Coun­cils must com­mit to low­er­ing CO2 emis­sions

Windsor & Eton Express - - Viewpoint -

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

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