8 October 2018
Today’s ground-breaking IPCC report* on the impacts of 1.5°C of global warming clearly sets out the risks posed by increasing temperatures. The Green Party are calling on Newcastle City Council to step up its action to ensure that Newcastle does its part to avoid the dangerous and unpredictable effects of climate change. The report by the global scientific community shows that time is running out and that drastic action must be taken in the next decade to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.
Newcastle Green Party are urging the City Council to revisit plans to reduce emissions in the city in light of the new report. The council’s last Climate Change Action Plan, published in 2010, is in urgent need of updating to reflect the latest IPCC report and the UK’s obligations under the Paris Agreement. In spite of the global scale of the challenge, action at local level is vital to ensure Newcastle has a safe and secure future.
Green Party spokesperson Alistair Ford said “This report spells out clearly the scale of the challenge that we face to avoid climate catastrophe. 0.5°C might not seem like a lot, but that half a degree would reduce sea-level-rise from melting icecaps, reduce costs to the global economy, and give us longer to adapt. Despite this stark message, there are things that Newcastle could do to help address climate change, and the IPCC make it clear that it’s not too late to act. Green Party councillors elsewhere in the country have shown what local authorities can achieve with ambition and imagination.”
The Greens are calling on the City Council to commit to leaving coal in the ground in Newcastle, ending investment in fossil fuels in its pension scheme, ensuring all new buildings on council-owned land meet ambitious energy efficiency standards, and making walking, cycling and public transport obvious choices for journeys in the city. They are also asking the council to plan to reduce the impacts of extreme weather that climate change will bring, such as the ‘Thunder Thursday’ storm of 2012.
Examples from elsewhere in the UK show that improved insulation can save people thousands of pounds on their energy bills, money that can be spent in the local economy. The plans for Banks Mining to dig for coal at Dewley Hill in the city must also be stopped, the Green Party argue, as they are out of step with the need to end fossil fuel use to address climate change.
The Greens also recently opposed plans to expand Newcastle Airport, which would not only increase greenhouse gas emissions from flights but also from additional road traffic to the airport.
Ford added “the city council has the power to make Newcastle a UK leader in terms of action on climate change. The changes we’re calling for won’t just help address our CO2 emissions but will also be good for the health of residents and the local economy. Addressing climate change can help our city to thrive, with safer neighbourhoods, more greenspace, and a stronger local economy.”
Climate change is one of the major issues the Newcastle Green Party will be campaigning on as they seek to gain their first elected councillor in the city.
*The IPCC special report ‘Global Warming of 1.5°C’ sets out the differences in impacts of climate change between 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius. The report shows how we are already at 1°C and are heading towards 3°C, warming which is considered dangerous and unpredictable. The report shows that without drastic action the world will see increased extreme weather events, sea-level rise, impacts on human health, and costs to the global economy. The report shows that CO2 emissions must be halved within 11 years and the world must be ‘zero carbon’ by 2050.
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