At Full Council on 27th March Leeds Labour City Council declared a ‘Climate Emergency’. Headingley Councillor, Neil Walshaw, spoke about it in the Council Chamber.
« Let me be really clear – the science is irrefutable. It passes the gold standard for scientific research. Technically we know more about climate change then we do gravity right now. The UN report of the summer of last year starkly demonstrated that we had 12 years left to avert catastrophic climate change. Not mildly inconvenient. Not somewhat annoying. But Catastrophic. Scientists are rarely prone to hyperbole. Given that, it is vital we act. There is no more urgent or higher priority.
Have you seen the young people holding ‘climate strikes’ every month? Whatever people think about children and students missing school, it is really clear that they get it: the urgency and the need for change. This is a call to every adult to think about what we do and how we do it. »
So what is Leeds Labour Council doing?
« At the City Council we are acting where and when we can. We have one of the largest electric vehicle fleets in the country, we are cladding our housing stock to make it more thermally efficient, and we are investing in public transport and want to make Leeds the best city for walking and cycling. »
But Leeds can’t do it alone. As Neil says:
« We will act locally and be a leader and an example to our country and the world. What we need is Central Government to do the same. Government can’t keep cutting local government finances.
It can’t keep constraining our powers. Unleash us and watch us soar.
« We need national leadership that will decarbonise the electricity grid and enact a radical programme of building insulation and energy conservation. The technology of air travel needs completely changing. Fundamentally we need a Green New Deal for the people of this country with good jobs in these new industries and programmes that equip our society for this most difficult of centuries. There is no climate justice without economic justice because everything really is interconnected. »
Neil is right. We need a Labour Government to act nationally and give Leeds the power and money it needs.
And here in Leeds we need to hold on to the Labour Council we have.
You can do your bit on May 2 – voting for Neil in Headingley, for James Gibson in Weetwood, for Elliot Nathan in Otley and Yeadon and for Nigel Gill in Adel and Wharfedale.
Let’s make Leeds green. Let’s keep Leeds Labour