In June 2023, two members of the public attended the Leeds City Council Climate Emergency Advisory Committee open forum. The open forum allows members of the public five minutes to speak about matters relating to the “climate crisis.”
Below are excerpts from the open forum where Suzanne and Trudie questioned the thinking that underpins policymaking and informed councillors of the wider implications of the measures being pursued by the council.
Suzanne and Trudie presented information to the Leeds City Council that demonstrated the “climate emergency” plans being considered have been long in the making and how far-reaching their impact will be if they are implemented.
“The amount of information available in relation to net zero, the climate emergency and the plan to make Leeds carbon neutral by 2030 – which is just six and a half years away – is enormous,” Suzanne began. “Do you know there is no consensus on what a climate emergency is? Do you also know that the UK government has not actually declared a climate emergency?”
The idea of a ”climate emergency” in the UK was an approval of a motion put forward by Jeremy Corbyn in 2019, there was no vote taken on the subject, Suzanne explained.
In May 2019, then leader of the opposition Corbyn gave a speech in parliament:
Today this House must declare an environment and climate emergency … There is no time to waste. We are living in a climate crisis … I was deeply moved … by children on strike from school chanting “our planet, our future”. … We are witnessing an unprecedented upsurge of climate activism with groups like Extinction Rebellion forcing the politicians in this building to listen … The protests … are a massive and necessary wake-up call … We must be absolutely clear-eyed about the Paris Agreement. As significant as it is – it is not enough.
Jeremy Corbyn declares environment and climate emergency, Labour Party, 1 May 2019
Leeds City Council was not immune to this agenda-driven activism. It declared a “climate emergency” after pressure from youth activists and Extinction Rebellion, Suzanne said. “Extinction Rebellion is funded in part by a man named Chris Hohn, a multi-billionaire who at one point was paying himself over a million pounds per day.”
At the beginning of last year, The Guardian reported that hedge fund manager Chris Hohn is the single biggest individual donor to Extinction Rebellion (“XR”). “Humanity is aggressively destroying the world with climate change and there is an urgent need for us all to wake up to this fact,” he said when he was revealed as XR’s main funder.
Suzanne continued: “As well as pressure from youth climate strikers and Extinction Rebellion, Leeds City Council appears to have used evidence from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and their associated report as the basis for declaring a climate emergency. That’s it, nothing else.”
“As of last month, there were 1,551 signatories to the World Climate Declaration. These are scientists from around the world who are casting doubt on the very existence of an emergency. The World Climate Declaration states clearly that climate change is a fact but not a crisis.”