Many of you are deeply worried about the current national crisis of chaos and incompetence but it is easy to overlook other issues. On the future of our planet for instance, protest groups such as Extinction Rebellion and Youth4Climate are dedicated to proving that climate change is both fact and an immediate concern. Meanwhile a recent local inaction I am aware of showcases a certain Tory reluctance to adapt to the concerns of the modern era…
The meeting of Stafford Borough Council on 23rd July opened with the debate of a motion to declare a Climate Emergency and commitment to a zero-carbon society by 2030. Surely an environmental endeavour worth supporting in light of the nation’s growing awareness of climate change? After all Parliament is committed to this target, more than 100 Councils across the country have pledged their support for such a motion, Newcastle under Lyme for instance, and our own County Council of Staffordshire.
The Tory controlled Borough Council however acted in counter intuitive style to throw out the motion and waste time with a lengthy debate over an alternative proposed by the Leader of the Council Patrick Farringdon. This motion was passed by delaying the target to a disappointing 2040.
This was a cause of consternation to the assembled young people in the public gallery. A purposely obstructive filibuster of a debate with a callous outcome – postponing any commitment to remove greenhouse gas emissions to ten years later than other right-minded bodies, leaving the problem to the younger generation who are watching, as one young person listened to put it, a ‘shambles’. Labour Councillor Gillian Pardesi challenged the notion that “less developed countries cause the most emissions so why should we act?”. Councillor Jack Kemp made the point with some force that 2040 will be too late but many of us of the older persuasion won’t have to worry about it by then because quite frankly, we won’t be around!
Climate change is a fact and solving it cannot be left to others or blamed on people in faraway places in order to avoid doing something about it. Addressing climate change is only possible if we all pull together. Local authorities should be setting an example to the private sector in cleaning up our act.
The shift from Coal, Oil and Gas to greener, cleaner and renewable alternatives presents a great opportunity in Stafford with its established engineering skills base.