“The evidence is crystal clear, climate change is real” – Wrexham Council declares climate and ecological emergency
Wrexham Council has agreed to declare a climate and ecological emergency and promised to continue investing in renewable sources and reducing its carbon footprint.
It comes after a motion signed by three Caia Park councillors was put before councillors at a meeting on Wednesday.
The motion, which had been signed by Cllr Carrie Harper, Cllr Adrienne Jeorette and Cllr Ronnie Prince, put seven objectives forward for consideration and called on the local authority to join others across Wales in declaring a climate and ecological emergency.
Speaking at the meeting, Cllr Harper acknowledged the work taking place at a local level and commitment to deliver a decarbonisation plan. But stated that change is needed on a wider level to help tackle the longer-term effects of climate change.
She said: “The motion in front you asks councillors to declare a climate and ecological emergency in Wrexham.
“This means acknowledging the reality of the current situation, which is essentially that the stability of nature can no longer be taken for granted.
“Last year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change produced a landmark report. That report had been three years in the making.
“40 countries drew from 6000 scientific studies to create the global warming 1.5 degrees report, which was then subsequently approved by 120 different nations
“The report warned that there were only 12 years for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C, beyond which even half a degree will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and will mean poverty for hundreds of millions of people.
“This isn’t just about what will happen, climate change is already happening, and we’ve already got to deal with the effects of temperature increase that we’ve already locked in, but we can do something to mitigate further risk.
“Rising sea levels area already affecting flood defences on parts of the Welsh Coast. Climate change is also affecting our wildlife and habitats and whales.
“The evidence is crystal clear – climate change is real, it’s here and it’s driven by us.”
She also drew attention to the crowds that marched through the street in Wrexham last week as part of the global climate strike.
Cllr Mike Davies, Rhosnesni ward, said that it is “important for us as councillors to take that responsibility and think about the children, grandchildren and people who aren’t even born yet who will be living in this area in 50 years time”.
Cllr David A Bithell, lead member for environment and transport, highlighted the council’s “excellent track record of carbon projects” – including 100 per cent of its electricity being derived from renewable sources, 2600 solar panels installed on council houses, created a solar farm in Legacy and the rollout of LED streetlights.
He added that at May’s full council meeting a decarbonisation action plan had been agreed and that an update would be provided within 12 months.
Cllr Bithell put forward an amendment to the motion and proposed that the wording was changed.
He said: “As with any motion passed, the language and content of declarations is very important as public bodies are likely to be held account.
“I would like to move an amendment, point one of the amendment is that Wrexham Council do declare a climate and ecological emergency, which builds on our commitments to develop a decarbonisation Action Plan, which was unanimously agreed at full Council in May 2019.
“Point two is following the developments and scrutiny of our plan a report is presented to Council in May 2020, to enable the council to meet future challenges, including climate change.
“Earlier on today I circulated a draft milestone to all group leaders, where that plan will enable scrutiny and public consultation to take place between now and February next year.”
Members of Wrexham Council voted unanimously in favour of the amendment and declaring a climate and ecological emergency.
Pictured: The climate strike in Wrexham last week.
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