Not much COP

Ken Huggins, local councillor and member of the Green Party, examines Dorset Council’s Climate Action Plan in the wake of COP26

The COP26 conference brought some modest advances, including formal recognition that human activities have caused around 1.1oC of global warming to date – but we are still very far from doing what is now needed. Even with such an apparently small increase in average global temperature, the serious far-reaching consequences are ever more apparent. Deadly heatwaves, fires, droughts and floods etc are a staple of the news. Even in Dorset we’ve had increasing floods recently, and the UK has just experienced the warmest New Year’s Day on record. Extreme weather events are nothing new, but it is the increasing severity and regularity of such events that tells us unwelcome change is happening. The alarm bell is ringing. It is still not too late to slow down and eventually reverse this over-heating, but it requires bold and rapid action by governments, business, local councils and, whenever possible, the public.

A plan for action

Dorset Council (DC) recently published its Climate Action Plan, available on the DC website here. Sadly, the Plan is too tentative in its timetable and too weak in many areas. The four Green Party councillors on DC will seek every opportunity to win over other Party’s councillors to the necessity of upgrading its ambition.
There is opposition to wind and solar farms, but these are an essential part of achieving the decarbonisation required of our present unsustainable way of life. Since the Government scrapped the zero carbon building regs in 2015 over a million new homes have been built that should have had solar panels in their roof. That’s a lot of roof space that could now be generating renewable energy.

Global heating is a global issue, and what happens here in the UK has consequences for the poorest people in countries most vulnerable to drought, floods and rising sea levels. The countries least responsible for climate change are the ones experiencing the worst effects. So far.

Ken Huggins, Parish Councillor Hazelbury Bryan

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