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Agenda item

Councillor Copley: Support the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill

Humans have already caused irreversible climate change, the impacts of which are being felt in the UK and around the world. Global temperatures have increased by 1 degree Celsius from pre-industrial levels. Atmospheric CO2 levels are above 400 parts per million (ppm) and continue to rise. This far exceeds the 350 ppm deemed to be a safe level for humanity.

Without more significant and sustained action, the world is set to exceed the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C limit between 2030 and 2040.

The increase in harm caused by a rise of 2°C rather than 1.5°C is significant. This is described by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C published in October 2018. According to the IPCC, limiting heating to 1.5°C may still be possible with ambitious action from national and sub-national authorities, civil society, the private sector and local communities. The costs of failing to address this crisis will far outstrip the investments required to prevent it.

According to the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Independent Commission on Climate Change, our area is at high risk from the effects of climate change and face a future of flooding, heatwaves and water shortages, and our region has such high emissions we will have “exhausted all of our ‘allowed’ share of emissions to 2050” in just six years unless drastic action is taken now. Investing now will bring many benefits in the form of good jobs, breathable cities and thriving communities.

Council states that:

(i)  All governments (national, regional and local) have a duty to do everything in their power to minimise and prevent Climate and Ecological breakdown. In keeping with this, the council has declared a climate emergency in February 2019 and a biodiversity emergency in May 2019.

 

(ii)  The council has set out a strategy for the council to reach net zero from it’s direct emissions by 2030 which represent 1.1% of carbon emissions in Cambridge, and in declaring a Climate Emergency in February 2019 called on government to make the investment and changes needed for Cambridge and the UK to reach net zero carbon.

 

(iii)  There is a Bill before Parliament—the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill (published as the “Climate and Ecology Bill”) which deserves the support of the Government, as it reassesses the urgency of the twin climate and ecological emergencies. According to the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill the Government must develop an emergency strategy that:

(a)requires that the UK plays its fair and proper role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions consistent with limiting global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees C above pre-industrial temperatures;

(b)ensures that all the UK’s consumption emissions are accounted for;

(c)includes emissions from aviation and shipping;

(d)protects and restores biodiverse habitats along overseas supply chains;

(e)restores and regenerates the UK’s depleted soils, wildlife habitats and species populations to healthy and robust states, maximising their capacity to absorb CO2 and their resistance to climate heating;

(f)  sets up an independent Citizens’ Assembly, representative of the UK’s population, to engage with Parliament and Government and help develop the emergency strategy.

 

Council therefore resolves to:

(i)  Register our support the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill

(ii)  Inform the local media of this decision;

(iii)  Write to our local MPs (Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire), urging them to support the Bill; and

(iv)  Write to the CEE Bill Alliance, the organisers of the campaign for the Bill, expressing its support (campaign@ceebill.uk).

 

Minutes:

Councillor Copley proposed and Councillor Bennett seconded the following motion:

 

Humans have already caused irreversible climate change, the impacts of which are being felt in the UK and around the world. Global temperatures have increased by 1 degree Celsius from pre-industrial levels. Atmospheric CO2 levels are above 400 parts per million (ppm) and continue to rise. This far exceeds the 350 ppm deemed to be a safe level for humanity.

 

Without more significant and sustained action, the world is set to exceed the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C limit between 2030 and 2040.

The increase in harm caused by a rise of 2°C rather than 1.5°C is significant. This is described by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C published in October 2018. According to the IPCC, limiting heating to 1.5°C may still be possible with ambitious action from national and sub-national authorities, civil society, the private sector and local communities. The costs of failing to address this crisis will far outstrip the investments required to prevent it.

 

According to the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Independent Commission on Climate Change, our area is at high risk from the effects of climate change and face a future of flooding, heatwaves and water shortages, and our region has such high emissions we will have “exhausted all of our ‘allowed’ share of emissions to 2050” in just six years unless drastic action is taken now. Investing now will bring many benefits in the form of good jobs, breathable cities and thriving communities.

 

Council states that:

(i)  All governments (national, regional and local) have a duty to do everything in their power to minimise and prevent Climate and Ecological breakdown. In keeping with this, the council has declared a climate emergency in February 2019 and a biodiversity emergency in May 2019.

 

(ii)  The council has set out a strategy for the council to reach net zero from its direct emissions by 2030 which represent 1.1% of carbon emissions in Cambridge, and in declaring a Climate Emergency in February 2019 called on government to make the investment and changes needed for Cambridge and the UK to reach net zero carbon.

 

(iii)  There is a Bill before Parliament—the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill (published as the “Climate and Ecology Bill”) which deserves the support of the Government, as it reassesses the urgency of the twin climate and ecological emergencies. According to the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill the Government must develop an emergency strategy that:

(a)requires that the UK plays its fair and proper role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions consistent with limiting global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees C above pre-industrial temperatures;

(b)ensures that all the UK’s consumption emissions are accounted for;

(c)includes emissions from aviation and shipping;

(d)protects and restores biodiverse habitats along overseas supply chains;

(e)restores and regenerates the UK’s depleted soils, wildlife habitats and species populations to healthy and robust states, maximising their capacity to absorb CO2 and their resistance to climate heating;

(f)  sets up an independent Citizens’ Assembly, representative of the UK’s population, to engage with Parliament and Government and help develop the emergency strategy.

 

Council therefore resolves to:

(i)  Register our support the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill

(ii)  Inform the local media of this decision;

(iii)  Write to our local MPs (Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire), urging them to support the Bill; and

(iv)  Write to the CEE Bill Alliance, the organisers of the campaign for the Bill, expressing its support (campaign@ceebill.uk).

 

Councillor Moore proposed and Councillor Gawthrope Wood seconded the following amendment to motion (deleted text struck through and additional text underlined).

 

Humans have already caused irreversible climate change, the impacts of which are being felt in the UK and around the world. Global temperatures have increased by 1 degree Celsius from pre-industrial levels. Atmospheric CO2 levels are above 400 parts per million (ppm) and continue to rise. This far exceeds the 350 ppm deemed to be a safe level for humanity.

 

Without more significant and sustained action, the world is set to exceed the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C limit between 2030 and 2040.

The increase in harm caused by a rise of 2°C rather than 1.5°C is significant. This is described by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C published in October 2018. According to the IPCC, limiting heating to 1.5°C may still be possible with ambitious action from national and sub-national authorities, civil society, the private sector and local communities. The costs of failing to address this crisis will far outstrip the investments required to prevent it.

 

According to the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Independent Commission on Climate Change, our area is at high risk from the effects of climate change and face a future of flooding, heatwaves and water shortages, and our region has such high emissions we will have “exhausted all of our ‘allowed’ share of emissions to 2050” in just six years unless drastic action is taken now. Investing now will bring many benefits in the form of good jobs, breathable cities and thriving communities.

 

Council states notes that:

(i) All governments (national, regional and local) have a duty to do everything in their power to minimise and prevent Climate and Ecological breakdown. In keeping with this, the council has declared a climate emergency in February 2019 and a biodiversity emergency in May 2019. 

(ii) The council has set out a strategy for the council to reach net zero from its owndirect emissions by 2030 which represent 1.1% of carbon emissions in Cambridge, and in declaring a Climate Emergency in February 2019 called on government to make the investment and changes needed for Cambridge and the UK to reach net zero carbon.

iii) The Environment Bill which is currently at the report stage in the House of Commons and could embed environmental accountability in UK law, is now long overdue in replacing the environmental legislation lost due to the UK leaving the European Union.

iv) The Environment Bill does not go nearly far enough to protect biodiversity or to achieve the government’s own net zero carbon ambitions and yet it is essential to have this new legislation passed into law.

v) The government missed several opportunities to strengthen the Environment Bill by:

a)  Rejecting Labour Party amendments such as on setting a minimum standard of protection on the production and use of chemical substances, maintaining the ban on bee-killing pesticides, ensuring the independence of the proposed environmental watchdog and enforcing World Health Organisation targets on air quality by 2030.

b)  Rejecting two amendments from a cross party alliance which aimed to outline a clear objective for the Environment Bill to achieve and maintain a healthy, resilient and biodiverse natural environment that supports human health and to emphasise the sustainable use of resources. The second would have required the Secretary of State within six months of the Bill becoming law to report on the adequacy of current environmental law and policy in meeting the climate and ecological challenges the UK faces.

vi) The report stage of the bill gives another opportunity to set clear objectives with a proposed amendment which restates that anyone exercising responsibilities in relation to the Environment Bill must comply with broader commitments, including any that come about from the vital UN biodiversity and climate change conferences, COP15 and COP26, this year.

vii) (iii) There is alsoa Presentation Bill before Parliament—the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill (published as the “Climate and Ecology Bill”). A Presentation Bill does not involve a debate or a vote in Parliament but is a way of drawing attention to an issue which requires a real change in the law.

 which deserves the support of the Government, as it reassesses the urgency of the twin climate and ecological emergencies. According to the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill the Government must develop an emergency strategy that:

(a)requires that the UK plays its fair and proper role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions consistent with limiting global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees C above pre-industrial temperatures;

(b)ensures that all the UK’s consumption emissions are accounted for;

(c)includes emissions from aviation and shipping;

(d)protects and restores biodiverse habitats along overseas supply chains;

(e)restores and regenerates the UK’s depleted soils, wildlife habitats and species populations to healthy and robust states, maximising their capacity to absorb CO2 and their resistance to climate heating;

(f) sets up an independent Citizens’ Assembly, representative of the UK’s population, to engage with Parliament and Government and help develop the emergency strategy.

Despite not being able to be enacted into law the CEE Bill has ambitious aims and principles however

(a) the bill states that the UK must only use “natural climate solutions” to achieve net zero, excluding many of the technical solutions that are being developed, but in this climate emergency we need to use all solutions available to us to prevent further global warming.

(b) it seeks to sets up a Citizens’ Assembly which would bypass normal parliamentary processes and remove input from groups like affected workers and trade unions, therefore removing the likelihood of a just and equal transition that benefits all.

Council therefore resolves to:

(i) Register our support the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill

(ii) Inform the local media of this decision;

(iii) Write to our local MPs (Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire), urging them to support the Bill; and

(iv) Write to the CEE Bill Alliance, the organisers of the campaign for the Bill, expressing its support (campaign@ceebill.uk).

This Council therefore wishes to express its strong support for urgent climate action and the need for ambitious and comprehensive environment legislation and significant new national funding to match the scale of the climate emergency and jobs crisis we face by:

1. publicly expressing its support for the proposed amendments to the Environment Bill and the need for the bill to be enacted into law.

2. welcoming the CEE Bill for raising awareness and sharing ideas

3. publicly expressing its support for many of the aims of the CEE Bill by expressing strong support for proposals, such as Labour’s Green Economic Recovery, which accelerate or increase investment in green infrastructure and jobs

4. increasing awareness of the carbon dioxide costs and impacts of everyday activities, and the ability and motivation to reduce emissions, on an individual, community and organisational basis through Carbon Literacy training for council staff, council members and local residents.

 

On a show of hands the amendment was carried by:

 

23 votes in favour: Councillors Ashton, D. Baigent, S. Baigent, Bird, Collis, Davey, H. Davies, Dryden, Gawthrope Wood, Gilderdale, Healy, Herbert, McPherson, Moore, O’Reilly, Pounds, Robertson, Scutt, Sheil, Smart, S. Smith, Sweeney, Thornburrow.

 

14 votes against: Councillors Bennett, Bick, Bond, Copley, Cox, Dalzell, S. Davies, Flaubert, Gehring, Hauk, Lee, Nethsingha, Page-Croft, Porrer.

 

Resolved to approve the motion by:

23 votes in favour: Councillors Ashton, D. Baigent, S. Baigent, Bird, Collis, Davey, H. Davies, Dryden, Gawthrope Wood, Gilderdale, Healy, Herbert, McPherson, Moore, O’Reilly, Pounds, Robertson, Scutt, Sheil, Smart, S. Smith, Sweeney, Thornburrow.

 

14 votes abstaining: Councillors Bennett, Bick, Bond, Copley, Cox, Dalzell, S. Davies, Flaubert, Gehring, Hauk, Lee, Nethsingha, Page-Croft, Porrer.

 

Humans have already caused irreversible climate change, the impacts of which are being felt in the UK and around the world. Global temperatures have increased by 1 degree Celsius from pre-industrial levels. Atmospheric CO2 levels are above 400 parts per million (ppm) and continue to rise. This far exceeds the 350 ppm deemed to be a safe level for humanity.

 

Without more significant and sustained action, the world is set to exceed the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C limit between 2030 and 2040.

The increase in harm caused by a rise of 2°C rather than 1.5°C is significant. This is described by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C published in October 2018. According to the IPCC, limiting heating to 1.5°C may still be possible with ambitious action from national and sub-national authorities, civil society, the private sector and local communities. The costs of failing to address this crisis will far outstrip the investments required to prevent it.

 

According to the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Independent Commission on Climate Change, our area is at high risk from the effects of climate change and face a future of flooding, heatwaves and water shortages, and our region has such high emissions we will have “exhausted all of our ‘allowed’ share of emissions to 2050” in just six years unless drastic action is taken now. Investing now will bring many benefits in the form of good jobs, breathable cities and thriving communities.

 

Council notes that:

(i) All governments (national, regional and local) have a duty to do everything in their power to minimise and prevent Climate and Ecological breakdown. In keeping with this, the council has declared a climate emergency in February 2019 and a biodiversity emergency in May 2019. 

(ii) The council has set out a strategy for the council to reach net zero from its owndirect emissions by 2030 which represent 1.1% of carbon emissions in Cambridge, and in declaring a Climate Emergency in February 2019 called on government to make the investment and changes needed for Cambridge and the UK to reach net zero carbon.

iii) The Environment Bill which is currently at the report stage in the House of Commons and could embed environmental accountability in UK law, is now long overdue in replacing the environmental legislation lost due to the UK leaving the European Union.

iv) The Environment Bill does not go nearly far enough to protect biodiversity or to achieve the government’s own net zero carbon ambitions and yet it is essential to have this new legislation passed into law.

v) The government missed several opportunities to strengthen the Environment Bill by:

c)  Rejecting Labour Party amendments such as on setting a minimum standard of protection on the production and use of chemical substances, maintaining the ban on bee-killing pesticides, ensuring the independence of the proposed environmental watchdog and enforcing World Health Organisation targets on air quality by 2030.

d)  Rejecting two amendments from a cross party alliance which aimed to outline a clear objective for the Environment Bill to achieve and maintain a healthy, resilient and biodiverse natural environment that supports human health and to emphasise the sustainable use of resources. The second would have required the Secretary of State within six months of the Bill becoming law to report on the adequacy of current environmental law and policy in meeting the climate and ecological challenges the UK faces.

vi) The report stage of the bill gives another opportunity to set clear objectives with a proposed amendment which restates that anyone exercising responsibilities in relation to the Environment Bill must comply with broader commitments, including any that come about from the vital UN biodiversity and climate change conferences, COP15 and COP26, this year.

vii) There is alsoa Presentation Bill before Parliament—the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill (published as the “Climate and Ecology Bill”). A Presentation Bill does not involve a debate or a vote in Parliament but is a way of drawing attention to an issue which requires a real change in the law.

 

Despite not being able to be enacted into law the CEE Bill has ambitious aims and principles however

(a) the bill states that the UK must only use “natural climate solutions” to achieve net zero, excluding many of the technical solutions that are being developed, but in this climate emergency we need to use all solutions available to us to prevent further global warming.

(b) it seeks to sets up a Citizens’ Assembly which would bypass normal parliamentary processes and remove input from groups like affected workers and trade unions, therefore removing the likelihood of a just and equal transition that benefits all.

 

Council therefore resolves to:

This Council therefore wishes to express its strong support for urgent climate action and the need for ambitious and comprehensive environment legislation and significant new national funding to match the scale of the climate emergency and jobs crisis we face by:

1. publicly expressing its support for the proposed amendments to the Environment Bill and the need for the bill to be enacted into law.

2. welcoming the CEE Bill for raising awareness and sharing ideas

3. publicly expressing its support for many of the aims of the CEE Bill by expressing strong support for proposals, such as Labour’s Green Economic Recovery, which accelerate or increase investment in green infrastructure and jobs

4. increasing awareness of the carbon dioxide costs and impacts of everyday activities, and the ability and motivation to reduce emissions, on an individual, community and organisational basis through Carbon Literacy training for council staff, council members and local residents.