Cambridge City Council: Declare a Climate Emergency

We presented our petition to the council on Feb 21st 2019. This was followed by a passionate debate in which at least 15 councillors spoke.

Our petition was explicitly welcomed by some of the councillors. Even more referred to the recent school strike for climate. Councillors clearly recognise that young people have moral authority to speak out on climate change.

Cllr. Cantrill (Lib Dem) proposed a motion broadly in line with our petition, with a zero carbon (ZC) target of 2030 for our city.

Cllr. Moore (Lab), Executive Councillor for Environmental Services and City Centre, proposed an amendment which completely replaced the motion with less ambitious proposals. A new 'Cambridge Climate Charter' will allow individuals and organisations to sign up and make commitments to reducing emissions. The idea seems to be that the council could set an earlier (than 2050) target as and when people sign up. Also they promise to move forward on the clean air zone.

But the ruling Labour group declined to set a new ZC target. Having declared a climate emergency, zero carbon Cambridge is still merely an aspiration for 2050. This is a dissappointing outcome given the mounting evidence of climate and ecological breakdown, the weight of feeling expressed by the petition signatories and the schoolchildren, and the councillors who spoke. Read our full response.

Read Finlay Cox's article Cambridge City Council Declare A Climate Emergency - What Does It Mean?.

Here is the livestream of the meeting. The climate emergency debate starts at 1:02 hours. (A technical hitch removed sound during Cllr. Cantrill's speech proposing the motion from the livestream, but the audio is available here.)

Submitting the petition

On 7th February 2019 we submitted a petition to our city council asking it to Declare a Climate Emergency, set a much more ambitious zero carbon target, and work with the community to implement it.

Councillor Rosy Moore, Executive Councillor for Environmental Services, kindly received our petition in person. It was signed by over 2130 people.

Councillor Moore with the petition to Declare a Climate Emergency
Councillor Moore with the petition to Declare a Climate Emergency

We will formally present our climate emergency petition to full council on Thursday 21st February. Please support us by watching the debate from the public gallery at the Guildhall. The meeting commences 6pm.

The petition had over 2005 paper signatures and an additional 125 e-signatures. Both versions of the petition are now closed.


Currently Cambridge aspires to net zero carbon by 2050. We say this is far too late.

So far (10th February 2019) 12 UK local authorities have declared a climate emergency and accelerated their carbon reduction strategies. There have been similar announcements in Australia and North America. This must become an overwhelming chorus from local authorities across the world.

More petitions

Cambridge University: Declare a Climate Emergency.

UK government: Declare a Climate Emergency.