Darren writes PoliticsHome article on addressing Climate Change

Darren wrote an article for PoliticsHome on tackling Climate Change. He wrote about how, despite the IPCC stating that there we only have 12 years left to prevent irreversible climate change catastrophe, the Government had failed to debate the issue in Parliament and it was left to him to bring a debate. He then underlined the need for more activity to be taken in order to tackle climate change in time before the 12 year deadline.

You can read the full article here:

On 8 October, the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) launched its latest evidenced-based report. The headline was shocking: we have 12 years left to save the planet as we know it.

It sounds like the stuff of Hollywood. But it’s not. It’s real. And it’s happening faster than we originally thought.

As a concerned Member of Parliament, I kept an eye out for a ministerial statement or a debate in the House of Commons on the findings of the report. Our Parliament is supposed to be at the centre of the national and international conversation, so we were bound to have a debate, I thought.

Remarkably, the Government didn’t table any time at all to discuss the IPCC report. There was no written statement on what it thought about it, what we were doing about it and – increasingly importantly – how we were using British diplomatic power to persuade other countries to stick with the Paris Accord seeking to limit global temperature growth to 1.5OC.

Amazed at the lack of debate in the House of Commons on this enormously significant issue, I applied for an adjournment debate in the “shuffle”. I didn’t win the Parliamentary raffle.

I applied to the Backbench Business Committee – the committee of backbench MPs who are empowered to allocate certain slots in the diary for backbench business.

I went along and made my case, albeit in the full knowledge that the Government hasn’t actually given the Backbench Business Committee any time on the floor of the House of Commons for its own business. Instead, I asked for 90 minutes in the second chamber: Westminster Hall. I’m grateful to the committee for granting me the time.

And much like buses, one of my applications to the adjournment shuffle came through at the same time. I now have the graveyard slot of 10pm on Monday 12 November for an adjournment debate on the intensification of concentrated animal feeding operations (food production being a vital component of the climate change debate) followed by my 9:30am slot in Westminster Hall the following morning on extreme weather and climate change.

Putting my frustration with the Government to one side, it’s clear that we need to rapidly move the climate change debate up the agenda. Brexit is an immediate challenge facing the country, and our economy a medium-term one. But 12 years is only (potentially) two general election cycles. Climate change is an immediate problem, not a long-term one that can be kicked down the road until we have time to deal with it.

The IPCC was clear: urgent changes are needed to cut the risk of extreme heat, drought, flood and poverty. How we live our lives and how we produce our food is at the heart of these changes. And the Met Office’s recent report has evidenced that the extreme weather we’ve seen these past few years is due to climate change and could get worse.

All of the warning lights are on red. Yet we seem to be ignoring them, while politicians around the world are pulling away from the Paris Accord.

We have to do everything we can to get this right, and I hope my two short debates – alongside my Science & Technology Select Committee inquiry into climate change – will help push us in the right direction.

 

Darren Hosts Debate on Climate Change

Darren hosted Parliament’s first debate on climate change since the launch of the UN’s report stating that we only have 12 years to prevent catastrophic damage due to climate change. The report received global attention, but was not put forward for debate by the Government. With the help of Zac Goldsmith MP, Darren successfully applied for a debate considering the report in the context of the recent increase in extreme weather.

Below, you can watch Darren’s full speech from the debate. He used it to call for increased attention and action on climate change, given the scale and speed at which it is increasingly affecting humanity.

Darren Hosts Debate on Factory Farming

Darren hosted a debate on Factory Farming in the UK. Factory Farming is the practice of farming many animals in close confinement, leading to animal welfare, environmental and human health issues. In his speech during the debate Darren described the way in which Factory Farming is so harmful, and laid out how Brexit could make farming conditions even worse – including via US imports.

You can watch Darren’s full speech here:

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Darren slams government changes to electric car incentives

Darren Jones MP has slammed the government’s removal of financial incentives to purchase plug-in hybrids and electric cars.

Darren Jones MP said:

“Firstly, the government should be ploughing far more investment into public transport and cycle networks to get people out of their cars and reduce air pollution. But, if people are going to drive (and in some places it’s currently a necessity because of the lack of integrated public transport) there should be continued incentives to buy a electric or plug-in hybrid car.

The RAC and AA motoring groups have said removing these incentives is a backward step, and the SMMT trade body called it “astounding” – I agree!

I’m all for incentivising other types of environmentally-friendly vehicles but that should not come at the expense of electric and hybrid cars! If the government is serious about meeting its emission targets and getting diesel and petrol cars off our roads by 2050 (at the latest), it must continue to fund incentives that support that endeavour. I’ll be tabling a Parliamentary Question to ask what assessment the government made reference the impact of this policy change before announcing this decision”.

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Darren backs ban on fur imports

Darren Jones MP is proudly supporting the Open Cages and Humane Society International’s campaign to ban the importing of real fur to the UK.

Darren Jones MP said:

“Animal welfare is of real concern to me – especially where cruelty is so totally unnecessary. That’s the case with the use of real fur and it’s one reason why I back a #FurFreeBritain and a ban on the importing of real fur to the UK.

Whilst, thankfully, fur farms are banned in the UK, we know that most of the countries that supply the UK with fur products have low animal welfare standards.

It has also come to light that some of the products being marketed as fake fur actually contain real fur and people are being duped into buying something many would not knowingly purchase – that’s totally unacceptable and companies selling these products must be held to account”.

 

 

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Darren calls for an end to dog fighting

Darren Jones MP is proudly supporting the League Against Cruel Sports local campaign to end dog fighting.

The League is distributing 12,000 leaflets around Bristol in a bid to get more information on dog fighting in the city and to highlight the issue.

The appeal, backed by Darren, is being made by the League which held an event on the issue recently and received information that raised suspicions that dog fighting was taking place in the city.

The information came from a range of reputable sources including a vet who had noticed an increase in dogs visiting her surgery with injuries consistent with dog fighting, plus a report from a teacher in a Bristol school.

Dogs forced into fighting suffer terrible injuries both during the fights and at the hands of their vicious ‘owners’.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove recently announced plans to extend prison sentences for animal cruelty from six months to five years.

The League has produced factsheets for vets and the police explaining how to spot the signs of dog fighting. Dog fights can take place behind closed doors but also in public areas such as in parks. Signs that dog fighting might be taking place include:

  • Dogs with multiple scars in various stages of healing
  • People subjecting their dogs to extreme exercise regimes to build muscle and stamina
  • The dogs are usually kept out of sight in poor quality housing such as sheds and outbuildings
  • You might see people behaving suspiciously as multiple dogs are brought into a single location
  • You may hear sounds from the fights; dogs barking, yelping, as well as people shouting and cheering

Members of the public can contact the confidential League Against Cruel Sports Animal Crimewatch reporting service by calling 01483 361108, email crimewatch@league.org.uk or visit the website.

Darren Jones MP said:

 

 

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Darren highlights issues of climate change and arms technology in relation to Britain’s place in the world

Today there was a debate in the House of Commons about ‘Global Britain’. Darren used the opportunity to talk about the risks of climate change and arms technology to Britain and the international order.

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Darren backs a Marine Protected Area in the Weddell Sea

A number of constituents have contacted Darren to ask his views on the proposal for a Marine Protected Area in the Weddell Sea.

Darren said:

“The Government must ensure the UK advocates strongly for the establishment of a Marine Protected Area in the Weddell Sea. Such a protected area would help safeguard one of the last pristine regions in Antarctica and ensure the conservation of vital ecosystems settled in these waters and the surrounding coast.

While I am glad to see that the UK has backed the proposal, I am nonetheless disappointed that the Government has not been engaging more pro-actively with member states and using the full extent of its diplomatic tools to persuade countries that have not yet publicly backed the proposal.

As you may be aware, only around 3.9% of the world’s oceans are designated for protection, despite a global commitment to achieve 10% by 2020. As such, it is ever more crucial that the UK continues to lead the world in marine conservation and that we do all we can to ensure the protection and sustainability of our oceans.

I have long supported measures to protect our marine environment and to protect and enhance the marine environment of the UK and our overseas territories. I also support proposals to deliver an ecologically coherent network of Marine Conservation Zones around the UK to ensure that the benefits of marine conservation are felt domestically too”.

 

 

 

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Darren urges council to re-think Blaise parking charges

Hundreds of constituents have contacted Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, about the council’s consultation on charging a flat-rate of £2 for parking at Blaise Castle Estate and restricting parking on adjacent roads. The full proposals are available here.

Darren said:

“MPs can’t directly intervene in the council’s decision-making processes but we can ensure our constituents voice is heard – that’s why I have written to the parks team today summarising the feedback received. I continue to urge all users of Blaise Castle and local residents to respond to the council’s consultation. The consultation is open for comment until 30th July”.

 

 

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Darren champions local parks and open spaces

On Friday 29th and 30th June, Darren visited Lawrence Weston Moors with Avon Wildlife Trust and attended a wildlife walk with local expert, Steve England, and the Friends of Lamplighters Marsh. This follows Darren’s recent nomination to Groundworks for the Friends on-going efforts to protect and sustain the local environment at the Marsh.

Darren said after the visits:

” What a wonderful couple of visits in the sunshine – I was keen to find out, Bristol North West has the most green space in Bristol, from super parks like Blaise Castle, the Downs and nature reserves in Avonmouth, Sea Mills and Lawrence Weston to vital woodland habitats and ancient trees in Kingsweston, Blaise and Stoke Park. it is vital we protect, maintain and use these beautiful parks and open spaces. These spaces are so important as they help to keep us fit and healthy and encourage us to meet our neighbours and bond as community.”‬