Climate Change Emergency: Green Group motion to Council

Extinction rebellion demonstration

Green Group Full Council Motion – March
21st 2019

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 Inter-Governmental 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 possible.
  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 consumption.
  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 city-wide 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.

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