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Chelmsford Liberal Democrats

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Our house is on fire - Chelmsford acts on climate emergency

July 17, 2019 8:22 PM
Originally published by Stephen Robinson
Stephen Robinson and Rose Moore in front of a visual record of the Chelmsford meeting that declared a cliimate emergency

Stephen Robinson and Rose Moore in front of a visual record of the Chelmsford meeting that declared a climate emergency

A climate and ecology emergency has been declared in Chelmsford. This was voted through at a meeting of Chelmsford City Council last night (Tuesday 16 July). The move comes as a growing number of UK councils have formally recognised the urgent need to reduce global temperature increases if we are to avert major disaster.

Act as if our house is on fire - because it is

Lib Dem Cllr. Rose Moore proposed the motion, saying, "This is not a drill; we hear reports daily, hourly of the huge damage being done to our environment." Cllr Moore went on to quote from a speech by climate campaigner Greta Thunberg who said:

Adults keep saying: "We owe it to the young people to give them hope." But I don't want your hope. I don't want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act. I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if our house is on fire. Because it is."

Watch a video of the debate

Cllr. Stephen Robinson, Leader of the Council (Liberal Democrat), supported the motion, which was unanimously voted through. Alongside the declaration, he asked the Council to pledge to reduce its own carbon emissions to net zero by 2030, which was also approved together with a number of practical actions to achieve this (see below).

Councillor Robinson said, "The future of the world is in our hands, right now, and we all have a responsibility to act on these very real warnings. Of all the projected impacts of global warming, flooding is particularly likely to affect Chelmsford and a rise in sea level will have a huge effect on Essex as a coastal county.

"I used to regularly take my son to the coast at Maldon. His children will be unable to do that if polar ice caps melt - almost all of current Essex will be under water!

"This is not just a problem for national governments to deal with: local authorities like Chelmsford City Council have a duty to take local action, to protect the long-term wellbeing of our residents and to work with others. Residents can expect a number of practical measures and schemes to be announced this year to reduce emissions and protect the environment in our area."

In October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published a 'Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C.' The report describes the enormous harm that a 2°C average rise in global temperatures is likely to cause, including heatwaves, flooding and the loss of most coral reefs. Currently, the world is headed for a 3-4°C rise.

However, the report also confirms that limiting global warming to 1.5°C would be enough to avoid or reduce this damage. The Panel stated that this is still possible, with ambitious action from national authorities, civil society and the private sector. In May, Parliament declared a climate emergency and the government has set a target of reducing the UK's carbon emissions to zero by 2050.

Chelmsford joins 115 other first- and second-tier councils who have passed Climate Emergency motions, 71 of which have also set a target date of net zero carbon by 2030.

Notice of Motion - Climate and Ecological Emergency

Chelmsford City Council notes:

Council therefore resolves to: