Comment from Cambridge Extinction Rebellion
11pm 21/02/19: “Cambridge tonight declared a climate emergency. But the motion in support of this declaration was weak. There were no new targets and no new policies. An existing “aspiration” for zero carbon by 2050 remains. This is far too late. The council promised to widely publicise this state of emergency, a concession to our demands.The feeling overall was that the council displayed a lack of political courage.Politics-as-usual will not suffice in the face of an emergency. The fight goes on, as we knew it would.”
Proposed by Councillor Rosy Moore, Executive Councillor for Environmental Services and City Centre
This council notes that:
- Human activities are changing our planet and the need for everyone to take action on climate change is more urgent and immediate than ever.
- According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Special Report in 2018, human activities are estimated to have caused approximately 1°C of global warming above pre-industrial levels, with a likely range of 0.8°C to 1.2°C.
- The Paris Agreement sets out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by “limiting global warming to well below 2?C and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5?C”.
- In order to prevent further global warming of more than 1.5°C, the IPCC states that this would require global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) to fall by about 45% from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050 and that they would need to peak within 12 years (by 2030) to increase the chances of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees.
- Cambridge City Council set an aspiration in its Climate Change Strategy 2016-21 for Cambridge to achieve zero carbon status by 2050.
- The latest statistics produced by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) shows total emissions in Cambridge have declined steadily over the last 11 years. From 2005-2016, total emissions from the city have reduced by almost 30%.
- Emission reductions in the UK, including Cambridge, since 2012 have primarily come from the decarbonisation of electricity generation in the power sector at a national level, which is shifting progressively from fossil fuels to low carbon and renewable generation.
- To maintain the current rate of emissions reduction and reach zero carbon by 2050, further changes to national policy and infrastructure would be required in all sectors, including industry and commercial, transport and domestic sources.
- Emissions would need to reduce much more rapidly to reach net zero carbon by an earlier date, requiring rapid and widescale changes in energy production, supply and usage at the national level.
- The latest statistics for the source of Cambridge’s carbon dioxide emissions are for 2016 and are; 49% from industry and commercial, 31% from domestic sources and 20% from transport.
- Anglia Ruskin University and Cambridge University have also set targets to be zero carbon by 2050.
- We welcome the new building control regulations requiring all new buildings to be nearly zero carbon from 31 December 2020 but note the damage done by scrapping Labour’s original 2016 deadline.
- Through the Council’s Carbon Management Plan 2016-21 we have taken action to reduce our own emissions, which account for just 1.2% of the city’s overall emissions. We have already achieved the target of reducing council emissions by 15% by March 2021, and we are on the way to achieving the aspirational target of reducing them by 20% by that date.
This council declares a climate emergency and we:
- Will continue to reduce the council’s building and fleet emissions through developing and investing in carbon reduction projects and we will update our Carbon Management Plan regularly.
- Will continue to support residents and businesses in Cambridge to reduce their emissions using the powers and funding currently available to the council.
- Will establish a Cambridge Climate Charter calling on all organisations, businesses and individuals in the city to each establish their own Carbon Management Plans and to commit to reducing their carbon emissions which will help us to work towards our city’s net carbon-zero aspiration.
- Will continue to work with the Greater Cambridge Partnership and Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority to promote sustainable transport.
- Will establish a Clean Air Zone in Cambridge.
We want and we need to be doing more to tackle this climate emergency, and know that with Government leadership (that is currently absent) we could be achieving zero carbon far sooner.
To enable Cambridge and the rest of the UK to reach net zero carbon by 2030, we call on government, industry and regulators to implement the necessary changes with funding, transformed national infrastructure, policy, new technologies and legislation, including:
- Invest in clean, efficient renewable energy and end CO2 emissions from electricity generation.
- Ban fracking.
- Invest in energy-efficient public transport across the country, including the introduction of electric buses.
- End the sale of all new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2030 and make cleaner vehicles more affordable and accessible.
- Establish a long-term nationwide Warm Homes strategy with adequate investment for energy-saving and energy-efficiency measures.
- Support a sustainable food revolution ensuring sustainable, fresh food for all whilst reducing food waste.
- Develop a strategy for all UK businesses to be net zero carbon by 2030.
This will reduce the damage caused by climate change and will also create a strong green economy with new jobs, less waste and with sustainable growth.