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Our comment: New local authority climate change pledge – “100% clean power by 2050”

For those who still have jobs in local government – many will remember previous local authority pledge schemes. First we had the Nottingham deceleration in 2000, then a 10:10 pledge and then  Climate Local in 2012. The latest is the 100% clean energy by 2050 pledge by over 50 councils in the November run up to the climate change talks. This is estimated at reducing 10% of the current UK carbon budget. Although it has been led by Labour led councils it is open to any council to join. In the West Midlands so far only Dudley and Wolverhampton have signed up. Our view is that it is encouraging over 50 locally elected leaders in the UK, representing a significant proportion of the electorate have supported local action that helps drive local low carbon jobs, improve long term energy security and costs to businesses and communities. However time will tell how many other councils will sign up, and how progress will be reported and monitored. Dr Simon Slater, SWM For information – Extracts from press release of launch The Pledge As leaders across Britain we see the challenges our communities face and acknowledge our responsibility to secure the future for them and for people around the world when faced with the challenge of a changing climate. In Paris leaders have the opportunity to commit to a new energy future. We want them to seize that opportunity, just as we will. We will take path to a new energy future. The world in Paris is coming together to create a new energy system – we are part of the change and we will create our own commitments to our own communities. We do it because not just it’s good for the planet but because it is good for the people we serve. The people who live in the towns and cities we serve deserve warm homes, secure and affordable energy, to breathe clean air, drink clean water and live in a town or city of which they can proud. This will help us ensure the keep the lights on, generate our own power for our nation, protect consumers from high and unstable energy prices and end our dependence on imported fuel from states we would rather not rely on. It also means we will be able to meet the realities of the science when it comes to climate change and rebuild our own industrial and manufacturing base. This is a pledge for jobs and economic growth. This is a path to a better future for our towns and cities as well as a path to a better world for all. The future we face requires ambition and imagination so that our children can have a safe and secure future, so we will take action that tackles climate change but also builds cities which are the best places for our children to grow up. We have a crisis: we have a responsibility to deal with it. We are uniquely placed to contribute to the solutions we need, because of our industrial past and we have demonstrated throughout our history that we are able and willing to lead on finding solutions to the new challenges the world faces. We have the ambition of making all our towns and cities across the UK 100% clean before 2050, in line with the commitments made nationally and internationally at the Paris Summit. We hope other towns and cities across the globe will join us to demonstrate that this transition will happen through acts of leadership by the many not the few, and that a transition to a clean energy future is both viable and already beginning to happen in many towns and cities today. Our UK towns and cities are committed to making a better future for all. Signatures The following councils have signed the pledge: Derby, Reading, Bolton, Manchester, Dudley, Wolverhampton, Preston, Crawley, Stevenage, Ealing, South Tyneside, Barnsley, Islington, Leeds, Lincoln, Milton Keynes, Sunderland, St Helens, Newcastle, Gedling Borough, Ashfield, Lancashire, Lambeth, Greenwich, Wigan, Warrington, Newham, Bradford, Blackpool, Camden, Tower Hamlets, Norwich, Durham, Brent, Oldham, Stroud, Cambridge, Harlow, Liverpool, Bassetlaw, Tameside, Cheshire West and Chester, Wakefield, Exeter, Enfield, Sheffield, Kirklees, Southwark, Plymouth, Rochdale, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Rochdale, Inverclyde, East Dunbartonshire, Torfaen and Wirral. The leader of Manchester City Council, Sir Richard Leese, said: “This transition will happen through acts of leadership by the many not the few. We are taking action to show a completely clean energy future is both viable and within reach within the course of a generation.” The leader of Leeds Council, Judith Blake, who co-authored the pledge, added: “We’re making this promise not just because it’s good for the planet but because it is good for the people we serve. The people who lives in our towns and cities deserve warm homes, secure energy, to breathe clean air, drink clean water and live in a place they can be proud of. I hope other council leaders will join us.” END  

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