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A climate emergency calls for real emergency response

Next week Gloucestershire County Council will debate a lib-dem motion, on a “Carbon action plan”. Greens will be amending the motion so that it includes a clear declaration of climate emergency, and solid targets to reduce carbon emissions across the whole of Gloucestershire.

Leader of the Greens, Cllr Rachel Smith said ‘It is crucial that Gloucestershire County Council both declare a climate emergency, and act as if there is one. I welcome the Lib Dems bringing this motion, but I will be making two key amendments. Firstly – we must include a declaration of a climate emergency, and secondly, to back that with action, we must set targets to cut carbon from the entire county, not just the county council estate.’

The Lib Dem motion adjusts the carbon reduction target for the County Council’s own estate up until 2030, but it omits a declaration of climate emergency, and it fails to commit Gloucestershire County Council to concrete targets. Targets that are needed to support the three districts who have already declared a climate emergency, and committed to carbon neutrality across their areas by 2030.

Cllr Eva Ward (Stroud Central, Green) and member of the county council environment committee said ‘Three of the six districts in the county have declared climate emergencies already, but for them to reach their targets of carbon neutral by 2030, the county council must play its part, especially when it comes to transport which accounts for 43% of carbon emissions in Gloucestershire.’

Stroud District, Forest of Dean and Cheltenham Borough have all declared climate emergencies in recent months, and have committed to strive for carbon neutral targets across their districts by 2030. Additionally, in 2015 Stroud District Council became the first carbon neutral local authority in Europe in terms of its own estate and operations.

Rachel Smith added “The policies of the Council can have a big impact on carbon emissions across the county. Our transport policy, the way we support local businesses, our work with the Local Economic Partnership, and our work with partners across public and private sector. The scientific consensus and dire warnings about the future if we don’t act, mean we that we can’t sit around with business as usual, or weak goals. We have the tools we need to act: we simply need to be bold, to listen to our population, and to lead on climate action.’