CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Politicians agree: It’s a climate emergency in Islington

Fossil Free Islington warns of a climate breakdown

08 March, 2019 — By Emily Finch

Councillors Claudia Webbe and Caroline Russell with Jen Cronin, far right, front, and protesters outside the Town Hall

ECO-CAMPAIGNERS have met on the steps of the Town Hall to call on the council to declare a climate emergency.

Protesters warn that we are on the brink of a “devastating” climate collapse and that Town Hall chiefs could lead the way by setting a target to make the borough carbon neutral by 2030.

Carbon neutral means balancing emissions caused by a borough, city or company with initiatives that clean the air or lower the carbon footprint.

Dozens of campaigners met before the full council meeting last Thurs- day to launch a petition urging the council to declare a climate emergency.

Environment chief Claudia Webbe gave her support to the protesters and pledged that a motion would be brought to the council “at the next opportunity”.

Jen Cronin, of Fossil Free Islington (FFI), said: “We are on the brink of an unprecedented break- down of the Earth’s climate and ecological systems, driven by our actions.

“If we pull together as a local and global community now, we can transform our energy, transport and economic systems in time.”

The council pledged last year that it would reduce the amount its pension fund invests in fossil fuels after FFI lobbied the Town Hall.

Environment chief Cllr Webbe said: “I absolutely agree that we are facing a climate emergency.

“I’m proud that Labour in local government is leading the way with decarbonisation. In Isling- ton, we’re well on track to hit our target of 40 per cent carbon reduction by 2020, but we want to go further.

“Committing to net zero by 2030 is the right thing to do, and we will be bringing a motion to commit to this target at the next opportunity.” Almost 30 councils in the country have declared climate emergencies so far.

Highbury East ward’s Green councillor Caroline Russell criticised the council for not giving climate change a prominent position in the budget

passed at the full council meeting. She said: “This is a gaping gap. If you don’t make a climate emergency plan, then you don’t know what we need to do, and you can’t even ask government or the Mayor to help with funding and powers.”

London Mayor Sadiq Khan declared a climate emergency after Cllr Rus- sell, who is also an Assembly member, tabled a motion on the topic.

But Mayor Khan did not commit to making the capital carbon neutral by 2030 and kept the 2050 target instead.

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