Surrey declares climate emergency as campaigners stage “die-in”

190719 SCC die in 18 dod

“Climate die-in” outside Surrey County Council where members were due to debate the declaration of a climate emergency, 9 July 2019. Photo:

Conservative-controlled Surrey County Council has declared a climate emergency – almost unanimously.

190719 SCC die in 19 Michael Coughlin dod

Surrey County Councillors voting for the motion to declare a climate emergency, 9 July 2019. Photo: Michael Coughlin

Just one member of the council abstained and no one voted against.

Councillors arriving for this morning’s meeting were met by a “climate die-in” protest by nearly 100 members of  Extinction Rebellion groups in Surrey.

Campaigners wearing animal masks and carrying climate banners lay down in front of the entrance to the council headquarters in Kingston.

They were highlighting the loss of species and damage to human life support systems, caused by increasing carbon emissions.

The hour-long protest included the amplified sound of bird song and a model drilling rig.

The county is currently considering two planning applications for onshore oil and gas developments and another is expected soon.

The campaigners later packed the public gallery and applauded the approval of the declaration.

190719 SCC die in 10 dod

The motion was proposed by Conservative Cllr Mike Goodman, the cabinet member for environment and waste.

He said:

“Climate change is not just about the environment. It is about communities and jobs.”

He said he did not support the tactics of Extinction Rebellion but he said he supported the group’s messages.

His motion, which had been amended before the meeting to include the climate emergency declaration, also committed the council to:

“providing a strong united voice for councils in lobbying for support to address this emergency and sharing best practice across all councils.”

Cllr Goodman said he hoped the council would have a draft climate change strategy by spring next year.

He said there also needed to be a review of transport, including more electric car charging points in the county.

Cllr John O’Reilly (Conservative) said the motion, if approved, would raise expectations. He said if climate change and the environment were to be a priority for Surrey it could mean that other areas would be pushed to the back.

Cllr Chris Botten (Liberal Democrat) said declaring a climate change emergency would be “incompatible with the expansion of Heathrow”.

Cllr Jonathan Essex (Green) recommended the council divested its pension from fossil fuels.

Conservative, Ken Gulati, said he would not support the motion because it was not within the council’s competency to deliver.

This was the second time Extinction Rebellion groups had attended Surrey County Council meetings.

The group called for:

  • Declaration of a climate emergency and ecological breakdown, and drawing up of an effective climate action plan (1)
  • An end to Surrey County Council’s £145million investments by its pension fund in fossil fuels
  •  The Council to end its business as usual relationship with oil and gas prospectors, by urgently amending its minerals planning policy to reflect the new reality of imminent climate breakdown.

Youth Strike spokesperson, 15 year old Hattie Twigger-Ross, said:

“Youth Strikers and Extinction Rebellion are here today because time is running out. There are 11 years left before we are locked into runaway climate and ecological breakdown. If I am to have a future, you must act now. As our councillors you have a duty to protect us and our environment and you are abjectly failing in that right now”.

Reporting at this meeting was made possible by individual donations from DrillOrDrop readers

22 replies »

  1. So Extinction Rebellion is an openly radical left marxist group. They recently appeared along with self-declared Marxist groups at Imperial College. These people declare that climate is impacted by homophobia, racism, patriarchy refusing to erase national boundries/identity and so forth and vilanize all opposition. This is enough to deplatform them for vast discrimination and oppression politics.

    The Conservatives therefore enacting radical left “climate change” policies do not really understand that part of the platform is the transfer of billions of pounds to ‘oppressed nations’ to promote ‘equity’ amongst nations. Would educated local conservatives willingly raise their own taxes to 75%+? No, but they support ‘climate change’ policies simply because they want to keep their neighborhoods green (and to end fracking).

    Hey, I totally support halting all horizontal well drilling, period. But partnering with radical groups is not the way…


  2. “There are 11 years left before we are locked into runaway climate and ecological breakdown.”
    Now down to 5 years allegedly:

    When you factor in the CH4, the CO2 equivalent over Lancashire yesterday was 612ppm. {CAMS showed 2.3ppm CH4 over NW England, each molecule of CH4 is equivalent to 86 CO2 molecules over the first 5 years as far as global warming goes, thus the existing 415ppm CO + (2.3ppm x 86) gives the 612ppm CO2 equivalent} That’s without NO2 and other aerosols…..

    • Mark – could you make it slightly more clear what the point of your argument is?? You seem to have presented a bunch of facts but then not bothered to explain why they are relevant. Finishing your sentences with ….. is something that Nietzsche had a propensity to do but got away with it because his arguments had a certain amount of clarity – yours don’t.

  3. Just need to point out that this timeline roughly coincides with the natural end of life of those billionaires funding radical climate groups. Most pragmatic people will acknowledge that life exists even at climate and oxygen depleted extremes – in the atmosphere, under the ocean etc. Life will go on. Frankly, there is a natural reason for warring populations of life… population reduction… vast population reduction will restore balance. Not some hokey pokey policy.

  4. I suppose that means the recent large investment announced at Gatwick will have to be cancelled!

    Do Councils have different pension funds to others? I thought it was the Trustees who decided investment policy, usually with current and previous (usually the majority by a long way) contributors having the final say, not the employer. I suppose some believe that the Council could just top the fund up if it under performed- with tax payers money. Shell recently announced a 5 year plan to pay $125 BILLION in dividends. Good luck with finding something better!

  5. why if these people are so keen to save the planet are they not doing their protesting in the rain forests where the real damage is being done we rely on the trees to produce Oxygen & they are being chopped down at an alarming rate to grow palm oil.

    • Exactly gasman… all of this hysteria is really a cover for theft by the envious, corruption of their culture and reduction to the same characteristics that make so many nations ‘shole’ places of poverty. Cheating and ignoring the law selectively are new values to be incorporated.. to bring us all down… and the ones to blame are the ones at the top who certainly don’t want their billions redistributed. Climate Emergency would do so well if they just had direct support from a few billionaires- they could then leave the rest of us alone.

  6. “Cllr Jonathan Essex (Green) recommended the council divested its pension from fossil fuels.”

    I assume he (and ER) read the Guardian? Perhaps not:

    “BP returned to the solar market after a six-year hiatus, with plans to grow Lightsource in India, the US and the Middle East.

    It is already Europe’s largest utility-scale solar developer and more than $3bn (£2.4bn) has been invested across almost 2GW of solar projects around the world.

    Last week it announced plans to buy 1.9GW worth of solar projects in Brazil from the independent renewables developer Enerlife, for an undisclosed sum.”

    Presumably Cllr Jonathanalso has a problem with Surrey County Council taking the 6% dividend yield which BP paid last year.

    Odd that a nasty Big Oil company is the largest utility scale solar developer in Europe? Where are all the Renewable Energy companies?

  7. A good start from the Tory majority at SCC, they have listened and responded to XR, but this does not recognise the climate and ecological emergency.

    Carbon neutral by 2050 is at least 20 years to late.

    • Dorkinian – it’s very easy to blow out candles – lighting them is more difficult. Maybe you could present us with a logical pathway to hit carbon neutral by 2030. I sit in meeting after meeting discussing these issues and I’ve not yet heard a sensible plan. Come on Dorkinian – you seem to have it sussed – show us the way wise one

  8. So, a motion is passed although not within the competency of the Council to deliver. Ken Gulati was correct.

    An exercise in virtue signalling at tax payers expense. Have none of these people any experience in commerce?

  9. Don’t despair folks, mankind has all the solutions needed to prevent climate and ecological breakdown, all we’ve lacked is a sense of urgency from our leaders.

  10. No one believes that we have 12 years left. Maybe people in highly populated areas do. It is for THEIR GOVERNMENT to do something.

    There is a simple answer supported by The Sierra Club more than 15 years ago: War. There are too many people. Less people = less strain on the earth for resources. Less Methane. Less c02.

    Less people = a quick solution to any ridiculous climate change notions. The source of the population growth is China, India, the middle east/africa. We all know population hasn’t grown in Europe. Options: 1)War that eliminates 3-4 billion people. 2) limit families to 1 child for the next 15-30 years. 3)Mass sterilize.

    The billionaires support the gayification of the world as a solution to the birth rate. Which could work. But I for one am 1000% opposed.

Leave a Reply to Martin Collyer Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s