That was Mayor Sadiq Khan, one of the most powerful elected politicians of the Labor Party.
In view of the climate emergency and air pollution crisis declared in London, activists asked him to suspend and review the project. The pandemic and Brexit have also upended traffic forecasts.
But the mayor said no.
As Len Duvall, leader of the Labour Party in the London Parliament, said in a communication about the tunnel project: “He [the Mayor] Will not be reviewed! “
Regarding the warning that civil disobedience may disrupt construction, Duval replied: “I suspect you are right, there will be some form of direct action. And it [the tunnel] It will still be built! “
Ryan, can I remind you? This is not a mafia movie, nor a third-rate Netflix series about medieval citizens, in which you play a tough guy.
This is our life, and it is also the life of our children-they are the people choked by particles in the school near the tunnel, remember? – Facing the climate crisis in the largest city in Europe.
And you, Heidi Alexander, the deputy mayor for transportation.
You have been invited to participate in all the largest public events discussing the tunnel project-a large public meeting organized by Speak Out Woolwich in July 2019, and Stop the Silvertown Tunnel Internet Conference Last December, remember? ——But you are too busy. Too busy with democracy.
However, in a closed-door meeting with activists, the time you met with opponents of the tunnel project in July 2019, you declared that the traffic queuing at the Blackwall Tunnel (Silvertown Tunnel will run side by side with the tunnel) was impossible Endure. A huge new tunnel is the only answer.
As a reminder, in times of climate change, transportation policies must focus on reducing the number of cars, and most cars waiting in the Blackwall Tunnel during peak hours have only one person. You answered, “Well, this is how people live.”
The politics here is very clear. This has an analogy with American diplomats, who thwarted the attempt to include greenhouse gas emission targets into international agreements at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. They said: “The American way of life has no room for negotiation.”
Just as the right of American Petroleum Corporation to increase production and the right of American voters to drive larger and larger SUVs were not negotiated at the time, so-you say, Deputy Mayor Alexander-the right of people to drive to their subsidized parking spaces in Canary Wharf, and The right of transportation companies to run their HGV on highways has not yet been negotiated.
Of course, Deputy Mayor Alexander does not deny climate science like some American diplomats. But she is practicing another kind of denial: denying that climate change has any impact on policies here and now—in this case, transportation policies.
More than a quarter of a century of inaction after Rio de Janeiro.Some time after climate scientists Already warned In order to achieve the goal of decarbonization, no new fossil fuel infrastructure should be built.
Why are the rights of transportation companies and middle-class drivers not negotiated, but the rights of working people?
If the Silvertown Tunnel project continues, East London students will pay the price for their health. Low-income households without cars will pay because London’s underinvested public transport system further restricts their mobility.
Moreover, if the authorities in the global North continue to build fossil fuel infrastructure like the authorities in Greater London, people-the global South in the first place-will pay the price of lives and livelihoods.
Last August, during a protest against the tunnel project, Newham Labor MP Suga Thekkeppurayil took this home.
At a rally outside Transport for London’s headquarters, Thekkeppurayil pointed out the threat of rising sea levels in Bangladesh, the response of the Bangladeshi people to India, the anti-Muslim citizen law passed by the Indian government to intimidate them, and this series of ecological and environmental issues. The injustice and suffering caused by social disasters are like mountains.
Thekkeppurayil said that this is how climate change occurs in reality, and climate change is aggravated by infrastructure projects such as the Silvertown Tunnel.
As the impact of climate change on the global South accelerates, I expect we will see differences in how the Social Democratic parties in the North respond.
The same is true for the British Labour Party. Its London leadership may have had a tough discussion about the future tunnel-but the London branch of the Socialist Health Association, the Labour Party in nine constituencies and the 22 Labour Party branches in the capital have all called for it to be stopped.
The Welsh Labour Government has Freeze all new road construction projects While conducting the review. Vice Minister of Climate Change Lee Waters stated that climate change means “redirected investment”.
He added: “If we keep going, we won’t reach net zero until 2090. Scientists tell us that we won’t be able to stop this loss of control until 2050 at the latest.”
The Mayor of London is facing increasing pressure and needs to start facing these unpleasant realities.After all, even if “the mayor will not change his mind”, it does not mean that global warming will change its mind.
Global warming is the result of the interaction between humans and the natural world, just like the coronavirus-it has not changed its mind, regardless of whether Boris “I shake hands with everyone” Johnson and Matt “We are protecting the nursing home” Hancock in Their minds.
If the mayor does not change his mind, and other politicians in the global north do not change their minds-if they continue to advance fossil fuel infrastructure projects like the Silver City Tunnel-then more and more emission reduction targets will not be achieved.
The hard and miserable peaks of the Indian subcontinent and other places on the front line of climate influence will increase.
By stopping the Silvertown Tunnel, we can help solve the local difficulties caused by the car-centric transportation system and the air pollution it generates, as well as the global climate change crisis.
Simon Pirani is a supporter of the Stop the Silvertown Tunnel Alliance. The views expressed in this article are his own.