Council responds to climate change progress report

Real action on tackling climate change has been pledged by Oxfordshire County Council following the publication of the Progress Report to Parliament by the Climate Change Committee.

The report, released on 24 June, said: “The government has made historic climate promises in the past year, for which it deserves credit. However, it has been too slow to follow these with delivery.”

Among the report’s key messages were: “This defining year for the UK’s climate credentials has been marred by uncertainty and delay to a host of new climate strategies. Those that have emerged have too often missed the mark. With every month of inaction, it is harder for the UK to get on track.”

Councillor Dr Pete Sudbury, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Climate and Environment, said: “The mismatch between setting out lofty ambitions and not acting at anything like the level necessary is unacceptable. We all know it is easy to say the words, and much more difficult to act, but action is all that matters.

“Kicking the can down the road in the face of a serious threat to our health, wellbeing and economic stability is short-sighted and foolish. This council has pledged real action on climate. The first step is to be clear about the size of the problem, the second is committing to work with and for all of our citizens on tackling it.

“Oxfordshire County Council is committed to taking action at the pace and scale required to play its part in repairing our climate and environment. We need to account for all the emissions for which we are responsible, including from outsourced IT services and road repairs, as well as the climate and ecological impacts of new roads we are responsible for building. At the same time, we need to work with partners and citizens across the whole county to halve emissions by 2030. What we do this decade really matters.

“We recognise that this is an extremely demanding target but it is time we did what is needed, not just what is convenient. Rapid actions on emissions and restoring the natural world are an absolute necessity, not just ‘nice to have’.”

Cllr Sudbury said it was the council’s intention to frame its strategy around the provisions of the draft Climate and Ecology Bill, currently going through parliament. This involves:

  • Setting and managing targets to decarbonise its own activities as fast as possible, but at minimum in line with its share of the global carbon budget for 1.5C.
  • Addressing the climate and ecological emergencies in tandem – matching emissions reduction with nature protection and recovery.
  • Taking full account of its impacts on the planet – cutting emissions and ecological impact wherever they happen.
  • Support the development of a ‘circular economy’ – minimising waste and ending the ‘throwaway society’.
  • Involving representative groups of citizens directly in decision-making – this is about all of us and our shared home.
  • A socially just transition, not leaving anyone behind.