poketov | 19.04.2005 18:58 | South Coast
A 'CRITICAL Mass' cycle and skateboard ride against climate change and the G8 is being held in Worthing, West Sussex on Saturday April 30.
The fun event is aimed at getting across a deadly serious message - that unless major changes take place in the way we live, we all face increasing environmental chaos. And when the pedalling protest gets underway at Steyne Gardens at 2pm, campaigners will be pointing out that Worthing, as a seaside town, has much to fear from rising water levels.
The ride, to which skaters and even pedestrians are also invited, has been called by supporters of Worthing-based campaign group Shut The G8. They have been angered by suggestions in the press that Prime Minister Tony Blair will, if re-elected on May 5, use the platform of this summer's G8 summit in Scotland to claim he is actively working on fighting the threat of climate change.
Said a spokesman: "Tony Blair wants us to think he’s doing all he can to prevent climate change and environmental disaster. His spin doctors are claiming that when he, George W Bush and the other G8 leaders meet at Gleneagles from July 6 to 8, this issue will be at the top of the agenda.
"But the reality is rather different. Last month [March] the Government was forced to admit that Britain’s emissions of carbon dioxide - the main cause of global warming - are rising. And the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee reported a week later that Blair was 'wantonly squandering' the chance to do something to tackle the threat."
The report in fact warned: "The Government is creating the appearance of activity, while evading the harder national and international political decisions which must be made if there is to be any solution." And the committee was particularly shocked by the fact that Blair was actually trying to increase the amomunt of carbon dioxide that can be emitted by British industry over the next three years, in defiance of a European Commission ruling that this is illegal.
This was as a result of lobbying from his chums in the electricty generating industry, who stood to save £33m a year thanks to his efforts - as well as reaping £500m a year "windfall profits".
Said the Shut The G8 spokesman: "The bottom line is that there is even more hot air coming from Tony Blair’s mouth than from these companies’ power stations. For all his talk, it is clear that his agenda is purely about serving big business interests, while paying lip service to very real concerns about the future of our planet." He said that when for all its talk, the government was still pushing ahead with:
* A £5.5 billion road-building programme to build 200+ new roads.
* Airport expansion (12 new runways across Britain) plus refusal to tax aviation fuel despite government promises to tax polluting industries.
* £500 million of public money for export guarantees to the oil and gas sector per year in the last three years via the UK Export Credit Guarantee Department (ECGD).
* The classification of nuclear energy as ‘green’ with Labour plans for more reactors.
He added: "As a seaside town, Worthing has more to fear from climate change than most. We hope people will show their concern and join us for this fun, family event."
The Critical Mass ride against Climate Change and the G8 is on Saturday April 30. Meet 2pm at Steyne Gardens, Worthing (200 yards east of the pier). Cyclists, skateboarders, skaters etc are all welcome.