Extinction Rebellion members march through Portsmouth to ask MPs to hold government to account

DETERMINED campaigners marched through the city centre asking that Portsmouth MPs hold the government to account over its 'failure' to tackle climate change.

Thursday, 25th June 2020, 6:43 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th June 2020, 6:44 pm
Portsmouth Extinction Rebellion marched to the civic offices to present a letter to Stephen Morgan and Penny Mordaunt asking them to put pressure on the government about climate change action on 25 June 2020. Pictured: Selma Heimedinger outside Portsmouth Guildhall. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Members of Portsmouth Extinction Rebellion (XR) protested through Commercial Road this afternoon (June 25) before delivering a letter of demands for MPs Stephen Morgan and Penny Mordaunt to the civic offices in Guildhall Square.

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The group was one of multiple XR branches across the UK to hold the demonstration, marking the same day that the Committee on Climate Change brought out its annual progress report to government.

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Portsmouth Extinction Rebellion marched to the civic offices to present a letter to Stephen Morgan and Penny Mordaunt asking them to put pressure on the government about climate change action on 25 June 2020. Pictured: Protestors Alison Van Haeften, Eve McHugh, Amberley Rankin and Selma Heimedinger outside Portsmouth Guildhall. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Selma Heimedinger, one of the co-ordinators of Portsmouth XR, said: 'We have marched from the top of Commercial Road to Guildhall Square to deliver a letter to our MPs asking them to speak out on the government's failure to meet the targets set by the committee.

'The committee's report tells the government what it should be doing to tackle the climate emergency. But it's always disappointing to compare it to what's actually being done.

'We need to act now. They have been doing these reports every year and things aren't moving fast enough.

'We are hoping they can put climate change on the top of their agenda. They say they are going to do all these things but they never do.'

Portsmouth Extinction Rebellion have marched to the civic offices to present a letter to Stephen Morgan and Penny Mordaunt asking them to put pressure on the government about climate change action on 25 June 2020. Pictured: Selma Heimedinger outside Portsmouth Guildhall. Picture: Habibur Rahman

It comes after the city council declared a climate emergency in 2019 and set up a climate change action board tasked with making the city carbon neutral by 2030.

Selma added: 'There's also a difference between what national and local government say and do. The government has said it wants to be carbon neautral by 2050, but Portsmouth City Council has a target to be carbon neutral by 2030. We think it needs to be a shared vision.

'It's all very well saying our target is in whatever year but we are also asking MPs to speak to government to change their date.'

The Committee on Climate Change's progress report, published today, ruled the government's investment priorities should be in low-carbon retrofits and buildings, tree planting, peatland restoration, and green infrastructure, strengthening energy networks, infrastructure to make it easy for people to walk, cycle, and work remotely, and moving towards a circular economy.

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