CAST COP26 public consultation report

assembly80324

SOUTH

TYNESIDE

CITIZENS'

ASSEMBLY

C O P 2 6 P U B L I C C O N S U L T A T I O N

R E P O R T


I N T E N T I O N A L L Y B L A N K


CONTENTS

SUMMARY & FOREWORD

BACKGROUND:

'1.5 TO STAY ALIVE'

REACHING NET ZERO:

'INCENTIVISE THE CHANGES'

PROTECTING COMMUNITIES:

'SPACE TO BREATHE'

MOBILISE FINANCE:

'MONEY TALKS'

GOING FORWARD

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES & REFERENCES

A L L A C T I V E L I N K S A R E I D E N T I F I E D I N ORANGE


SUMMARY

This report presents the results of an open public consultation, to three

main aspects of combatting climate change: Reaching Net Zero,

Protecting Communities and Mobilising Finance.

It is imperative that changes in behaviour are incentivised. Focus must be

on the development of a comprehensive, yet clear and accessible

'knowledge bank' to inform and support people to make simple lifestyle

changes. Organisationally, Northumberland County Council have already

undertaken carbon literacy training - South Tyneside Council (STC) are

being left behind.

In order to protect our communities, we advocate working with Climate

Action North to establish ‘Pollinator Parks’, rewild derelict areas and support

the establishment of new ‘no mow zones’. A more ambitious tree planting

policy is needed and consideration given to the creation of new woodland

areas to increase natural carbon capture but also provide spaces which

promote mental and physical well-being, increased community

connectivity and the regeneration of local wildlife.

Finance is a major influence on all decisions. STC is the leading voice on

strategy for the Tyne and Wear Pension Fund - they are the real

gamechangers. Pressure MUST be exerted to divest pension funds from

fossil fuel companies.

FOREWORD

COP26, held in 2021 in Glasgow, ‘brought parties together to accelerate

action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework

Convention on Climate Change.’[1] The success of the conference is

debatable and it is our conclusion that South Tyneside must be much

more proactive in the face of climate breakdown.

In order to seek realistic and affordable approaches to address this

situation, Citizens’ Assembly South Tyneside (CAST) held an online public

consultation event. This formal report presented to South Tyneside Council

(STC) by CAST is a direct result of that public consultation - generated by

the people of our borough. Each recommendation is not only practical and

cost-effective but also well within our reach.

In July 2019, STC declared a climate emergency. Whilst we recognise the

steps taken so far, the response MUST encompass every single one of us.

With a minor change in mindset we can make a difference and set an

attractive and enviable example not only across our own borough but to

our region and beyond. With this in mind, we submit this report to STC.

C A S T P L A N N I N G G R O U P

March 2022

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BACKGROUND:

'1.5 TO STAY ALIVE'

In 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) produced a Special

Report[2] on the impacts of global warming by 1.5°C and the associated global greenhouse

gas emissions. Their conclusion was clear – we have already brought about at least a 1°C

rise in pre-industrial global temperature levels and are on track to hit 1.5°C by the middle of

this century if urgent action is not taken.

This rise will result in increased sea levels, intensifying the exposure of small islands, low-lying

coastal areas and deltas to the risks of flooding and saltwater intrusion harming not only

human and ecological systems but also marine biodiversity. On land, even limiting global

warming to 1.5°C will impact biodiversity and ecosystems with the loss of species and

extinction. ‘[R]isks to health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security and

economic growth are projected to increase with global warming of 1.5°C and increase

further with 2°C.’[3]

Is South Tyneside immune? Short answer: NO.

Whilst all sea-front and river facing areas will see loss of land, Jarrow and Port of Tyne will be

particularly at the forefront. The image below shows the predicted impact of just a 1.5°C

temperature rise by 2050 – higher temperature rises will result in higher water levels. You

can view how your area will be affected here.

The predicted impact of

1.5°C temperature rise in

South Tyneside by 2050

will be particularly felt in

the Jarrow and Port of

Tyne area

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However, this is not the only factor to take

into account. Dina Ionesco, Head of the

Migration, Environment and Climate

Change Division at the UN International

Organisation for Migration (IOM)

illustrated the links between migration,

the environment and climate.

Catastrophic climate-related events

linked to human activity will have a major

impact on the way [people] decide to

migrate and settle – 17.2 million people

left their homes in 2018[4] due to

disasters which negatively affected their

lives. ‘Slow changes in the environment,

such as ocean acidification,

desertification and coastal erosion, are

also directly impacting people’s

livelihoods and their capacity to survive

in their places of origin.’[5]

COP26 promised to deliver so much yet

concluded with Alok Sharma, UK

president of the conference, apologising

saying that he was ‘deeply sorry’[6] for

the last minute changes to the climate

deal which offered nothing but a

watered-down agreement.

In order to face up to this climate crisis,

we must each take responsibility and act

accordingly. This proposal offers

proactive, practical and affordable

measures we can all take, as individuals

and organisations, to mitigate our

impact on this rapidly growing global

emergency.

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REACHING NET ZERO:

INCENTIVISE THE CHANGES

Being more environmentally friendly - ‘it's about giving something up’ - that's how it's

packaged and framed. But rather than focusing on the negatives, we need to actively

change this mindset and demonstrate the positives of making just one or two little changes.

Actions as simple as turning off the engine on the school run will save on fuel bills with the

added bonus of keeping the air around schools less polluted.

To reach net zero by mid-century and keep the 1.5°C target within reach, we all need to take

responsibility. But the way forward is not to preach and berate, we need to actively transform

behaviour and incentivise these essential changes. The following recommendations can be

easily, and inexpensively, adopted.

Proposal: support system

The benefits of being more sustainable need to be highlighted. In order to achieve this, we

propose the creation of a support network – a central, regularly updated repository of

resources and tools covering information such as:

the practical benefits of minor changes, eg. using less water = lower water bill, not idling

the car = reduced fuel bills

any free equipment residents can access, eg. Northumbrian Water free water saving kit

user-friendly, pictorial guides to EXACTLY what can be put into domestic recycling bins

especially with regards to plastic

locations where the non-accepted items can be disposed of, eg. Soft plastics –

Tesco/Morrisons stores, batteries – Middlefields/Lidls/Aldi

adaptable educational resources such as those available from WWF, UNESCO and OXFAM

the establishment of ‘Community Climate Champions’ – volunteers to ensure the

database is regularly updated, signpost residents to services and support, such as local

car share schemes and liaise with environmental groups and professionals to ensure that

Best Practice standards are upheld in South Tyneside

These resources must be available in ALL local authority assets and other public buildings

and in multiple formats – online and physical, written and spoken word, pictorial, video and

braille.

STC MUST ensure:

they follow the example set by councils such as Northumberland, Stockport and

Leicestershire and offer staff carbon literacy training - free resources are available

all new housing applications satisfy stringent environmental criteria requiring all new

homes to be as sustainable as possible and include the installation of heat pumps,

effective insulation and solar panelling to ensure high standards of energy efficiency

the accelerated installation of EV charging points

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PROTECTING

COMMUNITIES:

SPACE TO BREATHE

‘A growing body of evidence points to the positive impacts of nature for people.’[7] ‘Metro

nature’ - trees, parks and natural spaces, all enhance the quality of life in cities and towns.

[8] Spending time in green spaces can reduce feelings of stress, help residents to become

more active, reduce loneliness and help people connect to their community.[9]

South Tyneside is ranked 37th most deprived area in England[10] and although there is

disparity in the levels of privation across the borough, life expectancy in South Tyneside is

below the national average – 81.5 for women and 77.5 for men[11] (the UK national average

is 82.9 for females and 79 for males respectively[12]). With this in mind, we call for the

urgent development of ‘space to breathe’.

Proposal: living spaces

Nature plays a crucial role in creating the vital neighbourhood spaces we need for healthy

citizens and therefore we propose:

working with Climate Action North to rewild derelict land and establish 'pollinator parks'

such as the scheme at the Business Innovation Centre in Sunderland

generating ideas for the overhaul of our existing natural spaces, such as Temple Park, to

enable local people to make more effective use of the space - not just somewhere to

walk the dog

reestablishment of community gardens and allotments

working with organisations such as Playing Out to create safe urban spaces where

children can play

STC MUST ensure:

air quality monitoring at schools and the surrounding areas

an immediate halt to the use of leaf-blowers to safeguard insect populations

the expansion of the 'no mow zone' initiative

a move to herbicide-free weedkillers

a more ambitious tree planting policy – the current target of 3000 per year doesn’t

make clear whether these are in addition to those planted to replace those cut down.

greater priority to identifying areas for woodland creation – not only increasing natural

carbon capture but also supporting good mental health. Government grants are

available to fund the planting of trees in urban areas

mature trees take high priority when considering planning applications

new buildings are not constructed on flood plains

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MOBILISE FINANCE:

'MONEY TALKS'

'Money talks, bulls**t walks.'[13] Good leaders are those who provide the infrastructure to

make something work and strive to achieve the best results. At the end of the day, it's the

investment of energy, time and capital that really accomplishes things - endless talking and

meaningless gestures achieve nothing. STC declared a climate emergency in July 2019 but

since then we've seen precious little evidence of a real movement towards tackling the crisis

- now is the time to stand up and make a difference.

In December 2019, former Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney, admitted that '[t]he

world needs a new, sustainable financial system to stop runaway climate change.'[14] As

individuals, we can strive to lessen our impact on our environment but this effort MUST be

mirrored by the actions of our leaders and institutions.

It's time for us we ALL step up and take responsibility - even STC!

Proposal: making money work for us...and our planet

Capital is a crucial aspect to speeding up the transition to a low-carbon economy and we

all play a valuable role. To enable this, we recommend:

residents are made aware of tools such as Make My Money Matter in order influence

where their money/pension is being invested

the promotion of Right to Repair initiatives such as those managed by The Restart Project

to combat the 'tsunami' of electronic waste

investigation into community ownership of green energy projects

increased awareness of projects like Transition Streets which aim to empower

communities through collective action

STC MUST ensure:

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AND CONSIDERATION MUST BE PLACED AT THE

HEART OF ALL BUDGETARY DECISIONS

they follow the example set by councils such as Cardiff, Birmingham, Islington, Lambeth

and Waltham Forest and fully commit to full divestment of pension funds from fossil fuels

genuine investigation into moving to a 'sustainable well-being economy'. The Wellbeing

Economy Alliance provide support and resources to facilitate this transition

they push for NEXUS to provide more ecofriendly, reliable and affordable public transport

support for Right to Repair initiatives

increased promotion of Meanwhile Use Leases to encourage innovative local enterprises

and reinvigorate our town centres

STC run carparks offer low cost/free car-parking to EVs and dedicated spaces with

electric charging points

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GOING FORWARD

Although predicting climate change is very complex, it is now accepted

that human actions have had a negative impact on our environment. The

second of three IPCC reports was published in February 2022 and makes

for grim reading with ecosystem collapse, species extinction, deadly

heatwaves and floods among the ‘unavoidable multiple climate hazards’

the world will face over the next two decades due to global warming.

One of the report’s core conclusions was that fossil fuels are suffocating

the entire planet and it urged all G20 governments to stop funding the

fossil fuel industries. Whilst South Tyneside is, of course, not a global player,

we can make an important contribution to the fight against climate

change. The Tyne & Wear Pension Fund has £472,872,655 invested in fossil

fuels with £188,896,031[16] directly invested. STC is not only part of this

pension fund but also the main administrator. In turn, Tyne and Wear

Pension Fund is part of the Border To Coast Pensions Partnership which is

believed* to have over £2.4 billion invested in fossil fuels - STC also has

involvement here as Councillor Anne Walsh is a member of the Board

Audit Committee.

It is clear that STC need to exert their influence and lead the call to divest

their pension capital from fossil fuels and instead invest in renewable

energy. Divestment is no longer uncommon with National Trust, British

Medical Association, the Catholic Church, Welsh Parliament, over 50% of UK

universities and many more[17] joining a growing number of local

authorities divesting their pension funds – if South Tyneside don’t look to

make changes, it’s going to be another area where we’ll be left behind.

With regards to our locally-achievable aims, we fully appreciate the

financial constraints faced by STC however there are funding streams and

partnerships which could be explored to lessen the monetary burden. For

example, concerning the switch to electric vehicles – many residents do

not have off-street parking but there is government funding for on-street

charge points which local authorities can access or maybe an approach

to Nissan to work in partnership?

CAST would be more than willing to work in conjunction with both STC and

Climate Action North to identify areas for rewilding and possible pollinator

parks, with Playing Out to highlight spaces which could be developed into

safe spaces for our children to play and with Transition Streets to help

each one of us to reduce our carbon emissions. Working together and with

a little bit of vision and joined up thinking, South Tyneside can quickly, easily

and economically be a healthier, more planet-friendly place to live.

SO WHAT’S STOPPING US?

C A S T P L A N N I N G G R O U P

March 2022

*this data cannot be verified beyond 2017

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ADDITIONAL

RESOURCES

https://www.cnet.com/news/climate-change-9-ways-you-can-make-adifference/

https://carbonliteracy.com/toolkits/

https://www.divest.org.uk/

https://gofossilfree.org/uk/fuellingthefire/#map

https://therestartproject.org/

https://www.lexisnexis.co.uk/legal/guidance/meanwhile-use-leases

https://rippleenergy.com/

https://www.haydonwick.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/policy-financemeeting-agenda-17th-march-2020/Agenda-9-20-actions-parish-andtown-councils-can-take-on-the-climate-and-nature-emergency.pdf

https://www.preston.gov.uk/article/1339/What-is-Preston-Modelhttps://350.org

https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/

REFERENCES

[1]https://ukcop26.org/

[2]https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/chapter/spm/

[3]https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/chapter/spm/

[4]https://news.un.org/en/story/2019/07/1043551

[5]https://news.un.org/en/story/2019/07/1043551

[6]https://www.independent.co.uk/tv/editors-picks/cop26-deal-aloksharma-emotional-v2b052a20

[7]https://nt.global.ssl.fastly.net/documents/noticing-nature-report-feb-

2020.pdf

[8]https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/doi/10.1289/ehp.1408216

[9]https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everydayliving/nature-and-mental-health/how-nature-benefits-mental-health/

[10]https://publications.southtyneside.gov.uk/strategies/adult-social-carestrategy/

[11]https://www.southtyneside.gov.uk/article/60972/Life-Expectancy

[12]https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeaths

andmarriages/lifeexpectancies/bulletins/nationallifetablesunitedkingdom/2

018to2020

[13]https://www.wordsense.eu/money_talks,_bullshit_walks/

[14]https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/2019/12/a-newsustainable-financial-system-to-stop-climate-change-carney.htm

[15]https://www.cnet.com/news/japans-new-climate-minister-pledgesto-make-fighting-climate-change-sexy/

[16]https://gofossilfree.org/uk/fuellingthefire/#map

[17]https://divestmentdatabase.org/

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This document is the property of

Citizens’ Assembly South Tyneside (CAST).

All external links were correct as of March 2022.

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