On 10th December, Wirral Council amended the motion submitted by Cllr. Pat Cleary & Cllr. Stuart kelly to declare a ‘Climate Emergency. The amended motion was Resolved (58:1) (One abstention) –
Council notes the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report ‘Global warming of 1.5°’ published on 8 October 2018, in particular:
that human activities are estimated to have already caused approximately 1.0°C of global warming above pre-industrial levels;
that if we continue at the current rate, we are likely to surpass the Paris Agreement target of 1.5°C as early as 2030;
that, at the current level of commitments, the world is on course for at least 3°C of warming with irreversible and catastrophic consequences for humans and the natural world.
Council notes the recent Government publication ‘A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment’ which intends to make 2019 a Year of Action for the environment. It notes work in the city region to promote a Liverpool City Region Year of Environment 2019.
Council notes that the present climate change strategy for Wirral runs to 2019 and that work has commenced to develop a new strategy.
Council notes that promoting sustainability appraisal tools to improve decision making is a priority identified in the latest report of the Cool Wirral Partnership (formerly Wirral Climate Change Group).
Council recognises climate change as a significant issue and believes that we need to make changes for the benefit of residents of Wirral and for future generations. Council is committed to act on climate change.
- Council is a signatory to the Local Government’s Association’s Climate Local initiative and has pledged its support for the UN’s Paris Agreement on climate change
- Council endorsed the present climate change strategy for Wirral (Cool) in 2014 – which covers the period to 2019.
- Council supports a partnership to champion local climate action in support of the strategy in recognition that widespread action is necessary.
- Council has a corporate target to cut council emissions by 60% by 2025.
- Council produces a public greenhouse gas emissions report.
- Officers present an annual report on climate change to the Environment Overview & Scrutiny Committee.
Council recognises there are links between work to cut climate emissions and work to improve local air quality.
Council notes that in support of local climate commitments many actions are being taken, including but not limited to:
- Work to educate our young people to encourage positive behaviour change
- Statements opposing fracking.
- Plans for better facilities for our own workforce in more energy efficient buildings
- Work to mark Clean Air Day
- A quarterly Air Quality meeting of senior representatives from within the Council including Planning, Strategy, Sustainability, Environmental Health, Public Health, Transportation and Licensing
- Work to bring together experts including politicians over the next 12-months to assist the Combined Authority to look at Air Quality.
- The creation of a new climate change strategy for Wirral presents an important opportunity to consider the latest scientific evidence and develop a suitable response locally.
- The upcoming Year of the Environment 2019 presents an opportunity to convey the scale of the challenge and to engage people with this issue
- That the emergency action required on climate change is bigger than the requirement for a Task and Finish group for an individual scrutiny committee and requires work in partnership with others.
Therefore, Council requests that:
- Representatives on the Cool Wirral Partnership be asked to ensure the new climate change strategy for Wirral include a challenging target for emissions reduction in line with the latest scientific guidance, along with ambitious recommendations to address this challenge.
- Officers are asked to make regular reports to Cabinet during the 2019 Year of the Environment on local climate action.
- Officers are asked to make recommendations to Cabinet on tools to assist the council consider the impacts of climate change as part of its decision making processes
- Officers are asked to look at new progressive innovative solutions and alternatives, such as the use of renewables, maximising the use of recycled materials, encouraging cycling and walking as the travel mode of choice, promoting and encouraging the use of ultra-low carbon vehicles.
- Officers are requested to monitor the 2020 pledges for the Environment Committee.
- Officers continue to prepare an annual report on climate change and that this report continues to be taken first to the Environment Overview & Scrutiny Committee to enable the work to be scrutinised prior to consideration by Cabinet
The leader of the council be asked to write to the Prime Minister expressing our concerns around Climate Change and the desire for political pressures to make rapid change, in a time when we need to be guided by ethics not cost.