Friday, 2 October 2009

Darlington Labour reject 10:10 appeal

Yesterday was Full Council. I spoke a few times, including one speech (see below) calling on the controlling Labour Group to sign up to the 10:10 commitment to reduce the Council's carbon footprint by 10% in 2010. I have signed as an individual, and I've also signed up my business. Optimistically, I actually had high hopes that Labour would support my call. The Labour Cabinet member for climate change, Cllr Nick Wallis, has himself signed up to 10:10 and, of course, Ed Miliband called on all Labour Councils to do so in a Conference speech earlier in the week.

However, it was not to be. Nick thought the Council already had an effective carbon-reduction programme, working with the Carbon Trust to reduce our carbon footprint by 11% by 2011. He felt that yet another initiative would muddy the water and confuse residents about just what we are trying to achieve.

I actually think that 10:10 is already becoming a major initiative which people will recognise and want to get on board with. Darlington may become one of the few Councils across the country not to sign up to it. What message will that give our residents?

I shall monitor the national situation over the next couple of months. If 10:10 gets as big as I think it might, Council may have a Lib Dem motion to vote on in November.

Here's what I said in Council:

"There is a new grassroots global political protest about global warming, known as This number comes from the most recent research which shows that, above the level of 350 parts per million C02 in the atmosphere we can’t have a planet similar to the one on which civilisation developed or to which life on earth is adapted.

"Unfortunately we’re already past that point, at 390 parts per million C02, and this is rising by 2% annually. That’s why the Arctic is melting and why the world’s climate is changing in front of our eyes.

"That's why there is a new campaign in this country: the 10:10 commitment, where individuals, businesses and organisations make a commitment to reduce their carbon footprint by 10% during 2010. I have signed up to it, so has my business and so too has Cllr Wallis.

"Many Councils across the country have also signed up to 10:10, among them Hartlepool, Lewisham, Warwickshire, The Wirral, Southwark, Lambeth, Camden, Nottingham, Manchester, Oxford, Coventry and many, many others.

"At the Labour Party Conference this week, Ed Miliband issued a call for all Labour Councils to sign the 10:10 pledge.

"Can I ask Cllr Wallis whether he will carry out the necessary discussions with officers and colleagues with a view to bringing to a future meeting of this Council, or Cabinet, a motion which we can approve which commits this Council to sign up to the 10:10 pledge? Bearing in mind though, that this would not just mean supporting the principle of 10:10, it involves making a commitment to achieve that target."

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