Confronting The Climate Emergency, Part 2

Diary From The Coal Face 13/6/2019 - Cllr James Dalton, Holme Valley Parish Council

James Dalton, Going Postal

Tasked with heading the challenge of confronting the declared CLIMATE EMERGENCY, Councillors and politicians throughout the land and all over the world are sounding the alarm bells and preaching to the people: WE MUST ACT NOW. I, along with others in my small part of England am responsible for answering the call and stepping up to the plate locally in confronting this declared emergency.

Being a newly elected Councillor I clearly needed to get up to speed with exactly what this climate emergency is. To this end I read the minutes to the Council meeting at which a CLIMATE EMERGENCY had been declared. A proposal had been put forward by one of the Councillors that the Council should, in line with others, declare a ‘Climate Emergency’. The minutes confirmed that the emergency had been declared, but alas they did not give any clues as to what the emergency might be. Neither had any definitive of understandable description of the emergency been offered during the first Council meeting in May when the Steering Committee’s Council representatives volunteered for their ‘first responder’ roles on the Holme Valley Parish Council Climate Emergency Steering Group HVPCCESG.

Despite this lack of clarity as to the nature of the declared CLIMATE EMERGENCY, with a curious and open mind I turned up to meeting number one held on 28th of May 2019. By the end of the meeting I had still not been exposed to any definition of what the emergency might be, but I had discovered that others in the Steering Group appeared to be focused on (i) not using plastic and recycling more (ii) not burning oil, gas and coal and (iii) achieving ‘carbon neutrality’, or a zero carbon dioxide producing state by 2030[a].

My colleagues on the Steering Group are a very interesting range of people. A large contingent of chartered engineers, civil & structural, Waste Management, Mechanical, Electrical – a professor of chemistry (which should prove very helpful), the local authority’s countryside management and estates expert, our local Labour Party Councillor who chairs the HVPCCESG and proposed the CLIMATE EMERGENCY declaration, my Green Party colleague and other interested parties with environmental  interests and concerns.

The clear agenda had been produced by the chairman. The HVPCCESG needed an Action Plan to confront the CLIMATE EMERGENCY. The Action Plan had been usefully predetermined with the help of a group called HoTT (Holmfirth Transition Town) the local branch of a national ‘Transition Towns’ network[b].

The meeting resolved to review certain areas where people of the Holme Valley can adjust their lifestyles to meet the political objectives of addressing the apparent CLIMATE EMERGENCY by stopping producing carbon dioxide in the following subcategories:

  • Energy
  • Transport
  • Environment
  • Food & Agriculture
  • Housing
  • Economy and Jobs
  • Consumption and waste

I listened attentively to the contributors in an attempt to understand the nature of the problem we were concerned with tackling. I am grateful to my colleagues for clarifying to me their beliefs, which appeared, save myself, to be shared by all in attendance – all educated adults:

Human beings are producing too much carbon dioxide (approx. 10Tonnes/year/person in the UK) and that (i) this represents an existential threat to human life[c], (ii) ‘we’ must reduce the quantity of CO2 produced.

This belief is truly shocking! If my colleagues are correct, this would be an EMERGENCY indeed. Having studied climastrology and related subjects in quite some depth over the preceding five years, the belief held by my colleagues does not ring true with either the published reports of the IPCC[d], contemporary data and analyses thereof, long term energy policies publicised by the USA, or the projected CO2 productions of India and China, nor with the positions held by scientists prepared to speak publicly on the subject, as I understand and have understood them.

Not sharing the belief passionately expressed by my colleagues, I must revisit the subject of carbon dioxide concentrations to determine what I have missed and where I have gone wrong in my understanding of the subject. It is important to understand properly the magnitude of the problem that – if my colleagues are indeed correct – should be something we all need to address and now! So, to this I will attend, only I shall endeavour to share the results of my revisitation to the theory of CAGW[e] and the part CO2 plays in it for the benefit of Holme Valley residents (are those further afield) in understanding the true magnitude of this problem so that when we ACT NOW, we are indeed acting sanely. When interacting with many of the electors during the 2019 local election campaign and through general discourse, I have failed to pick up any indication that people are taking the Climate Change issue seriously, nor that they understand or care much about the declared CLIMATE EMERGENCY.

As highlighted in my first entry, it is vitally import, for our children and future generations to preserve and conserve our environment. I offered my thoughts to my colleagues in the Group on the matters which I believed to be of the highest importance to the people of Holme Valley:

  • Population sustainability
  • Traffic relief link road scheme to reduce local car-miles by 1000’s per day saving time, cost and congestion – an idea that is so popular with locals and attracted nearly three time as many votes in the recent local election than the number of elector’s responses to local Neighbourhood Plan consultation document

Unfortunately my colleagues didn’t wish to respond to the issue of population sustainability[f], nor the practical suggestion that would help achieve their objectives of reducing CO2 emissions, but I think that was just because we were running out of time. The climastrology subject is after all a huge one, as evidently the problem is too! There’ll be plenty of time to dig deeper into the subject of sustainable population levels in the Holme Valley in future meetings, meetings in which I trust the HVPCCESG will be leading the way in exposing the truth of the magnitude and nature of the declared CLIMATE EMERGENCY.

The HVPCCESG will be meeting again, soon, on 18th June 2019.

[a] Theresa May in a recent announcement, along with other longer term Carbon focused research and advisory bodies refer to the date 2050 for their targets of sometimes 50% reduction and sometimes 100% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.
[b] …more on ‘Transition Towns’, their political roots, Common Purpose, Agenda 21 and the goals of these organisations and their facilitators will be investigated in a separate article from this diary.
[c] Threat to human life. I shall need to seek clarity from my colleagues on this point. I am unclear on what the threat, or threats, specifically are.
[d] IPCC – International Panel on Climate Change
[e] CAGW – Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming, the theory within which UK policies have been driven, at great cost to the people of the UK, since the Climate Change Act 2008.
[f] In the car park after the meeting, one Group member approached me one to one on the matter of population sustainability. He too thought this to be a primary issue.

© Councillor James Dalton 2019, DVP – The Direct Democracy Party.

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