In your own backyard

23rd Jul 2019


At the end of June I wrote in this blog about my fear that local political figures would engage in one-upmanship; trying to be the greenest around by making unrealistic promises about climate change.

Little did I know then, that Worcester City Council (my home patch) would be one of the first to do just this. Last week, the City Council (it is a district local authority) voted for the city of Worcester, not just the local council itself, but all 100,000 of its citizens, to be carbon neutral by 2030.

I know, I know, stop laughing – it isn’t that easy to do but when I pointed this out to some of the councillors I know, their responses have been illuminating. Their comments in the local paper, there’s a surprise, have displayed, how can I put this, a distinct lack of familiarity with the facts.

One said it meant “deterring people from using petrol and diesel cars”, when in reality it would mean banning their use entirely. One claimed that pushing the target date back to 2050 was kicking the can down the road, when 2050 was always the target date. Another chirped up that “changing the date was failing to acknowledge the extent of the emergency.” What change in date?

So whilst the councillors ponder their next move, decarbonising a city, I thought it useful to check what action the City Council has actually taken itself. Something they actually have control over.

So I googled their greenhouse gas emissions report. It seemed out of date. So I contacted their press office. And yes, confirmed the latest report they produced on their own emissions was dated 2013-14. Five years ago was the last time these committed climate change activist councillors had a report from the body they actually run.

It’s called “virtue signalling”, shouting about action but doing nothing in reality. And my fear, shared by the CCC, is that a 2030 target date is unaffordable and logistically impossible to achieve. Scaring voters away from taking action against climate change is a real danger, not that these local councillors realise.