‘Global warming is an extremely serious problem. We know that the average ground temperature has already  risen by over 1°C since the 1870s and is continuing to increase. As the jury will no doubt have learned, the sea levels are rising, the coral reef is dying, disease is spreading, weather systems are becoming more intense and there is concern about freshwater sources and future flooding.

The science of climate change is in one respect quite simple. Human activity is releasing carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide into the atmosphere. These ‘greenhouse’ gases retain heat and as a result they cause planetary warming.

Sadly, some of these gases survive for a long time. Much of the carbon dioxide we produced 50 years ago is still in the atmosphere today. 

The countries that produced the majority of gases in the past, are not the primary ones to suffer from the impact of climate change. It is likely that people in the poorest and most vulnerable countries will suffer disproportionately, as their ability to adapt to climate change is limited.

Change is urgently needed.  Like Dyan Jones ( SLDC Cabinet member for the Climate Emergency), I am keen to hear from the jury how we can together build awareness of the necessity for action. As a community, we need to build a vision for a sustainable future. We should all buy into viable actions that will make a difference.

Some global problems require local solutions. Cumbria has the opportunity to help achieve the U.K.’s climate change goals, and indeed could provide leadership in tackling the crisis. I  hope the jury’s recommendations will provide guidance to our community both in understanding the urgency, but also how we address the problem together. 

I also have an aspiration that other towns and villages in the area will in some way follow your example.

I am confident that we will resolve this problem. However,  as Lord Stern indicated in his seminal report in 2006, the sooner we address it, the less painful will be the remedy.

South Lakeland District Council and Kendal Town Council are determined to play a role (and hence why we helped to fund the jury). We have already taken several actions and will take many more.  But we don’t believe we have all the answers. We are eagerly looking forward to the conclusions of the jury and will be very pleased to discuss with the jury the results of their deliberations’

Giles Archibald, Kendal Town Councillor and Leader SLDC, August 2020