4 December 2018
Sarah Sharp, Green Party City Councillor, aims to focus our councillors’ and the public’s minds on two essential matters next week at the Full City Council meeting on Wednesday 5th December. She has put two motions to Full Council concerning Climate Change and Single-Use plastics.
Sarah said, “We all have a role to play in reducing climate change and reducing our use of single-use plastics. We can’t leave this to other people or other countries. We know the dangers to our oceans and marine life from plastic - we can all get involved in re-filling our water bottles, buying from The Refillery in Draper’s Yard, or join the #returntheplatic campaign and give back excess packaging to the supermarkets ourselves. I hope that the City Council can get further behind this cause with small changes to look at the way it is working, but also put its weight behind a deposit scheme to eliminate the waste and reduce litter.
“We also can’t turn a blind eye to the danger from rising temperatures as this is being clearly set out by scientists and the recent announcement from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which gave us a 12 year deadline to radically change the way we function as a society and reduce our emissions. We live in a low-lying area at risk of rising sea levels. As individuals we need to consider what impact our actions are having on climate change – by considering our reliance on fossil fuels for travel – can we take the bus or cycle or have a meat free day or two a week? We, as City Counciillors, owe it to future generations to carefully consider all plans and developments and matters we are consulted on and ask ourselves the simple question “Will this decision have a negative or positive impact on climate change?”. We can’t afford to be too complacent or to leave this to other councils. We need to put pressure on West Sussex and Chichester District from below. Our focus needs to be away from short-term growth to long-term sustainability to avoid massive crop failures, mass migration, the death of millions of people and displacement of 1 in 9 people in the UK due to the climate crisis.”
Can Chichester the second city to follow suit?
Full Council Motion –
1. Humans have caused climate change, the impacts of which are being felt around the world. Global temperatures have already increased by 1 degree Celsius from pre-industrial levels. Atmospheric CO2 levels are above 400 parts per million (ppm). This far exceeds the 350 ppm deemed to be a safe level for humanity;
2. In order to reduce the chance of runaway Global Warming and limit the effects of Climate Breakdown, it is imperative that we as a species reduce our carbon equivalent (CO2eq) emissions from their current 6.5 tonnes per person per year to less than 2 tonnes as soon as possible; 1
3. Individuals cannot be expected 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;
4. Carbon emissions result from both production and consumption;
5. Unfortunately, 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; 2, 3
6. The IPCC’s Special Report on the effects of Global Warming of 1.5°C, published recently, describes the enormous harm that a 2°C rise is likely to cause compared to a 1.5°C rise, and told us that limiting Global Warming to 1.5°C may still be possible with ambitious action from national and sub-national authorities, civil society, the private sector, indigenous peoples and local communities 3 ;
7. City Councils around the world are responding by declaring a ‘Climate Emergency’ and committing resources to address this emergency.4
Full Council believes that:
1. All governments (national, regional and local) have a duty to limit the negative impacts of Climate Breakdown, and local governments that recognise this should not wait for their national governments to change their policies. It is important for the residents of Chichester and the UK that cities commit to carbon neutrality as quickly as possible;
2. Cities are uniquely placed to lead the world in reducing carbon emissions, as they are in many ways easier to decarbonise than rural areas – for example because of their capacity for local energy generation and public transport;
3. The consequences of global temperature rising above 1.5°C are so severe that preventing this from happening must be humanity’s number one priority; and,
4. Bold climate action can deliver economic benefits in terms of new jobs, economic savings and market opportunities (as well as improved well-being for people worldwide).
Full Council calls on the Mayor to:
1. Declare a ‘Climate Emergency’;
2. Pledge to make the city of Chichester carbon neutral by 2030, taking into account both production and consumption emissions
3. Call on Westminster to provide the powers and resources to make the 2030 target possible;
4. Work with other councils and governments (both within the UK and internationally) to determine and implement best practice methods to limit Global Warming to less than 1.5°C;
5. Continue to work with partners across the city and region to deliver this new goal through all relevant strategies and plans;
6. Set up a Task and Finish Group to look into the matter in greater detail. Consider whether it would be advisable to take into account climate change impacts, when debating planning applications, or taking part in consultations, commenting on reports, plans and reviews put to the Council.
7. Report to Full Council within six months with the actions the Mayor/Council will take to address this emergency.
3. The IPCC’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC: https://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15/
In light of the incredible success of the Blue Planet series in raising awareness of the dangers of single-use plastic, this Council:
1) Thanks and congratulates the City Council staff on their use of real glasses and crockery in City Council functions and meetings.
2) Supports and looks into the feasibility of joining the “Refill” Scheme that West Sussex is setting up
3) Will gradually work towards reducing and subsequently eliminating the use of single-use plastics (e.g. using refillable containers for cleaning products, eliminating so-called disposable plastic cups and avoiding using laminating sheets for one-off occasions – reusable plastic sleeves can be used instead.)
4) Encourages the City Council staff to liaise with hirers of the facilities to ensure that hirers have considered reducing or eliminating their use of single-use plastics. This Council recommends that the conditions of hire of the building should be modified to include discouraging the use of single-use plastics wherever practically possible.
5) Promotes a deposit system to the District and County Councils and to our MP. Such a scheme has the potential to revolutionize our reliance on single-use plastics and keep litter off the streets. (Residents would be incentivised to return bottles to shops in order to get their deposit back).
6) Sets up a Task and Finish Group to look into the use of single-use plastics in the City Council’s work