Council challenged over climate pledge

January 25 2019
Council challenged over climate pledge

COUNCILLORS from Bristol’s Green party have launched a report outlining the action needed for Bristol to meet its new commitment to become carbon neutral by 2030.

In November, councillors from all parties in Bristol supported a Green Party motion put by Councillor Carla Denyer to announce a climate emergency and pledge to make Bristol carbon neutral by 2030, the most ambitious target of all UK core cities. 

Following this, Bristol’s Mayor was tasked with developing an action plan within six months to respond to the emergency, and all political parties were invited to contribute their own ideas for measures which might move the city towards this goal. 

Green party councillors then developed their work on this into a report, entitled Change Starts Now, that outlines the first steps Bristol City Council needs to take. Among other ideas, this report highlights the urgency for all parts of the council to factor in the need to reduce carbon emissions in every decision, whether on housing or transport or parks or any other area of the council’s work.

 Bristol’s climate pledge follows the recent announcement from the IPCC that humanity has just 12 years to take emergency action to prevent global warming greater than 1.5°C. Sir David Attenborough called the emergency the greatest threat in thousands of years, warning that inaction will lead to the collapse of civilisation and the extinction of much of the natural world.

A cross-party group has been formed to oversee and support the council’s progress. Commenting on the report, Eleanor Combley, Leader of the Bristol Green councillor group said: “We now need these promises to be turned into action, and our Change Starts Now report showcases some of the inspiring action cities across the country and the world are taking to respond to the climate emergency, as well as the extensive work already being done across Bristol.  

“The Mayor committed himself to the target of achieving Carbon Neutrality by 2030 when he voted for the Green Climate Emergency motion back in November, now there is an urgent need to turn those words into real action. We know that this is an ambitious target, but we also know that this is what we need to do to have any chance of avoiding catastrophic climate breakdown.  

“Residents can be rest assured that we will hold the Mayor to account if he does not honour the commitment he made.” 

Liz Radford, Conservative Councillor for Westbury-on-Trym and Henleaze Ward added: “This is a really important commitment for Bristol.  To plan for such an ambitious target will be challenging, not least with such a tight timescale, but also to ensure we thoroughly understand any possible detrimental impacts on residents individually.  However, focussing efforts here is key and any work done by the city to improve is a step in the right direction.”

A report back to Full Council covering the initial steps and plans for action is due in May, as defined by the original motion. However, as the May meeting is also the AGM and Lord Mayor-making ceremony, Eleanor Combley expects that it will get presented at the July meeting instead.

To read the Change Starts Now report, visit: https://www.bristolgreenparty.org.uk/library/Change_Starts_Now_-_Towards_Carbon_Neutral_Bristol_by_2030.pdf