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human activity and the destruction of the planet


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The G20 summit, the European heatwave and the lack of international progress on climate change

A heatwave spread across Europe this last week; thermometers soared past 40C as temperatures broke new records. Schools close to Paris were forced to close; Germany introduced speed restrictions on its autobahns; and a Spanish meteorologist tweeted a map of the country’s weather forecast with the caption: “Hell is coming.”

_european heatwave2019

Temperatures are also running high in the climate change debate ahead of the G20 meeting in Osaka. Japan is set to omit references to “global warming” and “decarbonisation” from a G20 communiqué in a bid to please the US. This comes just days after four central European states — Estonia, Czech Republic, Poland and Bulgaria — stopped the EU from committing to a 2050 net zero carbon emissions target last week.

G20summit2019

Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, is trying to prevent the publication of  the IPCC Report. Last week Republican senators in Oregon fled the state to block the passage of a landmark bill that would commit the state, like neighbouring California, to ambitious reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. School strikes by teenagers and direct action, such as that by Extinction Rebellion, who demand governments “tell the truth”, have become a regular occurrence in recent months.  Yet, international progress on fighting climate change is in danger of stalling.  Bold and decisive leadership is needed if temperatures are to be prevented from rising to catastrophic levels. Countries that depend on fossil fuels will ultimately face a choice between foot-dragging or being left behind by technological progress. Renewables are often beating traditional sources on cost as well as on carbon emissions. Blocking international agreements will not keep coal viable.

highlights-of-the-ipcc-fifth-assessment-report-1-638

Emmanuel Macron, France’s president, is rightly making a stand. He has pledged to refuse to sign any G20 communiqué that leaves out a reference to the 2015 Paris agreement on combating climate change.

Bottom-up pressure seems to be working where top-down international conferences stumble. Green parties were big gainers in last months’ European Parliament elections. France and Britain are pushing ahead on their own with net zero targets; Bavaria, a German state not usually known for its radicalism, is going further than the national government to end the use of coal. In the US, city mayors and state governments are stepping in to compensate for the lack of federal government action. Britain, France and California are all relatively large economies but ultimately tackling climate change will depend on action by the largest emitters — China, the US, India and the EU.

This makes global co-operation essential, despite some countries blocking progress since the Paris accord. Governments will need to step up just to meet the Paris targets in coming years. It means being honest with companies, workers and taxpayers about the costs. Spain’s programme to phase out coal, which involved early retirement for miners and payments to coal-dependent regions, provides one model for a so-called “just transition” which spreads costs fairly. Frustrating international agreements can do nothing but delay the inevitable.

The reality of climate change will catch up with politicians. That may be in the form of angry voters on the streets, or of extreme weather that makes cities uninhabitable and crops fail. As fugitive Oregon senators and G20 leaders in Osaka will eventually find, running away is not an option.

See also:  https://on.ft.com/2KJQuB4



 


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Woman climate protester assaulted by Government minister

Most people will have seen the footage of a Greenpeace protester being punched, grabbed by the shoulders and neck and then frog-marched out of the room by an MP, Mark Field, who was attending a dinner at the Mansion House. If you haven’t seen it, here is the link:

https://u1584542.ct.sendgrid.net/mpss/c/AwE/ni0YAA/t.2ss/jm31GoJiS6-QQgU3J2vzJA/h18/VE2atosPJwyp5yA4oN-2FSarjpZD1CtBvw8rBP8BWEgE9rbhhqx9nV4EdwjNd2D1IYjeTZuCNcLAog6dG3N-2Fc9b-2By2Yqbtd3mCkLqyjVU8hMMqoyKj2TqbZo9m5iSMV0SzyUNd25-2BmxpMXxky-2B7fHKaH67MmhBHZDDaQbTvJovQdE0trMct7mVAk0XvvXVUq-2BY7WsxuDEE-2BJ9cOzuw3Cefh4lDQ2Iv01XLCqcq8lM6D6h0llEmKQ24IbdUPMWorFmWK3Zi5dNHqwGOs6IRiSZ-2FgZJTNPbPhcrmEbdoznVh2t39M38ViXl7S-2BPdYXlKj4RDklK7a3h8JdsC8Qq1xRiBY3of3WoMOirLLSrqi2lKuoE-3D

This all happened as a result of a group of climate activists wanting to inform the Chancellor, Philip Hammond and bankers and MPs attending the dinner, about how the current economy is acting to make climate change worse.  The Greenpeace activists, mainly women, had dressed up in red evening dresses to look as if they were attendees, thus getting through security.  It was a non-violent protest, as the protesters were only carrying leaflets to hand out.  The violent action of the Tory minister was in stark contrast to this.  Other guests just sat there without intervening or trying to stop Mark Field violently assaulting her.

mansion house

Mark Field MP grabbing the non-violent protester at the Mansion House event

As a result of an outcry, Mark Field has been suspended from his post. A piece in The Guardian tells the story from the woman’s point of view:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jun/21/greenpeace-activist-mark-field-needs-anger-management?link_id=19&can_id=ae8fb89f0e3f1a9dcfdb9ae6492433d2&source=email-newsletter-24-they-fought-like-non-violent-scotsmen&email_referrer=email_570442&email_subject=newsletter-24-they-fought-like-non-violent-scotsmen

According to this article, Janet Barker, the protester, thinks that Mark Field needs a course in anger management.

The other interesting (or shocking) factor in all of this is the way in which it has polarised opinion, many thinking that Field was within his rights to treat her so violently. And others, like me, being appalled at the unnecessary level of violence he used. These comments can be seen below the original clip (link above).  Do we have half a generation of people who justify violence against women?  Who justify expressing contempt towards those who have a different opinion to themselves?  To me, it looked like he punched her in the breast before grabbing her shoulders but others have not commented on that.

Are we to see more of this kind of thing as protests against climate change escalate, as they must do? A polarisation of opinion on climate change and the future of the planet, just like we have become polarised over Brexit?



 


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MPs announce Citizen’s Assembly on climate change

From the BBC’s website:

Six parliamentary committees have announced plans for a citizens’ assembly to discuss how the UK should tackle climate change.

It comes after the government committed earlier this month to cut greenhouse gas emissions to almost zero by 2050.

The assembly is likely to be set up in the autumn and will meet over several weekends before producing a report.

Energy Secretary Greg Clark welcomed the move, saying public engagement was “vitally important”.

The UK is the first major nation to propose the 2050 emissions target – and it has been widely praised by green groups.

But some say the phase-out is too late to protect the climate, whilst others fear that the task is impossible.


Response from Extinction Rebellion:

Image result for extinction rebellion logo download

Today, six select committees of the House of Commons have today announced plans to hold a Citizens’ Assembly on combating the climate emergency and achieving the pathway to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

This is an important first step towards giving ordinary people a voice on the future of our world. We welcome this step – and on top of Parliament declaring a Climate and Environmental Emergency – things are beginning to move in the right direction.

Isn’t it amazing the power of peaceful non-violent protest?

However, we cannot pretend that this is a legitimate assembly with real or legislative power. If the judicial system can depend on juries, why can people not be trusted with policy? It is encouraging news but – let us be clear – politicians have not met our third demand today. There is a very long way to go. A half arsed attempt at a Citizens’ Assembly will doom the process and the results. Please do not make this mistake. The urgency we face needs a commensurate response, let’s work together and sort this.

Linda Doyle, from Extinction Rebellion, says: “It is encouraging to see that our third demand is now being taken seriously by Parliament. It is important that we recognise the voice of ordinary people and work towards a just transition for all – nationally and internationally. Unfortunately, there are many problems with this proposal. The suggested assembly does not have any legislative power and we are concerned its advice and conclusions will not be fully implemented.

“We are also extremely concerned by the framing of these assemblies. It is a tragedy that these assemblies are being asked to look at how to decarbonise by 2050, as opposed to determining the target date themselves, based on the latest science and expert opinion. Our demands call for a Citizens’ Assembly organised independent of government and we want to see an oversight body established to ensure that the government does not have any undue influence over the agenda, evidence, or the eventual conclusions.

“It would be a shame if the voices of ordinary people were only ever used cynically to legitimise the Government’s unambitious targets. Now is the time to think big.”

Extinction Rebellion UK’s demands are:

  1. Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
  2. Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
  3. Government must create and be led by the decisions of a citizens’ assembly on climate and ecological justice.



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Scotland plants 22 million trees

In an article in The Independent, Phoebe Weston states that Scotland has planted 22 million trees to tackle the climate crisis, whilst England has not met its target, falling short by 7 million, or 3,000 hectares.

A total of 11,200 hectares of Scottish countryside were covered, according to Government statistics.  But in England just 1,420 hectares of woodland was planted, despite a target of 5,000 hectares being set, figures from the Forestry Commission suggest. This means it missed its annual target by seven million trees.

While the overall figures for the UK in the year to 31 March are up, that success is down to large increases in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the Woodland Trust said.

The percentage of woodland cover in the UK remains at 13 per cent, with 10 per cent in England, 15 per cent in Wales, 19 per cent in Scotland and 8 per cent in Northern Ireland.

trees

The number of trees planted in Scotland now represents 84 per cent of the UK total. Increasing the number of trees being planted is part of the country’s efforts to tackle climate change, with a target of 15,000 hectares a year set to be in place from 2024-25.

After the latest figures were released, Abi Bunker, from the Woodland Trust, said: “The UK needs renewed ambition when it comes to tree planting and woodland expansion. The scale of what needs to be achieved to reach net zero targets is obvious; it will necessitate a three-fold increase on current levels.”

In the meantime, it has been announced on the Government’s website that Sir William Worsley has been reappointed to continue his drive to accelerate tree planting rates. The chair of the National Forest Company was tasked last year with setting a bold direction for the country’s forests and woodlands over the next 25 years.

Now Sir William is marking his reappointment with a call to land owners, farmers and foresters across the country to take up the mantle of tree planting by accessing the Government’s Woodland Creation Grant Scheme.

Through this fund, which is now open for applications all year round, planting grants of up to £6,800 are available to help landowners realise the benefits of expanding woodland cover.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/tree-champion-reappointed-to-continue-tree-planting-push

A picture of Sir William Worsley leaning on a fence in a field.

Sir William Worsley



 


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More than 50 leading Australian restaurants have pledged to no longer serve unsustainable seafood

In an Australian first, chefs from more than 50 leading restaurants across Australia have pledged to no longer serve unsustainable seafood as part of the Australian Marine Conservation Society’s (AMCS) new GoodFish Project. All the restaurants have agreed not to source or serve seafood that is red-listed as “Say No” in Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide.

BenShewry

Ben Shewry, world renowned Australian chef and owner of the 20th best restaurant in the world, Attica, has come on board as GoodFish Ambassador. Ben has been a long time supporter of AMCS having first started using Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide some 10 years ago to guide his work.

“As chefs we have a moral responsibility, we need to understand the ingredients that we are cooking with, and no more so than what comes from the oceans.

In my position as a chef, I have a big influence on what people eat and what other people cook because our restaurant is well known. If I don’t have what I would call a clean menu – if I don’t have best practice, the most sustainable menu I can have in terms of shellfish and seafood – then I am contributing to the problem.” – Ben Shewry

Introducing Ben Shewry - Ambassador of Good Fish Project

As a chef myself, my aim through the GoodFish Project is to bring together the strong voices of the food industry to protect our oceans. Chefs and restaurants are highly influential in what people choose to eat these days. We care deeply about the sustainability of the ingredients we use. By changing the way we work with seafood, using Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide as a tool, we can speak directly to Australians about the health of the oceans.

This is just the beginning. Later this year we will be launching an all new GoodFish website, making it easy for you to find sustainable seafood restaurants in your area. You can help by encouraging your local restaurant to join the project, and by using Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide to make better choices every day. Together, our actions can take sustainable seafood into the mainstream, creating sustainable fisheries around Australia and protecting the oceans around us.

By working together, we can change the way that Australians think about seafood and improve the health of the oceans.

Image result for Australia fish



 


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The Carbon Footprint of war II: US military emissions of greenhouse gases

There is a chapter in my book entitled “Conflict, conquest, weaponry, wars and the power of propaganda”, in which I describe and discuss the carbon footprint of war, as well as the reasons why people, and especially men, like to go to war. You should be able to find this chapter elsewhere on this website and it provides some interesting data.

This blog adds to the chapter and is from a piece I was sent by a colleague about U.S. military emissions since the beginning of the Global War on Terror in 2001. It is from the Watson Institute, Brown University:

https://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/papers/ClimateChangeandCostofWar?link_id=3&can_id=be452c12d95993ec42d8044fab646eab&source=email-pentagon-pollution-since-2001&email_referrer=email_566179&email_subject=pentagon-pollution-since-2001

pollution_infographics-WEBSITE-revised-LARGE

Scientists and security analysts have warned for more than a decade that global warming is a potential national security concern.

They project that the consequences of global warming – rising seas, powerful storms, famine and diminished access to fresh water – may make regions of the world politically unstable and prompt mass migration and refugee crises.

Some worry that wars may follow.

Yet with few exceptions, the U.S. military’s significant contribution to climate change has received little attention. Although the Defense Department has significantly reduced its fossil fuel consumption since the early 2000s, it remains the world’s single largest consumer of oil – and as a result, one of the world’s top greenhouse gas emitters.

Read more here.



Another piece, published in The Conversation, claims that the US military is a bigger polluter than as many as 140 countries.

https://theconversation.com/us-military-is-a-bigger-polluter-than-as-many-as-140-countries-shrinking-this-war-machine-is-a-must-119269

The article starts:

“The US military’s carbon bootprint is enormous. Like corporate supply chains, it relies upon an extensive global network of container ships, trucks and cargo planes to supply its operations with everything from bombs to humanitarian aid and hydrocarbon fuels. Our new study calculated the contribution of this vast infrastructure to climate change.

Greenhouse gas emission accounting usually focuses on how much energy and fuel civilians use. But recent work, including our own, shows that the US military is one of the largest polluters in history, consuming more liquid fuels and emitting more climate-changing gases than most medium-sized countries. If the US military were a country, its fuel usage alone would make it the 47th largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, sitting between Peru and Portugal………

It’s no coincidence that US military emissions tend to be overlooked in climate change studies. It’s very difficult to get consistent data from the Pentagon and across US government departments. In fact, the United States insisted on an exemption for reporting military emissions in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. This loophole was closed by the Paris Accord, but with the Trump administration due to withdraw from the accord in 2020, this gap will will return.”

USmilitary planes

US military planes

The full article can be read in The Conversation link posted above. The article concludes as follows:

“Our study shows that action on climate change demands shuttering vast sections of the military machine. There are few activities on Earth as environmentally catastrophic as waging war. Significant reductions to the Pentagon’s budget and shrinking its capacity to wage war would cause a huge drop in demand from the biggest consumer of liquid fuels in the world.

It does no good tinkering around the edges of the war machine’s environmental impact. The money spent procuring and distributing fuel across the US empire could instead be spent as a peace dividend, helping to fund a Green New Deal in whatever form it might take. There are no shortage of policy priorities that could use a funding bump. Any of these options would be better than fuelling one of the largest military forces in history.



And a report from NATO Watch:

The US military emits more greenhouse gases than Sweden, study finds

Sat, 06/29/2019 – 11:54

The United States produces more greenhouse gas emissions through its military operations than several individual European countries, a new study found.

According to the study published by Brown University in the United States, since the 2001 intervention in Afghanistan in response to the 9/11 attacks, the US military has emitted 1,212 million metric tons of greenhouse gasses. This includes 400 million tons of directly war-related emissions in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Syria. In 2017, the last year for which data is available, the Pentagon emitted 58.4 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent.

“If it were a country, it would’ve been the world’s 55th largest CO2 emitter — with emissions larger than Portugal, Sweden, or Denmark”, said the study’s author Professor Neta Crawford. “This makes the Pentagon the US Government’s largest fossil fuel consumer as it accounts for between 77% and 80% of all federal government energy consumption since 2001,” she said in an article.

Transporting troops and using weapons accounted for about 70% of the energy consumption, mostly due to the burning of jet and diesel fuel. The remaining 30% of its energy use is for physical installations, mostly for the electricity needed to power more than 560,000 buildings at about 500 sites around the globe.

China is the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter, followed by the United States. Global temperatures are set to rise between 3-5C this century, the UN World Meteorological Organization said in November 2018. This projected rise far exceeds the global target of limiting the increase to 2C or less.

The security risks posed by global warming are well known, and the Pentagon has been evaluating the dangers it poses for nearly 20 years. In January 2019, the US military branded climate change “a national security issue” in a report to Congress and has launched multiple initiatives to prepare for its impact.

Crawford noted the Pentagon has reduced its fuel consumption significantly since 2009 by making its vehicles more efficient and using cleaner sources of energy in its bases. However, she said they could reduce them further by cutting fuel-heavy missions to the Persian Gulf to protect access to oil.

One of the long-standing stated goals of the United States military has been to keep the world oil supply stable. Ironically, this means that the US military is using huge amounts of oil, in part to make sure that the supply of oil remains secure. Professor Crawford argues that the United States has an important public policy decision to make: “Do we continue to orient our foreign policy and military force posture toward ensuring access to fossil fuels? Or do we dramatically reduce the use of fossil fuels, including the military’s own dependency, and thus reduce the perceived need to preserve access to oil resources?”.

Crawford suggests that a reduction of fossil fuel use by the military would have “enormous positive implications for the climate”, save huge amounts of money, help prevent climate change-related threats, and reduce the need for US military forces to be in the Middle East.

Scientists for Global Responsibility has looked at this issue over the last four years and further details of the effects of the military on climate change can be seen at the following links:

https://www.sgr.org.uk/projects/climate-change-military-main-outputs

https://www.sgr.org.uk/resources/carbon-boot-print-military

These sites cover the following:

The carbon boot-print of the military
Stuart Parkinson; Movement for the Abolition of War conference; June 2019

Could climate change lead to a nuclear war?
Stuart Parkinson; CND conference, London; October 2017

UK military-industrial interests and climate change
Stuart Parkinson; People’s Climate Summit, Paris, France; December 2015

Nuclear weapons and climate catastrophe
Philip Webber; SGR conference, London; November 2015

Demilitarization for deep decarbonization
Tamara Lorincz; SGR conference, London; November 2015

Climate change and military conflict
Stuart Parkinson; Movement for the Abolition of War AGM; November 2008

Guns and global warming: war, peace and the environment
Stuart Parkinson; Network for Peace AGM, London; February 2007

Military spending hits record levels, while climate finance falls short
Stuart Parkinson; Laboratory News; June 2018

A climate of insecurity
Stuart Parkinson; Responsible Science blog; November 2015

Wind turbines and solar panels into nuclear weapons: the UK’s new industrial strategy?
Stuart Parkinson; The Ecologist; October 2015

Climate or military?
Stuart Parkinson; Laboratory News; April 2014

Nuclear weapons over wind turbines? UK R&D policies are warped
Stuart Parkinson; New Scientist; February 2014

War in Libya – the role of the arms and oil industries
Stuart Parkinson; SGR Newsletter; October 2011

Military R&D 85 times larger than renewable energy R&D
Stuart Parkinson; SGR Newsletter; winter 2008



The International Peace Bureau has also published an information paper by Jessica Fort and Phillipp Straub, entitled “The United States and European military’s impact on climate change”

http://www.ipb.org/yesterdays-news/ipb-information-paper-the-carbon-boot-print/

and also sent put a press release for the COP25 meeting in Madrid:

http://www.ipb.org/ipb-statements/press-release-cop25/

which calls on:

  1. COP25 to include the military in its climate action work and to adopt provisions covering military compliance. The COP25 must include military emissions in their calculations and the CO2 emissions laundering has to stop. It should also include a blueprint to reduce military emissions.
  2.  the State Parties to the Paris Agreement to adjust its provision to military emissions, not leaving decisions up to nation states as to which national sectors should make emissions cuts.
  3.  an inclusion of military greenhouse gas emissions into climate change regulations. Moreover, countries need to be obliged, without exemption, to cut military emissions and transparently report them.
  4.  more academic studies (in line with the study from Brown University report) and an IPCC or equal special report. The report needs to be a common project of academics and the civil society.


 


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Birmingham City Council declares a Climate Emergency

After much campaigning from environmental groups, such as Extinction Rebellion, Friends of the Earth, Climate Action West Midlands, a cross-party motion was debated by the Council on June 11th 2019 and passed unanimously.

Coinciding with the debate was a demonstration outside the Council House, by various groups, including young people, and the presentation of a petition from Extinction Rebellion, which was signed by over 3,000 people, calling for the Council to:

  1. Debate the climate emergency motion at full council;
  2. Pledge to make the city of Birmingham carbon neutral by 2025;
  3. Call on Westminster to provide the powers and resources to make this target achievable;
  4. Work with other local authorities on methods to limit Global Warming to less than 1.5°C;
  5. Work with partners across the West Midlands to deliver this goal;
  6. Report to Full Council within six months with the actions the Council will take to address this emergency.

Birmingham

This is a brief interview conducted outside the Council House by the BBC’s Regional programme Midlands Today:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/urz1aypui8cvd5o/2019-06-11%20BCC%20Climate%20Emergency%20Petition%20BBC%20Midlands%20Today%2013-30.mp4?dl=0

The knowledge about the imminent presentation of this petition triggered councillors into presenting their own cross-party motion for debate on 11th June.

The motion debated was as follows:

To consider the following Motion of which notice has been given.
Councillors Robert Alden, Roger Harmer, Julien Pritchard and Lisa Trickett as proposers and Councillors Jon Hunt, Suzanne Webb and Waseem Zaffar as seconders have given notice of the following Notice of Motion:-

“This Council notes that
• The Climate Crisis is an existential threat that requires us to change the way we invest in, grow and sustain our cities and regions.
• The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report published in October 2018 set out the devastating consequences for the planet if it warmed more than 1.5C – with increased extreme weather with heatwaves and floods driving mass migration and global insecurity; the catastrophic social and ecological impacts worsening for
every degree of warming.
• The impact of climate change will not just be felt in far-away lands or coastal areas, the impact on Birmingham residents of increased extreme weather events, including flooding, droughts and heatwave is likely to be profound, with increasing risks to both life and property. Given our global footprint and the diversity of the city the climate crisis will hit at the heart of families and communities within the city.
• Given the planet is currently heading for 3-4C warming, keeping to 1.5C requires a radical shift across energy, land, industrial, urban and other systems to reduce emissions, unprecedented in history for the breadth, depth and speed of change required.
• All governments (national, regional and local) have a duty to limit the negative impacts of Climate Breakdown and in recognising this local government should not wait for national government to change their polices. It is important for the residents of Birmingham, the Region and the UK that cities commit to zero carbon as quickly as possible.
• Birmingham and the West Midlands, as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution and a global player in the development of green technology, is ideally placed –- and has a moral responsibility to lead a new Green
Industrial Revolution that delivers clean and inclusive growth.
• Birmingham City Council has already made progress in addressing the issue of Climate Change, having adopted a target to cut Carbon Dioxide emissions by 60% by 2027 from a 1990 baseline and has already cut emissions by 33% (as of 2015).
• Unfortunately, current plans and actions are not enough. Transition in time requires a system change that drives decarbonisation whilst delivering justice and jobs.

A group of young people demonstrating outside the Council House

After debating the motion, the Council resolved:
• To declare a climate emergency.
• To aspire for the City to be net zero carbon by 2030 or as soon after as a just transition permits – making sure we take communities with us, protecting employment and without impoverishing deprived communities.
• To work with the WMCA and seek from the UK Government the powers and resources to help Birmingham deliver the 2030 net zero carbon ambition for a just transition.
• That the Council will lead by example and seek to be net zero carbon by 2030 – again ensuring that this is just – taking communities with us, protecting employment and without impoverishing deprived communities.
• To constitute a Climate Emergency Task Force to support the Council move from declaration to delivery drawing in cross sector, expertise, capacity and capability to capture the investment and economic opportunity arising from a low carbon future.
• To quickly set in place a process of engagement and collaborative action that enables the Task Force to bring forward to Full Council in January 2020 a plan that sets out how the aspiration for the City and the ambition of the Council to be net zero carbon by 2030 can be best achieved.
• As a matter of urgency to review planned Transport, Housing, Waste and Energy Investment plans and policies to ensure they are fit to support a transition to a zero-carbon future with Sustainability and Transport Overview and Scrutiny monitoring progress and to provide an update to Council in November 2019 and annually thereafter.”



The Council motion had watered down some of XR’s demands, such as the target date for becoming Carbon Neutral – 2030, as opposed to 2025 – but this is a closer target than that being promoted by Parliament.  Another request from XR was to debate the issues in a Citizens’ Assembly.  Details of this can be found in XR’s Briefing paper, which was sent to every member of the Council in advance of the Council meeting.  Copies of this paper, which outlines what other local authorities are doing, can be provided on request – or downloaded from the shared drive mentioned below.


The 38 degrees website was used to collate most of the signatures to the petition.  Their summary of the Council response is:

On Tuesday 11th June Birmingham City Council declared a climate emergency!
All 83 councillors who turned up to the meeting (out of possible 101) voted for the motion. Extinction Rebellion were named as part of the debate and the young people involved in the school climate strike were referenced multiple times. Many councillors spoke and covered a range of topics including energy, transport, education, housing, waste, divestment of pension funds and investment and system change. The petition was submitted with over 3000 signatures.
This decision has placed the UK’s second largest city on the climate crisis map of those willing to take action. Thank you so much for your support so far! Now we must ensure that action happens! If you want to stay involved, here are a few of the local groups that will continue to support, monitor and put pressure on the council:
https://www.facebook.com/birminghamfoe/
https://www.facebook.com/extinctionrebellionbirmingham/
https://www.facebook.com/CANWM/
https://www.facebook.com/bhamyouthstrike4climate/
https://www.facebook.com/ecobirmingham/
https://www.facebook.com/FootstepsBCF/

Please do reply to this email if you have any questions! And thank you once again for taking part in this campaign!

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/birmingham-city-council-declare-a-climate-emergency-and-take-action-1



Subsequent to this motion being passed by the Council, information has been received that it is setting up a Task Force, meeting for the first time on October 17th 2019. Various groups have been invited to send representatives onto the Task Force.  Unfortunately, Extinction Rebellion is not one of them, though some XR members will represented on other groups, such as Climate Action West Midlands, Footsteps, Green Coalition, Client Earth.  Friends of the Earth is another organisation not invited onto the Task Force.

See: https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/news/article/472/birmingham_climate_taskforce_announced

A small group of Birmingham citizens from some of the above organisations has been meeting regularly in workshop format to prepare material to submit to the Task Force.  It includes information/recommendations collated from a whole range of documents, which can be found on a shared drive at:

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1JN_bwrzV47StsjBtYYxg_B-oIKqvOUNJ

As this work progresses, further information will be shared on this site.