Greens in action
Greens everywhere are proving that clean, green energy is the future and exposing the hidden costs and deceptions of the nuclear industry.
In the UK, elected Green Party members are increasing investment in renewable energy and energy-saving, and creating new jobs for British workers.
We need more elected Greens to make sure this work continues and expands to make an even greater difference.
In local areas around the UK
Green councillors are making real progress in implementing positive changes on the ground all over the UK.
In the local authority of Kirklees, recent Green Group successes include securing £100,000 for solar street lighting and £500,000 for energy-saving measures in schools and care homes.
Wind turbines are being installed in schools, zero-energy developments are being built and a 100-home 'solar village' is under construction. Photovoltaics and solar water heating have been put on the roof of the local community centre.
These sorts of green measures are being seen by the people of Huddersfield every day and it's the Green Party councillors who are the driving force for real, postive change.
In December 2005, Green Party cabinet member for Housing, Andrew Cooper, pushed through measures to ensure that 30% of all new council-run buildings' energy needs come from renewable energy, and the new policy also applies to extensions to existing council properties.
Gina Dowding, one of the 8 Green councillors in Lancaster, blew the whistle on the fact that Lancaster City Council had allowed the local nuclear plant, run by British Energy, to get away with putting off paying its business rates at a cost to the local taxpayers of £18,000.
Green MEP Caroline Lucas dug further and sparked a European Commission legal investigation that uncovered a vast web of hidden subsidies paid by the government to nuclear companies costing hundreds of millions of poinds every year - real green victory for ordinary people over the power of governments and big business.
Councillor Dowding was suspended for three months from the Council but was vindicated by the European Commission who determined this kind of state aid was unlawful.
London's Green Party members of the London Assembly have worked effectively since 2000 to help make the Mayor's work greener and more sustainable.
Since June 2004, the votes of the Green AMs have been essential to the Mayor in order to pass his annual budget with a two-thirds majority, and they have won many concessions that have helped to make London a greener, cleaner city.
As chair of the Environment Committee, Darren Johnson AM produced the 'Power to the People' report in May 2005, on barriers to micro-generation take-up in London.
In 2001, Darren chaired the Nuclear Waste Trains Investigative Committee to review the safety of trains carrying high-level nuclear waste through London.
Green AMs helped persuade the Mayor of the need for London to have an Energy Strategy, and then were effective in ensuring it included a 10% requirement for on-site renewables in all new developments.
Darren Johnson campaigned for on-site renewables at the Olympics, and helped get a pledge for 20% green energy at olympic sites.
Darren has also pressed for energy efficiency and on-site renewables at LFEPA, and opened the PV roof at Richmond fire station.
Darren and Jenny Jones AM campaigned for London to help pilot the use of hydrogen fuel cell buses. Currently three hydrogen buses, emitting nothing more than steam are serving passengers in central London.
In September 2004, Jenny and Darren carried out exclusive research which showed more than half of London's joinery companies were prepared to fit illegal single-glazed windows that waste energy and increase carbon dioxide emissions.
Jenny said, "I am amazed at the number of companies which will flout the law. The extra costs of double-glazing when replacing worn out windows is a most cost efficient way of reducing fuel bills and cutting CO2 – and that’s why the regulations were introduced."
The Scottish Green Party is campaigning hard on energy and climate change through the Scottish Parliament.
One of the biggest achievements so far has been a successful call for the parliament to hold an inquiry into climate change, and all seven Green MSPs are active in bringing climate and energy to the forefront of Scottish politics.
One of the key areas is in proposing bills with cross-party support. This is something Scottish Greens have been very successful in doing, even though bills have to overcome a number of pre-scrutiny stages before being formally introduced.
Shiona Baird MSP has proposed bills to promote micro-renewable power, and to set targets on energy efficiency. She has been at the forefront of campaigning for Scotland to invest more in energy efficiency - winning a vote in the parliament with a Green motion calling on the Executive to 'do more' on this crucial area.
More money has become available but there is much more to do and Shiona's bill is pressing for targets and other incentives to be introduced.
Shiona has also championed new marine energy technology developed by a Scottish company which has now won its first commercial contract with Portugal. The campaign intensifies now to develop the same commercial and public investment in Scotland.
The campaign to resist the nuclear menace is well and truly underway and with Scotland having massive renewable resources available, and a majority of politician's from parties supposedly opposed to nuclear power - Scotland is set to be a hotbed of argument.
On being pressed by Greens, the First Minister has committed to opposing nuclear power 'if the waste problem cannot be resolved' setting Scotland on a collision course with Westminster.
Other energy-related campaigning has focussed on a bill to set targets to reduce traffic levels and to ensure that a proper
This Bill is at consultation stage. The Consultation paper is publicly available and Shiona Baird MSP is inviting responses from individuals, organisations and businesses to this proposal.
Micropower devices that provide electricity and heat from renewable sources on a small scale are being installed in households and businesses across Scotland.
Whilst there is potential for micropower to be expanded there are regulatory and financial barriers that if removed would accelerate its introduction.
In Scotland, powers over renewable energy and planning are devolved to the Scottish Parliament and legislation to promote micropower could be passed in Scotland.
Green MSP Shiona Baird has lodged a draft proposal 'for a bill to require the Scottish Executive to introduce financial and administrative measures to support the development of small–scale renewable energy generation by households and businesses.'
There are a variety of measures that may be introduced within the scope of the Green Micropower Bill including:
Home Energy Efficiency Targets Bill
The purpose of this Bill is to set national domestic energy efficiency targets for Scotland.
It is anticipated that the Bill will set a target for a percentage improvement in domestic energy efficiency by a specified date, with a second target for further improvement by a
The Bill will not prescribe the means by which the targets will be reached. However, the Bill will require the Scottish Executive to draw up an action plan to lay out how it intends these targets to be met and it will require the Executive to report regularly on its progress.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions Targets Bill
(aka "The Big Ask for Scotland," "Climate Change Bill")
Green MSP Mark Ruskell has proposed tougher laws to slash Scotland's excessive levels of climate change pollution.
The 'Big Ask' argues that with the technologies and policies available to reduce emissions by around 3% every year, politicians should be legally accountable for making sure action is taken.
Ruskell is inviting all parties to put forward their ideas for toughening up action on climate change as part of the consultation process. Currently, according to a parliamentary inquiry report published in 2005, Scotland pollutes way above its fair share and is set to fail existing targets with current policies.
Inspired by the Friends of the Earth campaign, "The Big Ask"
Climate Change Inquiry
One of the biggest achievements of the Greens in Scotland so far has been a successful call for the parliament to hold an inquiry into climate change. Green MSP Mark Ruskell, who is vice-convener of the Environment Committee of the parliament, hailed the resulting inquiry as a 'wake up call' to the Scottish Executive to raise its game.
The inquiry has helped inform the revision of the Executive's new Climate Change Programme which is expected in February 2006. Ruskell has also lodged a bill to set targets for climate emissions, taking up the challenge set by Friends of the Earth with its 'Big Ask' campaign.
Press release - 17/11/04
Moving on: a green transport Bill for Scotland
This Bill is at Bill proposal stage - the proposal has been lodged with the Parliament, and the next step is to produce a detailed Bill and put it out to consultation.
What will the Bill do?
This Bill will oblige Ministers to change the direction of transport policy, by setting interim targets to reduce traffic levels now. This
This Bill is aimed at improving transport for everyone. In cities, where the majority of people do not have cars, they need fast,
The Bill would help fulfil an obligation for Scotland to address climate change. Local authorities would be charged with integrating their transport and land-use planning.
In the European Parliament
Jean Lambert and Caroline Lucas, the UK's Green Party MEPs have consistently challenged policymakers to take climate change seriously and reform their approach to energy policy.
They believe that renewable energy is not the sole solution to climate change; energy demand must also be reduced.
Supporting green energy and energy-saving
Green MEPs have lobbied at national and regional level to establish a carbon-neutral energy-efficient economy.
The recommendations from Jean’s conference on renewables and energy management, which brought experts from the European Parliament, Berlin's Senate and Denmark's City Authority to London, influenced London’s Energy Strategy, calling for reduced demand and greening supply.
Working with London South Bank University, Jean has highlighted the growing skills gap in the energy and construction industries regarding renewable energy and sustainable construction solutions.
Jean is now strengthening her campaign for a European-wide green training strategy, so that an environmental dimension is integrated in to our daily work and the essential workforce needed to reach climate change targets is developed.
As a member of the environmental steering group for Thames Gateway London, Jean has also promoted BedZed style zero-carbon housing for East London.
Exposing the nuclear industry
Caroline Lucas has provoked a European Commission investigation into the legality of UK government subsidies to nuclear power giant British Energy.
Caroline has also initiated an EU investigation into whether the UK government allowed EU nuclear safety laws to be broken when permitting the release of nuclear waste from the Aldermaston nuclear weapons factory and Devonport dockyards.
Highlighting the UK's failure to implement EU environment laws
In September 2005, a report commissioned by the Green Party group in the European Parliament , 'So much hot air' revealed how the UK Government has failed to fully implement EU laws designed to tackle climate change.
The report examined the UK's response to five EU directives designed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
The Greens' analysis showed that, despite their pledge to make climate change a priority, the Government has:
Green Party reports
Councillor Gina Dowding exposed secret nuclear subsidies in Lancaster
Jean Lambert MEP shows off a solar powered shower
"Strategies for improving the environment rely heavily on training. It is vital that we meet CO2 reduction targets but we won't be successful if the next generation are not trained in improving the environment. How will we meet targets if we haven't got any trained solar panel fitters, for example?"
Jean Lambert MEP, member of the European Parliament's Employment and Social Affair's Committee
Caroline Lucas MEP in the European Parliament
"Commissioner Piebalgs has said that nuclear energy is an option. We do not agree. Nuclear is not a replacement for oil, because in electricity generation – where nuclear power has its main application – oil is used for only 3% of production. Building more nuclear power plants will not reduce Europe's dependency on oil. The argument is a non-starter."Claude Turmes, Greens/EFA Group energy coordinator and MEP for Luxembourg