Green councillor Carla Denyer, who proposed the first Climate Emergency in Europe at Bristol Council in November 2018, writes for Bristol 24/7 on why we need to tackle the Ecological Emergency as well.
People often ask why I only called for Bristol to declare a climate emergency and not a climate and ecological emergency. (The ‘ecological emergency’ describes the alarming picture of species extinctions, wildlife population declines, habitat loss and depletion of ecosystem services crucial for our sustenance and economy.)
Most recently, I was asked this question at a conference by Zero West exploring how we can get to zero carbon in the West of England.
It’s a very good question. As I have increasingly learnt over the past 18 months or so, if we manage to reach zero carbon by 2030 we could still have mass species extinction – in fact, it’s worse than ‘could’, it is the trajectory that we are currently on.
UN scientists have said that a 1.5°C average rise may put 20-30 per cent of species at risk of extinction. If the planet warms by more than 2°C, most ecosystems will struggle.
So why didn’t I include it in my climate emergency motion to Bristol City Council in November 2018?