Today ahead of the Borough Council’s full council meeting, we lined the stairs of the town hall with hundreds of books. The book covers show titles of books and academic papers detailing the effects of greenhouse gas emissions, and why urgent action to reach net zero is vital to protect ourselves and future generations from the worst effects of climate change.
Robert Shippey, one of our campaigners said “Councillors going into the meeting seemed stunned by the visuals of all these books lining the stairs. This week an IPCC scientist was arrested protesting about government inaction. I hope our councillors start to see how serious this is.”
This is a wakeup call for our council to listen to the scientists. These books are just a small part of a mountain of evidence of the rapidly accelerating climate change we are causing. The science is settled, time is short if we want to protect ourselves against the worst effects of rising temperatures and the threats which follow. A few weeks ago, the United Nations secretary-general António Guterrez said fossil fuel companies are “feasting on hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies and windfall profits while household budgets shrink and our planet burns”. West Norfolk is one of the most vulnerable places to sea level rise, not only in the UK but globally. Guterrez added “Social unrest is inevitable – with conflict not far behind.”
Jan Smith, who held the banner at the top of the stairs said “We showed them the weight of evidence, how can they continue to ignore what is so obvious. 2050 is too late.”
The council boasts of its aim to get to net zero by 2035, but this aim only covers their “corporate emissions”, i.e for council owned buildings and activities. This only accounts for less than 1% of the carbon emissions of West Norfolk. For almost all the emissions in West Norfolk (more than 99%) the target date for net zero emissions is 2050. Scientists tell us 2050 is too late, and most of the British public agree, so why is our council still dragging their heels?
The council has allocated £250,000 per year for four years to tackle climate change locally, this is a small fraction of their budget. Despite declaring a ‘climate emergency’ a year ago, we have not seen any emergency measures from the council to address West Norfolk’s emission. There is so much to be done but they are carrying on with business as usual. They are ignoring the weight of evidence.
The police attended the peaceful protest but no arrests were made.