11 October 2018
South Gloucestershire Council Adopt Climate Change Strategy On Day Of Crucial IPCC Report
South Gloucestershire Green Party have slammed the Conservative Cabinet for missing an opportunity to take the reins on climate change, following their adoption of a revised Climate Change Strategy for the next 5 years. The Cabinet met and voted through the Climate Change Strategy 2018-2023 on the day the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a damning review of the global effort to limit warming to 1.5⁰C by the end of the century.
The IPCC report concluded that protecting the world against the worst effects of climate change is achievable – but only with drastic change to the way we run our society within the next 12 years. The strategy adopted by South Glos Council had been revised following public consultation earlier this year. Whilst some targets had been slightly increased, the revised version still commits to less than 10% energy generation from renewables during that same time frame of the IPCC report, and made no mention of any specific plans other than writing a series of action plans.
Local GP and former Filton and Bradley Stoke Green Party candidate Diana Warner spoke to councillors at the Cabinet meeting, saying that South Glos is in a unique position to facilitate and to lead changes that will mitigate the effects of climate change. She pointed to work done on modelling a zero-carbon future for the South West and urged the councillors to take the initiative.
During question time before approval of the report, one councillor followed up with a question on the opportunity for South Glos to lead the way, but the brief reply was that it would need national government initiatives first. There followed a request to lobby government.
A question was also raised about whether the council could require stricter environmental building standards of new build than current minimum standards, in order not to have to make more expensive changes later. The answer was that this was not possible. However, this was not accurate as in July 2018 the government clarified its approval for local government to set their own higher standards. The process within the council chamber did not allow for the correction of this wrong information.
Speaking after the meeting, Diana said “I’m disappointed that the Cabinet did not take the opportunity to be bold with our Climate Change Strategy and frankly surprised by the lack of discussion around such an important issue. The Cabinet system meant this feeble attempt at a strategy passed with just 7 Conservative Councillors having to vote on it.”
The revised Climate Change Strategy was passed unanimously by the Cabinet.
IPCC Report Summary: https://ipcc.ch/pdf/session48/pr_181008_P48_spm_en.pdf
IPCC Report coverage: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-45775309
South Glos Council Cabinet Report: https://council.southglos.gov.uk/documents/s101803/ClimateChangeStrategyAdoptionCabinetFinal270918.pdf
Report on a Zero Carbon South West: http://mollymep.org.uk/2015/04/17/power-to-transform/
Local Government Building Standards Clarification: https://www.ukgbc.org/news/government-confirms-local-authorities-can-set-energy-standards-beyond-part-l-in-nppf/
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