Today we hold our final district council meeting before the local elections, writes Doina Cornell, and I’m supporting a motion backing the Climate and Ecology Emergency Bill, which asks our MP to support the bill through parliament.
The measures proposed in this bill, if passed into law, would give us a real chance of averting catastrophic climate change and ecological damage, by being a country that finally led the way amongst the wealthier nations, committing to keep global heating down to 1.5°C by reducing our carbon emissions, and protecting nature from the disaster of biodiversity loss. For example, it would mean taking into account our entire carbon footprint, which includes that of all that we buy and consume whether in the UK or overseas; ensuring we focus on nature as much as the climate, and putting citizens’ voices at the heart of decision-making with a citizens’ assembly.
Back in 2016, I wrote to our local papers criticizing our then Conservative MP for his government’s ‘fine speeches and hot air’, saying the right words about the climate but then axing support for onshore wind and solar subsidies. We have got a new MP, but it remains to be seen if this same government will make good on its promises to lead the world as we host COP26 later this year.
After all, they’ve just abandoned the green homes grant scheme that was targeted at private homeowners. And of the £30bn estimated to be needed to retrofit all the council housing stock in the country, so far the government has only set aside £3.5bn with £50m due to be spent on pilot schemes.
So at present, there is no national plan to decarbonize our private and social housing stock. And yet local Conservative leaflets are posting through our doors at present, attacking our record at the district council for failing to act on the climate emergency. The facts don’t back up their claims, as on our watch we’ve seen millions invested into carbon reduction in our district. And of that pilot money allocated by the central government, we’ve just won £1million of it to deep retrofit 28 council homes. We could do so much more if this Conservative government showed the same political will on the climate as it has to throw money at its crony covid contracts like the £37bn spent on Serco’s failing track and trace system.
But the climate and the natural systems that support life, matter too much to be seen through a narrow party political lens. For this reason, we must remain hopeful that Conservative MPs such as our own, who attack Labour and then claim in their local election leaflets “we should be more ambitious” on climate in our district, will support the CEE bill.
The CEE Bill can be found in full here:
Leader of Stroud District Labour & Cooperative Group
Ward Councillor, Dursley