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Monday, December 10, 2018

London Assembly passes climate emergency motion

The London Assembly has passed a motion by a vote of 12 votes for, 0 against, for declaring a climate emergency. The motion by UK Greens Councillor Caroline Russell urges that the Mayor should "declare a Climate Emergency, supported by specific emergency plans with the actions needed to make London carbon neutral by 2030".

This follows on from the City of Bristol declaring a climate emergency on 13 November 2018, the first UK council to declare a climate emergency. The Bristol motion was passed unanimously. Consequently, the city council set an ambitious goal of making Bristol carbon neutral by 2030.

Caroline Russel also referred to David Attenborough speech to the United Nations climate change conference COP24 meeting in Katowice, Poland, in which he warned, "If we don’t take action the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon." The IPCC 1.5C climate science report published in October was also referred to in motivating rapid social transformation needed for meeting the Paris Agreement climate targets and avoiding dangerous climate change..

The debate within London Assembly on the motion to declare a climate emergency

Caroline Russell AM, who proposed the motion said:

“Catastrophic climate breakdown might be as little as twelve years away – this would have profound impacts on every aspect of our lives in London from flooding and overheating in summers, disruption in our food supply chains as well as in the wider natural world.

“The Mayor need to be at the forefront of this challenge, declaring a climate emergency and an urgent updating of his carbon reduction targets to make London carbon neutral by 2030, decades ahead of his current plans, setting a precedent for other major and world cities.”

The full text of the motion

This Assembly notes that the IPCC’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, published in October 2018, describes the enormous harm that a 2°C rise is likely to cause compared with a 1.5°C rise, and confirms that limiting Global Warming to 1.5°C may still be possible with ambitious action from national and sub-national authorities and others.

This Assembly notes the Mayor’s climate change mitigation and adaptation responsibilities and recognises that he aims to make London a zero-carbon city by 2050 and would welcome further ambitious steps.

We welcome action by Bristol city council and other city councils around the world to declare and commit resources to tackling a ‘Climate Emergency’.

We urge the Mayor to declare a Climate Emergency, supported by specific emergency plans with the actions needed to make London carbon neutral by 2030, call on government to give him the powers and funding to make this possible and, as vice chair of the C40 Cities network, to be a leader on this agenda.

UK Green Party member Caroline Russell AM talks about the London Assembly motion calling on the Mayor to declare a Climate Emergency.

The concept of climate emergency at the municipal and city level is gaining increasing traction. Darebin Council was perhaps the first Municipal Council in the world to adopt an explicit climate emergency framework in 2017.

Darebin Council also held the first climate emergency conference in September 2018, bringing together citizens, activists, Councillors, and specialists and experts in emergency management and planning. (See Report)

In Australia Darebin Council declared a climate emergency in 2017, Moreland Council in September 2018, Byron Shire in October and City of Ballarat in November 2018.

In the USA Montgomery Council approved a climate emergency resolution in February, the City of Berkeley in June, the City of Richmond in August, and the City of Oakland in November 2018. The City of Hoboken voted for a climate mobilization in 2017. The City of Los Angeles voted in May 2018 to L.A. Votes to Explore establishing a Climate Emergency Mobilization Department.

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