11th June 2020 was the anniversary of Birmingham City Council’s declaration of a climate emergency – with a target to reach net zero carbon by 2030. We don’t want them to lose sight of that commitment as they start dealing with the aftermath of COVID-19 and so over the coming weeks and months we’ll be running a series of escalating actions to build the pressure ahead of the final report of the city’s Route To Zero Taskforce.
We started out by asking rebels who live in Birmingham to add their names to a letter that we’re sending to local Councillors and the head of the Task Force, asking for three things:
- Maintained commitment to net zero carbon by 2030
- A real Citizens’ Assembly to decide the way forward
- A meeting between interested Councillors and XR Birmingham about this
On the 11th June, we printed copies of all the letters and stuck them to the front door of the Council House. Don’t forget, though, this is just the start – there’ll be much more to get involved in over the summer. To get involved, get in to0uch and post about it on social media, tagging @xrbirmingham, @bhamcitycouncil and #keepyourpromises
And don’t worry – all the printing was done on recycled paper, and we’ll be emailing the letters as well.
(CC Cllr Waseem Zaffar, Route To Zero Taskforce Chair)
On 11th June 2019 the council declared a climate emergency and made the commitment to take action to reduce the city’s carbon emissions and limit the climate crisis. The ambition was set for the council and city to become net zero carbon by 2030, or as soon as possible thereafter as a ‘just transition’ allows – ensuring we reduce inequalities in the city and bring our communities with us. This is the city’s ‘route to zero’ (R20).
The initial decision to bring a report and recommendations to Full Council in January 2020 was deferred until June 2020, and this has now been delayed again by coronavirus. We can understand and appreciate how the coronavirus crisis has affected all aspects of the Council’s work, but we believe that it is vital that part of the coronavirus response be a refusal to simply return to how things were before. It is crucial that we do not let this, or anything else, stop our city from achieving the target of net zero carbon by 2030. This is an opportunity to do things better, including rethinking the city’s relationships with Birmingham International Airport and the HS2 project.
There were plans for a Birmingham Citizens’ Assembly, originally to be held in June/July – when rescheduled, this should be given powers to make binding recommendations about how we ensure a just transition to net zero carbon by 2030. Membership should be randomly chosen to properly represent the population of Birmingham.
As we approach the anniversary of the Council declaring a climate emergency, we are here to make sure that these ambitious, aspirational targets are actually achieved and that the promises made by the Council are kept. We are calling on you to prioritise these issues in your role as a Councillor, and to ensure that the Route To Zero Taskforce is supported and assisted to fully realise its goals. If you are interested, Extinction Rebellion Birmingham would like to meet with you (virtually, of course) to discuss your position on this issue. We are planning a programme of actions to ensure that the Route To Zero does not get sidetracked along the way.