Yesterday in the first – low carbon, virtual – meeting of the Essex Climate Action Commission, it was agreed that there was an urgency to proceed at pace and to be bold in tackling the climate challenge.
The commission members discussed their own personal reasons for being part of the Climate Action Commission, setting out what motivates, inspires them and what they see as the biggest challenges in the fight against climate change and the race to reduce carbon emissions.
The Commission discussed the opportunity to build on the gains that have emerged as a result of Covid 19 – how the public are engaging more with the natural world, walking and cycling more (greener forms of transport) and more people are working from home, including in jobs where this hadn’t been thought possible. They discussed whether it will be possible for these changes to be kept and built upon.
They also discussed the challenges arising from Covid-19 – aspects such as single use plastics making a reappearance, the carrier bag being used more, and the number of home deliveries being made. The commission recognised the important of public safety while balancing the need for responsible purchasing and not losing the momentum that has been made in the fight against plastic and waste.
Lord Randall, Chair of the Commission reflected however, that:
“The public are keen to do their bit for climate change, they want to understand how they can act quickly and effectively.”
The Commission will consider six pillars of work, looking at how ambitious, positive solutions and behaviour change can impact on the carbon output of the following:
- Green Infrastructure
- Adapting to a changing climate
- Built Environment
- Energy and Waste
- Community Action
The Commission also considered how planned new developments across Essex should be used to test and pilot new ways of working, particularly around waste and transport. Transport was considered to be one of the biggest challenges, but also where some of the biggest gains could be made.
The Commission will next meet in July with a proposed interim report on recommendations to the council being produced for October.