Greenwich Council

Agenda item.

Motion - "Climate Change Emergency"

Decision:

Resolved –

 

Council notes:

·        that the impacts of climate breakdown are already causing serious damage around the world;  

 

·        that the ‘Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C’, published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in October 2018, (a) describes the enormous harm that a 2°C average rise in global temperatures is likely to cause compared with a 1.5°C rise, and (b) confirms that limiting Global Warming to 1.5°C may still be possible with ambitious action from national and sub-national authorities, civil society and the private sector;

 

·        that all governments (national, regional and local) have a duty to act, and local governments that recognise this should not wait for their national governments to change their policies; 

 

·        that strong policies to cut emissions also have associated health, wellbeing and economic benefits;

 

·        and that, recognising this, a growing number of UK local authorities have already passed 'Climate Emergency' motions

 

In Greenwich:

·        The consequences of inaction to address this emergency will include:

               Increased risk of flooding, subsidence, and damage to buildings and infrastructure

               Health problems, particularly for children, the disabled and older people

               Higher energy and food costs

               Increases in social injustice and inequality

 

Council resolves to:

·        Join other local authorities and declare a ‘climate emergency’.

 

·        Pledge to make Royal Borough of Greenwich carbon neutral by 2030   or earlier if possible – and to make sure that in meeting this pledge the Council takes steps to avoid any adverse impacts on vulnerable residents.

 

·        Pledge to develop a Greenwich Carbon Neutral Plan, detailing how the Council’s pledge to become carbon neutral by 2030 will be achieved – and requests that this Greenwich Carbon Neutral Plan is brought to Full Council for approval by January 2020 at the latest.

 

·        Pledge to produce, in January of each year between now and 2030, a Greenwich Climate Emergency Annual Report, detailing the Council’s progress against the Greenwich Carbon Neutral Plan – which will enable members, residents and other local stakeholders to hold the Council to account for delivery of this pledge.

 

·        Pledge to review and update the Action Plan of the Greener Greenwich Strategy. We aim to have this completed by December 2019. We will publish an Annual Report outlining the progress we have made against these actions.

 

·        Pledge to create the first Greenwich Partnership to focus on climate change and ask our partner organisations across Greenwich to make clear commitments to dealing with this crisis.

 

·        Use our lobbying power as a local authority to campaign at the local, London-wide and national level to draw attention to issue and bring about changes at all levels of government.

 

·        Pledge that the Core Strategy will be reviewed to help ensure we deliver our Carbon Neutral target.

 

·        Pledge to explore all opportunities to divest our pension fund investments, while discharging the relevant fiduciary responsibilities to members of the pension fund, and work to ensure that wherever possible any future investments are assessed against these principles. 

 

·        Pledge to ensure that sustainability is central to our Procurement strategy.

 

·        Pledge to make this council free of single-use plastics by 2020 and work towards reducing the use of single-use plastics across all council buildings.

Minutes:

Councillor Denise Scott-McDonald moved the motion. She highlighted the work already undertaken by the Council, including its Greener Greenwich Strategy and young environmental championship programme. She noted a lot more done had to be done at the national and international level but emphasised that the Royal Borough of Greenwich wanted to play their part by declaring a climate emergency

 

In seconding the motion, Councillor Sarah Merrill commented on the borough’s projected population increase and the pressure to build housing. As Chair of Planning she had suggested one thing they could do was to encourage developers of major developments to do away with concrete because of their emissions and use other material. She noted another pressure was transport, and highlighted the idea of having an anaerobic digestion unit to provide energy.

 

Councillor Matt Hartley proposed the amendment to the motion, as detailed in the published Tabled Items agenda. He thanked Councillor Scott-McDonald for bringing the motion forward. He explained that the amendment had been drafted after considering how other local authorities had addressed the matter. He detailed the proposed amendment.

 

The amendment was seconded by Councillor Matt Clare. He thanked the Extinction Rebellion team for their recent event which some Members had attended. He added that further ideas for consideration in relation to the matter were the extension of Santander cycles to Greenwich, car club cars, water-butts on the side of Council buildings, an express 161 bus, allowing residents and businesses residents groups to pay for new street trees, a rolling replacement of paving stones with a smooth permeable surface, voluntary non-idling zones, have living Christmas trees put them in pots or in gardens or in a designated public place.

 

Councillor Denise Scott-McDonald accepted the amendment.

 

Councillors Charlie Davis, John Fahy, Gary Parker, David Gardner, Mehboob Khan, Nigel Fletcher spoke on the amended motion. It was recognised that there was a need for systemic change and modal shift and for them to be ambitious. The work the Council was doing in terms of recycling was noted but the aim must be towards zero waste. It was commented that they needed to think about car-free developments, that streets should be principally for people rather than cars, and that they needed to think about how they got the majority of the population to cycle. It was recognised that they were going through period of change with regard to energy needs. It was felt new technologies should be supported both for more efficient products but also for the generation of energy. It was recognised that they needed to work in partnership to deliver carbon reduction and grow the local economy. They needed more low carbon jobs. It was stressed that divestment was very important; the Pension Fund was critical in relation to ending the funding of fossil fuel and equally ending the funding of fracking. It was suggested they set date targets for the Fund to eventually remove funds from any area which was known to be unethical. It was emphasised that it was important to recognise the influence that the community has brought to bear. The tremendous impact David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg had had on young people was noted. The idea of a citizens' assembly to establish an open door policy listening and learning was suggested.

 

Councillor Matt Hartley closed the debate.

 

The Mayor put the amended motion to the vote and it was unanimously

 

Resolved –

 

Council notes:

·        that the impacts of climate breakdown are already causing serious damage around the world;  

 

·        that the ‘Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C’, published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in October 2018, (a) describes the enormous harm that a 2°C average rise in global temperatures is likely to cause compared with a 1.5°C rise, and (b) confirms that limiting Global Warming to 1.5°C may still be possible with ambitious action from national and sub-national authorities, civil society and the private sector;

 

·        that all governments (national, regional and local) have a duty to act, and local governments that recognise this should not wait for their national governments to change their policies; 

 

·        that strong policies to cut emissions also have associated health, wellbeing and economic benefits;

 

·        and that, recognising this, a growing number of UK local authorities have already passed 'Climate Emergency' motions

 

In Greenwich:

·        The consequences of inaction to address this emergency will include:

               Increased risk of flooding, subsidence, and damage to buildings and infrastructure

               Health problems, particularly for children, the disabled and older people

               Higher energy and food costs

               Increases in social injustice and inequality

 

Council resolves to:

·        Join other local authorities and declare a ‘climate emergency’.

 

·        Pledge to make Royal Borough of Greenwich carbon neutral by 2030   or earlier if possible – and to make sure that in meeting this pledge the Council takes steps to avoid any adverse impacts on vulnerable residents.

 

·        Pledge to develop a Greenwich Carbon Neutral Plan, detailing how the Council’s pledge to become carbon neutral by 2030 will be achieved – and requests that this Greenwich Carbon Neutral Plan is brought to Full Council for approval by January 2020 at the latest.

 

·        Pledge to produce, in January of each year between now and 2030, a Greenwich Climate Emergency Annual Report, detailing the Council’s progress against the Greenwich Carbon Neutral Plan – which will enable members, residents and other local stakeholders to hold the Council to account for delivery of this pledge.

 

·        Pledge to review and update the Action Plan of the Greener Greenwich Strategy. We aim to have this completed by December 2019. We will publish an Annual Report outlining the progress we have made against these actions.

 

·        Pledge to create the first Greenwich Partnership to focus on climate change and ask our partner organisations across Greenwich to make clear commitments to dealing with this crisis.

 

·        Use our lobbying power as a local authority to campaign at the local, London-wide and national level to draw attention to issue and bring about changes at all levels of government.

 

·        Pledge that the Core Strategy will be reviewed to help ensure we deliver our Carbon Neutral target.

 

·        Pledge to explore all opportunities to divest our pension fund investments, while discharging the relevant fiduciary responsibilities to members of the pension fund, and work to ensure that wherever possible any future investments are assessed against these principles. 

 

·        Pledge to ensure that sustainability is central to our Procurement strategy.

 

·        Pledge to make this council free of single-use plastics by 2020 and work towards reducing the use of single-use plastics across all council buildings.

Supporting documents: