Citizens' Initiative and Referendum I&R
a campaign for direct democracy in Britain

Re: Citizens' initiative on greenhouse gases: A suitable case for
"Comments please"

Dear colleagues, friends.

"An all party group of MPs is backing calls for a new law to ensure the
UK cuts its greenhouse gas emissions." (More below)

Support for this law can be found in different political parties. Would
a majority of the British electorate approve it in a referendum? As you
know, in Britain we do not formally use the instrument of
"citizen-initiated referendum".

This law-proposal could be adapted as a citizens' initiative. After
collecting a large number of endorsements ("signatures") the proposers,
with suitable publicity, could present the proposal to parliament. If
rejected, a campaign for referendum could be started.

Why not in this way link the "single issue" campaign about dangerous
climate change to a call for reform of democracy in Britain?

Our campaign advocates the use of well tried democratic tools such as
citizens' initiative and referendum (I and R) in Britain. We are willing
to advise and to provide expertise for I and R procedures and

Below is a press report of the proposal.

M Macpherson

Dr. Michael Macpherson M.R.C.P. (UK)


MPs want new greenhouse gases law

Press Association
Wednesday July 13, 2005 9:38 AM

An all party group of MPs is backing calls for a new law to ensure the
UK cuts its greenhouse gas emissions.

They warn that despite Prime Minister Tony Blair's concerns about
climate change, UK emissions of greenhouse gases are continuing to rise
and are now higher than they were in 1997, when Labour came to power.

The MPs, who include Labour former Environment Minister Michael Meacher,
Conservative former Environment Secretary John Gummer and Liberal
Democrat environment spokesman Norman Baker, are backed by
non-governmental organisations.

Both MPs and NGOs will argue that without a legal framework the UK will
fail to make the essential year-on-year cuts in emissions of greenhouse

And they blame the US, which last week at the G8 summit in Gleneagles
blocked any tangible agreement for an international plan of action to
tackle the problem.

The Climate Change Bill is supported by 200 MPs who have declared their
support for it and 10 NGOs who have formed a coalition to work for a new
climate law.

The new law would set a legally binding target to reduce carbon dioxide
emissions by 3% every year.

It would also compel the Prime Minister to report annually to Parliament
on progress towards meeting the target.

The coalition includes Friends of the Earth, Help the Aged, the
Association for the Conservation of Energy, Christian Aid and WWF-UK.

Friends of the Earth executive director Tony Juniper said: "This Bill
will set us on a sensible and achievable glide path towards the
necessary long-term targets."

© Copyright Press Association Ltd 2005, All Rights Reserved.

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