Call for Norfolk to do more to stem rising global temperatures in wake of stark United Nations report

A coal fired power plant. Countries must take "unprecedented" action to slash carbon emissions to ze

A coal fired power plant. Countries must take "unprecedented" action to slash carbon emissions to zero by 2050 and limit dangerous global warming, a key report has warned. Pic: John Giles/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Norfolk urgently needs to do more to help stem rising global temperatures, campaigners have said, in the wake of a stark report by the United Nations.

Denise Carlo, leader of the Green group at Norwich City Council. Pic: Denise Bradley.

Denise Carlo, leader of the Green group at Norwich City Council. Pic: Denise Bradley. - Credit: ©Archant Photographic 2008

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report shows unprecedented changes, including halving carbon by 2030 and bringing it to net zero, are needed to limit global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

The government has been urged to strengthen UK climate targets and action, to reduce the severity of climate impacts, ranging from extreme weather to rising seas.

In the UK, where existing legal targets require 80pc cuts in emissions by 2050, the government is under pressure to strengthen action on climate change.

And, in Norfolk, the Green Party says all levels of government, including local councils, need to heed the warning from the scientists who put together the report.

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Denise Carlo, leader of the Green group on Norwich City Council, said: 'How Norfolk develops its transport, its housing, its energy, its industry and its agriculture in the next decade is crucial.

'Either we help UK efforts for meeting the 1.5 degree target, or we sabotage them. Sadly, our local councils, in the last decade, have make little or no real progress, and instead they are locking-in future emissions to poor transport infrastructure. They must now rapidly undo this damage, and aim for zero-emissions.'

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She highlighted the construction of the Norwich Northern Distributor Road and Norfolk County Council's ambition to build the Western Link, which would connect that £205m road to the A47 to the west of Norwich, as examples of projects which would generate further carbon emissions.

She said: 'Strong climate policies must be put in place, both for year-to-year activities and in longer term planning.

'There is also required by a legal duty under the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 for local plans to have robust climate change mitigation policies, and the Greater Norwich Local Plan must have the toughest possible policies to support tackling this global crisis.'

The Greens recently tabled a motion at City Hall that the council should consider preparing a climate change adaption strategy. That was amended by Labour, who said they were already preparing one.

Following the United Nations report, Steve Waygood, from Aviva Investors, said it was estimated that, without action, climate change would cost the global economy 43 trillion US dollars (£33 trillion) in today's prices.

'This is not a risk we can afford to take,' he said.

'The long term negative financial consequences of climate change are far, far greater than the short term financial risks of transitioning to the Paris Agreement.'

Claire Perry, minister for energy and clean growth, said the report should 'act as a rallying cry for governments around the world to innovate, invest, and raise ambition to avert catastrophic climate change'.

And she said: 'The UK has already shown carbon abatement and prosperity can go hand in hand, and we lead the world in clean growth - slashing emissions by more than 40pc since 1990 while growing our economy ahead of the G7.'

But shadow business and energy secretary Rebecca Long Bailey said the government was 'way off course' to meet existing climate targets and had pushed fracking for shale gas, which is set to go ahead in the UK this week.

And she said: 'Today's report by the IPCC makes clear that avoiding dangerous climate change will require a transformational effort, and that is precisely what Labour is offering - a plan to rapidly decarbonise our energy system as part of a green jobs revolution, and a long term target of net zero emissions before 2050.'

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