The Motion, proposed by Cllr. Andy D’Agorne

Declare a Climate Emergency
“Council notes:
1. 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). The latest report from the InterGovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in
October 2018 gave us 12 years to implement changes
to keep global warming to a maximum of 1.5 degrees
in order to avoid widespread drought, food scarcity,
heat related deaths and loss of biodiversity including
insects and vital food crop pollinators.
2. 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 CO2eq (carbon
equivalent) emissions from their current 6.5 tonnes per
person per year to less than 2 tonnes as soon as
3. 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.
4. Carbon emissions result from both production and
5. City of York Council has already made some positive
progress, but this is not enough. More can and must
be done. The Independent Panel on Climate Change
in its Oct. 2018 report was very clear that action from
all parts of society is necessary and local government
has a responsibility to lead the way.
6. City councils around the world are responding by
declaring a ‘Climate Emergency’ and taking action to
address this emergency.
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. Cities are uniquely placed to lead the world in
reducing carbon emissions, as they are in many ways
easier to decarbonise than rural areas.
3. 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.
4. 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 York residents – for example
through reducing fuel poverty and energy bills,
encouraging healthy, active travel and improving
green spaces and access to nature.
Council calls on the Executive to:
1. Declare a ‘Climate Emergency’.
2. Commit to a target of making York carbon neutral by
2030, taking into account both production and
consumption emissions (scope 1, 2 and 3 of the
Greenhouse Gas Protocol).
3. Request a report within six months setting out the
immediate actions the Council will take to address
this emergency and a plan to measure annual citywide progress towards meeting the 2030 target.
4. Work with partners across the city and across the
region to deliver this new goal through all relevant
strategies and plans and drawing on local and global
best practice.
5. Actively lobby the Government to provide the
additional powers and resources needed to meet the
2030 target.”