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Raising Local Ambition on Climate Action

This year’s English summer was the warmest on record. Great for many of us, but it also contributed to a record 2.2 million patients attending A&E in July. Elsewhere, high temperatures and dry conditions caused wildfires and deaths from inside the Arctic Circle to the shores of the Aegean Sea. According to a recent UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, “we only have the slimmest of opportunities remaining to avoid unthinkable damage to the climate system that supports life as we know it”. The economic effects of events such as Brexit are small-fry compared to the threats posed by climate change.

The thousands of UK citizens who’ve recently taken part in #ExtinctionRebellion events or are campaigning on climate justice understand this. They get that the UK is not on track to meet its own climate goals, let alone the “urgent and unprecedented actions” called for by the IPCC. They understand that the UK government’s support for fracking and airport expansion is the wrong path to take.

Carbon Neutral Cambridge aims to dramatically raise ambition on reducing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions in the Greater Cambridge region. We want to see well-insulated new homes, to keep down energy bills for consumers, limit greenhouse gas emissions and avoid costly late retrofitting. There’s a lot of new transport infrastructure planned for our region and it’s imperative that it meets the needs of those with limited mobility, pedestrians and cyclists. Coupled with electric public transport, electric car clubs and facilities for e-bikes this would enhance our lifestyles, improve health and slash transportation emissions. All new infrastructure needs to contribute to a very low carbon future.

Carbon Neutral Cambridge is calling for the creation of a Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Climate Commission to provide independent expert advice to local authorities and to report on progress achieved. We’re seeking to engage with Cambridge University, particularly its Centre for a Carbon Neutral Future, in order to see how the Greater Cambridge region can develop innovative ways to rapidly reduce our region’s greenhouse gas emissions. We’ll be looking at major planning applications to see if their climate credentials can be improved. We’re investigating how local land use changes, including a major new tree-planting initiative, could help lock-up carbon dioxide. And we’ll continue to question electoral candidates about the extent to which they support efforts to tackle climate change.

That’s a lot to do and we don’t have much time. Please consider helping us; we would love to hear from you.