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Questions raied in Liverpool. Now Hastings is being exercised by climate change (photo: Matěj Baťha/Wikimedia Commons).

Question raised in Liverpool – now Hastings is worrying about climate change (photo: Matěj Baťha/Wikimedia Commons).

Climate emergency motion is “meaningless,” say Greens

Labour’s climate emergency motion, to be debated by the full council at its meeting on Wednesday 13 February, is “meaningless,” according to the Greens, who last month announced their support for the adoption of such a policy by Hastings Borough Council. They are now urging all those who want to see urgent action at local level to attend the meeting at Muriel Matters House. Nick Terdre reports.

Labour’s motion declaring a climate emergency in Hastings “while it is a start is missing any definite commitment to making Hastings carbon neutral by 2030 or any measurable goals,” according to a statement from local Green Party secretary Julia Hilton. “Without any targets or measurable commitments the motion is meaningless,” she wrote.

She says they “asked for the council to report back within six months with definite actions and also to start setting a carbon budget alongside the financial budget.”

Neither of these measures is included in the motion, which will be debated at a meeting of the full council on Wednesday 13th, starting at 6pm. The Greens are calling on those who support “radical action” to turn up outside Muriel Matters House at 5.45pm and demonstrate in favour of a commitment from the council to become carbon neutral by 2030.

The notion that a climate emergency needs to be declared clearly chimes with many in town – an open letter from the Greens calling for it has been signed by over 950 individuals and 70 organisations.

The motion, to be proposed by council leader Peter Chowney and seconded by Cllr Maya Evans, sets out 13 specific measures aiming to “make Hastings carbon neutral by 2030, or by 2050 at the latest,” including developing a procurement policy to reduce carbon emissions, pressing ahead with a “programme of sustainable energy generation on council-owned and other land and buildings,” introducing requirements that new buildings should meet the “most rigorous possible energy efficiency standards” and continuing the “development of an off-road walking and cycling network” as specified in the Local Plan.

To oversee the implementation of the policy a climate change working group is proposed to be set up under the aegis of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and a councillor appointed as climate change champion. There is also a commitment to “work with voluntary, statutory and community organisations in the borough” to achieve these aims.

While acknowledging that action to combat climate change is primarily a matter for government, the preamble to the motion states that local authorities can take steps to “limit our own use of fossil carbon and encourage others to do the same.”

However it does not mention any involvement of the Green Party, which was instrumental in pushing urgent action on the climate to the top of the agenda. Late last year Hilton got together with Labour councillors Evans and Heather Bishop to suggest such a move at a meeting prompted by a report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stating that unless urgent measures were taken over the next 12  years to counter global warming, it would not be possible to limit the increase in global warming to the 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels considered necessary to avoid devastating effects for people, animals and the planet.

Those who have registered questions about the council’s intentions will have them answered at the full council meeting, and will also have a chance to ask follow-up questions.

 

 

Posted 16:50 Tuesday, Feb 12, 2019 In: The HOT Planet