Edinburgh’s declaration of a climate emergency must be backed by a climate budget. That is according to the city’s 8 Green councillors as they publish proposals for the council’s budget meeting this week (Thursday 20 February).
Edinburgh has set a target of being “zero-carbon” by 2030 which the Greens have welcomed, but say must now be backed by hard cash. They have proposed a package of over £5m which includes:
• Investment in energy efficiency, solar panels and electric vehicles
• Improving green spaces with more tree-planting and a new Natural Edinburgh wildlife fund
• Reducing waste and cutting plastic in school lunches
• New opportunities for community-led projects tackling climate change
As well as specific proposals the Green budget also highlights the scope to match the £4-8 billion investment needed for a zero carbon city with funding opportunities on a similar scale. A number of the Green ideas are about tapping into large scale funds, from City Region Deal to Lothian Pension Fund to the new Scottish Investment Bank.
“A growing number of public bodies have declared a climate emergency, the council among them. And for good reason. From the United Nations to Sir David Attenborough, there have been stark warnings that climate change is the greatest threat facing humankind, with particular devastating impacts on the poorest people and on the many species with which we share the planet.
“Edinburgh has set a target to be zero carbon by 2030. This is ambitious and necessary. It is necessary because of the threat posed by climate change but also because a zero carbon Edinburgh is a better Edinburgh: more equal; less congested; healthier; and greener. It’s the kind of Edinburgh which attracts the investment we need to achieve those ambitions.
“So I really hope that the political agreement we saw when declaring a climate emergency also leads to agreement about the need for a climate budget.”
As well as the headline climate emergency budget Greens have also rejected cuts to libraries, sports and school music and allocated up to £11m extra for “Wave 4” schools in Wester Hailes and Liberton. Among the savings proposals by the Greens are ending councillors’ lunches and tea and coffee and scrapping the winter festivals grant once the contract with Underbelly is up.
Read the Green Budget motion in full.