The first week of the last fortnight was dominated by the budget and ‘constituency week’ visits. She spoke to fisherman in Cornwall, listening to some of their concerns. She also visited Exeter where she met Devon Wildlife Trust and spoke about Green economics to at least 190 people, who packing a room at Rougemont Castle. She then went on to Somerset and spoke at a Quakers meeting and a meeting about radioactive waste. Then it was back to Brussels for another busy week at the European Parliament…
Earth Hour everyday!
Molly Scott Cato and other Green MEPs in the European Parliament are supporting the Earth Hour initiative this weekend. This began as a ‘lights-off’ event in 2007 to draw attention to climate change and energy use and has now grown to engage more than 162 countries worldwide. Earth Hour this year is Saturday 28th March beginning at 8:30 pm.
The Greens in Europe are using Earth Hour 2015 to highlight the many benefits to the continent of reducing energy. Aside from being good for the climate and reducing bills, reducing energy use can also reduce our trade deficit, create jobs and improve competitiveness. More details here.
Pesticide Action Week and TTIP
Greens have used Pesticide Action Week to draw attention to the fact that pesticide corporations on both sides of the Atlantic are using the opportunity of TTIP trade negotiations to try and lower the EU’s environmental, health and food safety legislation. The Centre for International Environmental Law (CIEL) published a report in January 2015 which revealed, amongst other things, that the pesticide industry wants to permit the use of carcinogens, allow the import of food from the US with higher levels of toxic pesticides and weaken efforts to regulate endocrine (hormone) disrupting chemicals. This demonstrates just how far the pesticide industry is willing to go to maximize its profits, and shows the dangers of ‘harmonisation’ of standards under TTIP.
Hinkley’s chilling effect on renewables
Evidence has emerged of the ‘chilling effect’ that Hinkley C will have on the development of the renewables industry. Western Power has notified its business customers that installing additional grid capacity will be delayed by 3 to 6 years. Greens believe that this is because a significant amount of the generation capacity has been reserved for energy from Hinkley C. Molly, who warned at a conference recently of the devastating effects Hinkley would have on the growth of the renewables sector in the region, says:
“In spite of arguments to the contrary by the Energy Secretary, it was always clear that the focus on Hinkley would undermine the ability of renewable companies to develop alternative sources of electricity generation. I am very concerned that companies seeking to install solar, biogas, or wind power will not have access to the grid capacity they require. This will lead to the loss of many thousands of jobs.”
Molly critical of Commission over tax
Molly has lambasted the European Parliament over its failure to adopt Green amendments to a motion on tax which could have helped promote a ‘more sustainable and just Europe’. She is a member of the Economics Committee in the European Parliament and has special responsibility for tax affairs. Speaking during a debate on the Annual Tax Report, she told MEPs:
“Our most important amendments calling for ecological taxation, the ending of tax advantages and exemptions granted to the aviation industry, and the phasing out of other fossil fuel subsidies were rejected. Tax, when used strategically, can provide incentives to move our communities towards the sort of future we imagine for our children, a future of sustainability as well as justice.”
Click on image for full speech to the European Parliament.
Concerns over cruel pig slaughter
Molly has written to the EU Commission expressing her grave concerns at the painful and distressing stunning she believes many pigs experience before slaughter. Around 250 million pigs are slaughtered each year in the EU and she has echoed the call of animal welfare groups in calling for urgent EU and industry research into more humane methods of stunning. Molly says:
“I am extremely worried that so many pigs are experiencing ineffective, painful stunning before slaughter. I am convinced, as are many animal welfare organisations, that there are more humane alternatives to those currently being used which could be introduced at minimal additional costs.”
Protect Studland Bay
Molly has called for Studland Bay in Dorset to become a Marine Conservation Zone (MRZ) following a recent visit to the area in the Isle of Purbeck. She is alarmed the Bay has not been included in DEFRA’s consultation on the Second Tranche of MCZs, as was widely expected. Molly has echoed the call of conservationists who say that Studland Bay contains a rich and diverse wildlife habitat, and is both internationally important and unique, particularly because of its seagrass habitat which is home to two UK species of seahorse. Molly says:
“We recognise that this is a busy recreational area, with over 300 boats mooring in the bay on a busy summer day. But there is no reason why Studland Bay could not continue to be a multi-use site which allows for low impact water-based activities to continue alongside thriving wildlife.”