Climate Emergency Declaration

Climate Emergency Motion to Full Council - 25th February 2019

Full Council minutes from the 25th February 2019

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;
  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. Mendip District Council has already shown foresight and leadership when it comes to addressing the issue of Climate Breakdown, having banned single use plastics in its activities, setting up a climate change working group and banning fracking in Mendip.
  6. 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;
  7. The International Panel on Climate Change - IPCC's Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, published October 2018, 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 if the UK gets to zero emissions by 2030 but only with ambitious action from national and sub-national authorities, civil society, the private sector, indigenous peoples and local communities3;
  8. Councils around the UK and the world are responding by declaring a 'Climate Emergency' and committing resources to address this emergency.

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 Mendip and the UK that districts commit to carbon neutrality as quickly as possible;
  2. 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.
  3. 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 Mendip District Council to:

  1. Declare a 'Climate Emergency';
  2. Make best endeavours, using its powers and resources, including both financial and officer time, to enable the district of Mendip carbon neutral by 2030.
  3. Call on Westminster to provide the powers and resources to make the 2030 target possible;
  4. Work with other councils and governments 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 district and region to deliver this new goal through all relevant strategies and plans;
  6. Commit £100k to fund action in the scoping and delivery of the District Council's Climate Emergency 2030 commitment.
  7. Report to Full Council every six months with the actions the Council will take to address this emergency.