Green Councillor for Abbey Naomi Bennett shares some thoughts about the COP26 climate summit

28 October 2021

With a big summit like COP (Conference of the Parties), what happens before and afterwards is often more important than the summit itself. You would hope to see evidence of thorough planning and preparation and a commitment to turning words into concrete actions afterwards.

Here in Cambridge, my Green colleague Dr Hannah Copley and I are doing what we can as councillors to support COP 26. At the recent meeting of Cambridge City Council, we proposed three calls to action addressed to our government and secured the council's backing for all of them.

As well as the important fossil fuels treaty motion, the Council agreed to call for the government to endorse a national retrofit strategy to climate proof existing homes. This strategy was published in 2020 and revised in 2021. Delay is a huge problem because a severe skills shortage really limits how fast we can take action and the clock is already ticking. We also need to make it really clear that no council has enough money to carry out this work and that the government needs to step up.

Our other motion was to call for the government to review our current chaotic green tax system. An uneven system is unfair and gaps mean that the government has to borrow more to fund the climate fight. Just 7% of the money raised from green taxes is used to tackle the climate emergency. And that proportion is falling.

There is a saying that nobody plans to fail, we just fail to plan and so fail to act in time. If our government takes one message away from COP 26, I hope it is that one.

Councillor Naomi Bennett

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