This is an example of many automated emails we received regarding our Oceans:
I am emailing as your constituent to ask for your urgent support to protect our oceans.
Overfishing, plastic pollution, and oil drilling are gutting our oceans of life and destroying delicate ecosystems. We need to act urgently to protect them if we have any hope of tackling the climate and nature emergency. As my MP you have the opportunity to act by supporting a bold Global Ocean Treaty.
Right now, only 1% of the world’s oceans are protected. Scientists say that we need to protect at least 30% by 2030, through a network of ocean sanctuaries, placing huge areas of the ocean off-limits to human activity. And for the first time in history, there’s a process underway to make this possible: a Global Ocean Treaty, that’s being negotiated at the UN.
But the talks are currently on a knife edge - and could result in a weak treaty unable to properly protect marine life. This would be a disaster for our blue planet, and could spell disaster for us too, as our survival and that of the oceans are so interlinked.
To get the ambitious deal our oceans and climate need, we need senior politicians in the negotiating room who can push for a strong treaty. That’s why I am emailing to ask you to urgently write to, or speak directly to the Prime Minister, telling him to send a senior minister to New York for the final round of Global Ocean Treaty negotiations.
We cannot miss this once in a lifetime chance to save our oceans. Will you contact the Prime Minister?
Click this link to confirm you’ll contact the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, asking him to back a strong and historic Global Ocean Treaty: https://act.greenpeace.org/page/54904/petition/1?contact=907646
Once you have clicked the link, you will then be provided with a detailed briefing from Greenpeace, and a template letter to the PM that you can adapt if useful.
Here is our standardised response:
Thank you for your email about protecting our oceans.
Please note that I have had a number of emails about this crucial issue and I have taken the following actions:
- Attended an excellent Stroud Greenpeace exhibition at Strand Valley Art Space Ocean Experience: Journey from Pole to Pole to see the work and talk to local campaigners about the UN Global Treaty.
- Raised the issue on all my social media platforms.
- Directly asked the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister, Heather Wheeler MP, in the House of Commons chamber about the Government’s commitment to our oceans and the UN Global Treaty. The exchange was as follows:
“At the weekend, I had the pleasure of attending a Stroud Greenpeace exhibition about climate change and protecting our oceans. Will the Foreign and Commonwealth Office continue to advocate for international agreement on climate change at the United Nations? Will the Minister tell us more about the Government’s commitment to protecting our oceans and the work on the UN global treaty negotiations?”
The Minister answered as follows:
“I thank my hon. Friend for that question. This is the first time I have answered a question from her, so I welcome her to her place. I welcome my hon. Friend’s view on international oceans. We are looking for a maximum ambition on oceans to protect them for future generations, and I am working hard with Lord Goldsmith on that ambitious project.”
- I am writing to the Prime Minister, Lord Goldsmith and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to encourage the Government to work with other countries towards a new global commitment for a UN high seas treaty. This would pave the way to protect at least 30 per cent of the world’s ocean by 2030.
Whilst writing, I feel it is important to set out what the Government has been doing already.
The UK is now on course to protect over half of its waters, 41 new Marine Conservation Zones have recently been created. The UK now has 355 Marine Protected Areas of different types, spanning 220,000 square km. No new activities deemed damaging will be allowed to take place in these areas and existing harmful activities will be minimised or stopped to allow important habitats to recover. A review has now been launched into whether and how Highly Protected Marine Areas, the strongest form of marine protection, could be introduced in English seas.
I am also pleased that the UK is on track to protect 4 million square kilometres of ocean across our Overseas Territories by 2020, and is backing an Ascension Island bid to protect 100 per cent of its offshore waters.
The Government is working hard to reduce plastic pollution in the ocean and is leading global efforts to tackle the problem through support of the G7 Oceans Plastics Charter, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy and the Commonwealth Blue Charter. In April 2018, the UK launched the Commonwealth Clean Ocean Alliance alongside Vanuatu, encouraging its 25 member countries to take steps to eliminate avoidable single-use plastics.
The forthcoming International Ocean Strategy will set out plans to work with international partners to secure a sustainable, prosperous and secure ocean future.
On Tuesday, the Prime Minister, alongside Sir David Attenborough launched the next UN climate change conference – COP26 – which is being held in Glasgow in November. I know everyone has high expectations for this conference and I hope a new international agreement will work towards further protecting our oceans.
Of course, there is always more work to do but we should be proud of our work with outstanding campaign groups such as Greenpeace. It is due to this that I am confident that we will be listened to going forward.
Finally, please forgive me for the standardised response. I have received a significant number of the automated emails about this and I wanted to respond quickly so you can see what I have been doing as result of the enquiries.