PEMBROKESHIRE will continue to strive to reduce carbon emissions despite scepticism from some councillors – including one who thought an increase in temperature would allow him to grow oranges and lemons.

Following a notice of motion last month and the backing of calling a climate change emergency by Pembrokeshire County Council, more details were discussed at corporate overview and scrutiny committee on June 6.

A report on progress and actions already taken by the authority to reduce carbon and contribute to making it a zero carbon authority by 2030 was presented, as a result of Cllr Joshua Beynon’s drive to make changes.

Cllr Jacob Williams described himself as a “sceptic” adding that scepticism was healthy and that he favoured separating eco and green issues from climate change concerns.

“I’m not saying we should’t be green or eco but it’s because we want to live in a cleaner environment,” he said.

Cllr Mike Stoddart was also sceptical and said being called a “climate change denier” was intended to compare him to a Holocaust denier.

Cllr Stoddart also highlighted the problems that could be created by some eco-friendly solutions such as the need for increased cobalt mining for battery production for electric cars or storing renewable energy.

The efficiency of renewable energy was also questioned by the Milford Haven councillor.

Cllr John Cole went a step further and said despite “doing his bit” with recycling and electric vehicles, the damage climate change would do to the planet was “scaremongering.”

“Would I be happy if Pembrokeshire’s temperature rose a couple of degrees? I would. I could grow oranges, I could grow lemons,” he added.

Some steps already taken by the council include introducing electric vehicle charging points, woodland and countryside developments, use of biofuel, flooding prevention and improving housing efficiency.

It is also working with the Port of Milford Haven on a the creation of a zero carbon area at Milford Waterfront.

“Pembrokeshire has significant renewable resource and combined with storage technologies, has the opportunity to become a net supplier of renewable energy to the rest of the UK,” said Dr Stephen Jones, director of development.

The Welsh Government is also introducing targets for carbon neutral public sectors with Pembrokeshire possibly having a chance to help formulate policy as an “early adopter,” added Steve Keating, sustainable development and energy manager.

The majority of the committee recognised the scientific evidence of climate change, its causes and impacts and agreed that progress be noted and a more detailed action plan will be developed within 12 months.

A report on progress with private sector and this sector partners will also be made, and a working group developed with full council agreement.

The matter will be considered by full council at its meeting next month.

Image: Nina Matthews from Australia [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

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