Full council speech in response to motion on climate change

Cllr Whitebread put a motion at Full Council asking for it to be a requirement to examine every decision we make at the council for its impact on global change. At the same time I was sent a Christmas card from Cllr Whitebread asking me to reconsider not allowing windfarms on 33000 acres of County Council. I am linking the two actions as part of a campaign.

The research to carry this out, the paperwork to record it and the addition to every paper we produce at the council would cost a fortune. It would also have very little impact because we try to reduce energy cost across the organisation all the time anyway.

I, along with the majority of Conservative councillors do not wish to inflict anymore windfarms on the general public. We have enough and the people of Cambridgeshire have had enough. The text of my response is reproduced below. Please consider the political context in which this was made.

“Thank you Sara Whitebread for raising this important issue again. I think this is two councils in a row that the subject has been raised. I welcome the debate on this subject which I fear has become a taboo subject. There should never be a taboo subject in a democratic society.

Any challenge to the facts is howled down. This is unacceptable.

And yet the facts are contested and certainly not agreed by all. It also seems that no one can have an opinion unless they are scientists in this field despite any consequences being firmly in the political arena. Have a look at my blog for the many, many scientists that have questioned man made climate change. In fact there is a 43 page document to read listing loads of scientists.

It is great that my personal comments on my personal blog attracts so much attention. The last time I raised this my hit rates shot up and my inbox was filled with offers of support, many of them from my own Fulbourn division. It is obviously a vote winner for me. Thank you.

If anyone other than councillor Whitebread had raised this motion I would have concluded that this was all about electioneering but I do recognise her passion, albeit in a blinkered way and how she would like to save the world. I suspect shifting to the Green bench might make her feel more comfortable.

Can anyone of us deny that climate does change? Of course not. It has been changing forever. Ice ages have come and gone long before humans could be blamed. In fact it was not that long ago, certainly in my life time, that scientists were predicting the next mini ice age.

So I’m afraid this motion demonstrates, yet again, muddled thinking. On this side we are clear. We seek to reduce energy consumption because it costs us money. That is sensible.

We support seeking new ways of generating power, if they are efficient, reliable, cost neutral or better and critically don’t adversely impact on the lives of the people of Cambridgeshire. We seek to support companies working to these ends.

Global warming, or is it now called climate change, I’m guessing because there hasn’t been very much global warming in the last 10 years, is an important issue. It is important for a number of reasons and almost certainly not the reasons Cllr Whitebread thinks.

It is important because our council spends some of our budget on this subject. Scarce resource that needs to be spent on the elderly, the young, those with disabilities or on our roads. Where we spend money, it needs to be challenged in the same way we challenge all spend.

It is important because it has skewed our tax regime.

It is important because it is in danger of creating unsustainable industries built on subsidies.

It is important because it has in the past skewed our thinking away from our core priorities which we can no longer afford.

With so many people in fuel poverty, struggling to make ends meet, local authorities lacking funding for basic services, it is our duty to get our heads out of the warm fluffy clouds and focus on what is important to the lives of the people of Cambridgeshire right now in delivering our services as efficiently as possible and protecting our most vulnerable.

I commend you to reject this motion.”

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