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Politicians challenged to take action after declaring a 'climate change emergency'

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ENVIRONMENTAL campaigners have challenged the States to follow through with meaningful action after Members voted to declare a climate change emergency in the Island.

Dave Cabeldu

Members yesterday overwhelming approved Deputy Rob Ward’s amended proposition to set a 2030 deadline for Jersey to become carbon neutral and for proposals to achieve this to be assessed by Environment Minister John Young next year (Full story: Page 5).

The move has received a lukewarm response from some environmental campaigners, however, who fear that the positive words may not lead to meaningful actions.

Environmental campaigner Jacqui Carrell, of Save Our Shoreline Jeresy, said that the target date of 2030 for carbon neutrality was too far away.

‘We have been campaigning for them to do this sort of thing for years,’ she said.

‘What we need to see is them taking some action on this now, and that will include short-term measures which they need to bring in and tell people about.

‘I think it’s good that they want to produce a plan by 2020 but I think a target date of 2030 carbon neutrality is too far away. They needed to do it sooner.

‘It will just get forgotten about or there will be change in government and nothing will get done. The way the States is set up is short-termist. We need them to start doing things now.’

Dave Cabeldu MBE, co-coordinator of Save Our Shoreline Jersey, said that lot more work needed to be done to address environmental issues than a simple declaration.

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‘I think it’s a step towards recognition that there’s an ongoing problem that needs to be addressed,’ he said.

‘But there is a lot more work to be done.’

However, Nigel Jones of Jersey In Transition was more positive, claiming the declaration was a ‘marvellous step in the right direction’ and urged Islanders to seize the opportunity.

‘We have been waiting for years for positive movement on this. I think this is an opportunity to now put carbon accounting firmly on the agenda,’ he said.

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‘There are lots of ways we can reduce our carbon footprint – the sea, for example, can be a great carbon sink, through cultivating seaweed and plankton.

‘People have spoken about Jersey becoming carbon neutral by funding carbon sinks, like forests, on the other side of the world but I think we need to look at what we can do here.’

He added that he would like to see as much community involvement in the carbon neutrality project as possible, including the establishment of public forums.

‘St Helier has got the right idea because people are coming in every two weeks with suggestions about carbon neutrality for its project,’ he said.

‘This is too big a job just for the Environment Minister or his department, we need everyone involved because there are so many aspects to this.

‘Extinction Rebellion’s third demand was the creation of citizens’ assemblies to guide policy and action. That’s what we need here in Jersey.’

Ian Heath

By Ian Heath
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