Councils must commit to lowering CO2 emissions
Councillor Wisdom da Costa (Viewpoint, July 3) is aptly named and absolutely right – the RBWM Climate and Environment strategy lacks ambition.
They share this failure with the two other borough councils covered by the East Berkshire Green Party – Bracknell Forest and Slough – but they are not the worst.
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UN IPCC) report stated that if we want to keep worldwide temperature increases to only 1.5 to 2 degrees centigrade we need to cut net carbon emissions to zero by 2050 (ZC2050) and in half by 2030.
The Green Party and many others do not think this is fast enough – even 1.5 degrees has significant impacts.
So, started by the Green Party in Australia, cities and states have been declaring a ‘Climate Emergency’ and making plans to achieve ZC2050 or better, with Carla Denyer, a Green Party city councillor in Bristol, leading the first in the UK (and the EU) in 2018. Bristol CC are targeting ZC2030.
In May 2019, the UK became the first country in the world to declare a Climate Emergency and brought into legislation a target to reach ZC2050.
Exeter CC are targeting ZC2030, Nottingham CC are targeting ZC2028, even the London Boroughs of Hounslow and Hillingdon are aiming for ZC2030.
So how ambitious have our East Berkshire borough councils been ? It’s rather pathetic …
Bracknell Forest BC have fallen in line with UK government policy to declare a Climate
Emergency and target ZC2050.
RBWM have done likewise and created this plan, however the leader of the RBWM Climate Emergency Coalition resigned in frustration at the lack of urgency and unresponsiveness to new ideas from the council during the meeting before its release.
At least Bracknell Forest BC and the RBWM have fallen into line with national government policy.
Labour dominated Slough BC have defied even their own party lines – and common sense – by refusing to declare a Climate Emergency, trying to ignore the issue, not having a ZC date, and silencing discussion.
The leader of the council has even written to you (Slough Express, June 7) saying he hopes Heathrow gets back to normal as quickly as possible – so the polluting and deafening noise can begin all over again!
This is just not good enough. This is not a ‘normal’ political point-scoring issue – they are deciding all our futures with these plans (or lack of them).
Even if the councils control a relatively small portion of the total CO2 emissions created here, they must play their part to reduce them as fast as possible.
The councils have NO EXCUSE: if LB
Hounslow is brave enough to step up to the plate and commit to ZC2030 then so should Slough BC, Bracknell Forest BC, and the RBWM.
We must all hold our councillors to account. You can find your councillor on the council websites so contact them and demand ZC2030.
You may find they themselves are frustrated with the inaction and lack of ambition – in which they are welcome to join us and become ‘the Green voice in the room’.
They can make a difference and so can we. We must get this right.
DUNCAN BRINDLEY Chair, East Berkshire Green Party