Interfaith statement on Birmingham’s climate commitments

Footsteps’ Statement re: R20 Taskforce Report Sept 2020

In May 2019 following discernment at area meeting, Central England Quakers endorsed a letter that Footsteps – Faiths for a Low Carbon Future was sending (with the support of the Birmingham Faith Leaders group) to Birmingham City Council. The letter was supporting the BCC motion to declare a climate emergency with a goal of the city becoming carbon neutral by 2030, or as soon afterward as a just transition permitted. 

The City then declared a climate emergency in June 2019 and set up a Taskforce to develop an action plan to bring back to a future Full Council meeting.  Footsteps was invited to join the Taskforce with Chris Martin, Cotteridge Quakers, becoming the Footsteps and faith community representative.

The Taskforce’s plan for achieving net zero carbon is being considered at a Full Council meeting on 15 September.  In advance of the meeting Footsteps and the faith leaders group have, on the basis of Chris’s involvement in the work of the Taskforce, issued a statement welcoming the Council’s cross-party and collaborative approach and the progress that has been made in challenging times, but also raising a number of specific serious concerns.  These concerns include:

  • that the ambition for becoming a net zero carbon city has slipped from 2030 to 2041 without explanation;
  • that ‘just transition’ aspects of the original Declaration ‘making sure we take communities with us, protecting employment and without impoverishing deprived communities’ are underdeveloped in the Carbon Emission Reduction Study action plan;
  • that little attention is given to funding the transition apart from the need for central Government funding and the Council’s own limited resources.  Funding should include, for example, mobilising residents’ own savings, pension funds and innovative sources of finance such as Green Bonds and crowd-funding;
  • that insufficient attention has been given to communicating and engaging with Birmingham’s citizens and building up their support.

A copy of the full statement can be seen on the Footsteps website.

Friends, especially those living in Birmingham, may wish to:

  • Share with others the importance of Birmingham’s Full Council Debate on 15 September and Footsteps’s concerns about the action plan being tabled
  • Contact your local Councillor asking that they, in the 15 September Full Council meeting, support the vision and ambition of the original Climate Emergency Declaration
  • Encourage all involved to continue to work in a cross-party and collaborative way, engaging with Birmingham’s communities in a constructive and meaningful manner
  • Read the papers submitted and follow the Full Council debate streamed live.  The agenda and papers for 15th Sep will not be published until 7th September and should appear on the Birmingham Council website.

After the debate has taken place and its outcome is known, Footsteps intends to make a further statement about the way forward on Birmingham’s climate emergency and the role of faith communities.