Grown up politics in Liverpool

I really hope that the debate and discussion on climate change which will take place in Liverpool Town Hall on 17th July will be one that all our citizens will be proud of

I have mentioned a number of times that there was an agreement that we would have a full council meeting to look solely at climate change and the local, national and global things that need doing to tackle it as a sense of urgency.

Below you can see the motion that I will be seconding on Wednesday. It isn’t quite what I would have said; it doesn’t have quite the priorities that I would have put but it has been amended three times by things the Lib Dems wanted. In this context as in most contexts it is the things that we agree on that should form the basis of the debate rather than the very much smaller number of things that we don’t agree on.

I am also pleased that Mayor Anderson and I resisted the pressure to declare a ‘Climate Change Emergency’ earlier. We took the view that we should not do so until we knew how we were going to ramp up the work that was already been going in the City.

Words without actions are merely flag waving exercises. This was confirmed to me last week at the LGA Conference when I asked councillor after councillor on councils which had declared the emergency what they had done since. The answers varied between nothing and don’t know. Climate change is too important for us to deal with it in a tokenistic way.

If you think that there are things missing in this motion or that some things are wrong that is fine. An important point of the process, and one that I will emphasise, is that everyone is being invited to participate in the council’s work on this issue and then participate in the actions that are required from all of us.

So here it is. What do you think? Let me know.

Declaring a Climate Change Emergency by Mayor Joe Anderson, OBE, Councillor Richard Kemp CBE, Councillor Tom Crone and Councillor Steve Radford

That Council notes:

·           that the impacts of climate breakdown are already causing serious damage around the world.

·           that the ‘Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C’, published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in October 2018, (a) describes the enormous harm that a 2°C average rise in global temperatures is likely to cause compared with a 1.5°C rise, and (b) confirms that limiting Global Warming to 1.5°C may still be possible with ambitious action from national and sub-national authorities, civil society and the private sector.

·           that all governments (national, regional and local) have a duty to act, and Liverpool Council recognises that we should not wait for national government to change its priorities or policies.

·           that strong policies to cut emissions also have associated health, wellbeing, equality and economic benefits;

·           Our young people have the most to lose. For there to be intergenerational justice, it is vital that we take the radical action needed to ensure that we leave the planet in a better condition than we received it.

·           The growing recognition of the urgent need for action on climate Change, including the government’s statements of support for a Climate Change Emergency.  Council congratulates all national political leaders for taking this urgent agenda forward.

·           Cities play a critical role in delivering a Zero-Carbon future.  City leaders can and need to make far-reaching and systemic changes to energy, transport, housing, air quality, biodiversity policy and investment strategy.

Council therefore declares a ‘Climate Emergency’

Action is required to eliminate the impact on climate change of our behaviours, actions and policies.  Liverpool City Council will work to eliminate the impact on Climate Change by its own estate and activities to zero carbon by 2030.  The City will work with individuals and partners across the city to support them to reach a net zero carbon position by 2030.

Council welcomes initiatives already undertaken by Liverpool to impact on its environmental sustainability, including delivering in an expected 42% reduction in the city’s carbon production by 2020. (figures obtained from Council Briefing)

Council also pays tribute to the many efforts of individuals, civic society, companies and public sector organisations who have made changes and adopted new ways of living, working and leisure in order to move towards a zero-carbon lifestyle. However, it recognises that governmental action at all levels will not meet the levels of climate change mitigation required without a cultural change in the way that individuals and businesses think about the effects of their own actions.

Council believes the UK Government and Liverpool City Region need to greatly increase efforts to meet the challenge of mitigating climate breakdown.

Council believes that the following areas are a priority for the city and the work plan of the Cabinet Member and Select Committee:

Transport and Air Quality

Transport represents almost a quarter of Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions and is the main cause of air pollution in cities.  It is also the fastest growing contributor to climate emissions making it vital to transform our cities, encouraging individuals to take fewer car journeys and cycle and walk more.  A new approach to mobility will reduce congestion, improve health outcomes and help Liverpool’s economy.

Liverpool’s intention is to educate about and encourage a wider variety of mobility options locally, regionally and nationally, with fewer car journeys.

Buildings and the Built Environment

The construction and use of the UK’s built environment infrastructure currently accounts for around 50 per cent of national carbon emissions and 1 per cent of total global emissions.  At least 75 per cent of the homes that will exist in 2050 have already been built, meaning that adaptation and retro fitting will be necessary to meet the city’s objectives.

Land use can offer the potential to be used both for positive impact on carbon reduction and mitigation against the consequences of climate change.  The planning process and the City’s’ strategic approach to land use can have a significant impact on our approach to zero carbon.

Waste, Recycling and Energy

Energy production and use is the largest source of global greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions, making it imperative that resource reduction and carbon-free renewable energy sources are prioritised.

The global consumption of resources is also increasing rapidly.  This increase is having environmental and economic impacts, meaning that we must act urgently to both reduce our climate impacts and improve resource efficiency

Waste sector emissions of all greenhouse gases accounted for approximately 2% of UK emissions of greenhouse gases in 2003, but have fallen from a contribution of 5% in 1990.  Carbon savings from the scenarios examined which had either waste prevention or increased recycling could be around 3% of current greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

(Dr Michael Warhurst, Friends of the Earth)

Low Carbon Economy

Shifting to low-carbon economy on a global scale could bring substantial benefits both for developed and developing countries.  At the city level, a Low Carbon Economy for Liverpool will attract investors and individuals in new, emerging, business sectors that will depend on our graduates and create opportunities for our citizens.  Our economy must develop in a way that is sensitive to the impact on resources and climate, while improving the quality of life for the most vulnerable in our communities; these are the principles behind Liverpool’s Inclusive Growth Plan.

Council Welcomes:

·           The Mayor’s membership of the European Covenant of Mayors in 2017

·           The commitment of the Mayor to appoint a dedicated Cabinet Member for Environment and Sustainability

Council commits to:

·           eliminate the impact on Climate Change by its own estate and activities to zero carbon by 2030. 

·           Co-ordinate a conversation with individuals, organisations and communities across the city about the threats to their livelihoods and health of climate change. This will include education and encourage partnership work to adapt their own behaviours towards reaching the goal of net zero carbon by 2030.

·           The establishment of a dedicated Select Committee, (the terms of reference and political composition for an environment and climate change select committee as outlined in appendix one be approved.) The Select Committee will:

§   review and appoint relevant advisory and co-opted members: and

§   develop a comprehensive work programme including various methods of stakeholder engagement and research and regularly reporting into both the Cabinet and full Council in terms of proposed actions to be taken.

§   Production and implementation of the work programme will outline the actions required in the City, as drivers for change.

·           Incorporate the Sustainable Development Goals in to Liverpool City Council’s policies and reflect the SDG’s within the Select committee’s work plan.

·           Seek an urgent meeting with the Secretary of State for the Environment, at the earliest practical moment, to present Liverpool’s concerns and ideas raised by the dedicated Climate Change Council on July 17th 2019.

·           Commission an advisory organisation to work with Liverpool city Council’s management team and advise on how Liverpool City Council’s corporately can improve its carbon emissions, towards the goal of net zero carbon in 2030.

·           Car-free day on 22nd September 2019.

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About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperson on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and four grandchildren.
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