21 July 2021
Green Party Councillor Hannah Charlotte Copley has tabled a motion for Thursday’s Full Council Meeting, urging the Council to add its voice to calls for a joint local and national government Task Force to address climate change.
Hannah says: “There is a critical need to bring together local councils and central government. At present there is no mechanism to ensure that government funds and policies are lined up with the requirements of councils to meet the target of net zero emissions. This is essential if local communities and economies are to decarbonise whilst remaining resilient and sustainable.”
The motion calls for the Council to write to Alok Sharma MP, President of the forthcoming UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), as well as the Prime Minister and the Leadership Board of the Local Government Association, informing them of its support for a joint national Climate Change Partnership Task Force to be established as soon as possible, and before the November COP26.
Cambridge City Council’s Climate Change Strategy has an ambitious vision for Cambridge to achieve net zero carbon status by 2030. This will require the co-operation of national government, industry and regulators. In 2018, at COP24, the government committed to having ‘domestic institutional arrangements, public participation and engagement with local communities’ so that all can play their part in delivering the UK's Nationally Determined Contributions. But no action has been taken to set up any formal structure to achieve this. A national Task Force would be able to design appropriate regulations, benchmarks and targets and to create robust long-term funding mechanisms.
Emissions from buildings, transport and agriculture are not falling anywhere near fast enough. Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Independent Commission on Climate Change reported that we have only six years left to reduce our share of emissions that will ensure we limit global heating to 1.5 degrees - the only safe level of global warming according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Although emissions in Cambridge City fell between 2005 and 2019, as in most UK local authorities, the City Council came in at number 107 on the list – a poor showing, given the expertise in the city.
The Covid-19 pandemic has shown how important local action is and how rapidly local authorities can respond to major challenges. Local government is the route to overcoming resistance to the changes required for reducing emissions, for ensuring a fair transition, and for shaping changes in ways that will win support. However, without national support, the City Council’s vision to achieve net zero carbon by 2030 is unlikely to be achieved.
Cllr Copley at Coldham's Brook