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Thornbury Town Council Motion to Declare a Climate and Nature (Ecological) Emergency, Made on 7 September 2021

This Council notes:

1. That runaway climate change constitutes an existential threat to human society and life on Earth.

2. That humans have already caused irreversible climate change, the impacts of which are being felt around the world.

3. That average global temperatures have now increased by 1°C above pre-industrial levels.

4. That, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report published in August 2021, the world is now in a state where some changes are irreversible, human-induced climate change is already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe, the 2 degrees temperature threshold which will have dire consequences for humanity will be exceeded during the 21st Century unless deep reductions in Co2 and other warming greenhouse gases occur in the coming decades.

5. That, consequently, it is no longer adequate to think of climate change as a potential future threat, but rather, it is a real and present danger to the lives and life-chances of people now living as well as to those yet born, and to the natural world.

6. That the IPCC report tells us that only with ambitious action from national and sub-national authorities, civil society, the private sector, and local communities can we avoid the worst consequences.

7. The Committee on Climate Change has said that the UK can reach Net Zero by 2050 and set out the required steps to achieving this.

8. Governments and Councils are declaring a ‘Climate Emergency’ across the world and are committing resources to address this emergency.

9. That South Gloucestershire Council declared a Climate Emergency across the area in July 2019 pledging to provide the leadership to enable South Gloucestershire to become carbon neutral by 2030 and has recognised that tackling the Nature Emergency is a fundamental part of responding to the Climate Emergency. Furthermore that at least 7 other Town and Parish Councils within South Gloucestershire have also made their own Climate and/or Ecological Emergency declarations.

Thornbury Town Council therefore resolves to:

1. Declare a Climate and Nature (Ecological) Emergency.

2. To work with South Gloucestershire Council, neighbouring Town and Parish Councils, the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) and partners across the area to help us deliver our 2030 target.

3. Pledge to provide the leadership to work with the Community to aim to make Thornbury carbon neutral by 2030.

4. To set up and work with a group of local experts as an advisory committee to Council to develop a strategy to tackle Climate Change in Thornbury.

5. To develop a Climate and Nature Emergency action plan for Thornbury to deliver our commitments.

6. To substantially increase tree cover and biodiversity in Thornbury by 2030.

7. To inform and support local residents, organisations and businesses to play their part.

8. To request an initial progress report to the meeting of Council in May 2022 with at least an annual report on progress to full Council thereafter.