Haslemere Town Council last night unanimously approved a motion to declare a climate emergency.
Earlier this month, LibDem leader Jo Swinson delivered a strong speech on the subject at the Liberal Democrat conference in Bournemouth.
Earlier this year Parliament declared a climate emergency, but what has the Government done since then? We’ve set off the fire alarm, and now they are just standing by, watching it burn. Literally. For days we watched the Amazon – the world’s lungs – just burn.
LibDem controlled Godalming TC had declared a climate emergency back in July, and last week Liberal Democrats and their progressive partners on Waverley Borough Council passed a climate motion, in the face of Conservative opposition. Liberal Democrats are determined to take action on the climate and environmental crisis now before us.
(Although the motion last night was approved by the full council and thus supported by the full council, the initial impetus at the previous meeting had come from Greens and LibDems working together, supported also by the independent councillors).
The text of the motion approved last night is:
Haslemere Town Council
Climate & Biodiversity Emergency Motion
In recognition of the global Climate and Biodiversity Emergency and to facilitate the reduction of greenhouse gases and conserve and promote biodiversity, Haslemere Town Council resolves to:
1) Commit to becoming a carbon-neutral organisation by 2030 including greenhouse gas emissions, with an earlier target of 2025 for all direct emissions. Set up a roadmap for achieving this aim based on an annual carbon audit (to include the Council’s own carbon footprint) by the end of the 2019 financial year;
2) Encourage and enable reduction of greenhouse gas emission and mitigation schemes within Haslemere by creating a ring-fenced environmental grants fund. The primary criterion for assessing applications to the fund should be CO2 savings per pound spent, in addition to existing Grants criteria. The initial budget will be £10,000 per financial year;
3) Seek ways to facilitate and encourage our community to reduce direct and indirect CO2 emissions and conserve and enhance biodiversity, with two objectives:
To reduce and reverse Haslemere’s contribution to the Climate and Biodiversity Emergency;
To improve local resilience to future changes caused by the changing climate;
This could include:
a) use of more sustainable methods and systems of transport
b) reductions in energy use in homes, shops, businesses and elsewhere
c) co-operation with organisations seeking to develop low-carbon local housing, especially community-led, affordable and social housing
d) development and use of renewable energy sources
e) production, sale and consumption of locally sourced food
f) reduction in consumption of animal products, including those from livestock
g) adoption of wildlife-friendly land and water management practices
h) actively stopping biodiversity loss and encouraging biodiversity gain and protection of habitat
i) education within our local community, to inform and encourage actions to help resolve the problem.
The Council acknowledges that ‘business as usual’ is not an option in the face of this Climate and Biodiversity Emergency, and that society in its current form is unsustainable. To meet our obligations above we therefore resolve to assess and adjust our current activities, in terms of both their scope and undertake to lead by example.