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Thank you, Chair. Good morning, councillors. I am speaking today as a representative of NY Climate Coalition, which brings together over 20 climate and environmental groups from all across the county. Our goal is to engage with our elected representatives, both councillors and MPs, and to encourage them, in the words of the Prime Minister just a few days ago, to move “further and faster” on the crucial issues of climate and the environment.


This meeting takes place against the backdrop of COP27, whose purpose is to address the climate emergency.


Councillors, we hear this term a lot. So often that it has perhaps lost its power to shock. But let us be clear, this truly is an emergency, and we must now act with great speed.


According to the latest UN report, there is no longer a credible path to staying below a “less dangerous” 1.5 degrees of global warming. That chance has seemingly gone. It would require global emissions to fall by 45% by 2030. Yet they are on course not to fall, but to rise by 10%. On current trends, we are heading for 2.5 degrees of global warming. In the words of the UK Government’s own Net Zero Strategy, that would cause “severe and irreversible changes to the planet, the environment and human society”. No longer just in faraway lands but here too in the UK and here in North Yorkshire. This cannot be the legacy we pass on to our children.


These are global challenges, requiring above all urgent national action. But there is a vital role too for local government. This council has now joined the large majority of UK local authorities that have declared a climate emergency, and we hope this will be swiftly followed by actions on a scale and at a pace that such an emergency demands.


We urge all elected members to play their part in meeting this historic challenge by supporting whatever constructive proposals come forward – from whichever group – to address the twin climate and ecological emergencies here in our county and to harness the huge economic opportunities presented as we transition to a cleaner, greener economy. Support for proposals of this kind should transcend party political divisions. The solutions are there. Whether we succeed depends very largely on political will and cross-party cooperation. We are all in this together.


Finally, in light of the council’s climate emergency declaration, we propose that all councillors and all senior council employees be offered a full day of independently accredited climate literacy training over the next few months to empower you, on our behalf, to make fully climate-aware decisions over the coming years. We look forward to hearing when this proposal is scheduled for discussion.


Thank you for your attention.


Action on Climate Emergency (ACE) Settle and Area, Clapham Sustainability Group, Climate Action Northallerton, Climate Action Stokesley and Villages, CPRE North and East Yorkshire, Helmsley Green Team, Kirby Misperton Environmental Group, Malton and Norton Environmental Group, Nidderdale Climate + Environment Group, Northallerton Has Heart, North Yorkshire West Federation Women's Institutes Climate Change Action, Pickering Environmental Group, Project Purple Hovingham, Richmondshire Climate Action Partnership, Ryedale Environmental Group, Selby Friends of the Earth, Thirsk Friends of the Earth, Zero Carbon Harrogate

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