Call on Somerset County Council to declare a Climate Emergency and initiate a massive society-wide climate action mobilisation.
This is the motion I have proposed to Full Council for the Somerset County Council meeting on Wednesday 20th February 2019.
Motion proposed by: Cllr Tessa Munt
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 CO 2 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 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 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 CO 2 eq (carbon equivalent) emissions from their current 6.5 tonnes per person per year to less than 2 tonnes without delay;1
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 CO 2 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, 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 CO 2 eq 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 calls on the Leader to:
1. Declare a ‘Climate Emergency’;
2. Pledge to work proactively with others to make the county of Somerset carbon neutral by 2030, taking into account both production and consumption emissions (scope 1, 2 and 3)5;
3. 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;
4. Become a signatory and active participant of the Local Government Association Climate Local Action Plan (2012)7
5. Continue to work with partners and community action groups across the county and within the Heart of the South West LEP to deliver this new goal through all relevant strategies and plans;6. Assist communities to become more resilient to the impacts of global warming, particularly to flooding and to drought
7. Report to Full Council before the end of 2019 with the actions the Council has, and will take, to address this emergency.
1. Fossil CO2& GHG emissions of all world countries, 2017:
2. World Resources Institute:
3. The IPCC’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC:
4. Including US cities Berkeley:
and the C40 cities:
5. Scope 1, 2 and 3 of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol explained:
6. Assessing “Dangerous Climate Change”: Required reduction of Carbon Emissions to protect young people, future generations and nature:
7. Climate Localhttps://www.local.gov.uk/topics/environment-and-waste/climate-local
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