Labour launches ‘international climate justice network’ to inform party policy

The Labour Party has launched an ‘international climate justice network’ with the aim of developing party policy and giving a voice to those experiencing the effects of the climate crisis, LabourList can reveal.

Shadow minister for international development Anna McMorrin has written to grassroots  organisations, benefactors of aid and communities living on the edge of climate change about the new initiative.

She has described the network in the letter as wanting to highlight the views of “people and communities currently living and experiencing the direct and indirect impacts of the climate crisis first-hand”.

McMorrin has told groups: “This network will be a space for the UK Labour Party to listen, learn and act on the thoughts and experiences you share with us regarding the way climate change is impacting your community and the steps you are taking to counter that…

“Too often the voices of people and communities living on the frontlines of climate change, those who are bearing the brunt of the changes we are witnessing across our planet, are forgotten, ignored or locked out of the decision-making.”

The Labour frontbencher’s letter invites its climate-hit recipients to share their thoughts and experiences in a bid to put “international climate justice at the heart of the UK Labour Party’s climate policy platform”.

It reads: “We are determined to ensure that not only do we have a respectable and sustainable domestic climate platform, but internationalist policies which meet the moment and reflect Labour values.”

As the network’s first project, McMorrin has asked groups for their views on and examples of the following:

  • How climate changes have affected their “local environment, community, livelihoods and health”
  • How “carbon-emitting, extractive policies” have directly affected their community
  • Which threats will emerge in the next 20 years “if the world carries on the same carbon-emitting trajectory”
  • Which “major policy decision” they would implement to stop climate change
  • What the UK could do in the short term, “using development and aid investment”, to “make a tangible difference” in their community

The shadow minister plans to host virtual follow-up meetings with the non-governmental, grassroots and international organisations for in-depth discussions about their experiences and climate policy ideas.

McMorrin then intends to host “virtual climate hearings”, where groups and communities will be invited to speak with “climate-focused” Labour MPs and “provide living testimony” about the realities of the climate emergency.

The frontbencher recently called on the UK government to “protect people and planet” by taking urgent action on an abandoned oil tanker at risk of spilling 157,000 tonnes of crude oil into the Red Sea.

In a letter to the minister for the Middle East and North Africa, McMorrin and shadow minister Wayne David warned that the Safer FSO Oil tanker could exacerbate the long-running humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

As MP for Cardiff North, McMorrin brought a backbench bill in the last parliament on plastic packagings. She also sat on the environmental audit select committee and was vice-chair of the all-party parliamentary group on climate change.

During the 2019 election campaign, she told LabourList that she had met with environmental movement Extinction Rebellion and promised to help with them with their net-zero carbon emissions target of 2025.

She said at the time: “My feeling is we have to go for the highest, hardest target because we need radical change as quickly as possible. Whether that’s actually going to be achievable is another matter.”

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