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Good morning curious.earthlings,

We have some exciting news to share with you...We launched a podcast! Curious.Earth: The Podcast is available on Spotify, Google podcasts & on our website. Just search for "curious.earth".

Our first episode is all about Christmas, and is packed with hints and tips about how you can have a more sustainable Christmas this year. So please give it a listen and let us know what you think.

This week, we have a political special for you as we cover the UK election and look at how COP25 could be the most important climate conference yet.

Reading time is 3:47 minutes.
Enjoyyy
Politics

Descision Time - Parties, Politics & Our Planet 💪🌍🌎🌏💪

by Helen Steiger

What's Going On Here?

Its the UK General Election next Thursday - when - if you are a registered voter - you have the power to decide who will run the UK government for the foreseeable future. With voters caring more about the environment than the economy, each party’s climate change and pollution policies are an important consideration when deciding who you will vote for...

What Does This Mean?

Brexit, the NHS, jobs and crime - these are all important factors which  will inform which party or MP you vote for, but what promises have each party made regarding the environment, the climate emergency and in tackling our biodiversity crisis?? 

Here at Curious Earth, we’ve done the research, the leg work, the hardcore grafting... so here’s a simple breakdown of what the main parties have promised in their manifestos and other media outlets regarding four important aspects of the green battle...

1. Climate Emergency?
So we’ve declared a Climate Emergency within the UK - but when has each party pledged to move the UK towards Net Zero carbon emissions?
Conservative - 2050 
Labour - 2030
Liberal Democrats - 2045 
Green - 2030 

Curious Commentary
The Conservatives have already pledged to go Net Zero by 2050 - and kudos to Theresa May for making this legally binding. However, other parties have since shifted this deadline forward with the need to drastically cut emissions much sooner than 2050. 

2. Greening our countryside
We need to plant more trees to help with carbon sequestration and improve biodiversity. So, how many trees have each party said they’ll plant?
Conservative - 30m a year
Labour - 100m a year (rising to 2bn by 2040)
Liberal Democrats - 60m a year
Green - 70m a year

Curious.Commentary
The Tories’ pledge is way behind the other parties, with Labour being particularly ambitious. However, the Lib Dems provide particularly helpful detail on how they support the improvement of water, air, and soil quality as well as biodiversity, showing true commitment to a climate-friendly countryside. 


3. A Sustainable Economy
And finally, what plans do each of the main parties have for transitioning towards a green economy? 
Conservative - timidly promise to continue investment in offshore wind farms. They also recently banned fracking (but pretty much temporarily…). 
Labour - promises a Green Industrial Revolution - financing the transition to clean energy, transport and improved biodiversity by the creation of a £250bn Transformation Fund.
Liberal Democrats - pledge investment in renewable energy and more low-emission zones, arguing that a lot of the large-scale changes can be financed from the private sector. 
Green - meanwhile go to the opposite end of the spectrum, pledging to spend £100bn in green-ifying the UK. 

Curious.Commentary
There’s an interesting divide between the Greens and Lib Dems on who should fund the transition - while Greens’ budget is a bit aspirational, is it similarly unrealistic for the Lib Dems to expect the private sector to finance most of the transition towards a sustainable economy? We were most disappointed with the Tories’ promises - simply  market-friendly and no intent to solve the larger environmental issues at stake...

Why Should We Care?

Because, whether we like our politicians or not, they have a massive impact on the way we lead our lives, our power to act on issues we care about and the opportunities that are open to us. If system-change is what we need to fight this climate crisis, ensuring the powerful voices within society reflect our own values is vital to bring about the change we want! 

Be Curious!


VOTE - this is your chance to have an impact on who takes forward  UK climate policy for the foreseeable future. Use your power and head to the ballot box next Thursday! And you aren't based in the UK, make sure you vote in your next election.
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Politics

Have Climate Conferences Really Made An Impact? And What To Expect At COP25

by Joe Stratton

What's Going On Here?

The annual COP (Conference of the Parties) meetings bring together world leaders to formulate global agreements on how to tackle climate change. In 2019, a year where grassroots movements and a passionate teen have made the most noise about climate change, is it worth asking: what has COP achieved so far and what can we expect from COP25 Madrid? 

What Does This Mean?

COP conferences are United Nations Climate Change conferences and currently the only globally united decision-making process we have on climate change. Ensuring they have effective outcomes is crucial to the future of our planet.

Past Agreements

Maybe you’ve heard of the Paris agreement, maybe you haven’t. Although efforts have been made, most major polluters are on track to miss their 2020 targets and the US have withdrawn from the agreement completely due to ‘economic concerns’.

There are two key elements here that highlight why this might be the case:

  1. Nations formulated own emissions targets. Whilst this got more influential nations on board, a basic set of compulsory principles would apply the much-needed pressure to ensure action is taken.
  2. No binding consequences or incentives in place for reaching targets, but holding the conference is arguably only half the job if nations are not held to account for their commitments.

Major challenges to discuss at COP25:
  1. Getting the US on board! Without one of the world’s largest polluters committing to change, other nations’ commitments need to make up for that. At present they are sending ‘non official’ representatives, which doesn’t sound too promising.
  2. Finances. The economic cost of climate change is beginning to rack up as more extreme weather events occur, particularly in developing nations. One of the more complex subjects to discuss at COP25 will be: should high polluting countries be financially liable for these costs?

If the 2020 goals set out in Paris are not achieved (which looks likely for most of the major polluters), will nations lose confidence in COP? The discussion in Madrid and eventually Glasgow must prepare for this possibility and put measures in place.

Why Should We Care?

2019 is on course to be in the top three warmest years on record. It seems we hear the same year after year and the dangers of climate change are becoming more and more visceral. As ever, adding our voice is crucial.

COP conferences remain an excellent catalyst for change and awareness but it is essential that more decisive action is taken going forward.

Be Curious!

Continue to support the climate movements fighting to push our governments in the right direction. By doing this, we add pressure on nations to adhere to their targets! 
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Other news we found curious...

Climate change: The COP25 talks trying to change the world - BBC
Whale found dead with 100kg 'litter ball' in stomach - Independent
Climate change to steer all New Zealand government decisions from now on - Guardian
See How the World’s Most Polluted Air Compares With Your City’s - NYTimes
Climate models have accurately predicted global heating, study finds - Guardian
Extinction Rebellion bee protester glues himself to Lib Dem bus - Guardian
Hedge fund billionaire vows to punish company directors for climate change inaction - Independent
Helen Steiger
NEWS WRITER
Joe Stratton
NEWS WRITER
THANKS FOR READING

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