Cabinet Member for Jobs, Regeneration and Climate Change at Coventry City Council, Councillor Jim O’Boyle, who is also Vice Chair of Coventry Climate Change Board, said in a podcast by Coventry & Warwickshire Green Business Programme that the UK government’s target of net zero by 2050 is “completely unachievable based on the pathway the government are on”.
He is not alone in this pessimism. The UK Climate Change Committee said the same thing in its report of October 2022.
But if the man in charge of reducing Coventry’s emissions is so pessimistic, what chance does the City stand of convincing it’s citizens and businesses to urgently change their behaviour?
His complacency in the face of what most people regard as a climate emergency may explain why, under Councillor O’Boyle’s leadership, Coventry’s the Climate Change Strategy, which should have been published in 2020, “will be ready for publication in March 2023 after Cabinet approves the recommendations. Only three years late. What is more, if the next Strategy sets such low targets as the previous one, Coventry will achieve them after
Councillor O’Boyle’s also said the West Midlands Combined Authority plan for net zero by 2041 is “not achievable” because there is not the finance to make it happen. To upgrade all properties in Coventry to make them comply with requirements would cost £15 billion. The Council’s annual budget is about £1 billion. People and the government have to “get real”.
However, it’s not all bad news.
There will be a public consultation in Coventry. The Strategy will become operational in the new financial year from April 2023 and it will go through to 2030. He said the “Coventry & Warwickshire Green Business Network” will run events to consult on circular economies and sustainability. “We will run a series of consultation events from December 2022 to February 2023 which we will hold in neighbourhoods around the city including online events to reach as wide an audience as possible, public and private sectors and residents of the city. It’s important we engage with them because it’s about our city and we want people to take part.”