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Climate Emergency: what is Norfolk County Council doing?

by Steff on 8 August, 2019

Looking out across Norfolk it can be hard to appreciate the reality and urgency of the climate emergency facing our planet.  But the devastating effects are being felt all over the world and will reach us in our lifetimes.

In response to Extinction Rebellion protests at County Hall, the County Council has set up a Task and Finish Group to look at what can be done. I am the Lib Dem rep on the group, and I’m keen to know what you think the County Council should be doing differently to tackle the problem.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s report in October last year made it very clear that in the next 12 years we need radically to decrease the 38.2 billion tonnes of CO2 that is released into the air annually from fossil fuel burning. And if we fail, we risk unleashing a crescendo of deadly storms, floods and droughts. Hundreds of millions of people will be pushed into poverty and thousands of species will become extinct. And despite all the coverage of this issue, we are still going in the wrong direction. Action is being taken, but globally we are careering towards this 12 year make or break point with our carbon omissions going up, not down.

It is also absolutely clear what measures need to be taken to stand a chance of averting this widely-agreed crisis.

Nobody is coming to save us from climate change. We need to save ourselves. Eat less meat. Travel less. Have fewer children. Spend the money that’s needed on green energy. We know what we need to do.

Johanna Haque, Professor of Atmospheric Physics at London’s Imperial College and IPCC Report contributor.

The Extinction Rebellion protestors have published a clear list of what the County Council needs to do differently. The big question is: will the Tories who are in charge listen and do the right thing?

   5 Comments

5 Responses

  1. tom foxe says:

    Perhaps the norfolk co. council could stop pouring huge amounts of public money into unsustainable roadbuilding, and look to restoring funding for essential services, which are needed to relieve the distress of people with physical and mental disabilities. Norfolk’s countryside is rapidly disappearing, and air quality is getting worse. Norwich is the asthma capital of Britain.

  2. Elaine says:

    What has been done to tackle climate change so far, very little to nothing but plenty of talks over the years leading to no where.

    We have recycling bins all over the country but I wonder how much is actually recycled. There are too many plastic bags in use, and paying a small price for a plastic bag does not stop there use as most people keep buying them.

    Too many cars on the road, and a very poor public transport services. Why would people leave the car at home to take the bus, or for a longer journey why would any family travel by train which is very, very expensive.

    I sincerely hope you can do something to tackle climate change. I think it can only be achieved in a big way by government but hope you can do something.

  3. Jayne Roff says:

    For people to engage, small attainable targets need to be set out simply – A sort of points (ration book).
    It is complicated – eat more vegetarian food – but what happens to all the plastic poly tunnels when they are renewed? (see Spain’s growing areas, where supermarkets get their supplies)
    I have a woodburner – but also an air-source heat pump.
    I have a diesel car – but I don’t fly anywhere, long or short haul.
    I wear cotton and wool clothes – but I have had some of them for 20years!
    I don’t buy fast fashion – but people need employment.
    A new local manufacturing economy could be based on recycling and solar – new employment can be created in our high streets.Locally.
    Local online shopping incentives, supported by the council.
    I am very tired of hearing vegans telling us how evil we are, while travelling long haul to save their favourite beach.

  4. Amanda Fox says:

    Stop pouring funds into projects that increase fossil fuel consumption, such as the Western Link and start investing heavily in zero carbon transport.
    I cycle from my village to the nearest train station and every time it feels like I am putting my life in danger because of the volume and speed of the traffic passing me. Children are being driven to school because the traffic in many of our villages now makes it unsafe for them to cycle or walk.
    I would love for county councillors to come and walk the half mile to the local primary school with me or cycle the four miles to the train station and experience first hand just how difficult their planning priorities have made this.
    For a family to travel by rail is so much more expensive than driving so it disincentivises doing the right thing.
    The Norfolk countryside is disappearing beneath road expansions such as NDR and Ill planned housing estates, driving biodiversity loss and making the County appear more like South Essex with every passing year.
    Please start to prioritise and incentivise carbon neutral transport (free public transport, bike carriages on trains, countywide safe cycle lane networks designed by cyclists etc), have a joined up approach to planning, stop funding projects that increase fossil fuel use and create more wild spaces.
    The climate crisis is such that it’s time for action.

    • Steff says:

      Hi Amanda – I completely agree with this. I’d be very happy to join you for the walk / cycle ride. Will you drop me a note on steffanaquarone [at] gmail.com? In fact the day after I was elected in 2017 I joined a constituent on their cycle ride to experience how dangerous the County Council’s chioce of road chippings were. Rest assured I’m doing all I can in my capacity on the County Council. I hope the next Full Council meeting in a week from now will generate some positive commitments.

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