CAFOD supporters press for stronger Climate Change Bill

Supporters of CAFOD, the Catholic aid agency, have been busy calling on MPs to make the current Climate Change Bill stronger.

During the Stop Climate Chaos Week of Action last week, nearly 20,000 pledge cards were ordered from CAFOD for MPs and individuals to commit to action on climate change.

To add further pressure on MPs, hundreds of members of religious orders will descend on Parliament on 23 April to speak up on behalf of the poorest people in the world who the aid agency said were likely to be the first to experience the devastating effects of global warming. They will be urging MPs to support a stronger bill.

Some 150,000 people die each year from the effects of climate change and almost all live in developing countries.

Lifestyle action is really important to address the scale of the problem and it needs action from MPs, said CAFOD, which is calling on MPs to vote to increase the carbon dioxide reduction target in the Climate Change Bill to at least 80 per cent by 2050 (instead of at least 60 per cent) and to ensure that the UK's share of emissions from international aviation and shipping are included in the reduction.

One campaigner who lobbied her MP was Desirèe Howells who handed Harry Cohen, Labour MP for Leyton and Wanstead a giant pledge card with details of what she is doing to try and stop climate change. The former teacher has promised to only buy what she needs. Ms Howells was motivated to campaign after her visits to Guyana.

She said: "It's the poorest countries that will suffer most. Guyana will suffer as it is 2-4m below sea level, as well as countries like Bangladesh and parts of Africa."

Mr Cohen said, meanwhile, "I do favour 80 per cent and the inclusion of aviation and shipping in the Bill. I will work for improved international effort so that countries like the US, China, India and Russia do their share to combat climate change.

"I'm always keen to meet active local groups, this is an important way to get things done," he added, promising to listen and take up issues with ministers or on the floor of the House. "I'm interested in poverty and the important issues that CAFOD raises. Well done on the work CAFOD does."

Vikki Mills, CAFOD's Campaigns Parliamentary Officer, said: "Climate change affects us all but those hit first and hardest are people living in poverty. Our supporters have been on the streets making sure MPs commit to making the climate change bill as strong as possible.

"This community support is very exciting and will soon be matched by the Religious lobby that will be heading for Westminster on 23 April. We must take action now to ensure that both the Earth and people living in poverty are protected."

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