Welcome to the latest enews from Molly Scott Cato MEP. This is published every four weeks. We have decided to sync the newsletters with the Starsbourg plenary sessions, which take place every four weeks. It is during these sessions that MEPs vote on reports and resolutions so it is sensible to report at the end of each plenary week.
Paris, climate change and COP21
As an economist and Green Party finance speaker, Molly is focusing on the vital issue of climate finance during the COP21 climate negotiations in Paris. She addresses a European Greens conference in Paris ahead of COP21 warning of the risk of the parties involved ‘falling into the jaws of global finance’ as they seek the funding needed to implement climate pledges. Molly believes it is vital that we consider how the money needed to address climate change is created, particularly for the world’s poorer citizens. She is advocating alternative sources of public funding, in particular a process of green quantitative easing (QE). She said:
“The negotiations in Paris may well turn on the question of whether or not we can afford to save the planet. Our recent history suggests that if the planet were a bank we would have saved it by now. Green QE is a way to prevent private finance hijacking the transition to a green economy we so desperately need.”
Molly has had a Huffington Post blog published: Where There’s a Will There’s a Way with more details of her ideas on various alternatives to private finance. She also released a short video, highlighting key climate finance issues.
Molly welcomes ‘cycling heroes’ to Paris
Through driving rain and freezing winds they came; four intrepid cyclists peddling from Cornwall and North Devon to Paris, carrying a Climate Vision report to deliver to the COP21 conference. The report looked at 4,000 people in Cornwall who signed up to carbon-reducing pledges and calculated how much CO2 has been saved by these pledges. The results are remarkable and you can learn more the Pedal to Paris website. Ewan Jones, one of the cyclist said: “Paris COP21 is the time for Actions not Words to break the cycle of man-made climate change.”
Hundreds of messages to world leaders from children in Exmoor, in the form of art and letters, were also taken to Paris by Molly to be handed to officials negotiating a climate deal. The photo above shows the four cyclists (Roger, Ricky, Euan and Ewan) with Molly and Jeans Lambert MEP holding some of the children’s work.
There were hundreds of climate marches around the world on Saturday; Molly addressed the largest such rally in the South West in Bristol, where 1000s turned out despite the rain, wind and mud.
Highlights from Strasbourg
Molly has welcomed a vote in the European Parliament to reject the authorisation of the recycling of soft PVC plastic containing DEHP, a toxic plastic softener linked to major health concerns such as male infertility. Molly said:
“Greens don’t always vote for recycling, not when it involves returning toxic substances back into the supply chain. This sends a clear message to the chemicals industry that they cannot hide behind the righteousness of recycling in order to perpetuate the use of toxic substances that are a risk to European public health.” More on this story
The Greens have won support from most other political groups for a parliamentary inquiry committee to investigate the ‘dieselgate’ scandal in which car manufacturer VW was found to be cheating in diesel emissions tests. Molly said:
“We welcome the support of other political groups and we now need to work to ensure this inquiry has a rigorous mandate. We have to ensure that EU rules on the environment and public health are enforced and respected.”
And that other event in Paris…
Naturally, Molly was horrified by the horrific attacks on innocent civilians in Paris. Following the tragic events she said:
“The absence of dialogue and diplomacy in international conflicts leads to vicious cycles of violence. Terrorism is one manifestation of this. It seems appropriate at this time to remind ourselves of the French moto, “liberty, equality, solidarity”, and that true peace can only be achieved when the international community dedicate themselves towards these values.”
News in brief
Molly has reassured her South West constituents that she is working hard to maintain strong opposition to fracking anywhere in the South West or anywhere else. She believes strongly that we must leave fossil fuels in the ground and support a Europe wide ban on shale gas extraction. Some 22 licence blocks have been issued across Dorset, Wilts and Somerset alone, and these would impact on many sensitive and designated areas, including the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, Poole Harbour, The Quantock Hills, Exmoor National Park, and Salisbury Plain to name just a few.
Molly joined Caroline Lucas MP and the other two UK Green MEPs, Jean Lambert and Keith Taylor, in writing a letter to energy secretary, Amber Rudd, to voice deep concerns at the potential impacts of fracking on communities and the environment.
Molly has condemned as ‘devastating’ and a ‘false economy’ government plans to close 11 tax offices in the South West which would result in not a single tax office west of Bristol. She has highlighted the fact that not only will these cuts have a devastating impact on jobs across the region but that any savings from the cuts and restructuring will be massively offset by reductions in tax revenues.
Molly has launched a competition to find some of our favourite food and drink products produced by some of the many small scale local producers across the South West. The winners will get the opportunity to showcase their products at a special reception in Brussels early next year.