Agenda item



On a motion from Councillor Alastair Singleton, seconded by Councillor Richard Samuel, it was




This Council believes:


Man-made climate change is widespread, rapid, and intensifying, affecting every part of the globe. Since the second half of the 19th century, the release of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from human activities has warmed the planet by 1.1C. Rapid reductions in GHGs are needed immediately otherwise limiting global warming to 1.5C or even 2C will be impossible. These are the stark conclusions from the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, released in August 2021[1]. The report presents the findings from years of in-depth work from over 200 scientists in 66 countries. It provided key evidence for the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), which was hosted by the UK Government in Glasgow from October 31st to November 13th 2021.


This year has already seen record extreme heat in both North America and Europe, the hottest July globally since records began, catastrophic floods in Europe and China, and raging wildfires in Siberia, Europe, and California. And this is with only 1.1C warming. It will get worse, but how much worse depends on how quickly GHG emissions are reduced.


It is estimated that the UK will be responsible for ~800 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2021[2]. We need mechanisms to reduce GHG use quickly. One potentially ‘game changing’ mechanism is carbon pricing, which could cover either carbon tax or an enhanced emissions trading scheme (ETS), covering all GHGs emitted in the provision of goods and services. The current UK ETS arrangement covers only around a third of industrial emissions and so falls some way short of an effective carbon pricing mechanism.


The moral and economic case for comprehensive carbon pricing lies in the ‘polluter pays’ principle:


·  Currently the costs of climate breakdown are not borne by the industries and activities that are causing the damage, but by people and communities coming under increasing pressure and danger.

·  Outdoor air pollution from fossil fuels causes 3 million deaths globally each year and up to 36,000 in the UK. [4]

·  Carbon pricing, set at the right level, will drive fossil fuel consumption out of the economy and promote investment in clean alternatives.

This year’s COP26 meeting in Glasgow failed to address an international carbon pricing framework, so the UK should introduce its own mechanism, including a carbon ‘border adjustment mechanism’ applied to goods imported into the UK to ensure that the GHGs emitted in their production are also subject to the pricing mechanism. A border adjustment mechanism would protect more cleanly produced UK made goods and incentivise other economies to lower emissions.


Carbon pricing would have a regressive effect in the UK, impacting the cost of transport fuel, electricity, heating, and food. Low-income households in the UK spend a greater proportion of their income on these carbon intensive goods. So, to ensure the fairness and equitability of a carbon pricing framework any inequality needs to be offset by a progressive mechanism of returning revenues to low-income households. In particular, carbon pricing must:


·  Help deliver a just transition, which shares the burdens of decarbonisation equitably.

·  Target the biggest polluters and those activities where emissions can most swiftly be reduced in a way that is fair to individuals and to businesses.

·  Support and incentivise smaller emitters, such as households, to reduce emissions before applying carbon pricing to their energy bills.


Therefore, we propose


1.  that this Council resolves to support calls for comprehensive and effective carbon pricing by writing to our leaders:


a.  The UK Prime Minister, Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP

b.  Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP, President of COP26 (the Glasgow 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference)

c.  Rt Hon George Eustace MP, Secretary of State for Environmental, Food and Rural Affairs, and to

d.  Our Bath MP and our North East Somerset MP


In our letter, calling for the UK government to:


2.  Introduce a UK-wide carbon pricing framework by the end of 2025, to be applied to all sectors of industry and to imports as well as to domestic production.


3.  Include a mechanism to use the proceeds fairly to ensure social justice and support a fair and equitable transition to a cleaner economy.



1.  The successful resolution above was an amendment to Councillor Wright’s motion (moved at this meeting by Councillor Robin Moss & seconded by Councillor Hal McFie) - agreed with 13 Councillors voting in favour and 2 Councillors abstaining.


2.  The amendment as substantive was subsequently agreed with 12 Councillors voting in favour and 3 Councillors abstaining.]

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