10:10 – it’s what you do that counts

This week’s resolution – to blog more, rather than to put everything out on Twitter. So, I’m on train to London, ready for another week in Parliament and hoping it’s better than last week. Tomorrow we have the Second Reading of the Constitutional Reform Bill (I could try to list what’s in it here, but I shall be lazy and perhaps post the Hansard account later on). Today it’s Conservative Opposition Day and they’re going on the economy. Unusually they’re taking up the whole six hours with one topic; usually it’s two. And interestingly the speakers for the Tories are Ken Clarke and – correction from earlier version – Theresa May, not Phil Hammond, because it’s an Economy and Welfare debate and she’s shadow DWP). Boy George is obviously off polishing his conkers. (Actually it was the parliamentary conker championship last Wednesday, politicians against the press. Having the hand-eye co-ordination of a goldfish, I didn’t take part, and I don’t know who won). The debate is going on now, and Ken Clarke has just given a rather lacklustre performance.

On Wednesday the Lib Dems have been quite clever/ sneaky. They also have an Opposition Day, and judging from the emails coming in, one of their topics will be the 10:10 commitment, calling on Parliament, Government and all the public sector to sign up. I say sneaky because Ed Miliband has already made clear he wants as many people/ organisations as possible to sign up, and this is the Lib Dem way of making it ‘their’ issue. But still, it’s a good cause and deserves to be brought to greater public attention.

What’s important though is not how many sign up; it’s whether they actually act upon the pledge. It’s very easy to say ‘I’m supporting 10:10’ but not so easy to sit down and work out how to cut 10% from your own carbon footprint. (It’s actually relatively easy if you haven’t been environmentally conscious till now… in the same way it’s easier to go on a diet if you eat Big Macs and KFC every day and drink 10 pints a night.)

I will, before 2010 is upon us, sit down with the Guardian’s 10:10 guide and work out what I’m going to do, but seeing as I’m already vegan, drive a Smart car (once or twice a week), have one plug-in radiator that heats the entire flat, don’t have a loft or cavity walls (so can’t insulate), don’t have a garden (so composting is a bit difficult) and don’t really have any household appliances due for replacement, I think it will have to be flying that takes the hit. This year I will have flown three times – to Zambia and (next month) to Lebanon on parliamentary business*, and to Spain on holiday. The year before was much worse than that, I think I went to Bangladesh, India, Zambia, Florida (for the US elections)… So next year, I will seek to improve on that. I will also put lids on my saucepans when cooking!

*I pulled out of the Lebanon trip, so only one long-haul, one short-haul flight this year. Though that actually makes 10:10 harder for me, not easier, doesn’t it!

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