A petition has been made by the Newcastle Green Party imploring Newcastle County Council to declare a state of ‘climate emergency’ and to mitigate the effects of Climate Change.
The petition calls for the council to report publicly on the progress it makes with its climate change targets, and calls for specific items to be addressed such as the council’s divestment from fossil fuels in the next 3 years. Clare Andrews, who created the petition on the website 38 degrees, desires for more transparency from the council on issues stating that; ‘Newcastle Council have not updated nor publicly reported on progress with their 2010 Climate Change Action Plan nor Declaration on Climate Change. In 2014, Newcastle Council became a signatory of Mayors Adapt, the European Commission’s initiative on preparing for climate change, under which they are obligated to report on progress every two years but have not done so.’
In 2016 Newcastle City Council made a commitment to ensure that by 2050 Newcastle would be fuelled by ‘clean energy’ that is, renewable energy moving away from coal and gas. In the meantime Newcastle’s carbon target is a 50% reduction by 2030, based on the fact that Newcastle were able to reduce their CO2 emissions by 29% from 2005. The mitigation plan states that some of the reductions rely on large ‘stakeholders’ in the city such as the NHS and Newcastle and Northumbria University, and that “ it is in the interest of Newcastle City Council to support and work with these organisations so that they can achieve their targets on Co2 Production.”
On the 26th February, a planning application was made to review resident’s opinions on opening a surface coal mine on Dewley Hill, located on Ponteland road Throckley, in which it is estimated that 800,000 tonnes of coal and 400,000 tonnes of fireclay will be mined, devastating wildlife habitats and a loss of 250 acres of green space. A further petition has been created asking for Newcastle council to prevent this proposal from going ahead, in line with its targets for divestment.
This takes place after thousands of students from across the country took to the streets to in a call to stop climate change.