Harvest Fast Day (7 October) was the date when Dr Jesse Norman, MP was holding his surgery in the Larruperz Centre in Ross-on-Wye.
Local constituent and CAFOD volunteer, Therese Warwick, was delighted to be able to meet with Dr Norman to talk about climate change and in particular, CAFOD’s Power to the People campaign, just before the national Week of Action (8-16 October).
When we met in early October, Jesse Norman said three things needed to be balanced:
“industrial strategy, energy strategy and the economy…”
CAFOD asked us to speak up this Autumn for the love of God’s creation and our global family. One in five of our brother and sisters around the world don’t have access to the energy they need to power schools, clinics, homes and businesses.
On 12 December 2015 in Paris, governments across the world agreed to act on climate change. CAFOD wants the government to commit to an ambitious national plan on how it will support a shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy and how it will also support poorer countries to do the same.
Mr Norman has always been supportive of local efforts and happy to meet constituents to listen to their concerns.
In September, Jesse Norman received a letter from me about CAFOD’s “One Climate One World ” campaign asking for energy support for developing countries which he forwarded to Rory Stewart at the Department for International Development.
I received a reply from James Wharton MP (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State), the Minister with responsibility for climate issues:
“I agree that better energy access is important to help people in developing countries improve their lives, and I welcome the support of this campaign. Global Goal 7 aims to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. However at the current rate, Africa will not achieve universal energy access until 2080.
Lack of access to energy is a major barrier to economic and human development in Africa. For example:
- 2 out of 3 people in sub-Saharan Africa are currently without electricity; around 600 million people.
- Half of all businesses in Sub-Saharan Africa view the lack of reliable electricity access as a major constraint to doing business, and therefore a constraint to creating jobs.
- Africa’s poorest can pay up to 80 times more for electricity than people in the UK – and largely rely on polluting and unsafe kerosene and candles.
Decentralised renewable energy is important for accelerating progress in Africa.
The Energy Africa campaign is one way that we help increase access to energy. Energy Africa aims to accelerate the expansion of the household solar market in Africa, and is about making the market work for the poor. It helps remove the barriers to household market expansion, including policy and regulatory obstacles, and supports businesses to innovate in energy services and technologies. Energy Africa also marshals other development partners’ support, to work with African governments and businesses, making affordable solar services available to households across Africa.
As well as the Energy Africa campaign, DFID supports other initiatives to increase people’s access to energy through decentralised renewable energy. For example, the Renewable Energy and Adaptation to Climate Technologies (REACT) Challenge Fund has supported businesses in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda to provide energy for households, communities and businesses. The Results-Based Financing for low carbon energy access programme (RBF) incentivises businesses to connect households with decentralised and mini-grid renewable energy. Green mini-grid programmes aims to stimulate a mini-grids industry in Kenya, Tanzania and Africa wide.
Such decentralised renewable energy initiatives complement other, wider investments in energy, including on-grid, which are also essential for inclusive economic growth.
The continent cannot realise its full potential until there is greater access to energy. Therefore, we look forward to working with African and other partners to realise Africa’s energy potential.
Access to renewable energy is vital to end poverty. It means that children can study after dark, clinics can keep vaccines cold, farmers can irrigate their crops and people can drink purified water.
If we act now, we will avoid burdening future generations with greater impact, increased costs and risks. Energy efficiency will improve and there will wider benefits to health, energy security and biodiversity.
Acting now will help us to achieve long-term, sustainable economic growth from a low-carbon economy.
We are seeking a fairer, cleaner world.
When international bodies and governments make decisions that damage poor communities, we must speak out.
Campaigning works – it can take years of effort or be as simple as signing a petition. Cancelled debt, increased aid for water and sanitation, action on climate change and a clamp down on corruption have all come as a result of taking action together.
It’s important that our elected representatives hear the views of their Catholic constituents. Learn more about campaigning with CAFOD and /or what’s involved in signing up to become an MP correspondent and join support the new Corporal Work of Mercy – Care for our Common Home.
There are many ways to support CAFOD. Complete our volunteer enquiry form.
CAFOD is part of the Climate Coalition, bringing together over 100 faith, development and environment groups across the UK.
0n 18 July Jesse Norman was appointed as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. He is the lead for Northern Ireland.
From 2010-15 he was a member of the Treasury Select Committee and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Employee Ownership. In June 2015 he became Chair of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee.