Edinburgh Students Lobby MPs and MSPs to stop Climate Chaos
14 Nov 2006
On 27 October, hundreds of Edinburgh University students attended a public meeting organised by People & Planet to lobby MPs and MSPs on climate change.
Ruth Cameron, former member of Edinburgh P&P and President of Edinburgh Students’ Association, current co-ordinator of Stop Climate Chaos, Scotland kicked off the debate with a presentation
The panel included Rt Hon Gavin Strang MP (Lab), John Barrett MP (Lib), Sarah Boyack MSP (Lab), Mark Ballard MSP (Green), Colin Fox MSP (Socialist) and Cllr Fred Mackintosh (Lib)
Dariush Bazazi, from the Edinburgh P&P group reports:
The Edinburgh University P&P group recently organised a Climate Bill Meeting that brought over 350 students together with politicians to discuss both climate change and the upcoming Climate Bill. Politicians included MPs John Barret and Gavin Strang, MSPs Sarah Boyack, Mark Ballard and Colin Fox, and local councillor Fred Macintosh. Also speaking were Stop Climate Chaos Scottish co-ordinator and former P&Per and Edinburgh student union president, Ruth Cameron, and scientist Dr David Stevenson.
The meeting was a huge success, and many issues were discussed including the Climate Bill, city cycle lanes, air travel, and motorway expansion, as well as individual politicians’ contributions to combat climate change. Audience members asked some really challenging questions of the politicians.
To promote the meeting the group organised daily information stalls and paraded around campus with a giant, 6ft papier-mâché Queen’s head inviting students to ‘Paint the Queen green and keep the planet clean.’
Economics student Andy Birch 19, said “I didn’t realise how important the issue of climate change was until I came to the meeting.
Mark Ballard, a Green MSP who was lobbied at the meeting, stated that “the questions tonight really challenged all the politicians, including myself, not only on whether they think climate change is a ‘bad thing’ but whether they are prepared to make the hard choices that would make a real difference to the climate.
Adam Ramsay who facilitated the event said: “I am delighted that almost two thirds of MPs have backed the campaign for annual binding emissions targets which will force Blair and Brown to actually do something. I am even more delighted that so many students chose to come along on a chilly Friday evening to lobby their representatives. The majority of them were’nt hardened activists - almost all had never got involved with any campaign before. This shows that there is popular demand for tough action on climate change and the government can no longer get away with doing nothing.
Adam Ramsay, Edinburgh P&P Convener, challenges the panel
Rt Hon Gavin Strang MP (Labour) and Sarah Boyack MSP (Labour) consult
University Climate lecturer not impressed
Colin Fox MSP (Socialist)
A member of the student audience questions the panel
Councillor Fred Mackintosh