OPINION

Why we need to declare a climate emergency

Global scientists have reached a devastating conclusion – a mass extinction of species is under way.

Research conducted by the United Nations body on the planet’s animal and plant life found that billions of populations of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians have been lost in the past few decades, including many not currently considered endangered.

A whole half of all animal and plant species could be wiped out from the planet by 2050.

It is understandable that scientists overseeing this work have termed these rapid changes “biological annihilation”.

The impact of the loss of our animal and plant species on our future is already being felt – habitat destruction, scarcer natural resources, crops and livestock suffering and people forced to flee their homes or become ‘climate refugees’ due to natural disasters.

More than a wake-up call, this is a climate emergency.

A few months ago I wrote about the warning from the United Nations that we have just 12 years to limit the catastrophic effects of global warming and stop temperatures exceeding 1.5C. At 2C we face climate breakdown.

But the UN has made it clear: we can make a difference if we are willing to take drastic action.

And worldwide people are taking to the streets demanding immediate action from global leaders. We can no longer afford to wait.

This week Brighton and Hove Green councillors are pushing the council to declare a climate emergency and commit to playing our part at a local level.

We want to see the city go “carbon neutral” by 2030. We are also calling on all parties to lobby the government to urgently invest more resources in the protection of our natural environment and climate change mitigation.

At the time of printing, we don’t know if other parties will have come with us on our call for a climate emergency.

But what we do know is that this issue does not start and stop at a meeting of our council.

Greens will continue to campaign for action on key climate issues like the protection of our animals, fossil fuel divestment, an end to fracking and better air quality.

Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty is the convenor of the Green group on Brighton and Hove City Council.

  1. jane addey Reply

    It is frustrating to live in B&H & see environmental destruction continuing despite the emergency we are now aware of. We should not be spraying our streets with glyphosate, which is not only dangerous to health but may be contributing to the death of so many of our street trees.We should not be planning major building works on greenfield sites.How is it that planning permission is granted for destructive projects, & developers get away with cutting down protected trees, bat habitat & badger sett destruction? Why do we still allow plastic carrier bags when other countries banned them years ago?Our roads are choked with cars & the cycling lanes are far from adequate (Luxembourg has made all its public transport free in order to deal with pollution). . .Shouldn’t the pier be producing its own electricity for all those flashing lights? Why haven’t we got a glass/plastic/can return & refund system in place, which would open up a whole new industry?Obviously I could go on. . .

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