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Council reinforces commitment to tackling Climate Emergency

PUBLISHED: 11 March 2021

Colchester Borough Council has reaffirmed its commitment to a greener, more thriving future for the borough, by supporting the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill.

The motion put forward to support the bill was agreed and adopted at the Cabinet meeting, on Wednesday 10 March 2021. The council recognises the importance of acting now on this issue to improve the lives of residents from both an ecological and economic perspective.

The Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill* before parliament outlines that the government must develop an emergency strategy which addresses key criteria:

  • Requiring the UK to play its part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions consistent with limiting global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees C above pre-industrial temperatures
  • Ensure that all the UK’s consumption emissions are accounted for
  • Includes emissions from aviation and shipping
  • Protects and restores biodiverse habitats along overseas supply chains
  • Restores and regenerates the UK’s depleted soils, wildlife habitats and species populations to healthy and robust states, maximising their capacity to absorb CO2 and their resistance to climate heating
  • Sets up an independent Citizens’ Assembly, representative of the UK’s population, to engage with Parliament and Government and help develop the emergency strategy.

In agreeing to support the bill, the council has resolved to write to local MPs and the CEE Bill Alliance to express its support.

Leader of the Council, Councillor Mark Cory said: “Apart from the coronavirus pandemic, climate change and biodiversity loss is the greatest challenge we face. We are taking small steps, but we need to go much further. We are in full support of the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill and we would encourage residents who are also concerned, to write to their local MPs to encourage them to support the bill. They can also write to the CEE Bill Alliance**, the organisers of the campaign for the Bill, to express their support

“We are committed to a greener recovery, because we understand that every pound invested in the green economy brings greater economic and social return in the future. Acting and investing now will bring many benefits in the form of good jobs, breathable cities and thriving communities.”
Lord Stern’s Economics of Climate Change 2006 review estimated the economic costs of not tackling climate change to be 5% of GDP in 2050, or 11-14% of GDP when wider impacts, such as health, are included.

The wider benefits of green investment are significant. From thousands of jobs in the green industry, cleaner air, warmer homes and flourishing countryside, to lower health costs and reduced risks of flooding in our borough.

Without more significant and sustained action, the world will exceed the UN Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C global warming limit between 2030 and 2040. Therefore, the current UK target of net zero by 2050 and slow progress is too little too late.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C published in October 2018 outlines that the increase in harm caused by a rise of 2°C rather than 1.5°C is significant. However, it says limiting heating to 1.5°C may still be possible with ambitious action from national and sub-national authorities, civil society, the private sector and local communities. It states the costs of failing to address the crisis far outstrip the investments required to prevent it.

To address this, the council declared a Climate Emergency in 2019, making a commitment to reaching zero net carbon emissions by 2030. In 2020, a Climate Emergency Action Plan was developed, outlining key actions to ensure sustainability and decrease carbon emissions through services and partnerships.
Colchester Borough Council is currently creating a Climate Emergency Strategic Response framework and updating the Climate Emergency Action Plan 2021-2023. This is acknowledgement of the importance of ensuring residents and future generations have access to a sustainable environment, without increased disasters and climate impacts. It is a commitment to making sure residents and visitors can breathe clean air while enjoying the historic and commercial sites that Colchester has to offer.

Page last reviewed: 11 March 2021

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