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More money and new laws needed to save planet say councils as COP26 comes to a close

The government must match their words with action, South and Vale’s cabinet members for climate have said, as COP26 comes to a close.

World leaders have been meeting at COP26 (the Conference of Parties) in Glasgow with the aim of accelerating action to tackle climate change.

While there have been significant announcements made on issues such as deforestation and methane emissions, Cabinet Members leading on the climate emergency at South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils have said new laws and funding is needed if we are to achieve limiting global temperature rises.

Cllr Catherine Webber, Cabinet Member for Climate Emergency and Environment at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “During COP26 we have seen huge numbers rally on the need to act now to address the climate emergency, especially inspiring young people who have really been the driving force for political and societal change.  We have also heard from communities around the world who face growing danger from extreme weather and rising sea levels.

“While COP26 has resulted in some progress towards tackling the climate emergency on a global scale, much more needs to happen, and quickly, if we are to really limit the global temperature increase. 

“COP has given many communities and organisations the opportunity to highlight the climate action they are taking and locally we are doing our best to put actions in place to address the climate emergency.  However, we urgently need new legislation that will facilitate change across the country.  While the Government’s new Environment Bill does set some legally binding targets on issues such as pollution and biodiversity protection, more laws are needed.  Additional funding is also vital to ensure we can take the actions needed to achieve net zero.”

Cllr Sue Cooper, Cabinet Member for Environment, Climate Change and Nature Recovery at South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “At COP26 we have seen some countries agree plans to reduce methane emissions, to make green technology and solutions more affordable, and to halt and reverse the loss of forests around the world, a move which is absolutely vital if we are to reduce our CO2 emissions.  However, these agreements do not go far enough to prevent some serious impacts from global temperature rises.  To achieve that we need commitments for further meaningful action and to speed the process up considerably, otherwise it will be too late to repair the damage. 

“We now need to guarantee that all nations are onboard, that they are absolutely committed to reducing their emissions, and that measures are in put place to ensure that will happen.  We also need a much greater level of awareness and willingness from people across the world to reduce their own emissions, from their home, the food they eat, the way they work, or how they travel.  Tackling the climate emergency is something that we all have to do, not just governments or councils, but every single person and business.  Each small change we make as individuals can and will make a difference.”

Notes for editors:

For more information on the announcements made at COP26, please see the official COP26 website.

For more information on climate action locally see /