Green Party/Labour Party Motion to declare a Climate
Emergency
Proposer: Cllr Andy Fewings
Seconder: Cllr Sue Graham
Full Council notes:
1 Humans have already caused irreversible 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 350ppm 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 CO2eq
(carbon equivalent) 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 Global Warming of
1.5°C, published last month, 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 communities3;
7 The UK Government declared a Climate Change
Emergency on the 1
st May 2019 and Councils around the
world are responding by declaring a ‘Climate
Emergency’ and committing resources to address this
emergency.4 At least 43 Councils have already declared
a Climate Change Emergency.
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 Burnley and the UK that towns and cities
commit to carbon neutrality as quickly as possible;
2 Urban areas 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 heat networks
and mass transit;
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 Burnley Borough Council to:
1 Declare a ‘Climate Emergency’;
2 Call on the Executive to establish a cross-party
‘Climate Change Working Group’ (one member from each
group) whose remit is to provide recommendations to
the Executive, in light of the Climate Emergency, to
make the Borough of Burnley carbon neutral by 2030,
taking into account both production and consumption
emissions (scope 1, 2 and 3)5;
3 Call on Lancashire County Council and Westminster
to provide the powers and resources to make the 2030
target possible;
4 Call on the Executive to report to Full Council
within six months with the actions the Council will
take to address this emergency and detailed reasons
with supporting evidence (from within existing
resources and expertise without incurring third party
expenditure) for the refusal of any recommendation(s)
made by the Climate Change Working Group.
References:
1 Fossil CO2 & GHG emissions of all world countries,
2017:
http://edgar.jrc.ec.europa.eu/overview.php?v=CO2andGH
G1970-2016&dst=GHGpc
2 World Resources Institute:
https://www.wri.org/blog/2018/10/8-things-you-needknow-about-ipcc-15-c-report
3 The IPCC’s Special Report on Global Warming of
1.5ºC: https://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15/
4 UK government: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/ukpolitics-48126677 , Bristol, Calderdale, Lancaster,
Trafford and other councils:
https://inews.co.uk/news/environment/climateemergency-declaration-councils-green-party-un-report/
and overseas in US cities Berkeley:
https://www.theclimatemobilization.org/blog/2018/6/13
/berkeley-unanimously-declares-climate-emergency and
Hoboken:
https://www.theclimatemobilization.org/blog/2018/4/25
/hoboken-resolves-to-mobilize, and the C40 cities:
https://www.c40.org/other/deadline-2020
5 Scope 1, 2 and 3 of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol
explained:
https://www.carbontrust.com/resources/faqs/services/s
cope-3-indirect-carbon-emissions