e-news October 2017

Challenge to MPs to unite against Hinkley
As the cost of offshore wind power falls dramatically below the cost of generating electricity from Hinkley, Molly has challenged MPs in the South West to unite against nuclear and in favour of resurrecting previously shelved offshore wind projects. Molly says:

“Now that the cost of offshore wind is so much cheaper than nuclear, it is time for Conservative and Labour MPs from across the South West to unite against Hinkley and back renewables.

“For the South West there are huge economic opportunities and many new jobs to be had from our rich mix of available renewable energy resources, and chief among these is off-shore wind.

“It’s time for the region’s Tory MPs to end their ideological pro nuclear, anti-renewables obsession and get behind previously shelved offshore wind schemes like Navitus in Dorset and Atlantic Array off the North Devon coast, which between them could have powered over 1.5 million homes. 

“Now is the time to usher in a new green industrial revolution in the South West, and time our MPs backed this, rather than remaining wedded to the dangerous and expensive technologies of the past.”
More on this story here

See also an article by Molly for New Statesman: Wind power is cheaper than nuclear – so can we finally ditch the pro-nuclear ideology?

Another nuclear challenge to South West MPs…
Molly has thrown down a further challenge to South West MPs to back a ban on nuclear weapons. An EDM by Caroline Lucas MP has not been supported by any of them. This calls on the Government to develop and publish an appropriate transition plan so that the UK is prepared and ready to sign and ratify a binding UN Treaty on prohibiting nuclear weapons. This Treaty was adopted in July with the support of 122 nations. The UK did not sign up or participate in the negotiations. Molly says:

“Having seen the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons I would have hoped our local MPs would have jumped at this opportunity to push the UK’s hand in taking an active role in the UN process. With rising tensions between North Korea and the Trump administration we need to unite around a strong position that looks to move the UK towards unilateral nuclear disarmament. It’s time our MPs in the region backed this EDM and started playing a leading role in shifting our government’s position.”
More on this story here
Green win on Saudi arms embargo
The European Parliament voted in favour of a Green report, challenging the Commission to introduce an embargo on arms exports to Saudi Arabia. The report also calls for a new process to sanction EU countries which do not comply with EU rules on arms exports, something that will be a major embarrassment to the UK government which has supported billions of pounds worth of arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

During a debate in the European Parliament, Molly challenged Conservative MEP Geoffrey van Orden over his views on arms sales [see video right], asking him whether he would vote to end ‘arms sales to Saudi Arabia that are being used to kill Yemeni children.’
She says:

“This reiterates once again the crucial role the EU and European Parliament play in opposing violence and promoting peace. The UK is one of the largest arms exporters in Europe and has consistently failed to comply with EU reporting obligations.

“Sadly, at a time when Europe is looking to crack down on arms sales to Saudi Arabia, and sanction countries that fail to uphold the rules, the UK is set to leave the EU. With a Tory government at the helm, arms manufacturers will continue to sell their weapons of death with impunity.”
More on this story here

Time to ban glyphosate
Greens are calling for a rapid move towards chemical free farming in a new report that was launched this week. The ‘Alternatives to Glyphosate’ report by the Pesticide Action Network refutes claims by the chemical industry and many farming organisations that glyphosate, a suspected carcinogen, is a necessary tool for modern day agriculture. The report lays out in detail alternative weed and pest control methods available.

Next week there is a crucial vote by EU ministers on whether to impose a Europe-wide ban on glyphosate or renew its licence. Molly, who sits on the European Parliament Agriculture Committee, says:

“Cutting out harmful chemicals in farming will increase biodiversity, improve the health of our soil, and safeguard human and animal health. We don’t have to smother our food in toxins; a wide range of alternative approaches to tackling weeds and pests exist and are being successfully used across Europe. We need to support farmers who are turning to chemical-free methods by offering adequate financial support and incentives, training and information sharing mechanisms.

“If Michael Gove’s green Brexit means anything it has to mean supporting a ban on glyphosate and funding moves towards chemical free agriculture.”

Molly has set up a petition with other MEPs to put pressure on member states to vote against the renewal of glyphosate. The petition is well on its way to 100,000 signatures.
More on this story here  

Responding to the announcement by the government that it has agreed to build a 1.8 mile tunnel under the Stonehenge World Heritage Site, Molly says:

“As MEP for the South West I understand the importance of improving accessibility to the region to ensure sustainable business and tourism can thrive. However, this should be done through improved public transport and an enhanced and resilient rail network not by trashing beautiful landscapes and historic sites. The government has demonstrated yet again that is in thrall to the car and fossil-fuelled transport and will use any opportunity to expand roads.”  

“This hugely expensive £1.6bn upgrade to the A303 flies in the face of UNESCO advice and concerns expressed by environmental groups and heritage organisations about damage to this World Heritage Site.
* At the recent Green Party conference a motion opposing the tunnel and road widening scheme gained unanimous support. 
More on this story here

In brief
Tackling tax dodging
The European Parliament’s Committee of Inquiry into Money Laundering, Tax Avoidance and Tax Evasion (PANA), which Molly is a member of, has agreed a strong set of measures for defeating money laundering and tax dodging. The committee, set up in the wake of the Panama papers revelations, has also named the UK as one of the worst offenders when it comes to complicity in tax evasion and avoidance. The committee agreed to include many Green proposals in the draft report, which will now be voted on by the full Parliament in December. Full story here

Standing up for public health
In a major victory for Greens, a majority of MEPs have voted to reject European Commission criteria for identifying enendocrine disruptors. These chemical substances are found in pesticides, cosmetics and everyday items and can have a serious health impact on the hormone systems of humans and animals. Greens had urged MEPs to vote down the criteria on the grounds they were ineffective in protecting public health. A majority of MEPs did just that. Full story here