"Poor harvest is climate change in action"

10 October 2012


THE GREEN Party has criticised the coalition’s lack of action to tackle climate change, after the wettest summer in a century sends harvests plummeting.    

The statement comes after NFU released the results of a survey showing that high rainfall across the UK led to dramatic reductions in crop yields, including a 14.1% drop in wheat harvests.

The 14.25 inches of rain that fell in June, July and August made this summer the wettest since 1912.

Caroline Allen, Green Party spokesperson said: “The poor crop yields will have a knock on effect on food prices, which had been rising by record amounts even before this news. With people already struggling from flat-lining incomes and benefit levels that are insufficient for a basic decent life, we will see more and more people struggling to feed themselves.”

“We certainly can't rely on the global food market to feed us; droughts in the US and a heatwave in Russia have had a devastating effect on their crops, and across the world unusual weather events are severely affecting food production. This is climate change in action, with researchers suggesting the increasingly wet summers in this country are due to a warmer Atlantic, so we need to expect this trend of wet summers to continue.”

The NFU’s survey comes the day after Owen Paterson, the Environment Secretary, announced his intention to slash subsidies to wind power. He also referred to shale gas as an ‘extraordinary windfall’.

Meanwhile, Chancellor George Osborne was announcing a “generous new tax regime” for corporations exploiting the gas reserves, effectively rubbishing the Conservative’s pre-election promise to be the ‘greenest government ever’.

Ms. Allen said: “We must act urgently to reduce our carbon emissions to limit further devastating impacts on our ability to feed ourselves, and yet climate change seemed to hardly get a mention at both the Conservative and Labour Party conferences. It is unbelievable that these politicians are ignoring what is likely to be the biggest threat to food security, health and economic stability in this country.”

The Green Party rejects the false choice of poverty or environmental degradation that is being offered by the coalition. We support sustained investment in renewable energy, and an end to tax breaks for the exploiters of fossil fuels.

George Osborne’s discredited economic and ideological agenda is committing us to a period of economic and environmental insecurity unparalleled in the UK since the 1970s, except this time, the consequences for future generations may be far greater.



For more information contact Zoe Hall on 0207 549 0315 or zoe.hall@greenparty.org.uk



1.)   Wettest summer since 1912: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19890250

2.)   14.24in of rainfall: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/food-prices-to-rise-on-poor-harvest-due-to-wet-summer-8204772.html

3.)   For the results from the NFU’s survey, visit: http://www.nfuonline.com/News/A-mixed-harvest,-but-wheat-well-down/

4.)   For more information about Green Party spokesperson Caroline Allen, visit: http://www.greenparty.org.uk/people/caroline-allen.html

5.)   For Owen Paterson’s remarks, visit: http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/2012/10/conservative-conference-owen-paterson-says-yes-to-shale-gas-and-no-to-wind-farms-subsidies/

6.)   http://www.springerlink.com/content/vllu5p87j475605m

7.)   https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B1gFp6Ioo3akYklZcWkwWHJud00/edit?pli=1

8.)   For George Osborne’s promise of a ‘generous new tax regime’ for shale gas, visit: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/osborne-offers-tax-breaks-for-shale-gas-8202949.html

9.)   For more information about the Green Party’s agricultural policies, visit: http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/fa

10.)  For more information about the Green Party, visit: http://www.greenparty.org.uk/


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