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Local election candidates asked to commit to tackling misinformation

UK100, together with Chris Skidmore, are asking incumbent or aspiring politicians in local authorities to commit to using their position to advance climate action by ignoring party divisions and misinformation.

The initiative takes the form of a pledge titled ‘Taking the heat out of local climate action’ and is available to sign by anyone who is a leader or elected Mayor, Cabinet Member, councillor or candidate in the 2024 local elections.

a red maze with a blue ball in the middle

The pledge builds on UK100’s recent report, Zero In – Accelerating Local Climate Action, which highlights the vital role local authorities have to play in the UK’s transition to Net Zero.

Christopher Hammond, Chief Executive of UK100, said: ‘The journey to Net Zero isn’t going to be easy. But that’s not a reason for inaction, indulging in scare campaigns, or pitting communities against each other. Honesty, openness, and engaging residents are essential foundations for the rapid, inclusive Net Zero transition we need to see.

‘If we do not slow misinformation, misinformation will slow Net Zero.

‘With the 2024 local elections poised to be a defining moment for climate action, now is the time for local authorities to send a clear message that they are leading the way for a better climate debate.’

At the time of writing, the pledge had attracted 80 signatures, just two of whom are Conservatives: Izzi Seccombe (Leader of Warwickshire County Council) and Richard Clewer (Leader of Wiltshire County Council and Co-President of UK100)

The pledge reads:

We, the undersigned, in the interests of promoting healthy local democracies and collaborative climate policymaking, commit to:

  • Rise above party politics when addressing the climate crisis, recognising that it transcends political divides and requires collaborative action.
  • Support an evidence-based, rational climate conversation by resisting the urge to drag climate policies into culture wars or use misinformation as a tool for division. We call on national politicians to do the same.
  • Acknowledge the dangers associated with a rising tide of climate misinformation and endeavour to counter it by providing accurate, accessible information about climate policies and the need for urgent local action. And proactively communicate the benefits of these measures while addressing legitimate concerns.
  • Champion the role of local authorities in driving the transition to Net Zero, working in partnership with central government, businesses, and civil society to deliver inclusive, equitable place-based solutions.
  • Engage residents, civil society and businesses in the co-design of local climate action plans, using best practice guidance to enable meaningful participation in shaping the future of our communities.
  • Recognise that local authorities are constrained and will need to make difficult decisions. While accountability is essential to local democracy, we will scrutinise with an understanding that our shared goal is to learn from our mistakes and advance climate action by improving delivery.

Speaking at the launch event on Thursday 18th Chris Skidmore OBE, the Former Energy Minister who signed Net Zero into law and Chair of the Independent Review of Net Zero and Mission Zero Coalition said: ‘Local authorities are the unsung heroes of the Net Zero transition. Day in, day out they are delivering the practical changes we need to see, from upgrading homes to improving public transport.

‘But they can’t do it alone. This pledge sends a powerful message that local leaders are united in their commitment to tackling the climate crisis. Now we need to see that same spirit of collaboration from Westminster, with a clear policy and funding framework to empower local delivery.’

Anyone eligible to sign the pledge can do so here.

 

 

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