Carla Denyer, the Green Party Councillor from Bristol who proposed the first Climate Emergency motion in the UK in November 2018, is today (4 July) taking part in a ‘high level roundtable’ alongside senior politicians and climate policy experts as part of London’s Climate Action Week.
The roundtable event, organised by The Club of Rome, is being called in light of the climate emergency and the need “to shift from mere declarations to action”. A statement says the event “will convene the various strands of the climate emergency and sustainability space – activists, problem-holders and solution providers – in order to co-design concrete solutions for genuine impact.” The Club of Rome is an international organisation founded in 1968 that consists of current and former world leaders, UN representatives, government officials, experts and business leaders from around the globe. In 1972 it commissioned a well-known report into the limits to growth.
Councillor Denyer proposed the initial climate emergency motion at a Bristol Council meeting in November 2018 – it called on the Council to declare a climate emergency and set a target for Bristol to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030, an advance of 20 years on the original objective. Since then over 100 UK local authorities and the London Assembly have followed suit and passed similar motions. The UK parliament also passed a motion on the subject on May 1 2019.
However, in her talk at the international event Cllr Denyer is expected to press for more action from policymakers, calling on politicians from other parties to follow their declarations with ambitious and effective action rather than continuing to pursue policies destructive to the climate.
“I am delighted that so many Councils followed my lead in declaring a Climate Emergency. But clearly a declaration on its own is not enough – it is only meaningful if it is followed up with urgent and sustained action. I am worried there is a very real risk of this not happening. Many of the politicians that have made these declarations have not reflected it in their policies and actions, indeed they have pursued policies that are at direct odds with addressing the emergency. In the last few months we have seen Labour, Lib Dem and Conservative politicians granting permission for a new coal mine in Cumbria and supporting airport expansions across the country.
“Our society has made huge progress in the last 9 months – political leaders of all stripes have shown they are ready to describe the problem honestly, but now we need to find the political will to solve the problem. I hope this London Climate Action Week will be the time that they step up to the challenge.”
Photo credit @JonCraig_Photos