National Climate change Emergency motion adopted now how about by Harborough

2 May 2019

Our national legislature, the house of commons, has passed a motion to declare a Climate change emergency. What will it take for our local councils to do the same?

There is definately momentum behind the climate change movement. After decades of attempting to be heard there has recently been a step change in the way the public & politicians view the subject.

This, in Part, can be attributed to the actions of the School strike campaign, the Extinction rebellion and Sir David Attenboroughs timely documentary "Climate Change - The Facts. 

The Harborough, Oadby & Wigston Green party are calling on the council to debate and pass a motion to declare a Climate change emergency. However, council rules mean that only sitting councillors can propose

On Feburary the second, Darren Woodiwiss sent the following model motion to his ward (Welland) Councillors and asked the present it to council to be debated. To their credit, the Lib Dems responded said they would discuss it. We note from their literature during the local elections that they have said they will support a motion, it does not say if they will present it or not.

Some recent reference material on the climate change emergency campaign

 

Watch "Climate change - The facts"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ypaUH57MO4

Greta Thunburgs speech to parliament on April 26th

https://www.resilience.org/stories/2019-04-26/you-did-not-act-in-time-greta-thunbergs-full-speech-to-mps/

Caroline Lucas' speech during the debate on May 1st

https://www.carolinelucas.com/latest/climate-emergency-debate

 

The motion reads as follows:

The IPCC Special Report on Global Warming published in October 2018 states that we have just 12 years to act on climate change if global temperature rises are to be kept within the recommended 1.5 degrees Celsius.
 
All governments (national, regional and local) have a duty to limit the negative impacts of climate change, and local authorities that recognise this should not wait for their national governments to change their policies. UK cities, boroughs and districts need to commit to ambitious reduction targets and carbon neutrality as quickly as possible
 
Full Council Motion
Declare a Climate Emergency 
Full Council notes: 
  1. Humans have already caused irreversible climate change, the impacts of which are being felt around the world. Global temperatures have already increased by 1 degree Celsius from pre-industrial levels. Atmospheric CO2 levels are above 400 parts per million (ppm). This far exceeds the 350 ppm deemed to be a safe level for humanity; 
  2. In order to reduce the chance of runaway Global Warming and limit the effects of Climate Breakdown, it is imperative that we as a species reduce our CO2eq (carbon equivalent) emissions from their current 6.5 tonnes per person per year to less than 2 tonnes as soon as possible;(1) 
  3. Individuals cannot be expected to make this reduction on their own. Society needs to change its laws, taxation, infrastructure, etc., to make low carbon living easier and the new norm; 
  4. Carbon emissions result from both production and consumption; 
  5. Unfortunately, our current plans and actions are not enough. The world is on track to overshoot the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C limit before 2050;(2, 3) 
  6. 7. The IPCC’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, published in October, describes the enormous harm that a 2°C rise is likely to cause compared to a 1.5°C rise, and told us that limiting Global Warming to 1.5°C may still be possible with ambitious action from national and sub-national authorities, civil society, the private sector, indigenous peoples and local communities; (3) 
  7. Councils around the world are responding by declaring a ‘Climate Emergency’ and committing resources to address this emergency. (4) 
Full Council believes that: 
  1. All governments (national, regional and local) have a duty to limit the negative impacts of Climate Breakdown, and local governments that recognise this should not wait for their national governments to change their policies. It is important for the residents of Harborough district and the UK that communities commit to carbon neutrality as quickly as possible; 
  2. The consequences of global temperature rising above 1.5°C are so severe that preventing this from happening must be humanity’s number one priority; and, 
  3. Bold climate action can deliver economic benefits in terms of new jobs, economic savings and market opportunities (as well as improved well-being for people worldwide). 
Full Council calls on the Leader of the Council to: 
  1. Declare a ‘Climate Emergency’; 
  2. Pledge to make the district of Harborough carbon neutral by 2030, taking into account both production and consumption emissions (scope 1, 2 and 3) (5); 
  3. Call on Westminster to provide the powers and resources to make the 2030 target possible; 
  4. Work with other governments (both within the UK and internationally) to determine and implement best practice methods to limit Global Warming to less than 1.5°C; 
  5. Continue to work with partners across the district to deliver this new goal through all relevant strategies and plans; 
  6. Report to Full Council within six months with the actions the Council will take to address this emergency. 
References: 
1. Fossil CO2 & GHG emissions of all world countries, 2017: 
http://edgar.jrc.ec.europa.eu/overview.php?v=CO2andGHG1970-2016&dst=GHGpc 
2. World Resources Institute: https://www.wri.org/blog/2018/10/8-things-you-need-know-about-ipcc-15-c-report 
3. The IPCC’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5oC: https://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15/ 
4. Including US cities Berkeley: https://www.theclimatemobilization.org/blog/2018/6/13/berkeley-unanimously-declares- climate-emergency and Hoboken: https://www.theclimatemobilization.org/blog/2018/4/25/hoboken-resolves-to- mobilize, and the C40 cities: https://www.c40.org/other/deadline-2020 
5. Scope 1, 2 and 3 of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol explained: 
https://www.carbontrust.com/resources/faqs/services/scope-3-indirect-carbon-emissions