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Climate Emergency

Abingdon Town Council declares climate emergency

At its meeting on 20th March 2019 the Town Council, in common with many councils both in this country and around the world declared a climate emergency.This is an important part of the Council’s work and therefore we are developing a section of the website devoted to the Climate Emergency.

This was in response to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, published in October 2018. This report described the enormous harm that a 2°C rise is likely to cause compared to a 1.5°C rise, and told us that limiting Global Warming to 1.5°C may still be possible with ambitious action from national and sub-national authorities, civil society, the private sector, indigenous peoples and local communities.

The Town Council believes that:

1.         All governments (national, regional and local) have a duty to limit the negative impacts of Climate Change. It is important for the residents of Abingdon and the UK that councils commit to carbon neutrality as quickly as possible;

2.         The consequences of global temperature rising above 1.5°C are so severe that preventing this from happening must be humanity’s number one priority; and,

3.         Bold climate action can also deliver economic savings and market opportunities (as well as improved well-being for people worldwide).

In addition to declaring a “Climate Emergency” the Council has pledged to make the Council as carbon neutral as possible by 2030 and to do all it can to support carbon emission reduction across the town. In order to achieve this it:

  • Will work with the District Council to determine and implement best practice methods to limit Global Warming to less than 1.5°C.
  • Continue to work with partners from local businesses, community groups and residents to deliver this new goal through all relevant strategies and plans;
  • Report to Full Council within nine months the actions the Council will take to address this emergency.
  • Call on Westminster to provide the powers and resources to make the 2030 target possible;

Latest progress:

The Council has appointed a Green Scrutiny Committee and will be looking to co-opt interested local residents to monitor the council’s own environmental impact and to lead changes within the community.

A new Council was elected in May 2019 and the Council will be updating residents in relation to progress being made, on these pages.

There is also much already going on within the community.We are looking to include in this section details of groups in the town who are working in the community to address the Climate Emergency. Details of two groups are include below – more to follow!

Abingdon Carbon Cutters (http://abingdoncarboncutters.org.uk/) is a Community Action Group working in and around Abingdon to:

  • help reduce the carbon footprint of Abingdon in response to climate change;
  • promote a sustainable and resilient lifestyle for our town as fossil fuel stocks decline;
  • promote a range of activities consistent with the status of Abingdon as a community in Transition.

At the Council meeting of 26th June 2019 Abingdon Carbon Cutters (ACC) made a very interesting and informative presentation to the Council and this may be accessed by clicking the attachment at the bottom of this page.

Early in July 2019 the Council was informed by at Abingdon Cuts Plastic, one of ACC’s groups, that the Town has been awarded the status of Plastic-Free by Surfers Against Sewage (SAS). Of course, this doesn't mean there is no single-use plastic in Abingdon, but means that Abingdon has met the SAS criteria by showing that enough businesses, schools and community groups in the town have taken steps to reduce their use of plastic, and that we are continuing on this journey.

Abibike

Abibike has been set up to encourage cycling in Abingdon – “for health, the environment and safety.”  It aims to help residents, schools and businesses.” In June 2019 the town’s Traffic Advisory Committee received a presentation from Abibike regarding their valuable work.  If you would like to join Abibike and help campaign for better cycle facilities and services in Abingdon please contact James Wigmore by e-mailing abibikegroup@gmail.com

Working with the Community

The Town Council has taken important steps to become more environmentally friendly and is now looking to build on this work. A major part of this will be to engage more fully with Abingdon Carbon Cutters and other groups in the future and to work more effectively with the community in order to meet the challenges which the Climate Emergency is posing for us and future generations.

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