ESSEX: Covid-19 crisis showing change can be delivered to fight climate change

PUBLISHED: 10:32 29 April 2020 | UPDATED: 11:09 29 April 2020

Essex County Council

Essex County Council


Covid-19 has shown us people can “deliver change on a previously unimagined level quite quickly”, according to the woman overseeing climate change initiatives in Essex.

Essex County Council held its first Zoom meeting of the place service committee on Thursday (April 23) to discuss the climate change commission that has been created to tackle ECC’s carbon footprint.

Samantha Kennedy, director for environment and climate change action, said that the coronavirus has shown businesses and individuals what can be achieved.

She hoped the new ECC climate change commission will reflect the new way of doing business that many firms have been forced into due to isolation rules.

The creation of the commission was announced last year when ECC agreed the earmarking of £5 million to drive the council’s climate change obligations.

Ms Kennedy said: “The council has demonstrated you can undertake this kind of work in a virtual world and the Covid crisis has forced us to do things online that we never thought were possible before.

“And actually we are making it work.

“This is a way of delivering this kind of endeavour which ordinarily we would expect people to travel quite significantly to attend meetings.

“We are demonstrating we are able to do the same level of work without requiring the carbon intensive journeys on the back of it.

“I’m quite excited for us to be a trailblazer in this space and demonstrating we can maintain a level of commitment and engagement via a virtual forum.

“What Covid has also shown is that we can deliver change on a previously unimagined level quite quickly.

“And I think it has shown we can drive things that we thought were unimaginable very quickly and we have an opportunity to be bold in our thinking about what is and what is not possible. “I’m hoping the commission will help us think about that.”

It is believed that Covid-19 has decreased global CO2 emissions by around six per cent, but net emissions are still increasing.

Ms Kennedy added: “That we are able to respond to one crisis effectively gives me quite a lot of hope that we are able to do the same thing for the climate crisis in the future.”

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