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Worcester Plan to be Carbon Neutral by 2030

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 Heating 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
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;
Worcester City Council has already shown foresight and leadership when it comes to addressing the issue of Climate Breakdown by investing in energy reduction measures at the Guildhall and solar PV panels on top of St Martin’s Gate car park.
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;
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, published last year, 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 with ambitious action from national and sub-national authorities, civil society, the private sector, indigenous peoples and local communities;
City Councils around the world are responding by declaring a ‘Climate Emergency’ and committing resources to address this emergency.
Full Council believes that:

All governments (national 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 Worcester and the UK that cities commit to carbon neutrality as quickly as possible;
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;
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; 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).
The Council will:

Declare a ‘Climate Emergency’;
Pledge to make the city of Worcester carbon neutral by 2030, taking into account both production and consumption emissions (scope 1, 2 and 3)*;
Call on Westminster to provide the powers and resources to make the 2030 target possible;
Work with other governments (both within the UK and internationally) to determine and implement best practice methods to limit Global Heating to less than 1.5°C;
Continue to work with partners across the city and region to deliver this new goal through all relevant strategies and plans;
Appoint the already budgeted new Environmental Sustainability Officer in a timely way, create a cross-party steering group and report to Environment Committee on 28th January 2020 on actions the Council will take with key stakeholders to address this emergency. This work will be led by the Chair of the Environment Committee.


Proposed by: Councillor Laurenson (Green)