Citizen’s Assembly and CEE Bill

On the 4th of March 2021 I submitted a motion to the full council on behalf of the Rushcliffe Labour Group. We wre asking the Council to form a citizen’s assembly and voice it’s support for the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill. I believe that this is the most important issue of our time, it will affect us all and it will affect the poorest most. But tackling it does not need to make our lives worse: just as an example, imagine if we could sort things out so that we can do our jobs and meet people without having to sit in traffic jams or breath in fumes?

The full text of the motion is below at the end of this post.

All opposition councillors supported the motion and my impression was that most councillors agreed with the sentiments. Unfortunately it failed to get passed. We need to act now, locally and globally, and to do that we need everyone on board: we need Citizen’s Assemblies to find the best way forward together.

If you support the bill, please write to your MP and local representatives to ask them to too.

“Humans have already caused irreversible climate change, the impacts of which are being felt in Rushcliffe, the UK and around the world. Global temperatures have increased by 1 degree Celsius from pre-industrial levels. Atmospheric CO2 levels are above 400 parts per million (ppm) and continue to rise. This far exceeds the 350 ppm deemed to be a safe level for humanity. Without more significant and sustained action, the world is set to exceed the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C limit between 2030 and 2040. Therefore, the current UK target of net zero by 2050 is not satisfactory. It is too little too late.

The increase in harm caused by a rise of 2°C rather than 1.5°C is significant. This is described by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C published in October 2018. According to the IPCC, limiting heating to 1.5°C may still be possible with ambitious action from national and sub-national authorities, civil society, the private sector and local communities. The costs of failing to address this crisis will far outstrip the investments required to prevent it. Investing now will bring many benefits in the form of good jobs, breathable cities and thriving communities.

Local authorities such as Devon County, Croydon Borough and Lancaster City have established Citizens’ Assemblies that are playing an important role in assisting them in their plans to achieve net zero by 2030 or before.

A bill has been laid before Parliament—the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill (published as the “Climate and Ecology Bill”)—according to which the Government must develop an emergency strategy that:

a.          requires that the UK plays a fair and proper role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions consistent with limiting global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees C above pre-industrial temperatures;

b.          ensures that all the UK’s consumption emissions are accounted for;

c.          includes emissions from aviation and shipping;

d.          protects and restores biodiverse habitats along overseas supply chains;

e.          restores and regenerates the UK’s depleted soils, wildlife habitats and species populations to healthy and robust states, maximising their capacity to absorb CO2 and their resistance to climate heating;

f.           sets up an independent Citizens’ Assembly, representative of the UK’s population, to engage with Parliament and Government and help develop the emergency strategy.

Council therefore resolves to:

1.              Support the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill;

2.             Set up a Citizens’ Assembly to develop an emergency strategy for Rushcliffe as set out in the Bill;

3.              Publicise its decision;

4.              Write to local MPs, asking them to support the Bill; and

5.             Write to the CEE Bill Alliance, the organisers of the campaign for the Bill, expressing its support (campaign@ceebill.uk).”

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