Climate change: What MPs think - T to Y

Click to follow
Indy Politics

* What MPs think - introduction
* What MPs think - A to C
* What MPs think - D to F
* What MPs think - G to H
* What MPs think - I to L
* What MPs think - M to O
* What MPs think - P to S

THE MPS' RESPONSES

Mark Tami

Alyn & Deeside, Labour

1 Climate change poses the greatest threat to our long-term existence. Unless we can reverse the projected levels of carbon emissions it is conceivable that the ocean conveyor will shut down. If that happens, Britain could freeze, along with the rest of Northern Europe. This is not just a political or economic issue. It is a moral issue and every person owes it to society to take dramatic action aimed at reversing climate change.

2 There are things we can do as a Government, as individuals and as communities. First of all, people need to plant more tress and stop cutting down those we already have. We also need to be more responsible with transport. People make far too many unnecessary journeys. We should all become carbon neutral and be more realistic in terms of generating energy. It follows that we need to be more accommodating of nuclear power. There is simply no way of generating the power we need unless we build new nuclear power stations or continue plundering our natural resources and choking the environment. We also need legislation to tackle climate change. Perhaps we should incorporate carbon neutral costs into rail and plane tickets. In addition, we should toughen up building regulations and demand that where possible, a proportion of the energy supplied to new build properties should be wind or solar generated. The amount of packaging used for goods and food should be slashed, while plastic bags should be charged for, with the proceeds going directly to efforts aimed at helping the environment. Clearly, Britain cannot act alone and so we need to bring the biggest polluter on board international agreements. I would support the boycott of certain American products until it obeys its duty to the world and signs up to the Kyoto Protocol.

3 I've tried to make my family carbon neutral, which means offsetting our carbon emissions by contributing to projects aimed at helping the environment deal with emissions. More information for readers can be obtained from www.carbonneutral.com. I recycle as much domestic and office waste as possible and have taken lessons from the Californian county of Marin, where up to 85 per cent of domestic waste is recycled. I have been pressing my local authority to look at how Marin is leading the world in reducing landfill waste. At home and in my office I use energy saving light bulbs, have turned my thermostat down and taken other simple measures to reduce the amount of energy I use. I am also looking at having a wind turbine installed at my house. I refuse to use dishwashers and will not allow appliances to be left on standby. Although my car is petrol-powered, it was purchased second-hand and I maintain it properly. Not many people realise that up to half the damage caused to the environment by a car comes during its production. People should take better care of their vehicles and respect the fact that replacing them on a regular basis is damaging the environment.

More recently I have been trying to convince people to see the Al Gore film, An Inconvenient Truth. I took my staff to see it and can honestly say that after 90 minutes you'll commit to helping save the environment. The film is a terrifying and compelling account of how we have neglected climate change for far too long. Every parent owes it to their children to watch An Inconvenient Truth.

Dari Taylor

Stockton South, Labour

1 Absolutely vital. It is quite clear that there will be dire consequences for all us, and most particularly for people in poorer countries less able to defend themselves, if serious action is not taken and soon.

2 Britain has placed climate change at the top of the international political agenda. We need to keep pushing our European and international partners to make sure not only that it stays there, but also that meaningful and effective action is quickly taken.

3 I am of the belief that we all need to think more creatively about climate change. The sheer size of the problem can appear overwhelming, and it is thus vital that the Government persuades people that their own individual actions can and will make a difference. We should all be regularly taking stock and assessing how we can make ­ often small ­ changes to our lifestyles that would improve the environment, whether by recycling and composting more, making our homes more energy efficient, wasting less water or buying more locally-produced food. I have actively promoted a number of these issues in my constituency and will continue to do so.

I am additionally of the belief that energy efficiency schemes such as the Government's Warm Front programme could and should be expanded. I would equally support every home being able to generate energy via renewable sources. I have been working, alongside a local company, to consider the obstacles that are currently preventing the take-up of domestic wind turbines.

I am equally keen to demonstrate that being environmentally-friendly can have economic benefits. I have been working very hard over the last 2 years to support the growth of the biofuels industry on Teesside (lobbying Government to ensure that it is viable for bus companies to use biofuels, for example). The development of biofuels on Teesside could have a profound environmental and economic impact.

Ian Taylor

Esher & Walton, Conservative

1 As a former Science minister, I have long been convinced of the risks of inaction on climate change. It is perhaps our biggest challenge as a society ­ not least because the benefits of action today will be felt by subsequent generations but the costs will start to bite immediately.

2 Britain must do as much as it can to meet e.g. Kyoto. The Stern Report indicates the choices we must make. Yet action by the UK must be part of an international attempt ­ otherwise benefits from our efforts will be wiped out rapidly. The first task is to bring the US into line (though States in the USA are ahead of Washington).

3 I try to observe environmental good practice ­ and have written articles and made speeches locally. Often, it is the shock of what might happen if we do not take action that is most effective: my constituency would be severely flood-devastated by the Thames if water levels were to rise significantly.

Matthew Taylor

Truro & St Austell, LibDem

1 Climate Change is one of the biggest issues now facing the world. It is already too late to prevent some impact of the pollution we have already caused ­ urgent action is needed to stave off far more catastropic climate chaos.

2 As one of the first countries to industrialise, we are one of the biggest polluters so far. That means we have a special duty both to cut our emissions now, but also take a lead in encouraging other countries (especially the biggest polluters) to do the same.

3 As the Liberal Democrat Environment Spokesman in the mid to late 1990's I created policies to switch to Green Taxes ­ and subsequently ensured they were central to each of our last three manifestos. At local level I have encouraged similar forward thinking ­ local Lib Dem led Carrick Council became one of the first in the UK in the early 1990's to adopt a positive policy on wind power, and today Cornwall is putting in the " wave hub" to take the lead in developing wave power.

Sarah Teather

Brent East, LibDem

1 Climate Change, based upon all the scientific facts available, is the most pressing issue facing the world this century.

2 Britain has a key role to play in the battle against Climate Change. As one of the world's major economies, a relatively influential member of the EU, and, supposedly, part of a 'Special Relationship' with America, Britain is in a truly unique position to set a good example to the rest of the world. Britain must use her global influence to take a lead on international negotiations to tackle Climate Change.

The UK is also blessed with bounteous renewable energy resources, including a significant proportion of Europe's entire wind energy potential and a massive potential resource of wave and tidal energy. The government should therefore set truly ambitious targets for renewable energy production, as Liberal Democrats in the Scottish Parliament's coalition government have done. However we must be careful not to fall into the complacent trap of believing that simply powering our homes and businesses from a more sustainable power source is some kind of magic cure. That will only lead to more unsustainable consumption and energy use. We must also invest heavily in energy saving and efficiency measures and less polluting modes of transport. Standards and labels for buildings, machinery, vehicles and appliances should be introduced to help consumers identify the most energy efficient products.

Emissions from flights will increase by 83% by 2020. The government should tax flight emissions more effectively and increase Vehicle Excise Duty for the most polluting vehicles. Needless journeys could be discouraged by a system where drivers pay road tax based on the amount they drive, and how congested the roads they use are. In essence, the 'polluter pays' principle should be implemented to penalise those who pollute the most.

The government should also include an effective Climate Change Bill in this year's Queens Speech which would allow for legally binding year on year reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and create a mechanism for holding future governments to account.

One other way we can deal with the problem in the longer term is to really connect the next generation with the issues. If every school was given an environmental audit and green design elements included in all new educational buildings, pupils would learn at first hand what they can do for the environment and have a precedent to follow later on in life. The Liberal Democrats therefore propose environmental projects and energy efficiency measures in all new educational buildings. This could range from a simple nature garden to roof-mounted solar panels.

3 I have used my New Year message to constituents to raise awareness of environmental issues, and shall continue to do so. On a practical level I have energy efficient light bulbs and do almost all of my commutes by public transport. I also use public transport to travel around my constituency, if at all possible. Both my offices recycle everything they can, from paper and envelopes to office machinery, and my constituency office has received certificates in recognition of their high recycling rate.

John Thurso

Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross, LibDem

1 Top

2 Pass as climate change bill

3 Support all organisations working to reduce carbon emissions and GHG. Hope to install my own micro wind generator on house (quotes pending). Manage the blanket bog with carbon capture as a guiding principle

Stephen Timms

East Ham, Labour

Gordon Brown said this week that the Government will legislate to cut UK carbon dioxide emissions by 60% by 2050. 25% of UK emissions are produced in the home, so hitting the target will require individuals to reduce their carbon footprint. I am pledging to reduce mine by 25% over five years, and I am supporting a campaign to encourage my constituents to do likewise. The recommendations in the 'Rough Guide to Climate Change' are very helpful.

The UK produces only 2% of global emissions. The Stern Report, published this week, underlines the case for effective international action. It sets out how economic and environmental policy must be interlinked, to create a market for change in the global economy. The fact that the poorest countries, who are least able to adapt, are most immediately at risk adds to the urgency of the task.

Paddy Tipping

Sherwood, Labour

1 Climate change is a top political issue. The government has been successful in raising the profile of climate change both domestically and internationally. It was one of the top two agendas at Gleneagles, and the discussion continued to St. Petersburg, which demonstrates its significance on the global political agenda.

2 Britain needs to recognise the challenges we face and confront those challenges directly. A 20 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2010 is an ambitious target, which we will have to work hard to achieve. By setting high standards for emissions reductions, Britain can set an example for the international community. We need to practice what we preach.

3 We need to begin international discussions to determine how to reduce the effects of climate change. It is important to look at carbon pricing, as well as targets that encourage new technologies. Incorporating target- led approaches with market- led solutions would lead to an effective climate change policy.

Mark Todd

South Derbyshire, Labour

1 The Stern report shows both the importance of the issue, the consequences of neglect and the reasonably accessible potential to slow the process of Climate Change.

2 Britain can make a difference through both example and influence. While our own measures will make only a marginal difference influence is reduced if we are not taking significant steps ourselves. We are, but could do more.

3 I choose to live in the countryside which allows me to take some steps ­ tree planting (which I do regularly now), using alternative heat sources (which I'm exploring). The National Forest (which includes around half of my constituency) has more than doubled tree coverage in its area over the last 10 or so years.

Jon Trickett

Hemsworth, Labour

1 Climate change seems to be a topic of much debate recently, and it should be, because it is vastly important. There are things we can, and should, be doing as individuals and as a country.

2 As a country we should be looking for ways to cut Carbon emissions and live in a more environmentally friendly way, something that is addressed in Climate Change Bill. We should also be using our influence in the international community to ask others to do the same. Climate change isn't just an issue for Britain, it's a global issue.

3 As an individual I am always aware that my actions have consequences, in day to day life there are things I do to minimize my own impact on the environment. The smallest action, like turning off the living room light when you leave the room, makes a difference. If you do that everyday, every time you leave the room, it adds up. I do my best to make sure my house is energy efficient and that electricity isn't wasted that way. When possible I cycle instead of using my car, I can often be found biking my way through the constituency. If I do have to take a car, I try to share with other people. Car pooling helps lower our emissions ­ everyone riding in one car to the same location, besides making sense, is a real and everyday example of how we can do our bit. Things that require a little bit more effort, like growing vegetables and composting, where possible, instead of throwing things away are other good ways to help the environment. And, of course, I recycle. I encourage everyone in my constituency to recycle as much as possible.

Paul Truswell

Pudsey, Labour

1 The greatest challenges facing mankind.

2 By leading the debate on climate change, fulfilling its Kyoto commitments and establishing an honest political consensus on the difficult decisions that need to be taken.

3 I campaign for greater sustainability in local planning policies and decisions (and against overintensive planning applications) and for improved public transport(such as bus franchising to improve services, and greater investment in rail rolling stock capacity to enable the building of more stations) As a Councillor I worked with Friends of the Earth to draw up the Leeds Green Strategy in 1990. As family we recycle, use energy efficient light bulbs everywhere we can, run cars for ten years or more, buy energy efficient household goods, and use almost everything until it falls apart! I have personally not flown for 20 years. But we recognise we still need to challenge ourselves more, even given the pressures of full-time work, two teenage boys, and my dual life between London and home.

Desmond Turner

Brighton, Kemptown, Labour; Secretary, All Party Group on Climate Change

1 There is no more important issue than climate change. If it is not addressed it could be the end of civilisation as we know it.

2 Britain can make a huge difference. We lead in the development of the technologies that can help in controlling emissions and could provide international leadership to get worldwide action.

3 I am the secretary of the all Party Group on Climate Change in the House and have campaigned on climate change issues for a number of years and will continue to do so. I have been very active in the promotion of new renewable energy technologies which can make a huge contribution in the near future.

Edward Vaizey

Wantage, Conservative

1 Very.

2 A lot.

3 Energy & water audit ­ insulate, low-energy bulbs, etc.

Keith Vaz

Leicester East, Labour

1 Climate change is undoubtedly one of the greatest challenges that we are facing today, both on a national and international level. Whilst we tend to talk about the future effects of climate change it is important to recognise that around the world we are already starting to experience the consequences with rapidly depleting water resources putting further strain on some of the world's poorest countries.

2 Britain is already taking steps to reduce its carbon emissions as a part of the European Union's pledge of an 8% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2012. We are also showing our commitment to environmentally sustainable development in the planning of the London 2012 Olympics which aims to deliver on environmental objectives and carbon use, biodiversity and waste. At a national level it is imperative that we continue to look towards increasing our use of alternative energy sources.

3 Recycling is one of many small steps that can be taken to reduce our own individual carbon footprint and I am fully supportive of all measures taken by the local authorities in Leicester to further encourage the recycling of household waste.

Peter Viggers

Gosport, Conservative

1 Climate Change is of fundamental importance. We must address this issue on behalf of future generations.

2 Britain can make a difference. The Government can lead by example and take account of environmental issues in all its decisions. Legislation can also be shaped to encourage individuals to take personal responsibility.

3 I have reduced my flying. I use a diesel car and in the constituency I use a Toyota Prius. I follow the other modest steps of using energy efficient light bulbs. We recycle products and we compost waste.

Theresa Villiers

Chipping Barnet, Conservative

1 I believe climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing our generation. It is not just an environmental issue, but a social and environmental one too. The potential impact of climate change on the developing world could also be catastrophic.

2 In Britain, we must start by cutting our own emissions. I am afraid that under Labour carbon emissions have risen. I believe that a Climate Change Bill would help reverse this trend.

We need the government to lead by example, cutting its own energy use, converting to renewable energy resources, and using its enormous buying power to foster non-polluting technologies. Then we need long-term policies to create a framework for a shift to a low carbon economy. I believe that framework should include a rebalancing of the tax system so that we increase taxes on environmentally damaging behaviour and use money generated to reduce the burden of other taxes on families and businesses.

Only once we have put our own house in order, will we have the moral authority to lead an international effort to achieve a fair, robust, global system for tackling climate change. Hard though it will be to secure, we must have a global agreement if we are to tackle climate change effectively.

3 I believe individual action can play a hugely important part in tackling climate change. We all have the power and responsibility to make a difference.

In January this year, I was one of a number of Conservative MPs to switch my power supply at home to renewable energy. I am always looking at ways to cut back on my energy use.

In my constituency in Barnet, I have campaigned strongly on a number of environmental issues such as protection of the green belt. I have also taken part in local events to mark World Environment Day and London Sustainability Weeks. I am a keen recycler and I support Conservative-controlled Barnet council's innovative scheme for compulsory recycling. I am working with the council and local environment organisations to try and make Barnet a greener area for all its residents.

Earlier this month, I met a number of Friends of the Earth supporters from my constituency to discuss the introduction of a Climate Change Bill.

In the House of Commons, I urged the Energy Minister, Malcolm Wickes to ensure the government does more to encourage the use of smart metering so that people get clear and transparent information about energy consequences of the choices they make in the home and the consumer goods they use. I believe more widespread use of smart metering could make a big contribution to reducing energy use in the home.

When a member of the House of Commons Environment Audit Select Committee, I also called for more people to get up off the sofa to switch off their TVS rather than use the stand-by button.

I was also a member of the Standing Committee which carried out the detailed scrutiny of the recent Bill to encourage micro-generation. I believe this technology could play a major role in reducing carbon emissions and supported the Bill during its passage through the House of Commons.

Rudi Vis

Finchley & Golders Green, Labour

1 Climate Change is extraordinarily important and I cannot think of anything that will take climate change of the urgent level of importance. The Stern Report was clearly indicating this importance but is seriously week on specific views on how we can improve significantly. Studies now indicate that we will soon need three planets if we don't change our way of life. This study is undertaken by One planate Living which is an initiative of WWF and BioRegional.

2 Your second question concerns what can Britain do to make a difference. One of the possibilities is to change peoples behaviour through education. I sent out a press release that indicated 10 ways individuals could change to help reduce energy consumption. Moreover Scotland with its many water opportunities could produce Hydro-electric power for all of Scotland. We could also have changes in planning legislation for wind turbines, solar panels and windmills etc. I am unsure about a strategy that only would deal with punitive taxation. We all have to improve when it comes to climate change.

3 I have sent out several press releases to the local press and I inform myself of what needs to be done and I try to follow the proposals that I outlined in the press release. My local party is similarly involved in this process of education.

Charles Walker

Broxbourne, Conservative

1 Climate change is of growing importance and I look forward to reading your book. However, I note that the forward to the book is written by James Lovelock author of the Revenge of Ghia. I understand that Mr Lovelock believes that no matter what we do, it is too late to save the planet. If you want the electorate to take this matter seriously, you have got to convince them that there is still a way out. If you don't, what incentive is there for them to modify their lifestyles and expectations?

A note of caution, for years in the East and South East we have known that we are running out of water and yet we continue to burn through this scarce resource like there's no tomorrow.

2 The UK needs to be at the forefront of developing new technologies that a) produce fuel more efficiently and b) burn fuel more efficiently.

We also need to go for quick wins such as phasing out "standby" buttons and promoting energy efficiency in the home. Perhaps, most importantly, we need to increase the amount of power generated via the use of nuclear fuels. If we are to tackle global warming, we must find a way of allowing China and India to develop their economies via alternatives to coal.

3 We do not use our central heating from April to the end of October and, when we do, we ensure the thermostat is turned down and the heating is off during the time we are sleeping. We always try to remember to turn off "standby" buttons.

I use a 1.4 litre car for constituency business and will be downgrading my wife's car to a much smaller engine at the end of its life. When driving any distance we use the smaller car (Golf), packing in two adults, three children and two small dogs, plus luggage. It can be done! My children walk to school. I no longer drive my car into London, preferring the train and buses. We are fortunate that we live in a new house with many energy saving features. I must admit that at this moment our primary motivation for reducing our energy consumption is one of cost. For example, with the recent rises in the cost of gas, we've given up using our trendy gas fire.

Joan Walley

Stoke-on-Trent North, Labour

1 Climate change is the most pressing issue which faces us today. Getting the wrong policy on this ­ or getting no policy at all ­ would be incredibly serious. It would result in immense cost, and a great deal of human suffering. It would also undermine efforts in many other areas, from international development to reduction in the threat from terrorism.

2 Britain can be a leader. To do this we must get our own house in order and provide an example of how a country can reduce its emissions. Only then can Britain lead on the world stage. We must also provide a technological example and help make available affordable and appropriate technology so as other countries can follow our example.

3 I have hosted events in my constituency to raise awareness and have encouraged BBC Radio Stoke to hold a week long focus on energy issues. I have also worked to get Warm Home Zone status for much of my constituency ­ where energy efficiency is often very poor.

Nigel Waterson

Eastbourne, Willingdon & East Dean, Conservative

1 I certainly agree that climate change is an enormous challenge facing our generation and succeeding generations.

2 I very much support my Party's pressure on the Government to include a Climate Change Bill in the Queen's Speech. There needs to be a clear method for setting out emissions targets and an independent body, which would not only monitor the success in reaching these targets, but also adjust the targets to take account of changing circumstances. I might also say that Government itself could play a much greater part by reducing its own energy use and taking other steps. It is very disappointing indeed that on the latest figures, carbon emissions have actually risen under this government.

3 I am doing what I can as an individual, but I am sure I can do more. As a family, we do what we can to recycle and also compost waste. We use energy efficient light bulbs and try to ensure that electrical appliances are fully shut off when not in use. We have also installed a condensing boiler. I personally try and use public transport as much as possible. I am particularly proud that the Conservative administration on Eastbourne Borough Council has tripled recycling in the last couple of years or so. In this they have had my full support and encouragement.

Steve Webb

Northavon, Labour

1 Climate Change is one of the most pressing issues facing the world today. Climate Change has been linked with rising sea levels, desertification and extreme weather conditions, the consequences of which are flooding, famine and death. If unaverted, it will make the earth less hospitable to human beings and could even pose a threat to civilisation. The Liberal Democrats are united as a party in their commitment to tackling what we believe to be a priority issue. Our major autumn campaign is the Green Tax Switch, and I warmly support the campaign for a Climate Change Bill with real teeth.

2 Britain can play a key role in trying to combat Climate Change. Although we contribute only a relatively small proportion of total carbon emissions, we can lead by example. As a leading member of the EU, the Commonwealth and as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, we have a powerful international position. Our ministers will have no credibility in urging other countries to go further if we do not have a good domestic record on these issues.

3 In terms of reducing domestic energy consumption, I'm convinced that small individual changes will add up and so I have been trying to heed the general advice to do things like use more low-energy lightbulbs, switch off computer monitors at home, not leave TVs etc. on standby, switch off lights on leaving rooms etc. I've also done a constituency wide survey on environmental issues to which I have had more than 5,000 replies. One of the key points being made to me is that whilst households are being encouraged to save energy and to recycle, there is huge waste in the business sector ­ people who recycle and save energy at home then go to offices where radiators are on next to open windows and where the waste is not sorted at all! I will be pursuing this issue both locally and nationally.

Mike Weir

Angus, SNP

1 I believe climate change is the most important issue facing us today. We are already seeing, I believe, around the world the effects of climate change and if we do not take action to address this then many parts of the world, including parts of our country will have a very bleak future.

2 Britain is a developed industrial nation and has been responsible for a significant proportion of the greenhouse gases that are in the atmosphere. We must take action to reduce our emission of carbon. As a first step I believe that the Government needs to introduce a Climate Change Bill and guarantee year on year reductions in carbon emissions. We must lead the debate as to how we tackle carbon emissions and show the developing world that we are serious about the issue. There is absolutely no point in lecturing developing nations like India and china, whose carbon emissions are increasing, if we are not at the same time prepared to take strong action to reduce our own carbon emissions. The Climate change Bill would be a significant signal that we are taking the issue seriously.

3 In my own life I have tried to significantly reduce my carbon footprint. I do not use my car for short journeys. My family and I do as much of our shopping as possible locally and buy organic and fair trade products whenever possible. I have changed all the light bulbs in my home to low energy light bulbs and also where possible in my offices. I have arranged for all my air travel to be made carbon neutral. I would stress this is air travel in connection with travelling to London. I have not gone on a holiday flight for a number of years, the last few years having used the Eurostar when going on holiday as I believe it is less carbon emitting. I am in the process of waiting for my house to be surveyed for the installation of a small wind turbine as I live in a fairly windy area.

Dr. Alan Whitehead

Southampton, Test, Labour

1 The threat of irreversible climate change is the most important challenge there is to our economic and political system , and one which fundamentally affects the lives, homes and future of most people in the world today.

2 Britain is only responsible currently for about 2% of global CO? emissions, but even so is about the twelfth heaviest emitter of CO?. It has also been emitting large quantities of industrially-produced CO? for longer than any other country in the world. It is important, therefore that the UK leads in reducing emissions because if we do not, other countries that will now need to develop their own economies without recourse to heavy CO2 emissions are unlikely to agree to such a course of action. Britain has taken such a lead at Kyoto, Buenos Aires, Montreal , and more recently Monterrey, and is able to do so, at least in part because of its existing record as being one of the few countries that will meet, (or in our case substantially exceed) its Kyoto commitment on greenhouse gas reduction. It is essential that the UK continues to play a central role in developing protocols that being all countries, and most importantly the USA, China and India into future binding protocols. The UK must also play a central part in establishing durable carbon 'cap and trade' mechanisms in Europe.

The contribution of an overall 1.5% reduction in global CO2 emissions represented by the UK's target of a 60% reduction of CO2 emitted by 2050 is in itself not insignificant. It also means that the UK will be able, post 2050 to manage a stable low carbon economy effectively, with the 'early adopter' advantages that this brings in an emerging world low carbon economy. The UK must therefore work towards its target of 60% CO? reduction by 2050 by introducing the measures within the next ten to fifteen years that will guarantee a progressive scaling down of emissions decade by decade.

3 Whilst Leader of the City council I was responsible for the development of the country's first geothermal energy plant, which now heats much of the city centre on a low carbon basis. I have also helped to set up the city's environment Centre, now a substantial regional centre of advice and good practice guidance to businesses and industry in the south. I am currently a board member of Southampton sustainable Energy, which is in the process of developing a low carbon district heating scheme to heat some 3500 homes in the west of my constituency.

As an individual, I have signed up for the all party Climate Change group's 25/5 challenge ­ to reduce my own carbon footprint by 25% over five years. I have tackled this by installing (two years ago) solar thermal water heating on my roof, and this month a 'windsave' turbine. I am also looking at the feasibility of introducing a 'mini-hydro' engine in the stream at the bottom of my garden. I have also moved wholly to low energy light bulbs in my house, and eighteen months ago also installed full cavity wall insulation. I am attempting to limit the flights I make to one long haul and two short haul flights per year, and currently contribute to a carbon offset programme for the flights I do make.

John Whittingdale

Maldon and East Chelmsford, Conservative

1 While there may still be some debate about the extent and cause of climate change, the evidence is such that we dare not ignore the increasingly strong likelihood that greenhouse gas emissions are leading to potentially catastrophic climate change.

2 Britain's contribution to global warming is very small but that does not diminish our obligation to take steps to reduce it. We need to step up research into clean methods of energy generation and transport fuels. We should give greater priority to renewable sources of energy such as biomass and tidal power. However, we should also move to a system of carbon pricing which will shift the economics of generation and will enable the development of a new generation of nuclear power stations.

3 In my own constituency, I have made clear that I would support any proposal to build a new nuclear power station to replace Bradwell. However, I am opposed to onshore wind farms which would produce little electricity at considerable environmental and financial cost. At home, I have solar panels and try to conserve energy. However, representing a rural constituency, I like most of my constituents have little alternative but to use my car.

Malcolm Wicks

Croydon North, Labour; Energy Minister

1 In my view, the Stern Review has put the case for taking action against the risk of devastating climate change beyond all reasonable question. There are of course other vital concerns ­ health and education for example ­ but climate change threatens every country on the planet, it's a shared challenge of survival for humankind that has to be at the top of the global agenda.

2 It's easy to see why some people feel that climate change is so big a challenge that they can't possibly do anything to help and it's true that the UK contributes only 2% of global CO2 emissions. But it's only by leading by example, like meeting its Kyoto commitment, that the UK can have the credibility it needs to push for progress in more polluting countries like the United States and the growth economies of India and China.

3 As Energy Minister of course I'm increasingly aware of my carbon footprint and have taken some quite big decisions like arranging to install a micro wind turbine on my home in Croydon and using a fuel efficient hybrid car. These are costly things but being part of the solution to climate change is also about the smallest, inexpensive decisions that add up. I have a compost heap in my garden and make sure I recycle as well. From setting the temperature on our thermostats, to choosing whether to go to work by bus or car, little things make a difference. Most of us at the moment are part of the problem, more of us can become part of the solution.

Bill Wiggin

Leominster, Conservative; Shadow Minister for Agriculture & Fisheries

1 I believe that the threat posed by Climate Change gets harder and harder to tackle, the longer we leave it. With extreme weather events increasing, record breaking amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, temperatures and sea levels rising and ecosystems changing the implications of Climate Change will have consequences for all of us.

2 As the fourth largest economy we have the ability to show that we can set an example that others will want to follow. Using technology, investment and innovation, we must strive to be a larger part of the solution.

In terms of carbon dioxide emissions, Britain is responsible for only 2% of the problem. But our influence extends far beyond that.

Under this Government we have seen our carbon emissions rise. Putting us behind other countries in our approach to tackling Climate Change when we should be leading the way.

I believe we should be showing the developing world that we can have the best quality of life without the carbon footprint. If we can achieve this then others will aspire to follow our example. If we fail to punch above our weight, then we will have missed our chance to stop climate change at the earliest and most cost effective moment.

3 Everyone can make a small difference. For example, I prefer to use energy saving light bulbs. It's also important to try to buy locally produced food ­ not only does it support our British farmers but also cuts back on food miles. These small decisions are not life-changing but if large numbers of us choose to take them they do make a big difference.

You could go further, I have had my car converted to LPG, which will save around 10-15% on my car emissions. I have a solar compatible gas boiler, but I really wanted a combined heat and power unit. About a year ago I wrote a book called "A Better Agenda For The Environment." (Amazon £9.99) which offers some ideas for a Government policy framework on stopping climate change.

Our planet is changing because of our behaviour and unless our behaviour changes soon it may be too late to repair the damage we have done.

David Willetts

Havant, Conservative

1 We are close to a tipping point on climate change: if we don't cut emissions soon, we will irrevocably alter our climate. Climate change is too big an issue to play party politics with. We must also think far more long term and holistically about every policy, from transport through to housing, energy and waste.

2 We are one of the world's largest economies; we have fantastic links with industrialising countries via the commonwealth; and we have one of the most innovative scientific communities in the world. We must harness all of these to lead the way on climate change. It is for this reason we are pressing the Government for a climate change bill, which will ensure independently audited year on year annual emission reductions, whoever is in power.

3 I cycle to work as often as I can and my office make every effort to recycle past newspapers. My family recycle newspapers and glass, and we are looking in to introducing energy efficient bulbs at home ­ we also have double glazing.

Betty Williams

Conwy, Labour

1 Climate change is probably the most important issue facing the international community today. The potential consequence for sea levels, weather systems, food supply, biodiversity, health and economics of even a small change in global temperatures are terrifying. The Stern Review demonstrates clearly that the costs of doing nothing will far outweigh the economic cost of the measures required to pull back from the tipping point.

2 The UK Government has already taken positive and successful steps towards reducing CO2 emissions, nearing that we are on track to meet our Kyoto targets. However, this can only be the start. I would like to see the Government introduce legally binding targets for CO2? emissions and a commitment to report annually to Parliament on progress.

I would hope to shortly see airlines brought within the EU's carbon trading scheme which would help to reduce the impact of this major contributor of emissions. As well as the need for domestic policy on transport, energy and building standards, the UK also needs to concentrate on providing aid to promote sustainable development in the developing world to ensure that economic growth and the alleviation of poverty can take place without damaging environmental consequences.

3 I have been active in lobbying ministers for stronger action on climate change and recently used a Parliamentary Question to call on the Prime Minister to introduce a climate change bill in the Queen's Speech. As an individual I try to limit my carbon emissions. I travel by train between my constituency and Westminster and, where practicable, use Eurostar and other trains for visits to Europe. My office operated a serious recycling system before Parliament took it seriously and I pressed the House of Commons authorities to improve. Low energy light bulbs and water saving measures are used.

Mark Williams

Ceredigion, LibDem

1 Climate Change is the number one issue of our age. The loss of 156,000 lives each year due to the effect of Climate Change should scare us rigid, but the future is even more bleak unless we can take a lead in changing behaviours.

2 Britain must take a lead internationally, by example at home, and in particular by exerting real influence on the likes of the US and Australia. We have a huge education job to undertake at home.

3 We are taking steps to make our own home more energy-efficient. I try to source local foods as much as possible, supporting local produce and reducing food miles. I also travel by train wherever possible.

Roger Williams

Brecon & Radnorshire, LibDem

1 Climate Change is the greatest threat that the world faces today. Liberal Democrats recognise this and that is why they voted in favour of the 'green tax switch' at the Party Conference this year. These new taxes would make the polluter pay by increasing green taxes on new high emissions vehicles and aircraft. Liberal Democrats also support Climate Change Bill which is crucial for setting binding, independently monitored annual targets for reducing emissions. Liberal Democrats have also set up the largest policy commission ever to put together a comprehensive plan to cut carbon emissions across the economy. This commission will report back at next year's annual conference.

2 Britain should take the lead on Climate Change in two ways. Firstly, it should invest in new schemes for renewable energy which will bring economic benefits and secondly we must cut our carbon emissions considerably to set an example to other nations. The EU led on Kyoto and we must continue to take this strong lead in international negotiations to achieve international agreements on cutting emissions.

3 I have recently insulated my farmhouse and I have switched to energy efficient light bulbs. I am encouraging my constituents to install energy efficient measures in their homes if they have not already done so. I am in favour of the development of biofuels. Biomass crops are an excellent replacement for heating fuels and a key alternative source of energy. However, the grants that would help to set up biomass producers in Wales have been withdrawn. The Establishment Grants that remain only benefit English producers of biomass ­ Welsh farmers may not apply. Wales cannot afford to be left behind in this growing area of the alternative energy market, which is why the Liberal Democrats are calling for Establishment Grants to be made available to producers of biomass in Wales as well as England. I have also called for the Bio-Energy Infrastructure Scheme, which helped Welsh producers, to be re-opened.

Stephen Williams

Bristol West, LibDem

1 It is certainly important to me and is the greatest challenge facing my generation of politicians. I know it is of great concern to my constituents in Bristol West as we get more letters on this issue than any other. That is why I am supporting the campaign to have a Climate Change Bill included in the forthcoming Queen's speech, which would commit the UK to reducing carbon emissions by an average of 3 per cent each year until 2050. If we can do this the UK will be in a better position to encourage the rest of the world to follow our example.

2 Britain needs to take a two-tiered approach, with legislative action by the government but also changed behaviour by every citizen. Taxes should change to give incentives to more environmentally responsible ways of living. For example, we should reduce the duty on the least-polluting vehicles offset by increasing it for the most polluting. Individuals could reduce their own carbon emissions through improving energy efficiency in the home, reducing the number of short journeys by car or even having a holiday in the UK rather than flying across the world. Aviation cannot continue to grow in such an unsustainable way.

3 There is also much that could be in done in my constituency of Bristol West. I have met with a business that facilitates the construction of wind turbines all over the world. The UK, and the west coast in particular, has a great opportunity to harness wind power. Similarly, our region is uniquely well placed in Europe to exploit the tidal range of the Severn Estuary. I have been calling for a full examination of the feasibility of a Severn barrage to be a major part of the government's Energy Review. It would be madness to dismiss the possibility of generating at least 6% of the country's current energy need from a renewable source. I am also pressing for major improvements in Bristol's public transport. On an individual level, I rarely use my car and I have just switched my home to a green electricity supplier, with energy efficient lightbulbs in tow!

Phil Willis

Harrogate and Knaresborough, LibDem

1 The issue of climate change is without doubt the number one challenge facing today's generation of politicians and scientists. It is however an issue that faces every other citizen on our planet ­ because the solution lies not in the hands of the few but the many.

2 The UK can and should be an opinion leader when it comes to tackling climate change. Though small by comparison to the USA, China and India the quality of our scientific research base and our ability to design technological solutions to many of the key climate change problems means we can be a test bed for the global community. However, without government support, enthusiasm and policy direction we may lose both influence and opportunity.

3 The Harrogate and Knaresborough community is already gearing up to address the issue of climate change. It has an intelligent and thoughtful electorate who have been enormously supportive of re-cycling and other initiatives. I have published articles in the local press and offered support to environmental campaigning groups including Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace. I have promoted alternative transport arrangements including car share, walking buses and cycle use.

As an individual I have agreed to always plant a tree when taking a journey by air and have changed the dynamics of my home to become more environmentally aware.

Jenny Willott

Cardiff Central, LibDem

1 Climate Change is the single greatest threat to human civilisation, even greater than terrorism. Human-induced climate change now has overwhelming scientific recognition and credibility and studies show that the longer we wait the greater the human, environmental and economic cost. At it's core is the broader question, how can industrialised society achieve sustainable development? This is why the Lib Dems support a Climate Change Bill that would set annual, independently monitored, binding targets for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and solid and comprehensive policy measures to achieve these reductions. The first big step is taxing pollution, not people. A green tax switch would reward those who pollute less helping to create punishing those who pollute, providing major economic incentives to change behaviour and consumption practices and help to stimulate the green technology market.

2 Even though Britain contributes just 2% of global emissions, as one of the wealthiest and most industrialised countries, we must lead the way in combating climate change. By cutting our emissions we will lead the way, as well as bring economic benefits by being at the forefront of new green technologies. By using our position within the world to lead international negotiations to achieve international agreements on cutting emissions, we can ensure that countries across the world make the best effort to reduce their greenhouse emissions and follow a new sustainable path to development. The EU led on Kyoto, and can do so again.

3 I have installed a number of energy efficient measures in my home including changing all my light bulbs to energy efficient ones, switching off all appliances when they are not in use (especially those with stand-by power) and buying an energy efficient washing machine and fridge.

The four Welsh Liberal Democrat MPs have also agreed to switch their homes to a renewable electricity supplier, offsetting all our emissions from our homes and travel (both by car, train and plane) and putting our houses through an energy audit to see what additional measures we can take and how much money we can save in the process by lowering our energy bills.

Ann Winterton

Congleton, Labour

1 No-one could fail to be concerned about climate change and its alleged causes.

2 Britain can make a difference in many ways, not least in using its influence in those parts of the world which are at present the worst polluters eg China, India and Brazil.

3 As a family, we have tried to save as much energy as possible by installing insulation and double glazing. We have also planted two copses of native British trees and will probably plant more in the future. As I grew up at a time when people did not waste as much as they do these days, I have always recycled.

Tony Wright

Cannock Chase, Labour

1 It is clearly the big issue facing the planet, along with population growth, and requires an equally big response.

2 Britain by itself can't tackle climate change, with only 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, but is can put its own house in order and can (and should) be the leader in pressing for effective international action.

3 I'm planning to devote my next communication to all my constituents to promoting energy saving and environmental respect, instead of promoting myself as I usually do.

Derek Wyatt

Sittingbourne & Sheppey, Labour

1 Climate Change is the most important issue facing the world; what a pity America does not understand this message.

2 Put a deadline on petrol cars being able to be sold in UK market. Introduce toll roads immediately. Treble investment in trains and free trams. Treble tax now on gas guzzling cars. Introduce a carbon requirement for every householder. Make all new build including houses carbon neutral now. Bring in more carbon neutral taxes.

3 Just re-doing my web site (most popular MP's site) where we will be featuring carbon help and advice info. Trying to do the 5 steps outlined by RSA Chairman's challenge

Tim Yeo

South Suffolk, Conservative; Chair, Environmental Audit Committee

1 Climate change is a real and urgent threat to the survival of our planet. It is now the most urgent issue for policy-makers, businesses and consumers to deal with. In the developed world we have a particular responsibility to give a lead and I hope that more far reaching and urgent measures will be taken to tackle it very soon.

2 Britain can make a difference by achieving much faster cuts in greenhouse gas emissions than are being currently achieved. Britain should also set more stringent targets than those required under existing international obligations. By setting an example in this way, Britain can then have a greater influence in the international negotiations which are needed to achieve agreement on the fairest way to share the burden of tackling climate change across the globe. The best way to do this is by obtaining agreement of other countries to the principle of contraction and convergence.

3 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.

George Young

North West Hampshire, Conservative

There is no doubt that climate change is driving up the political agenda, and I applaud David Cameron for making it one of his top priorities. I have recently bought a hybrid car, which I share with my wife. I bicycle to and from the House of Commons nearly every day. I walk to the bus stop near my Hampshire home on a Monday morning, catch the bus to Andover station, and then walk from Waterloo to the House of Commons. We compost what we can in the garden, and support the recent (and controversial) move by our local council to ABC (Alternate Bin Collection) I am a member of my local Friends of the Earth branch (I was expelled from them ten years ago, when I built the Newbury Bypass as Transport Secretary, but have been allowed back). I make no great song and dance about any of this and recognize I should do a lot more. I wouldn't have put any of it in the public domain if you hadn't asked!

Comments