E-news October 2019

Molly is working hard to Stop Brexit and ensure that the country is given an opportunity to vote on any Brexit deal through a People’s Vote. This must include a clear option to remain in the EU, something she believes is the best deal we can get!

But there are other concerns that are equally pressing, not least of which is the climate emergency. Here is a sample of the many other issues Molly has been working on over the last few weeks. 

Focus on climate change

A Deal we can all get behind

Molly addresses crowds at the climate strike in Stroud in September. Credit martinphelps.com

Molly is currently touring the South West to explore how a Green New Deal could transform the region’s economy and environment. The events bring together experts, cross-party politicians, academics, trade unionists and businesses to explore how investing in clean energy and public transport, insulating homes, making farming more sustainable and protecting and restoring nature could address the climate emergency and create thousands of quality new jobs.

Events have so far taken place in Truro, Bournemouth and Exeter – which was full to overflowing – and future events will take place in SwindonStroud and Bristol.  

The idea of a Green New Deal has been central to Green Party policy for many years. European Greens have also championed the idea, sponsoring a study in 2008, and the new EU Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, has pledged to establish a ‘European Green Deal’ which bears some of the hallmarks of a Green New Deal. Molly says:

“The climate emergency requires a new economic approach. One that is no longer centred on growth or unsustainable consumption but on a circular and green economy.

“A massive shift to local, community owned renewable energy must go hand in hand with steep reductions in energy consumption. This can be achieved through mass insulation of homes and buildings and switching home heating from gas to electric. We will also need large scale investment in public transport and active travel, and to work with farmers to localise our food production and harness agriculture’s capacity to absorb carbon from the atmosphere.

“A Green New Deal offers the prospect of thousands of new jobs and will also tackle inequality and improve health and wellbeing. 

Further details of a Green New Deal for the South West here.

…Meanwhile climate warnings continue
Molly has warned that the region’s 630 miles of coastline will become increasingly susceptible to extreme weather events and sea level rises over the next 50 years due to climate change.

The warning comes following a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in which scientists say that extreme weather events such as storms, strong winds and flooding are set to batter coasts every year from now on rather than once a century in the past.
Full details here
Renewables beat nuclear
Molly has renewed her call for the UK to abandon its nuclear power programme in the wake of a new report on the status of the global nuclear industry.

The latest World Nuclear Industry Status Report concludes renewables beat nuclear on cost & carbon emissions. It says nuclear costs increased 23% over the last decade while solar and wind energy costs have fallen by 88% and 69% respectively. It concludes that renewable options save more carbon per pound than nuclear. Molly says:

“The future both in terms of tackling the climate emergency and keeping energy bills down is renewable energy, not nuclear. We need a big push for new on and offshore wind generation, which can come online quicker and at lower cost than nuclear. In the South West that means powering millions of homes through resurrecting schemes like the Atlantic Array off the north Devon coast and Navitus Bay off the Dorset coast. As a region we have the potential to generate at least 100% of our energy needs from renewables alone. We just need the political will to make it happen.”

Focus on democracy

Defending the rule of law
Molly joined ‘Stop the Coup’ protests in London, Stroud and other places in the South West in defence of our democracy.

She also referred the Conservative MP for South East Cornwall, Sheryll Murray, to the High Sheriff of Cornwall for allegedly urging Boris Johnson to break the law in order to deliver a crash-out Brexit. Full details can be found here.

Encouraging students and young people to vote
Molly has written to Vice Chancellors across the region urging them to implement successful methods of ensuring students register to vote as soon as they join university. She cites successful processes used at universities in Sheffield and Lancaster where students register when they first join the university. She says:

“It has become clear that Boris Johnson tried to opt for an early election date partly so he could try and limit the number of students registering to vote. A cynical attempt to prevent almost two million overwhelmingly pro-Europe young people, who have turned 18 since the referendum, from having a say on our EU membership. We need them to help shape the future of our country but they must urgently register to vote so they can be involved in that process.”

Global news

EU-Brazil trade deal must be blocked
After thousands of devastating fires ravaged the Amazon this summer, Greens have stepped up their campaign to block the Mercosur trade deal between the EU and Latin American countries, where Brazil is the major player.

Molly recently met with indigenous people from Brazil in the European parliament to discuss deforestation and the fires.

Greens argue this trade agreement has encouraged Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, to turn a blind eye to the torching of the forest so he can appease his agricultural and industrial paymasters who want to open up the land to beef cattle, soya and mining. Molly spoke to the parliament about this:

The Green group has launched a petition demanding the EU Parliament put an end to this dangerous trade deal with Bolsonaro and help save the Amazon.

The UK’s Green MEPs have also signed a letter to leading supermarkets asking them to carry out an audit of their supply chains to identify products on their shelves that have come from the Brazilian Amazon. To date encouraging responses has been received from Marks and Spencer and Sainsbury’s. Details here.

UK news

Joint statement on UK government law breaking over arms sales to Saudi Arabia
Six of the UK’s Green MEPs have issued a joint statement on the UK’s continued breach of law over arms sales to Saudi Arabia. In it they call for stringent enforcement of the embargo on sales of weapons to the principality and for the international trade secretary, Liz Truss, to resign.
Full statement here

South West news

Time to kill the cull
As the government is set to grant licences to cull badgers in a further 10 zones in England, Molly has demanded an immediate end to the cruel and ineffective policy, which began in the South West. She has made the calls as new research shows that in Gloucestershire, one of the pilot cull zones, incidents of bovine TB actually rose by 130% in 2018 compared with the previous year. A leading vet has also warned that thousands of badgers experience “huge suffering” before they die. Molly says:

“Despite evidence of ineffectiveness and suffering, the government is set to plough ahead with a policy which ignores the science and the suffering of both badgers and farmers.

“Greens believe we need scientifically grounded policy to deal with this terrible disease including tighter controls on cattle movement, strict biosecurity measures and the roll out of a vaccination programme for both badgers and cows. It’s time to kill the cull, not extend a barbaric policy that has failed at every level.”

Articles by Molly

The business of Brexit
Following allegations by Phillip Hammond and Boris Johnson’s sister that Tory-backing ‘speculators’ stand to profit from a crash out Brexit, Molly writes for Green World on who will be banking on No Deal.

European Commissioners are powerful – they should be scrutinised
Molly writes about the ‘commissioner confirmation hearings’ which demonstrates that far from being faceless unaccountable bureaucrats, potential EU commissioners must satisfy MEPs that they are up to the task.

I’m an MEP who travels via train and ferry instead of flying – it has opened up exciting adventures
An article for the i paper in which Molly explains why despite the regular treks between her South West constituency and Brussels and Strasbourg, she uses trains, ferries and land-based options.

Stop Brexit to save farmers and the planet
A short piece for Stroud News and Journal, responding to an IPCC report that concludes the way land is currently managed is ‘catastrophic’ for the climate. Molly presents a green vision for farming and explains how Brexit stands in the way of this.

10 signs of hope in a dark world
While it is easy to despair at the state of the world, Molly highlights ten examples of people, organisations and governments treading a path towards a more just, peaceful and sustainable planet.