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To consider the following Notice of Motion:
Elmbridge’s Climate Emergency
This 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˚C from pre-industrial levels. Atmospheric C0² levels are above 400 parts per million (ppm).
The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) in October 2018 gave us just twelve years to implement changes to keep global warming at a maximum of 1.5˚C in order to avoid widespread drought, food scarcity, heat related deaths and loss of biodiversity, including insects and vital food crop pollinators.
At present the world is on track to overshoot the Paris Agreement’s 1.5˚C limit before 2050. 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 C0² eq (carbon equivalent) emissions from their current 6.5 tons per person per year (14 tons per year in Elmbridge) to less than two tons pa as soon as possible.
1. Individuals cannot be expected to make this reduction on their own. Society needs to change its laws, taxation and infrastructure to make low carbon living easier and the new norm;
2. Carbon emissions result from both production and consumption;
3. The borough has already made some positive progress, but this is not
enough. More can and must be done. The IPPC in its October 2018 report
was very clear that action from all parts of society is necessary and local
government has a responsibility to lead the way; and
4. Local governments around the world are therefore responding by declaring a ‘Climate Emergency’ and taking positive action to address this emergency.
Elmbridge Borough Council believes that:
1. All levels of government (national, regional and local) have a duty to limit the negative impacts of climate breakdown. Local councils that recognise this should not wait for their national governments to change their policies;
2. Elmbridge is already suffering from flooding problems, and a significant
proportion of its population and a large number of its settlements are located on low or flood plain areas which would be severely affected by more frequent and extreme storms and rainfall both in the borough and up river. The consequences of the global temperature rising above 1.5˚C are potentially so
severe that preventing this from happening is a number one priority; and
3. Bold local climate action can deliver economic and social benefits in terms of new green jobs, economic savings and market opportunities, as well as much improved well-being for the people living and working in Elmbridge – for example through reducing fuel poverty and energy bills, encouraging healthy, active travel and improving green spaces and access to nature.
This Council therefore calls on the Cabinet to:
1. Declare a ‘Climate Emergency’;
2. Pledge to make Elmbridge carbon neutral by 2030, taking into account both production and consumption emissions; and
3. Report to full Council within six months setting out the immediate action the council will take to address this emergency, offer best efforts to forecast
progress towards meeting the 2030 target and produce a methodology to
compare the borough with other local lower tier districts.
IPCC Website:
IPCC Report:
Proposer: Mrs. M. Marshall (Lib Dem, Environment Chair).
Seconder: Tricia W. Bland