PEMBROKESHIRE has officially declared a climate emergency.
County councillors voted to support two parts of Cllr Joshua Beynon’s notice of motion calling on the authority to back the global consensus that climate change poses a risk to the well-being of future generations.
The council debate focused on declaring a climate emergency and calling on the Welsh and UK Governments to provide necessary support and resources to enable effective carbon reductions.
Following an attempt to delay debate and voting by Cllr Jacob Williams, in order for sufficient preparation time to be given and procedural rules, council chairman Cllr Aden Brinn allowed the discussion.
Cllr Beynon told councillors that experts say there is only “12 years to act before there is irreversible damage.”
It was important to “think globally, act locally,” said Cllr Jon Harvey while Cllr Simon Hancock highlighted the impact on biodiversity and the wider environment.
There was support from Cllr Tony Baron as long as it was not “virtue signalling” and there was a focus on future technologies to really push a change in economy.
But Cllr Mike Stoddart called the proposal “virtue signalling on stilts” adding that he led a very green life with limited travel and growing his own vegetables.
“The idea that we can de-carbonise the economy by 2030 is for people with fairies in the garden,” he said.
Cllr Stoddart referred to low contribution from wind energy and expensive failed wave generation experiments that “ended up in the bottom of the sea.”
He added it was not possible to “de-carbonise the economy” without damage to the poorest in society.
“Declaring a climate emergency, what does that mean?” asked Cllr Williams. “It certainly doesn’t mean if you don’t support this your don’t care about the environment or you do your bit.”
Cllrs Tom Tudor and Stephen Joseph supported the motion with both highlighting that further discussion on the matter does not become a “talking shop” adding that there were many small things that could be started immediately, such as tree planting.
Elements of Cllr Beynon’s motion will be discussed further at scrutiny committee including committing to making Pembrokeshire County Council a net zero carbon local authority by 2030; developing a clear plan for a route towards being net zero carbon within 12 months and working with experts and the private sector.
The motion passed 38 votes to six, with six abstentions.