Open letter: Climate action now
Climate Activists, Celebrities and Artists write to the Prime Minister
To coincide with the UN Climate Change Conference, COP28, in Dubai, actors, activists, artists, designers and writers such as Mikaela Loach, actor Brian Cox, Bella Ramsey, Bill Nighy and Annie Lennox sent a letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, urging him we need climate action now.
Oxfam – along with over 138,000 people – is calling for the UK to tax the biggest and richest polluters, to fund the urgent fight against the climate crisis.
Dear Prime Minister
As world leaders assemble at the UN climate summit, COP28, in Dubai, we are writing to demand the UK steps up to provide the money urgently needed to support people in lower-income countries already bearing the brunt of an escalating climate crisis they did little to cause.
There is no doubt, this is a crucial time for the future of our planet. Around the world lives are being destroyed on an unprecedented scale, as wildfires, droughts and floods occur with a staggering increased frequency and intensity – but the effects of climate change are not felt equally.
It is a gross injustice that those least responsible for the climate crisis are suffering its worst impacts – facing poverty, hunger, and ever more scarce resources.
In East Africa, one of the regions worst hit by climate change, climate-induced drought, flood, and ongoing conflict has left 26 million people without enough food to eat - their animals have died; crops have failed; and their ability to cope has been stretched to breaking point.
After the historic decision at COP27 last year to establish a Loss and Damage fund to help communities in countries most vulnerable to climate change deal with its devastating consequences – one of the key questions for this year’s summit is who will pay.
That’s why we’re joining together to demand that action to tackle the climate crisis must be fair. The UK is a huge historical emitter and has to take responsibility for this. By raising taxes on the biggest and richest polluters - who have emitted the most and profited through their polluting actions - the government can quickly and fairly secure much-needed funds while ensuring the costs do not fall on ordinary UK households.
From increasing taxes on the super-rich, to ending the millions in tax relief that the fossil fuel industry receives each year, the UK could have raised an extra £23 billion last year. This money could be used to ensure a fair switch to renewable energy - reducing bills and emissions - as well as used to help communities, such as those in East Africa, worst hit by climate change to adapt and recover.
The UK government can and must do more. We should be leading by example and accelerating our path to a fossil fuel free future. The biggest and richest polluters have caused – and continue to cause – irreversible damage to our planet, and it's only fair that they are the ones footing the bill.
A better future is possible, but we cannot afford any more delays. Now is the time for action.
Abigael Kima, climate activist, Kenya
Aisling Bea, actor, writer and stand up.
Annie Lennox, singer-songwriter and political activist.
Bella Ramsey, actor.
Bill Nighy, actor.
Brian Cox, actor.
Daniel Lismore, living sculpture and designer.
Dara McAnulty, author, naturalist and conservationist.
Dominique Palmer, climate justice activist and speaker.
Frankie Boyle, comedian.
Jeremy Irons, actor.
Hilda Flavia Nakabuye, climate, gender and environmental rights activist who founded Fridays for Future Uganda.
Lavetanalagi Seru, Regional Coordinator at Pacific Islands Climate Action Network and activist.
Livia Firth, professional agitator, Founder and Creative director Eco-Age, co-founder The Circle NGO, sustainability editor Vogue Arabia, UN Women advisor.
Maxine Peake, actor, playwright, producer, director and political activist.
Mikaela Loach, author: It’s Not That Radical, climate justice organiser.
Paloma Faith, singer-songwriter.
Romola Garai, actor, writer and director.
Stella McCartney, fashion designer.
Tori Tsui, climate justice activist, organiser, writer, consultant and speaker.
Zamzam Ibrahim, climate Justice campaigner, facilitator, trainer, UN Advisor, co-founder of the Muslim Leadership Foundation and Students Organising for Sustainability (SOS-UK).