Climate Emergency

We are following closely the climate emergency responses from the local and regional councils that have declared them and are keen to help and add to these efforts. We will post more information here as declaration responses become more defined.

Declaration of Climate Emergency by Wells City Council 25/4/19

Motion calling on Wells City Council to declare a Climate Emergency:

Full Council notes:

  1. human activity has already caused irreversible climate change, the impact of which is felt around the world. Global temperatures have increased by over 1 degree Celsius from pre—industrial levels. Atmospheric CO2 levels are over 406 parts per million (ppm), far exceeding the 350 ppm deemed a ‘safe’ level for humanity“. The world is on track to overshoot the Paris Agreements 1.5°C limit before 2030;2′ 3
  2. the iPCC‘s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C published in November 2018 describes the harm that a 2°C rise is likely to cause, and tells us that limiting Global Warming to 1.5°C may still be possible with ambitious action from national and regional authorities, civil society, the private sector, indigenous peoples and local communities”;
  3. in order to reduce the chance of runaway Global Warming and limit the effects of Climate Breakdown, it is imperative that each of us reduces our CO2 eq (carbon equivalent) emissions from their current 6.5 tonnes per person per year to less than 2 tonnes without delay;
  4. individuals can accept responsibility for living in a more sustainable way but cannot be expected to make all changes without support. Carbon emissions result from both production and consumption, so Governments – national, regional and local – must change legislation. standards and their approach to meet the need to reduce our C02 eq emissions and make low carbon living easier to achieve and the new ‘norm’;
  5. Local Authorities and Councils across the world are responding by declaring a ‘Climate Emergency’ and committing to address this emergency. in the South West, many Councils have already taken this step.4
  6. the Covenant of Mayors, a free network of towns and cities around the globe who have committed to reducing carbon emissions by 2030. The network enables members to share best practice, ideas and funding, and works to create a Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan (SECAP) every two years which enables towns and cities to track progress towards meeting their zero carbon targets.

Full Council believes that:

  1. All governments have a duty to limit the negative impacts of Climate Breakdown, and local government recognises it cannot and should not wait for national government to act.
  2. It is important for the residents of the City of Wells that its Council commits to reducing C02 eq emissions and works towards carbon neutrality as quickly as possible;
  3. Bold climate action can deliver economic benefits by way of new jobs, economic savings. market opportunities and improved well-being.

Full Council moves to:

  1. Declare a ‘Climate Emergency’;
  2. Pledge to make the City of Wells carbon neutral by 2030, working proactively with others where opportunities arise, taking into account both production and consumption
    emissions (scope 1, 2 and 3)5;
  3. Become a signatory to the Covenant of Mayors;
  4. Work with residents, organisations and community action groups across the City to deliver this new goal through all relevant plans and actions;
  5. Assist the City of Wells“ residents to become more resilient to the impacts of global warming;
  6. Report to Full Council before the end of 2019 with the actions the Council has, and will take. to address this emergency.
  7. Report to the City of Wells’ residents on an annual basis to demonstrate progress in making the City of Wells carbon neutral by 2030.

Declaration of Climate Emergency by Mendip District Council 25/2/19

Motion: MDC Declare a Climate and Ecological 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. Mendip District Council has already shown foresight and leadership when it comes to addressing the issue of Climate Breakdown, having banned single use plastics in it’s activities, setting up a climate change working group and banning fracking in Mendip.

6. 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

7.  The International Panel on Climate Change – IPCC’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, published October 2018, 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 if the UK gets to zero emissions by 2030 but only with ambitious action from national and sub-national authorities, civil society, the private sector, indigenous peoples and local communities3;

8.  Councils around the UK and 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 Mendip and the UK that districts 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.

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 Mendip District Council to:

1. Declare a ‘Climate and Ecological Emergency’;

2.  Pledge to make the district of Mendip 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 councils and governments 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 and region to deliver this new goal through all relevant strategies and plans;

6. Submit a bid as part of the Council’s budget setting process for an additional £80,000 to fund a ‘Sustainability’ Officer Post for a two year period to champion the scoping and delivery of the District Council’s Climate Emergency 2030 commitment.

7. Report to Full Council every 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

Somerset Climate Change Emergency 20/2/19

Full Council notes:

  1. Human activity has already caused irreversible climate change, the impact of which is felt around the world. Global temperatures have increased by over 1 degree Celsius from pre-industrial levels. Atmospheric CO2 levels are over
    406 parts per million (ppm), far exceeding the 350 ppm deemed a ‘safe’ level for humanity6. The world is on track to overshoot the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C limit before 2030;2, 3
  2. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C published in November 2018 describes the harm that a 2°C rise is likely to cause, and tells 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 communities3
  3. In order to reduce the chance of runaway Global Warming and limit the effects of Climate Breakdown, it is imperative that each of us reduces our CO2eq (carbon equivalent) emissions from their current 6.5 tonnes per person per year
    to less than 2 tonnes without delay;1, 6
  4. Individuals can accept responsibility for living in a more sustainable way but cannot be expected to make these changes on their own. Carbon emissions result from both production and consumption, so Governments – national,
    regional and local – must change legislation, standards and their approach to meet the need to reduce our CO2eq emissions and make low carbon living easier to achieve and the new ‘norm’;
  5. Local Authorities and Councils across the world are responding by declaring a ‘Climate Emergency’ and committing to address this emergency – in the South West, Bristol has already taken this step;4
  6. Somerset, with its long coastline and large low lying areas across the Levels and Moors, is particularly vulnerable to effects of Climate Change.

Full Council believes that:

  1. All governments have a duty to limit the negative impacts of Climate Breakdown, and local government recognises it cannot and should not wait for national government to act.
  2. It is important for the residents of Somerset that its Councils commit to reducing CO2eq emissions and work towards carbon neutrality as quickly as possible;
  3. Bold climate action can deliver economic benefits by way of new jobs, economic savings, market opportunities and improved well-being.

Full Council resolves to:


(a) affirm the Council’s recognition of the scale and urgency of the global challenge from climate change, as documented by the latest Special Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and declares a climate emergency; and
(b) mandate the Policy and Place Scrutiny Committee to review and recommend what further corporate approaches can be taken through a SCC Climate Change Strategy and to facilitate stronger Somerset-wide action through collaboration at a strategic, community and individual level; and
(c) pledge to work with partners, including the Heart of the South West LEP, individuals and community action groups across the county to identify ways to make Somerset carbon neutral by 2030, taking into account both production and consumption emissions (scope 1, 2 and 3)5;; and
(d) write to the Secretaries of State for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy, Transport, Environment, Food & Rural Affairs and Housing, Communities & Local Government calling for the creation, provision or devolution of powers and resources to make achievement of the 2030 target possible here in Somerset; and
(e) report to Full Council before the end of 2019 with the actions the Council has and will take to address this emergency; and
(f) allocate £25,000 from the Council’s 2018/19 contingency budget and authorise the Lead Director for Economic and Community Infrastructure to utilise this funding to resource the work necessary to support Scrutiny Committee for Policies and Place and to assess any specific recommendations and financial implications. Any unspent allocation will be carried forward into 2019/20 to continue the work.


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-climateemergency
    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
  6. Assessing “Dangerous Climate Change”: Required reduction of Carbon Emissions to protect
    young people, future generations and nature:
    https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0081648