At the end of November, the local Green Party wrote to all Swindon Borough councillors warning of that the world faces a potential climate catastrophe and asking them for help.
A week later the naturalist Sir David Attenborough said at the United Nations that climate change is humanity’s greatest threat in thousands of years. The broadcaster said it could lead to the collapse of civilisations and the extinction of “much of the natural world”.
The Greens are asking Councillors to back a motion that would declare a climate emergency in Swindon and come up with a plan to put Swindon at the forefront of reducing carbon emissions both in the borough and nationally.
This follows similar moves in recent weeks in Bristol, Stroud and the London Assembly, where motions to declare a climate emergency won cross-party support.
In his letter to the council, Andy Bentley, their parliamentary candidate for North Swindon, wrote:
I am writing to each of the Swindon Borough Councillors on behalf of the Green Party in Swindon to ask for your help.
I would like you to join me in putting Swindon at the forefront of taking on the challenge of potentially catastrophic climate change.
This is not a Party-political issue; climate change will affect us all. In Bristol earlier this month, councillors from across the political spectrum joined together to unanimously support a similar motion. Will you help Swindon to do the same?
We can already see the impacts of climate change and these will become more severe and widespread as global temperatures rise. How great the impacts will be depends upon our success in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
This is not some distant threat to our descendants in the far future. It is with us now, today. The science says that, without immediate and urgent action, we could face disaster in my lifetime; I’m 53.
The seas are rising, and so must we.”
The Greens have provided a draft for a potential motion to council that would commit SBC recognising the scale of the impending emergency, and to put in place action to address it.
According to Government guidance1, the UK is expected to see more extreme weather events, flooding, drought and premature deaths if the rising temperature cannot be held back.
Ken Kimber, the chair of the Swindon Green Party, points out that the last 4 years have been amongst the hottest since records began. If we don’t stop rising temperatures now, we will see more extreme weather events in the UK and around the world. We don’t want Swindon to sit back and hope that someone else tackles this issue, we need to step up and take local action now.
Councillors have already started to come forward to offer their support. Negotiations are underway on a final draft of the motion, which is expected to be submitted to the next full Council meeting in January.
According to Bentley: “Our main objective here is to get the Council to recognise that this is an emergency, and to start to take action accordingly. We’ve waited too long, but Swindon needs to put itself on course to become carbon neutral by 2030, we can’t afford to wait any longer. The seas are rising, and so must we.”