14 April 2019
At a Hull City Council Full Meeting on 21st March, a Climate Emergency motion, that had been initiated by Hull & East Riding Green Party, was passed unanimously. It commits to doing everything it can to make Hull zero carbon by 2030.
We believe the final motion reads, "Declare a Climate Emergency". As it was amended at the meeting, which are not always easy for members of the public to follow, we are still seeking confirmation of the final wording.
Astonishingly, every councillor that spoke supported it, and the vote was unanimous. Many councillors spoke in the debate, raising some important and relevant points, as well as some comments that rather missed the point.
Council Chamber voting result – 52 For, 0 Against.
Green Party candidates Richard Howarth and Mike Lammiman originally drew up a Climate Emergency motion following the success of Green Party councillors across the UK, and the world. As we don't (yet) have any Green councillors in Hull, we met with Cllr Gill Kennett (Labour, ex-Red Labour), who wholeheartedly supported it, and took it forward. In declaring, Hull joins 76 other UK Councils, as of April 2019.
The motion that appeared in the Agenda was little changed, but the words, "Declare a Climate Emergency" had disappeared. During the debate a Lib-Dem amendment was accepted, that we think added back those words.
The Conservative comments deserve particular mention. Cllr Fareham (one of 2 Conservatives) started with, "Obviously I will be supporting this motion". Given that his party has axed solar panel PV payments, the Green Deal home improvement scheme, the Green Bank, effectively banned the cheapest form of renewable energy, on-shore wind, etc. etc., I'm not sure why he thought his support would be obvious. He continued, "There is far too much Guardian-ista self flagellation, and we should point the finger where the blame lies … at China."
This tired old racist myth conveniently ignores certain facts, that are worth stating:
1. China is a big country, with a lot of people. The most people, in fact. So of course it has higher emissions than most other (smaller) countries. A fairer measure is emissions per person, which are about the same as us.
2. A significant amount of those emissions are producing goods for export to richer countries. Like us, for example.
3. China is moving from coal to renewables, is storming ahead with large scale renewables, and continues its massive scale tree planting programs.
After lots of other comments in full support of the motion, Cllr Mike Thompson (Lab) said, "This is one of the few occasions when I have not disagreed with any speaker." Cllr Kennett concluded by saying it was amazing.
The wording of the original motion (before amendments) can be found at the foot of this page (item 12), and is copied below for convenience.
When the final wording is published, we'll post a link here.
Of course passing the motion is the easy bit. NOW ACT.
Notice of Motion
Motion to be moved by Councillor Kennett:
Council notes that humans have already caused irreversible climate change, the impacts of which are being felt around the world with global temperatures already one degree Celsius higher than in pre-industrial times. Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide levels are above 400 parts per million (ppm), far exceeding the 350 ppm deemed to be a safe level for humanity.
Council further notes that in order to reduce the chance of runaway Global Warming and limit the effects of dramatic climate change, there must be a global reduction in our ‘Carbon Dioxide Equivalent’ emissions from their current 6.5 tonnes per person per year to less than 2 tonnes. It is not possible for individuals to make this reduction on their own. Society needs to change its laws, taxation, infrastructure, etc., to make low carbon living easier and the new ‘norm’ as carbon emissions result from both production and consumption.
This Council has already shown foresight and leadership when it comes to addressing the issue of dramatic climate change by consistently promoting and supporting public transport use and investing in and supporting partnerships to make Hull a ‘Green Energy City’. Hull is a member of the Global Resilient Cities wider network and the second most invested city in England in terms of flood prevention and mitigation through the Living with Water Partnership with the Environment Agency, Yorkshire Water and the East Riding of Yorkshire Council. In addition, Hull has actively assisted others in preparing to resist climate change by advising our twin city, Freetown, on flood mitigation.
Council believes, however, that our current plans and actions are not enough. The world is on track to overshoot the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C limit before 2050 and less than 2 ̊C warming by 2100 is unlikely. With the likely increase being between 2.0- 4.9 ̊C, Hull is particularly vulnerable to sea level rise, and the current 1 ̊C of warming could result in 2m of sea level rise by 2100, enough to submerge Hull within the lifetime of today's children. A 2 ̊C to 4 ̊C of warming could see sea level rises of 4.7m, to 8.9m..
Council notes that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s “Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C” states that limiting Global Warming to 1.5°C may still be possible with ambitious action from national and regional authorities, civil society, the private sector and local communities.
Council believes that all levels of government have a duty to limit the impacts of Climate Breakdown, and local Councils should not wait for Government to change their policies. It is important for the residents of Hull and the UK that cities commit to
carbon neutrality as quickly as possible.
Cities are uniquely placed to lead the world in reducing carbon emissions, as they are in many ways easier to decarbonise than rural areas and bold climate action can deliver economic benefits in terms of new jobs, economic savings and market opportunities.
Council resolves to do everything within the Council's power to make Hull carbon neutral by 2030, taking into account both production and consumption emissions.
Council also resolves to call on the Government to provide the powers and resources to make the 2030 target possible, to work with other Governments to determine and implement best practice methods to limit Global Warming to less than 1.5°C and to continue to work with partners across the City and region to deliver this new goal through all relevant strategies and plans.
Council requests a report back to Full Council within six months on the actions that will be taken to address and action this resolution.
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