The week after the Environment Agency warned that responding to the climate emergency in the UK would be a case of “adapt or die” and 10 days before the start of the COP26 climate talks, York Greens are asking the council to support calls for better Government funding and joint working with local government.
They are also asking for steps to ensure the city is as resilient as possible in the face of increasing extreme weather events locally and globally.
The Green Party motion to Full Council on 21st October asks the council’s Executive to assess the city’s levels of preparedness for the impacts of climate change against 8 priority areas included in a recent (June 2021) risk assessment by the Committee on Climate Change Independent Assessment of UK Climate Risk – Climate Change Committee (theccc.org.uk) Alongside more frequent flooding events, priorities include the impacts of increased heatwaves on health and well being, potential power failures, impacts on habitats, biodiversity and soil health from floods and droughts and impacts on distribution networks and global food supplies. The committee’s key findings include the following significant points:
- Alarmingly, this new evidence shows that the gap between the level of risk we face and the level of adaptation underway has widened. Adaptation action has failed to keep pace with the worsening reality of climate risk.
- The UK has the capacity and the resources to respond effectively to these risks, but it has not yet done so. Acting now will be cheaper than waiting to deal with the consequences. Government must lead that action.
- The Committee identifies eight risk areas that require the most urgent attention in the next two years.
The Green Party motion also calls on the Council to lobby the Government to provide more substantial and consistent funding and investment to tackle climate change and to work in close partnership with local councils to achieve this.
Green Party Councillor for Guildhall, Denise Craghill, says:
“The city is already feeling the effects of our warming climate right now and we need to be prepared for the changes that have now become unavoidable. As an ‘Age Friendly City’ for example, we need to be looking at the impacts of increased temperatures on vulnerable people and how better insulated and ventilated homes along with more tree planting and green spaces can help to mitigate these effects. We will need to build further on the council’s current research into upstream tree planting and land management to limit future flooding and further develop York and North Yorkshire’s local food culture to strengthen local food supply chains.
Micklegate Green Councillor Rosie Baker added:
“The work the council is doing on zero carbon housing and improving the energy efficiency of existing homes in the city is having a positive impact. It also helps to tackle fuel poverty and to create healthier homes. However if we are to scale up to the level and speed of action that we need to tackle the climate crisis all councils need more substantial and long term Government funding and better collaboration. The Government should be doing more to speed up de-carbonisation, create new green jobs, and ensure a healthy environment for our kids to enjoy.”