MPs) signed Early Day Motion 178 calling for new climate change legislation “so that annual cuts in carbon dioxide emissions of three per cent can be delivered”. As a result, the government announced a Climate Change Bill in the Queen’s Speech in November 2006 and published the first draft on 13 March 2007.

The environmental charity Friends of the Earth, is calling for the Bill to be strengthened – this will be essential for it to succeed – specific changes needed are:

• Bigger cuts: The Government proposes 60% cuts of carbon dioxide by 2050. There is wide scientific recognition there needs to be a reduction of at least 80%.
• Annual targets: The Government wants five-year milestones for reducing carbon dioxide. We want shorter, annual targets – to hold the current Parliament to account.
• Aviation and shipping: International flights and shipping emissions are excluded. We need these to be included as they are the fastest growing source of carbon dioxide emissions.

The cuts in carbon dioxide emissions proposed by the Bill need to ensure the UK plays its part in keeping global temperatures from rising two degrees above pre-industrial levels – the temperature rise recognised by the EU as a `danger level’ we should not breach.

Friends of the Earth believe that this requires a cut of at least three per cent each year through to 2050 (which would add up to a cut of around 80% by 2050). The Government’s current target – a cut in emissions of 60 per cent by 2050 – is no longer considered to be a sufficient contribution by the UK or other developed countries. In addition it fails to take account of the UK’s share of emissions from international shipping and aviation.

Further info at: www.foe.co.uk/campaigns/climate and www.thebigask.com