Protesters from Extinction Rebellion, Climate Action Now, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace gathered at the Gatehouse to make their feelings known on Buckinghamshire County Council's approach to climate change.
The Council discussed a motion proposed by Cllr Martin Tett which said: "This Council notes that global climate change is of increasing importance to the people of Buckinghamshire and is committed to playing its part in the UK meeting its 2050 net-zero target."
The motion was passed by the Council.
Countywide climate action groups including Extinction Rebellion, Climate Action Now Risborough, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace protested outside the BCC meeting calling for the Council to take urgent action to respond to the latest recommendations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to immediately reduce carbon emissions by 45% from 2010 levels by 2030, with the aim of reaching 'net-zero' by 2050.
The protesters were there to demand "That BCC stop failing their communities and treat this as an emergency", recognising that this crisis cannot be solved with a "business as usual attitude".
Jane Rampin, a member of Climate Action Now, based in Princes Risborough said:
"We have been contacting councillors for a while, and are pleased that BCC have passed the motion agreeing to be carbon neutral by 2050. Aiming to be carbon neural by 2050 is just too late.
"We want our local councillors to be leaders and set the bar higher, putting pressure on Central Government to do more and quicker as we don’t believe that we have time to wait.
"The motion itself, stating the UK only produces 1% of global emissions and comments from councillors about China being the problem will not help solve this global crisis.
"The UK was one of the earliest emitters of carbon, thanks to the industrial revolution, and continues to buy goods produced in China so why shouldn’t we lead the world by setting
“We felt there was understanding by many councillors that 2030 was the date to aim for but as the Government had adopted 2050 when, declaring a climate emergency in May 2019, this was apparently set in stone.
"Pressure will be maintained on the council to conclude its “carbon audit” as rapidly as possible so that firm commitments to cut carbon emissions can be adopted and stuck to as this global emergency is only going to get worse”.
The motion further resolves to:
Recognise that the rate of climate change is a global emergency
Recognise that, although the UK constitutes 1% of global carbon emissions, it must nevertheless play its part in leading the way in promoting change both in the UK itself and importantly, globally.
Note the significant progress that Buckinghamshire County Council has made to date in addressing climate change
Agree that the new Buckinghamshire Council should consider addressing climate change as a key issue
Support the net-zero 2050 UK target, as contained in the 2008 Climate Change Act
Reccomend that Cabinet should further consider this issue, including what proposals, ahead of vesting day, the authority could implement to support this agenda
Alan Thawley, a member of Extinction Rebellion Aylesbury Vale, said: "We're very happy that the council have recognised the emergency we all face in the face of climate change.
"However, to set a date of 2050 is simply far too late, it doesn't represent urgent action in anyway.
"We're hoping they will reconsider, and we will be continue to campaign for a 2030 net zero carbon emissions target.
"For BCC to fail to add its weight to AVDC and Chiltern District (along with Aylesbury, Buckingham and Haddenham) and set a 2030 target represents a huge missed opportunity to show true leadership.
"Mentions of China, India and the US as being responsible for 50% of all global emissions are a distraction. We must act locally and get our own house in order. In any case, this fails to recognise the fact that the manufacturing in China and its emissions are fuelled in large part by consumption in the West, and also that China (unlike the US) is making great progress in carbon reduction.
"Every day we hear stories that the situation is worsening, with ice melting much faster in the Arctic than previously expected, for instance, and every minute we fail to take action exposes us to greater risk of feedback loops and tipping points that will take the crisis out of our control."