The West Midlands Climate Coalition campaigns to harmonise the climate action plans of the West Midlands Combined Authority and its constituent parts with those of the IPCC and UN.
The United Nation’s Environment Programme and the International Panel on Climate Change make crystal clear the calamitous consequences of uncontrolled global warming above 1.5 degrees.
The time window of opportunity for keeping below 1.5 degrees is small, with the IPCC now recommending Greenhouse gas emissions must peak by 2025 and can be nearly halved this decade to give the world a chance of limiting future heating to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.
Together with the associated issues of global environmental destruction, acidification of the oceans and species extinctions, the costs of exceeding 1.5 degrees are catastrophic to our planetary system and to life on earth, particularly for those in the global south.
Following a lobby and petitioning of the West Midlands Combined Authority, the West Midlands Climate Coalition developed the following nine action points in April 2022 to move towards a zero-carbon region.
Domestic insulation and heating programs need to be massively accelerated. This is a rapid way to reduce carbon emissions and save households money on their heating and energy bills. The WMCA should immediately publish and implement a comprehensive plan for the retrofitting of housing in the WMCA constituencies with the highest levels of fuel poverty revealed in a new league table from the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, based on Government figures.
FARE FREE PUBLIC TRANSPORT.
Transport for West Midlands should follow the lead being given by Swansea, Newport, and Herefordshire by setting up free public transport schemes. A feasibility study into the economic, social, and environmental benefits of FFPT for the West Midlands should start work now. The WMCA should bring the region’s buses back into public control, following the example of Greater Manchester, as a step towards FFPT.
END SUPPORT FOR HS2.
Apart from the environmental devastation it is causing, HS2 is vastly expensive. The money should be used instead for big investments in local and regional public transport. The current business model of the HS2 project is to increase economic growth and consumerism, however this will contribute to planetary destruction, and is not something we need more of.
DIVEST THE WEST MIDLANDS PENSION FUND FROM FOSSIL FUEL INVESTMENT.
Pension funds investing in fossil fuels are contributing directly to uncontrolled global warming and in support of a sustainable future for all should invest instead in green renewables.
END THE INCINERATION OF WASTE.
The continuation of waste incineration is an environmental crime. Plans should be made immediately to increase recycling (including food waste) and to transition to ecologically sustainable degradation.
The WMCA should encourage its residents to limit the excessive use of environmentally damaging national and international flights (pending the development of zero carbon planes) to one return flight every two or three years.
TEACH THE CHILDREN.
Local authorities within the WMCA area should actively promote proper climate and environmental studies in all schools for all children and young people, appropriate to their age.
PAUSE TRAM DEVELOPMENT.
Trams are more accessible than buses and trains for disabled people and prams, but they are also hugely expensive to build and emit a large amount of Carbon Dioxide from cement and steel in their construction. New growth of this network should be paused, and the money diverted into upgrading the current regional public transport system, including the opening of new routes
BUILDING A WORKFORCE FOR THE CLIMATE EMERGENCY.
The WMCA should use its resources to collaborate with the region’s trade unions, FE colleges, universities, and employers to create and implement a long-term strategy for the creation of green jobs and a just transition for workers in high carbon workplaces as they decline.
Facebook private group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/westmidlandsclimatecoalition