Green Councillors submit Climate & Ecological Emergency motion to first meeting of the new BCP Council

19 May 2019

Climate Emergency bannerBournemouth’s Green Councillors Simon Bull and Chris Rigby have fulfilled their pledge to submit a motion to the first meeting of the new Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole (BCP) Council proposing a local declaration of climate and ecological emergency.

59 councils in the UK have already made a declaration, Dorset Council which covers the county except for Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole voting to do so just last week.

Councillor Chris RigbyCouncillor Simon BullCouncillor Chris Rigby said: “We want to see a climate and environmental emergency declared, action taken on it and policies put in place to reflect this, and to bring Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole to zero carbon by 2025.”

Councillor Simon Bull added: "More action and less words!"

BCP councillors are expected to vote on the motion at its first regular Full Council meeting on 16th July. 

The local Green Party calls for residents to write to their ward councillors, to urge them to support the Climate & Ecological Emergency motion. [Find your ward councillor contact details on BCP Council website...]

Motion to declare a Climate and Ecological Emergency

Proposed by: Councillor Simon Bull      Seconded by: Councillor Chris Rigby

Full 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). This far exceeds the 350 ppm deemed to be a safe level for humanity;
  2. 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 [1];
  3. 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;
  4. Carbon emissions result from both production and consumption;
  5. Unfortunately, the current BCP Council plans and actions are not enough. The world is on track to overshoot the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C limit before 2050 [2, 3];
  6. The IPCC’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, published last October, 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;
  7. Councils around the world are responding by declaring a Climate and Ecological Emergency and committing resources to address this emergency [4].

Full Council believes that:

  1. All governments (national, regional 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 Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole and for the UK that towns and cities commit to carbon neutrality as quickly as possible;
  2. Large conurbations 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;
  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; and,
  4. 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 Chair to:

  1. Declare a ‘Climate Emergency’;
  2. Pledge to make the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole carbon neutral by 2025, taking into account both production and consumption emissions (scope 1, 2 and 3) [5];
  3. Call on Westminster to provide the powers and resources to make the 2025 target possible;
  4. Work with other governments (both within the UK and internationally) to determine and implement best practice methods to limit Global Warming to less than 1.5°C;
  5. Continue to work with partners across the city region to deliver this new goal through all relevant strategies and plans;
  6. Report to Full Council within six months with the actions the Council will take to address this emergency.

References:

  1. Fossil CO2 & GHG emissions of all world countries, 2017: http://edgar.jrc.ec.europa.eu/overview.php?v=CO2andGHG1970-2016&dst=GHGpc
  2. World Resources Institute: https://www.wri.org/blog/2018/10/8-things-you-need-know-about-ipcc-15-c-report
  3. The IPCC’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC: https://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15/
  4. Including US cities Berkeley: https://www.theclimatemobilization.org/blog/2018/6/13/berkeley-unanimously-declares-climate-emergency and Hoboken: https://www.theclimatemobilization.org/blog/2018/4/25/hoboken-resolves-to-mobilize, and the C40 cities: https://www.c40.org/other/deadline-2020
  5. Scope 1, 2 and 3 of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol explained: https://www.carbontrust.com/resources/faqs/services/scope-3-indirect-carbon-emissions