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Sir Menzies Campbell launches Northampton environment initiative

June 7, 2007 12:03 PM
Photo of Trini Crake and Ming Campbell

Cllr Trini Crake, cabinet member for Environment, and Sir Menzies Campbell at the launch of Northampton Borough Council's Carbon Management Programme

Sir Menzies (Ming) Campbell visited Northampton yesterday to launch the Borough Council's Carbon Management Programme, an initiative aimed at making the council 'carbon neutral' by the year 2020.

The Carbon Management Programme is being run in conjunction with the Carbon Trust who, together with the Borough Council, will carry out an audit of all the council's activities and write a plan of how to reduce it's environmental impact over the next decade.

Sir Menzies, who had earlier taken part in Prime Minister's Questions, highlighted the UK's role in combating climate change by driving environment up the agenda at both the national and local levels.

For further information about Liberal Democrat policy on the environment go to: http://www.libdems.org.uk/index_environment.html

Full text of Sir Menzies' speech:

Firstly may I thank my Liberal Democrat colleagues for inviting me to Northampton today and what a great delight it is to officially launch the Carbon Management Programme.

The Carbon Management Programme sees the Liberal Democrat led Northampton Borough Council join ranks with 143 of the UK's local authorities that have already done so.

The economic savings are huge - more than £33 million worth of saved from the public purse.

But more importantly, the programme has identified savings of 500,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, which will dramatically help reduce the UK's emissions.

By signing up to the Carbon Management programme this council is demonstrating its substance when it comes to playing its part in fighting climate change.

Today the Prime Minister must show his commitment to fighting climate change when he attends the G8 summit in Germany as one of his final acts in office.

Climate change will rightfully dominate this summit.

No one can deny the damage that has been done and continues to be done to the environment.

At his last meeting of the G8 leaders the Prime Minister must avoid the temptation to do a compromise deal on the environment for the sake of his legacy.

The future of our environment is too big to forego scientific advice in exchange for political horse-trading.

It is essential that the Prime Minister gives his commitment to keep global warming below 2o degrees Celsius and does not allow the United States to circumvent the global talks due to take place in December.

A compromise could put the global negotiations on replacing Kyoto at risk and more importantly could take us past the threshold of unacceptably dangerous climate change.

Going above 2o would cause chaos for most of the world. In Africa and other developing countries, in particular, it would lead to prolonged droughts and famine, major flooding in coastal areas and millions of people displaced, dying and destitute.

The G8 countries have an obligation to prevent this apocalyptic scenario by supporting an 'International Leapfrog Fund' which can help develop low cost renewable energy technologies in these countries.

Any compromise deal that ignores science is unacceptable.

As a great power Britain has a significant part to play in combating climate change.

Initiatives such as the Carbon Management programme that the Lib Dem run council here are implementing play their part in reducing the amount of CO2 produced annually in the UK.

At a local level, like here in Northampton local administrations across the country should endeavour to reduce carbon emissions.

An authority such as the size of this one is an example to those yet to make a commitment to reduce emissions.

By changing the thinking at a local level and letting it ripple out demonstrates localism at its best influencing politics from below.

So it therefore gives me great pleasure to formally launch Northampton Borough Council's Carbon Management Programme.

(Check against delivery)