Downham Market Town Council will on Tuesday debate whether to declare a Climate Emergency.
Bristol City Council became the first UK local authority to declare a Climate Emergency in November 2018, and since then they have been joined by over half the councils in the UK, making it one of the fastest growing environmental movements in history. This follows the publication in October 2018 of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report warning that the world must cut our greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 if we are to have any chance of limiting planetary heating to 1.5 degrees and avoiding mass human suffering.
A Declaration of Climate Emergency is a statement from a council declaring that they acknowledge the science on the climate crisis and recognising that we face an unparalleled planetary emergency. They usually also involve a commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero within a specified timeframe, usually by 2030. The move by Downham Market Town Council is seen as particularly important given that global heating greatly increases the risk of West Norfolk and the Fens suffering climate-related disasters including flooding and drought.
North Norfolk District Council declared a Climate Emergency in April 2019 and HunstantonTown Council did likewise on 16th August. Norwich City Council acknowledged the Climate emergency in January 2019, but the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk has so far declined to follow the lead of more forward-thinking councils despite having the worst record on emissions of any area of Norfolk.
The Climate Emergency motion that the Council will discuss is being tabled by Councillor Robert Shippey. The move follows the ReDeclaration of Rebellion that took place in Downham Market on Saturday 7th September, in which members of Extinction Rebellion declared themselves to be in open rebellion against the UK government for its inaction on the climate crisis and its inability and unwillingness to secure the safety of its citizens in the face on climate breakdown.
Extinction Rebellion King’s Lynn and West Norfolk welcomes and applauds the motion that Council will be discussing.