Climate Emergency declared!
Monday, 25 March 2019
Councils rise up to meet ‘issue of our time’
A ‘Climate Emergency’ was declared by Hebden Royd Town Council on Wednesday 20th March, with councillors unanimously voting for the motion to recognise and take urgent action on the critical threat of climate change.
The motion pledges to make Hebden Royd carbon neutral as soon as possible, guided by a committee of councillors and other local representatives.
This decision follows Calderdale Council declaring a Climate Emergency in January and has been spurred on by recent Youth Climate Strikes in Hebden Bridge over the last month.
“I’m proud that we are the first Town Council in Yorkshire to do this and I hope our example will help others do the same.” said the Mayor, Cllr Dr Carol Stow.
Average global temperatures have already increased by 1°C. Scientists and the United Nations say we need to do all we can to limit the increase to no more than 1.5°C. Current projections will take us past this to 3°C of global warming and more, holding catastrophic implications.
"Given the urgency of the latest climate science, the time to act is now! Having accompanied my daughter on the youth climate strike, there’s really no excuse,” explained Cllr Scott Patient who brought the motion.
"The question isn’t whether we will stop climate change but whether we will act quickly enough to save civilisation." Cllr Scott Patient.
"The window to take effective action is closing before our eyes and our children say we are taking their future away. We cannot afford to delay; carbon neutrality is essential.
"It is a sad reality that we are the first generation that is not able to offer a safe future for our children. Climate change must be an issue that transcends party politics, it is the critical issue of our time.”
Responding to the declaration Lucy, a local member of the international Extinction Rebellion movement said, "Fire and flood have already become destructive features of our local climate story. This declaration is an important step locally. All levels of government need to be doing the same. Our area was at the heart of the industrial revolution, wonderful for innovation but disastrous in the long term for all life on the planet. It’s time to take responsibility for our carbon past and climate future. We must act now!”.
It was also decided that the council will join the 'Covenant of Mayors' - a global network of towns and cities who have committed to radically cutting carbon emissions by 2030. The network enables members to share best practice, ideas, funding and progress tracking.
By raising the profile of this vital issue both locally and nationally, Hebden Royd hold an intention to secure external support and funding from a proposed Government fund. The Mayor was keen to point out that "This action and declaration will not involve spending huge amounts of extra money. There are many simple things that the Council can do to achieve a carbon neutral outcome – some we are doing already."
According to the motion, reducing energy use and switching to clean energy in Hebden Royd will have many benefits for the town, including the improvement of air quality, minimising fuel poverty, providing a boost to the local economy and the provision of jobs and training.
"We can’t do this alone and as such our first priority is setting up an open cross-party committee with representation from across our community to share ideas and work together in making this Emergency response a reality," explained Cllr Patient.
The Town Council hopes to work with renewable energy companies and sustainability groups to make the changes needed, planning to look at land opportunities for wind, hydro power, solar energy, and installing electric vehicle charge points.
This declaration comes ahead of further Youth Strikes and escalating acts of mass peaceful civil disobedience around the world by Extinction Rebellion, both demanding urgent government action on climate change.