Greens seek support for Climate Emergency motion

14 February 2019

Exeter Green Party councillor, Chris Musgrave, will seek support from Exeter City Council to declare a Climate Emergency at the full council meeting on Tuesday 26th February and a pledge to make the city carbon neutral by 2030 [1]. If passed, the motion would oblige the Council to present a climate emergency strategy with a clear action plan and budget within six months.

Send a letter to your local councillor urging them to back the motion - see below

The motion comes in the wake of the report by the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change published last November, which warned of the huge harm that a 2°C rise in average global temperature is likely to cause compared to a 1.5°C rise. The report urged firm action within 12 years from national and regional government, civil society, the private sector and local communities if we are to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Exeter would join cities across the UK that are responding by declaring a Climate Emergency and committing resources to addressing the issue. Cornwall Council recently agreed such a motion and Devon County Council are set to vote on a Climate Emergency motion on 21st February.

Cllr Musgrave said:

“Exeter is uniquely placed to demonstrate how cities can lead the way in reducing carbon emissions and create a carbon neutral future. There is extensive expertise and commitment across the city and Exeter City Council already has good working partnerships between local agencies, experts, communities, activists and residents.

“It is also clear that bold climate action can deliver economic benefits, providing new jobs in areas like retrofitting buildings, local food production and public transport. Action on climate change can also improve the lives of local residents through lower fuel bills, reduced air pollution and healthier more active lifestyles.

“Climate scientists say we don’t have long to act but they also believe, if we act fast, we can avert climate breakdown which would have a terrible impact on the lives of our children and grandchildren. Exeter must join other cities like Bristol, Brighton and Oxford and declare a Climate Emergency with a clear pledge to make the city carbon neutral by 2030.” 

[1] Full Motion: Declare a Climate Emergency

Full Council notes:

  1. The IPCC’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, published last November, describes the enormous harm that a 2°C rise is likely to cause compared to a 1.5°C rise1 but that limiting 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 communities2;
  2. City Councilsin the UKand around the world are responding by declaring a ‘Climate Emergency’ and committing resources to address this emergency2.
  3. Exeter City Council has previously published a Climate Change strategy and action plan3. This plan from 2008-2018 sought to address emissions related to homes, businesses, new developments, transport and waste but many of the targets set in this strategy were not met.
  4. There is a partnership between Exeter City Council and Exeter City Futures4 which seeks to bring together local government, the private sector and communities to jointly address carbon emissions, particularly related to transport and energy.

Full Council believes that:

  1. Cities are uniquely placed to lead the world in reducing carbon emissions, as they are in many ways easier to decarbonise than rural areas – for example because of their capacity for heat networks and mass transit;
  2. Strategies and action plans to date, delivered by Exeter City Council acting alone, or in partnership with other bodies, have lacked the necessary ambition to adequately contribute to preventing an overshoot of the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C warming limit before 2050;
  3. There is extensive expertise and commitment across Exeter to tackle our climate emergency and working partnerships between local agencies, experts, communities, activists and residents can bring about profound change;
  4. Bold climate action can deliver economic benefits in terms of new jobs, economic savings and market opportunities, as well as improved well-being and quality of life for Exeter residents through for example lower fuel bills, reduced air pollution and healthier more active lifestyles.

Full Council agrees to:

  1. Declare a ‘Climate Emergency’;
  2. Pledge to make the city of Exeter carbon neutral by 2030 or sooner, taking into account both production and consumption emissions;
  3. Call on Westminster to provide the powers and resources to make the 2030 target possible;
  4. Continue to work with partners across the city and region, including Devon County Council, to deliver this new goal through all relevant strategies and plans;
  5. Work with other cities regionally, nationally and internationally that have declared a similar climate emergency to determine and implement best practice methods to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 or sooner5;
  6. Report to Full Council within six months with a climate emergency strategy, and clear action plan with budget.
  7. Review progress on the action plan annually through the Council’s scrutiny process.

References to motion:

  1. https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/sites/2/2018/11/SR15_Chapter3_Low_Res.pdf
  2. https://www.c40.org/other/deadline-2020
  3. http://committees.exeter.gov.uk/documents/s2441/Climate%20Change%20Strategy%20Appendix%20II.pdf
  4. https://www.exetercityfutures.com/our-goals/

C40 Cities summary for urban policymakers: https://www.c40.org/researches/summary-for-urban-policymakers-what-the-ipcc-special-report-on-global-warming-of-1-5-c-means-for-cities Zero Carbon Britain: Making It Happen: http://www.zerocarbonbritain.org/images/pdfs/ZeroCarbonBritain-MakingItHappen.pdf

 

Example letter to send to your local councillor.

Find your councillor here

Dear Cllr _________________

 

On Tuesday 26th February, at full council meeting, Cllr Chris Musgrave will propose a motion which will declare a climate emergency and pledge to make Exeter a carbon neutral city by 2030 or sooner. I am writing to request you support this motion and let me know that you will give it your full backing.  

The recent report from scientists on the IPCC makes clear that if we are to prevent climate breakdown and keep global temperature rise to a maximum of 1.5⁰C we need rapid and dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Cities are uniquely placed to lead the world in reducing carbon emissions, as they are in many ways easier to decarbonise than rural areas.  

Exeter City Council has previously published a climate change strategy and action plan but the targets in this plan lack the ambition needed and many have not been achieved anyway. However, with extensive expertise and commitment across Exeter, and existing partnerships, for example between Exeter City Council and Exeter City Futures, the city has the potential to show real leadership on tackling our climate emergency, working together with local agencies, experts, businesses, communities, activists and residents.

Local Authorities around the world are responding to the threats and challenges posed by climate change by declaring a ‘Climate Emergency’ and committing resources to address this emergency. I believe Exeter City Council should join cities such as Bristol, Oxford and Brighton and commit to bold action that will contribute to safeguarding our planet for future generations. Tackling climate change will also deliver a host of economic and social benefits in terms of new jobs, economic savings, new market opportunities as well as improved health and well-being. 

I therefore urge you to back the motion on Tuesday 26th February and pledge support to transforming Exeter into a carbon neutral city by 2030. The more cities that make such a pledge the greater will be the pressure on Westminster to provide the powers and resources to make the 2030 target possible.

Thank-you. I look forward to hearing from you and trust you will be able to assure be of your support for this motion.