Friday January 17, 2020
This week, we’ve seen climate change dominate the headlines once again, with the last 10 years officially recorded as the warmest on record and 2019 the second warmest year on record, dating all the way to back 1850. The impact of this is there for all to see in the devastation wreaked by the wildfires raging across southern Australia. Yes, local weather patterns are a factor, but the world is getting warmer and this is the result.
Yesterday David Attenborough, the renowned naturalist and broadcaster, said climate change was an urgent problem which needed to be solved, but that we knew how to do it.
At Essex County Council, we decided last year that rather than declare the matter an emergency, we would act.
Earlier this week I announced the County Council’s budget plans, and a £5 million fund enabling us to take action on climate change, along with an independent, cross-party commission to oversee this work, is a key element of our proposals.
The Climate Change Commission will made up of council members, academics and other experts in the field, and supports environmental-focussed initiatives that will reduce the county’s CO2 footprint, reduce waste, promote sustainable transport and build community and individual action on a local level.
We have already launched the Essex Forest Initiative – a million-pound tree project that will see 375,000 planted across the County over the next five years.
I don’t regard tackling climate change as an option for the County Council. I think it’s an obligation. It’s an issue that affects us all – now - and cannot be ignored. There will be more news on the Essex Climate Change Commission in the coming weeks.