Falmouth Town Council is the first town council in Cornwall to declare a climate emergency after being urged to do so by numerous concerned residents. It is the fifth town to do so in the whole of the UK, making it one of the leaders in the fight to tackle climate change. Joining the declarations of Manchester, Bristol, Stroud, Totnes and Brighton.
The town council voted unanimously in favour to declare a State of Climate Emergency in support of Cornwall Council that made the same declaration last week.
Deputy Mayor Tony Parson put forward the motion after a request made by Rob Higgs of the local Extinction Rebellion group. (The same group that successfully requested and lobbied Cornwall Council to make their Climate Emergency declaration.)
There was an educational and moving presentation by Karen La Borde from the Green Party on the science and impact of climate change. After this, Tony then amended the motion by suggesting that the town council also now draw up a plan over the next few months on how the authority will work with other partners, for example schools and local environmental groups, waste contractors and residents on proposals that can help provide a change in the town.
The councillors discussed and agreed on the need for urgent action to try and head off permanent global warming that will leave humanity unable to avoid extreme weather events. This means that organisations and authorities; big and small; across the world needed to take action.
Falmouth Mayor Grenville Chappel said the town council needed to take responsibility to play its part.
It has already written up a brilliant and radical Neighbourhood Development Plan which contains numerous ways that Falmouth will reduce its carbon footprint to move towards a greener and healthier future.
The action was taken by Extinction Rebellion who’s primary aims are for Westminster to declare Climate Emergency and act on it, and for the government to then use the media to disseminate this urgent information of the severity of the crisis (in much the same way as was done in World War II).
The local XR Group originally contacted Sarah Newton but after several months with no response, they were then told that she would not discuss the matter, so they focus their actions on Cornwall Council and the local town and parish councils of Cornwall who have been very receptive and have positively agreed to tackle the task ahead of keeping global warming below 1.5°.
This urgency was made very clear by the world’s top climate scientists in their latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report in October 2018.
Summarised, they said: “Currently, globally, we are failing to prevent run-away climate change and it’s worse than we thought, but there is still time to change this. We’ve 12 years until it’s too late. We can all act and still avert this disaster. But we must all act drastically and NOW.”
Here are a few climate change facts that were discussed:
- Climate change is happening now and is effecting all of us and poses serious risks, particularly in Cornwall due to floods and sea level rises.
- Humans have caused a 1°C rise in global temperature. (a 1.5° global increase makes the UK 5° to 10° hotter)
- The difference between the impacts of global warming of 2˚C and 1.5˚C is much greater than previously thought, we are currently heading for a catastrophic 3˚C.This will threaten civilisation.
- We are running out of time, and need to get to Zero Carbon emissions within 12 years to regain control.
- We all have roles to play-personal, professional and political.
- Food grown at home is at threat. East Anglia is the bread basket of the UK. Its fertile top soil is disappearing as a consequence of climate change. Three quarters of this top soil has been lost over the last 100 years, and will be completely gone at this rate within 30 to 60 years.
- One in 500 year floods are occurring every few years in Cornwall now and will get even more frequent, if temperatures increase.