Councils across the UK have committed more than £2 million to tackling climate change in response to declarations of a “Climate Emergency”, an investigation by DeSmog can reveal. While many councils have declared a climate emergency over the past year, the precise implications of the commitments have so far been vague. Most councils are still working out the costs associated with plans to reduce local emissions, with some already signalling their intent to commit a portion of the next budget to the cause. DeSmog sent a questionnaire to 94 councils listed to have declared a climate emergency, asking what actions they have taken since the declaration, and whether they had allocated additional funding to implement these proposals. 39 councils responded to the questionnaire. 11 of the 94 councils DeSmog contacted said they had already committed funding to tackling the climate emergency. Others were still in the process of costing their intended climate actions, or had plans to include it in next year’s budget. Of those contacted, Cornwall Council has devoted the most additional money to tackling the climate emergency, and has the most detailed spending plans for the years ahead. Following its declaration, the council committed £460,000 on recruiting a team to develop an action plan, and another £500,000 to support the implementation of projects. These funds came out of Cornwall’s General Fund – a pot of cash currently amounting to around £36 million that can be used to deal with unforeseen issues throughout the year – and were additional to the £16 million that the council has already committed to spending on renewables and climate change. It plans to spend an increasing sum on climate emergency-related costs in the next two years, which will be allocated in budget setting process for those years. Other councils that have already committed more than £100,000 in relation to declaring a climate emergency include (ranked by amount pledged): Devon County Council: £250,000 to develop the Devon Carbon Plan and use and use a Citizens’ Assembly. Oxford City Council: £200,000 to set up a Citizens’ Assembly on Climate Change and to “support detailed planning work on how the Council’s own carbon footprint – and that of Oxford itself – can be reduced to net zero.” South Cambridgeshire District Council: Although a little vague about whether the money was directly related to its climate emergency declaration, a spokesperson said that the council had committed £185,000 to tackle climate change since November 2018, in addition to the £2.1 million it had already budgeted to spend on renewable energy. Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council: £180,000 over three years has been written into the budget “to support our response to the climate emergency”, with other council-wide funds available “for numerous projects and initiatives which address the climate emergency”. Mendip District Council: £100,000 to “support the delivery of agreed actions” and to recruit a Climate Change and Resilience Officer.
DeSmog 28th Oct 2019 read more »
Letters are being sent to 30,000 households across the UK inviting people to join a citizens’ assembly on climate change. Once participants are selected, the assembly will meet next year, with the outcome of their discussions reported back to Parliament. The initiative, set up by cross party MPs, will look at what members of the public can do to reduce CO2. The UK government has committed to cut carbon emissions to net zero by 2050. Rachel Reeves, chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee, one of six select committees who commissioned the climate assembly, said a clear roadmap was needed to achieve this goal. “Finding solutions which are equitable and have public support will be crucial,” she said. “Parliament needs to work with the people and with government to address the challenge of climate change.”
BBC 2nd Nov 2019 read more »
MPs have bowed to a demand by activist group Extinction Rebellion as they send out 30,000 invitations to a citizens’ assembly on climate change. Six major parliament committees have set up a people’s forum to find out how the electorate wants MPs to save the environment. The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, Environmental Audit Committee, Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee, Science and Technology Committee, Transport Committee; and Treasury Committee will look at how the UK will reach its net zero emissions climate target, and what can be done by members of the public to help reduce carbon emissions. The citizens’ assembly has been launched before the dissolution of Parliament, to ensure that the assembly’s report is available to the new Parliament as it begins its work. Of the 30,000 who receive invitations, 110 of those who reply saying they are available to take part will be selected to travel to Birmingham and sit on the Assembly. This will be a representative sample of people from all walks of life. The addresses have been chosen at random to receive invitations to participate in Climate Assembly UK which will run over four weekends between late January to the middle of March next year.
Telegraph 1st Nov 2019 read more »
Tens of thousands of people, selected at random, will be invited to take part in a UK-wide forum on climate change this week. However climate activists warn it lacks teeth and is working to a timescale which does not recognise the scale of the threat. Climate Assembly UK, commissioned by six Westminster committees, will produce a report which is intended to be available for the next UK Parliament when it starts work after the general election. From Wednesday a total of 30,000 letters are to be sent to addresses in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland asking people from all walks of life to join the body, although only 110 will eventually take part in the Assembly. This representative group will then attend Climate Assembly UK over four weekends between late January to the middle of March next year in Birmingham. They will be given information about the global danger posed by climate change and asked to come up with radical solutions.
Herald 2nd Nov 2019 read more »
Business Green 1st Nov 2019 read more »