Environmental groups want to support council in accelerating the shift to a zero-carbon world
PUBLISHED: 10:25 15 March 2020 | UPDATED: 14:16 23 March 2020
Extinction Rebellion Hackney
Hackney’s environment chief says he stands by the council’s “firm commitment” to tackling the climate emergency and looks forward to discussing its decarbonisation programme with activists.
Councillor Jon Burke told the Gazette: “Hackney Council’s is the most scientifically-rigorous climate emergency declaration in the country.”
The councillor was responding to an open letter penned to the council by 17 climate activists and several Hackney-based voluntary and community organisations championing environmental action. It lays out their community response to the Town Hall’s climate emergency declaration last June.
The letter features eight “resolves” discussed by the council at meetings and workshops and urges it to ‘lead a rallying cry’ communicating the need for residents to take more action to solve the climate crisis. “Everyone has a part to play,” it reads and gives suggestions as to how the council can lead in its role to consult, educate and inform.
Cllr Burke said Hackney Council has “developed a national reputation for rapid and far-reaching action on decarbonisation” since 2016, citing its work on the country’s largest urban tree planting programme, the creation of a publicly-owned clean energy company and the commitment to 100 per cent renewable energy in 2020 as well as other innovations like its “groundbreaking” object lending library in Dalston.
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While the letter’s signatories said they understand the challenge the council faces in terms of budget and resources, they urge local authorities to communicate with the wider community about how they can help to accelerate the shift to a zero-carbon world.
Cllr Burke says Hackney is the only council with a firm commitment to deliver against the stretching challenge of the Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change’s “higher confidence thresholds” for limiting global warming to 1.5C.
The letter calls on the council to revise net zero targets from 2040 to 2030, in line with the Green New Deal motion passed at a Labour Party conference last September.
It is a target Islington Council has taken on – but is still short of the 2025 target set by Tower Hamlets council.
Included in the community response are many of the positive things the council and local groups have done to combat the climate emergency and it details ways in which residents, activists and community groups can support it in acting upon the emergency declared.
“Our future depends on you,” the letter states.