Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Climate Change - the Cornish Declaration

At yesterday’s meeting of Cornwall Council, I was one of five members who sponsored a motion to endorse the Cornish Declaration. It calls on the Government to help forge a global agreement to keep the increase in temperature of the planet to below 2 C.

The Declaration, which is being spearheaded by Truro Cathedral, encourages people and organisations in Cornwall to support action to ensure that Cornwall is part of a planet which lives within its means.

The motion was proposed by Julian German, the portfolio-holder for the Environment, who stated that it was his “ambition is to turn the concept of a green Cornwall into a reality” and for Cornwall to send a strong message to Copenhagen in December.

The meeting did not go as planned. The Lib Dems moved an amendment, to the already-agreed cross-party motion. This was for the Council to support the 10 / 10 campaign which aims to reduce carbon emissions by 10% in 2010.

Cllr Julian German was happy to incorporate this into the original proposal, but it soon became clear that many members were not willing to support the campaign without further information.

In my second speech in the debate, I made it clear that I backed the 10 / 10 campaign and that I would vote for it. But realising the tone of the meeting, I suggested that we focus on the Cornish declaration and bring the 10 / 10 campaign back to a future meeting with more information.

This was not taken on board by the Lib Dems and the Council voted not to support the 10 / 10 initiative at this time. It has since been made clear that a report into the potential implications for the Council of adopting the 10 / 10 targets would be prepared and brought back to a future meeting.

I hope that the proposal from the Lib Dems was made for the correct reasons, but sadly they are already trying to make political capital out of the vote at the expense of the Conservatives. The PPC in my area has already tweeted that “Conservative-led Cornwall Council voted today to reject a motion for 10% carbon cut in 2010 - They're still the same old Tories ...”

Nonetheless, the Cornish Declaration was unanimously supported by the councillors present at the meeting.

I am pictured above with (left to right): Mike Clayton (Deputy Leader of Independent Group), Doris Ansari (Leader of Lib Dem Group), Kevin Lavery (Chief Executive), Alec Robertson (Council Leader and Leader of Conservative Group), Julian German and Independent councillor Bob Egerton.

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