Tackling climate emergency or self-aggrandising guff?

You may be aware of a tetchy debate about a motion to full council on 10th September 2019 relating to the climate emergency or, more specifically, the Green New Deal.

Labour proposed the motion, which was passed. However, the other parties were concerned about some of the content of the motion which was described as self-aggrandising guff and lacking practical measures.


The motion is set out in full below for you to make up your own minds!

Labour motion to full council, 10th September 2019

Green New Deal

Full Council notes:

  1. The Paris Agreement, which recognises that we must keep global temperature rises below 1.5°C to prevent the worst effects of climate change; said accord’s commitment by national governments to reduce carbon emissions, though by less than the ambitious targets set and brought forward by Bristol’s Labour council – most recently to 2025.
  2. The draft Local Plan’s commitment to carbon neutral homes and development, together with successive investments by Labour budgets in renewable energy; lower-emissions vehicles for the authority, waste company, and Lord Mayor; progress towards a new recycling and reuse centre atHartcliffeWay; low-carbon heat networks to tackle fuel poverty; insulating 20,000 council properties; and delivering renewable energy projects.
  3. The Climate Emergency, which Bristol institutions have been the first in the country to declare and which Mayor Marvin Rees led 435 UK councils to declare via the Local Government Association; the climate protests sweeping this country including the youth strikes for climate and Extinction Rebellion and the increasingly widespread calls for a transformative Green New Deal to tackle the challenges that face us.
  4. The radical carbon neutrality action plan, the Mayor’s speech on Clean Air Day, Bus Deal negotiations, the £1 billion City Leap energy transformation programme, progressing plans for an underground/overgroundmass transit system, introduction of carbon budgeting, and establishment of the One City Environment Board, advised by the expert Advisory Group on Climate Change; and the data set out within July’s action plan, which shows that the city’s consumption and imports make up ten times the emissions of aviation and shipping, and twice as much as electricity, gas, and transport.
  5. The shadow Chancellor’s plans to bring forward the Government’s net-zero emissions target from 2050, invest £250 billion in a National Transformation Fund, ensure 60% of energy is from low or zero carbon sources by 2030, and raise research and development spending to 3% by of Gross Domestic Product by 2030.

Full Council believes:

  1. As set out repeatedly by the Labour administration, social and environmental justice must go hand-in-hand – especially given the poorest suffer first and most from climate change and that the richest have carbon footprints four times larger than those of the poorest; and that cities have an increasingly crucial role in delivering on both fronts, as set out in the Global Parliament of Mayors’ Bristol Declaration of 2018.
  2. In the work being done by this council with partners to locally implement the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), which recognise the interdependence of the Climate Emergency with simultaneous crises including poverty, housing, and health.
  3. Deregulation and cuts to support for renewable energy by the Government have discouraged corporations away from reducing their dependence on dwindling and damaging fossil fuels.
  4. A state-led green industrial revolution of investment, regulation, and partnerships would decarbonise and transform our economy, and limit global average temperature rises below 1.5°C
  5. Bristol’s world-famous aerospace sector, the birthplace of Concorde, should be at the forefront of decarbonising the aviation industry – increasing fuel efficiency advances and further accelerating the development of hybrid/electric planes.

Full Council resolves:

  1. To restate the urgency of the Climate Emergency, and welcome declarations from the LGA and the West of England Combined Authority.
  2. To back the One City Plan, aligned with the UN’s SDGs, and to work towards delivering the Green New Deal locally where possible, as below.
  3. To request that Party Group Leaders write to their respective national party leaders for their support with national legislation, regulation, and investment to enable the accelerated delivery of the Friends of the Earth asks and projects set out in ‘Notes 4’ together with the following local and national pledges which we would like to work towards and deliver:
  • a commitment to zero carbon emissions by 2030;
  • the rapid phase-out of all fossil fuels and a low-carbon transport integrated network for Bristol and the region;
  • large scale investment in renewables;
  • a just transition to well-paid, unionised, green jobs available for all, with skills (re-)training and support for the jobs of the present and future, together with workers’ cooperatives and mutuals;
  • a green industrial revolution expanding active workers’ engagement, representation and consultation and public, democratic ownership as far as necessary for the transformation, green public integrated transport that connects Britain;
  • support developing countries’ climate transitions by increasing transfers of finance, technology, and capacity;
  • assuring empowered communities and everyone’s basic rights through the provision of universal services;
  • and welcoming climate refugees while taking measures against the displacement of peoples from their home cities and countries and how that further compounds political and social instability.

Motion to be moved by: Cllr Kye Dudd

Date of submission: 29th August 2019