Protesters from Extinction Rebellion greeted Brighton and Hove City Council members as they arrived for a meeting at Hove Town Hall where climate change was on the agenda.
Councillors unanimously agreed to review the ways that it can deal with global climate change and the threat of mass extinctions after a motion proposed by Green councillor Ollie Sykes.
Councillor Sykes joined environmental protesters campaigning outside the town hall before the meeting on Thursday (December 13).
His motion called on the council to recognise the global climate and biodiversity emergencies as well as ask for funding from the government.
He also asked for a review by the council’s policy, resources and growth committee and a target of 2030 for city-wide carbon neutrality.
Speaking about the importance of biodiversity, he said that hard-nosed economists were working on the importance of ecosystems, attempting to put a value on the planet.
Councillor Sykes said: “We’re in the sixth great extinction in geological history and the first caused by one species against all others.
“Species extinction rate is at a thousand times the natural rate.
“Biodiversity loss is literally the frog in the pan on the stove.”
Labour councillor Gill Mitchell, who chairs the council’s environment, transport and sustainability committee, backed the motion.
She said: “I support calls to recognise the urgency of a call to action, at a time of climate change emergency, to our planet’s future.”
Conservative group leader Councillor Tony Janio said that his party took climate change and biodiversity very seriously.
He said: “Last time this council took this seriously, when it had a climate change scrutiny panel, was during the Conservative administration.
“I take no plaudits from the Greens and Labour. Only the Conservatives take the necessary action.”
Labour councillor Tracey Hill said that the council had limited power and any change had to be effective.
She said: “There is a need for government with long-term vision to spend money now.
“In the long run, as well as planning and viability, we need to work in partnership.”
Councillors asked the chief executive to write to the Chancellor asking for government funding to be made available to help the council tackle the issues at local level.