Update on the CEE Bill

Following our piece in the May Newsletter on the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill, the CEE Bill Alliance has drafted a second (‘summary’) version of the bill, The Climate and Ecology Bill No. 2

This strengthened and condensed version of the CEE Bill is designed to present a clearer proposal, be easier to understand, function as a more effective campaign tool and amend certain sections of the first Bill in response to feedback.

Under the new bill the government will be required to:

Calculate and plan to reduce the UK’s entire carbon footprint: At the moment the UK only accounts for its “territorial” emissions, ie those we emit locally, ignoring those included in the goods and services we buy in from abroad and our fair share of international aviation and shipping. Including these emissions provides a fairer “consumption” basis for our emissions but, being one of the world’s highest net importers of emissions, nearly doubles the emissions for which we are responsible.

In accordance with the stricter targets of the Paris Agreement, issued in 2018, increase the chance of the UK meeting its emissions targets using equitable policies: The UK’s current net zero target is based on a greater than 50% chance of limiting global heating to a 1.5°C rise in temperature. To be fair to future generations, this needs to increase to 66%. In consideration of the UK’s historic emissions and its capabilities as a developed nation it needs to account for a proportionately smaller share of the global carbon budget, reduce emissions at a faster rate than developing countries and provide support for them to do so.

Adhere to national carbon budgets set each year, not every five years.

Reduce the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions primarily by stopping emissions caused by human activity, whilst also ending the extraction, export and import of fossil fuels: Little discussed even 10 years ago, the UK and most developed countries are assuming that, in the decades ahead, technologies will be available to remove vast quantities of carbon dioxide from high emitting sources, such as power stations, or even to remove it directly from the air, and then safely store it underground. Reliance on such speculative and unproven at scale technologies not only fosters delay in dealing with emissions but also passes the problem to future generations. Consequently the bill requires the emphasis to be on actually reducing emissions, rather than removing them once they are made.

Follow a strict nature target to ensure that it reverses the decline in the state of nature no later than 2030: The state of nature is defined as the abundance and distribution of plant and animal species; risk of extinction; extent and condition of priority habitats; and health and enrichment of ecosystems.

Actively conserve and restore nature: Focussing both on biodiversity and soils’ protection, restoring natural carbon sinks, such as in the conservation of woodlands, and restoring peat bogs all of which act as a natural reservoir for carbon and to keep it out of the atmosphere;

Take responsibility for its entire ecological footprint: This means preventing adverse impacts on ecosystems and human health caused by consumption, trade and production, in the UK and internationally, including the extraction of raw materials, deforestation, land degradation, pollution and waste.

Create “Citizens Assemblies”: Being representative of the UK population, to work directly with the Climate Change Committee and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, before the strategies are laid before Parliament.

Full details of the Bill, its supporters and ways in which you can lobby your MP, are on The CEE Bill Alliance’s website.

Wildlife Warden March newsletter

Spring is here! The emergence of life after the long dreary winter months is what makes this my favourite time of the year. It is always uplifting to see the first celandine flowers emerge, followed closely by pollinators, such as the early bumblebee. Soon, the swallows, swifts and house martins will be returning. 

The picture at the top is a patch of wood anemone growing beside the River Lemon. A group of up to 100 flowering stems could come from a single plant! Wood anemones, along with a number of other species, including bluebells, wild garlic and primroses, are indicators of ancient woodland. You can find useful information about ancient woodland on the Woodland Trust website.

Funding
We are very fortunate to have been awarded £7,500 in funding from the Devon Environment Foundation (who awarded us £5,000 a few months ago). This means that ACT is able to contract the coordinator (Flavio) for 20 hours per week instead of 9.5 hours.

Thank you to all of our funders: Devon Environment Foundation, the Nineveh Trust, Cllr Jackie Hook’s Locality Fund, Dartmoor National Park Authority and Teign Energy Communities Community Fund.

Training sessions
Now that the covid situation is improving, we are starting to offer training, in person, to small groups of Wildlife Wardens. The first two Wildflower Identification Sessions were held in Woodland at Deer Park Farm. I (Flavio) was fortunate to attend one of these and learnt about various fascinating plants, including toothwort (Lathraea squamaria), which is a parasite of hazel and is nationally scarce.

We plan to offer training in other areas, including aquatic invertebrate ID, planning and development, species and habitat surveys and leading volunteer groups. 

Audrey has been busy writing lots of training documents, which can be found on our website Projects and training – ACT Wildlife Wardens (actionclimateteignbridge.org)

Read the full newsletter

Wildlife Warden February Newsletter

Thanks to all wardens for the hard work you have put into the scheme during these difficult times. The scheme is constantly growing and moving in the right direction. We have created a subdomain on the ACT website for the Wildlife Warden Scheme. It is still in development, but it already contains lots of useful information: 

The picture at the top is my most recent wildlife sighting – a barnacle-looking gall found on bramble. It may not be the most beautiful sighting, but I found it fascinating. I believe they were created by Diastrophus rubi, which is a small parasitoid wasp. A gall can contain up to 200 larvae, each in an individual cell.

We have been finding out a lot about seagrass (eelgrass) habitats. There are two species of seagrass (Zostera noltei and Z.marina), which provide an important habitat for a wide range of species, and help to stabilise the seabed, clean surrounding seawater and absorb vast quantities of CO2.

Unfortunately, seagrass is critically endangered. It is threatened by high nutrient levels (mainly from fertilisers and animal waste), damage from anchors and propellers, disease, and destructive fishing practices. There is anecdotal evidence that seagrass probably existed in the Teign Estuary prior to the 1990s, but it is no longer present. Seagrass in the Exe Estuary has expanded in recent years and can be found near Dawlish Warren, Exmouth and Lympstone.

Read more here

December 2020 Wildlife Warden Newsletter

In a year that has been difficult for everyone, it has been immensely uplifting to see so many people enthusiastic about helping nature bounce back. Thanks to all of you for the time and energy that you have put into this scheme. At the time of writing, we have almost 50 Wildlife Wardens signed up , representing 24 of the 54 parishes in Teignbridge. I look forward to seeing your great ideas being implemented in 2021!    

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