I am sending the following letter to most Lewes council candidates for the May elections.
I am writing on behalf of Transition Town Lewes steering group – we have worked on climate issues for many years.
Everyone is becoming more concerned about the threats to our climate and increasing numbers of councils are taking action.
By writing to you, I am trying to put into practice *Christiana Figueres’s advice on climate change where she says: “Vote, for politicians who will take action”.
Her other advice includes eating less meat, reducing car use in favour of public transport, and switching investments away from fossil fuels.
I know that local councils have acted on climate change in many ways for a long time.
The Town improved its buildings and the District invested in solar, to give just two examples. However, this level of action is now known not to be enough.
Climate gas emissions globally are still going up - UK ones have been falling, but not fast enough.
It is now very urgent to take more radical action to start them going down sharply from this year.
We don’t hear enough said about this, which can lull us into complacency - I struggle with that myself.
So I am asking you what actions you will take and support and to put these in your manifesto for the forthcoming election.
Other councils have declared a climate emergency and/or set a target to strive for their areas to achieve, to reach carbon neutrality by 2030 or soon after.
There is a conference for local authorities on 29th March - are you or others planning to attend?
I know that local councils are limited in how much they can affect their whole areas, and it is often difficult even to reduce the council’s own emissions, as it is with personal carbon footprints.
But if this issue is as urgent as it seems to be, then we need to do our best to overcome barriers to action.
You may already be taking action locally - I think going public, and bringing people together to look at the options is a good start.
We and our descendants will lose much that is precious about Lewes and the UK if climate emissions continue as they are.
But if we act now, things could even improve for everyone, and we would avoid a worsening of extreme weather and the economic and political chaos that would result.
*Christiana Figueres was the UN negotiator on climate change who was crucial in negotiating the Paris Agreement