Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development
The long-term health of people depends on a healthy environment, supportive social structures and adequate natural resources. We believe in development that fulfils the needs of the present generation without endangering future generations.
Almost any human activity consumes resources and has both social and environmental effects but we now have the technology to outstrip the planet's natural capacity to regenerate itself.
The human race has used more energy in the last hundred years than all humans on the planet had consumed previously. Human induced climate change (HICC) is real and we must act to halt and reverse its effects to the extent that we are able.
Motivating people to take a long-term perspective on everyday decision-making is difficult in a society increasingly consumerist and short-term in outlook. However most adults desire a better quality of life not only for themselves, but for their children and grandchildren.
Harnessing this universal human commitment and creating a practical agenda for sustainable development is thus potentially feasible and largely unexplored.
The 2006 Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change put a price on HICC. It concluded that, without action, the overall costs and risks of climate change will be equivalent to losing at least 5% of global GDP each year, now and forever. The most vulnerable – the poorest countries and populations – will suffer most, although they will have contributed least to the causes of climate change. The costs of extreme weather, including floods, droughts and storms, are already rising, including in the UK. Adaptation to climate change – that is, taking steps to build resilience and minimise costs – is essential. But the Stern Review also found that there is still time to avoid the worst impacts of climate change with strong, swift collective action.
Most nations signed up to the 1992 Rio de Janeiro Treaty on climate change but in the UK the various policy initiatives will not meet the binding targets set out in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. We want to encourage a new commitment to a sustainable future for the planet.
We support the proposals of the Stern Report and within the NHS intend to examine the potential of sustainable department approaches to release resources to reinvest in services.
A clean environment is essential to our health and wellbeing. Both the environment and nature need to be protected from misuse, pollution and unnecessary interference.
A reduction in CO2 emissions of about 10% per year from now until 2030. The National Audit Office estimates that the NHS could save £180 million a year by reducing carbon emissions. This would pay for approximately 7,750 registered nurses.
Profit must never be put before environmental safety and essential conservation. Environmental considerations must be an integral part of all planning, business and industrial decision-making to ensure commercial gain is not at the expense of our finite natural resources, surroundings and nature.
We will always consult expert advice before forming policies involving the environment and nature.
We will pro-actively engage with relevant organisations, charities, pressure groups and local communities to seek evidence and agreement on health issues and decisions which may have an effect on the environment, both locally and nationally.
Those responsible for NHS land and property should incorporate consultation in any decisions that may have an impact on the environment and/or nature conservation.
We believe no fracking should take place in the UK until the process has passed the test of much more scientific, evidence-based research. There are too many unanswered questions. And there must always be provision for local communities that are likely to be affected to have a real say on what happens beneath their feet.