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Cambridge City Council declares climate emergency




Extinction Rebellion outside Guildhall - critical mass sees new declaration. Picture: Keith Heppell
Extinction Rebellion outside Guildhall - critical mass sees new declaration. Picture: Keith Heppell

Cambridge City Council has agreed to establish a Cambridge Climate Charter following last night's vote which passed a motion to declare a climate emergency.

The declaration followed the debate of a petition organised by Extinction Rebellion that gathered more than 2,100 signatures from people who live and work in Cambridge.

Cllr Rosy Moore, executive councillor for Environmental Services and City Centre, said: “We welcome the petition we have received and thank the over 2,000 Cambridge residents who signed it, calling on us to declare a climate emergency.

"We are proud that hundreds of local children and young people also marched through Cambridge last Friday as part of ‘Youth Strike 4 Climate’ calling for urgent action to protect the environment from destruction and to halt climate change.”

“We will continue to invest in projects which will significantly reduce carbon emissions from council buildings and services, and to use the powers and funding available to us to help local residents and business to reduce their carbon footprint.

“But real progress towards net zero carbon can only come from major changes in the way that energy is generated, distributed and used at the national level. So we call upon the Government to give us greater powers and to provide the national policies and the investment in renewable energy sources, home energy efficiency, public transport and low-emission vehicles needed to reach net zero carbon by 2030.”

Extinction Rebellion hands in petition to council environmental officer Rosy Moore. Picture: Derek Langley
Extinction Rebellion hands in petition to council environmental officer Rosy Moore. Picture: Derek Langley

The petition called for the council to introduce a new target to make Cambridge a zero carbon city by 2025. A motion put forward by Councillor Rod Cantrill to introduce a 2030 target was amended by Councillor Rosy Moore, who did not put a new target forward and said: “We want and we need to be doing more to tackle this climate emergency, and know that with Government leadership, that is currently absent, we could be achieving zero carbon far sooner.”

The effect of this amendment was that the existing ‘aspiration’ for zero carbon by 2050 remains.

In response to the council’s declaration of emergency Extinction Rebellion Cambridge said: “Politicians have played the climate politics blame game for far too long and it has put us on track for catastrophic climate change. Politics-as-usual will not suffice in the face of an emergency.

"We want to help the council, but we need to see a commitment from them that they accept the urgent need to cut emissions and clean up Cambridge’s air. A 2050 carbon target doesn’t demonstrate that commitment. Scientists say the entire world needs to be zero carbon by 2050. A city with the resources and skills of Cambridge can and must hit zero carbon long before then."

Extinction Rebellion on Market Street. Picture: Mike Scialom
Extinction Rebellion on Market Street. Picture: Mike Scialom

The Cambridge Climate Charter will call on all organisations, businesses and individuals in the city to each establish their own carbon reduction plans to work towards achieving the city’s net carbon-zero aspiration. The council will also implement measures including the installation of more than 20 rapid electric chargers for taxis in Cambridge by 2020 and making changes to taxi licensing regulations to encourage a shift from diesel vehicles to low or zero-emission alternatives.

Extinction Rebellion Cambridge will host a family-friendly street party on March 2 to drive forward the need for Cambridge to reach zero carbon emissions urgently.

YouthStrike4Climate in Market Square on February 15. Picture: Mike Scialom
YouthStrike4Climate in Market Square on February 15. Picture: Mike Scialom


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