Green Stroud District Councillor Simon Pickering (Slade Ward) has introduced a motion that sets out action to achieve the Stroud District Carbon Neutral 2030 Commitment.
“Climate change is here and now. The declaration of a Climate Emergency by the three leaders of the Council was only a first step. Now we need action, not just words. Technically, meeting this goal is relatively straightforward, but politically it is more challenging. This will mean engaging with all the people of Stroud District, and taking action in businesses, schools and homes. We’ll need to work in partnership across Gloucestershire, with the energy network companies, Glosfirst LEP and the Government to make this happen” said Cllr Pickering, Chair of the Environment Committee.
The motion was seconded by Lib Dem Councillor George Butcher (Wotton-under-Edge ward) and is expected to be taken up at the Environment Committee meeting on 13 December (see agenda here).
Cllr George Butcher said, “The impacts mean the lives of my children will be very different from the future I had imagined for them. For our children, we need to be creative and courageous today, which is why I have seconded this motion.”
Stroud District, and other local and regional authorities, have a role in contributing towards the achievement of national, legally binding, carbon emissions reduction targets, as agreed in the Climate Change Act 2008 and at the 23rd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The motion asks Stroud District Council to ring-fence funds from anticipated business rate pilot revenue in order to set out a Plan of Action to complement national efforts to limit global warming to 1.5˚C.
Cllr Catherine Braun (Green, Wotton-under-Edge ward) said “the most recent resident satisfaction survey conducted by Stroud District Council showed a very high level of support (86%) for the Council’s priority of minimising our carbon footprint, adapting to climate change and recycling more. We know that action is needed to make low carbon living easier and the new norm – and this will mean big changes in society: to laws, taxation and infrastructure.”
She added “Carbon dioxide can remain in the atmosphere for hundreds of years. Much of the wealth of the District was built on the back of the industrial revolution – powered by coal. We have a duty to future generations to right the wrongs of the past and to steer towards a cleaner and more sustainable future.”
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently released a report focussing on the impact that an increase in global temperatures of 1.5°C would have on the planet, compared to a 2°C increase. Above 1.5°C, the risks to humanity of floods, droughts, extreme heat and poverty become much greater. At current levels, the world is on course for 3°C of warming.
In Gloucestershire, the consequences of no action include:
- Increased risk of flash flooding and the resulting damages to buildings, crops, farmland and infrastructure as a result of more extreme rainfall events.
- Health problems due to increased heat stress, particularly for vulnerable adults and children.
- Increased costs associated with changes to crops and biodiversity.
- Higher energy costs.
- Crop failures associated with extreme heat, such as was experienced in 2018.
There are however significant economic, social and environmental benefits to be secured from these changes. Both the Government (in its clean growth strategy) and the Committee on Climate Change believe the shift to a very low carbon energy future represents the best course for the country’s economic development while lowering the risk of fuel poverty and reducing air pollution. This presents a stunning opportunity for Stroud District to become the centre of the new Green Economic Revolution in the South West.