Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Climate change: motion to Devon County Council to declare a 'Climate Emergency'

A posting from 2014:

The Nottingham Climate Change Declaration

Whilst the District Council has been criticised by the local plan Inspector for its uninspiring policy on climate change:
"This policy is so unspecific that it has no likelihood of being implemented." 
Futures Forum: Public Examination of the New East Devon Local Plan... CLIMATE CHANGE

... the District Council has nevertheless made its commitment to serious policy-making quite clear:

Axminster Town Councillor Paul Hayward referred to the Nottingham climate change declaration and local level decision making...
The Leader confirmed that the Nottingham Climate Change declaration was close to the Council’s heart. 

The District Council signed up to this in April 2008:

This is the text of the final declaration:

East Devon District Council the increasing impact that climate change will have on our community during the 21st century and commits to tackling the causes and effects of a changing climate on our district.


Futures Forum: The Nottingham Climate Change Declaration

Transition Exeter have just sent out this message, urging County Councillors to support a motion recognising the seriousness of climate change:

Devon County Council Climate Change Motion
 Thursday 6th December

Jacqui Hodgson the Green County Councillor has launched a motion asking Devon County Council to declare a climate emergency and take steps to reach zero carbon by 2030.

The motion is here
Agenda for Council on Thursday, 6th December, 2018, 2.15 pm | Democracy in Devon

If you can, ask your county councillor to support it and say why this is important to you.

There’s an example letter at the bottom of this newsletter and another more sophisticated one here https://www.facebook.com/XRExeter/ on the post about the DCC motion.

If you are unsure who your councillor is please use the following link:
(n.b. the other 'find your councillor' website links are currently broken...)

The motion will be heard at the end of a long agenda on Thursday afternoon this week so please write before then.  Some of us will be outside the DCC office in Topsham Road at 1.30 as councillors arrive for the meeting.  Do consider coming along if you’re able.  Some councillors might need a lot of convincing if they are going to vote for the motion!
Template letter for councillor on Climate Emergency Motion
Feel free to use this.  But your own words are better, however brief.

This year in Devon we have had floods, snow in March and a long drought.  Our  rainfall is already heavier.  I hear that we can expect more intense storms, damage to roads, property and crops, but not necessarily that we will get warmer.  If the Gulf Stream, which keeps Britain mild, slows down, as it is doing, then we are more likely to have cold winters.  The Dawlish line seems to be closed more often than formerly.

I welcome the fact that DCC has acted on climate change in its plans and preparations, and has signed the Nottingham Declaration in 2014.  DCC cannot do this on its own but the motion asks for a call to Westminster to provide powers and resources which will enable Devon authorities to take the far reaching measures needed, creating worthwhile employment in the process.  Many of us who are parents and grandparents are deeply concerned about the future which will be faced by our younger generations.  Please will you support the motion on climate change
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Devon CC Climate Emergency Motion
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Here is the full motion:

Declare a Climate Emergency
Councillor Hodgson to move:

Full Council notes:

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;

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;

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;

Carbon emissions result from both production and consumption;

Devon County Council has already shown foresight and leadership when it comes to addressing the issue of climate change when back in 2004 we signed up to the Nottingham Declaration on Climate Change and has since recognised this in its strategy for responding to the Climate Change Act 2008 which underpins its strategies, actions plans, public statements and advice to businesses, residents and parish councils;

Unfortunately, our current plans and actions are not enough.  The world is on track to overshoot the Paris Agreement’s 1.5 degrees Celsius limit before 2050;

The IPCC’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius, published last month, describes the enormous harm that a 2 degrees Celsius rise is likely to cause compared to a 1.5 degrees Celsius, and told us that limiting Global Warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius may still be possible with ambitious action from national and sub-national authorities, civil society, the private sector, indigenous peoples and local communities;

Local Authorities around the world are responding by declaring a ‘Climate Emergency’ and committing resources to address this emergency.

Full Council believes that:

All governments (national, regional and local) have a duty to limit the negative impacts of Climate Breakdown, and local governments that recognize this should not wait for their national governments to change their policies.  It is important for the residents of Devon and the UK that counties commit to carbon neutrality as quickly as possible;

Local Authorities are uniquely placed to lead the world in reducing carbon emissions;

The consequences of global temperature rising above 1.5 degrees Celsius are so severe that preventing this from happening must be humanity’s number one priority; and,

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 to:

1.    Declare a ‘Climate Emergency’;

2.    Pledge to make the county of Devon carbon neutral by 2030, taking into account both production and consumption emissions (scope 1,2,3);

3.    Call on Westminster to provide the powers and resources to make the 2030 target possible;

4.    Work with other governments  ...  view the full agenda text for item 19.

Agenda for Council on Thursday, 6th December, 2018, 2.15 pm | Democracy in Devon

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