Extinction Rebellion protesters outside County Hall in Truro (Image: Cornwall Green Party)

Environmental protesters have descended on County Hall in Truro to remind local authorities and Cornwall councilors of the urgency of the climate change situation.

The protest saw members of a coalition of climate action groups, including Extinction Rebellion and Greenpeace, come together to send a strong message to councilors returning to County Hall for the first full council meeting since the lockdown.

Protesters placed a banner reading “Code Red for Humanity” on the main door of County Hall, a reference to a recent statement by UN Secretary-General António Guterres in which he said the only way to the world to avoid an imminent and irreversible climate catastrophe is to massively step up efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

Tamsyn Widdon, the Green Party’s Cornwall adviser to Penryn, addressed the protest and insisted that there was still a long way to go for Cornwall to have a chance to reach its stated goal of net zero of by 2030.

She said: “We could not have gone this far without Extinction Rebellion, which has done so much to alert people to the urgency of the crisis we are facing. But now we have to show what needs to be done and how we can do it.

“Every sector and every level of government must play its part in this regard. We cannot let future generations pay a terrible price for the harm they did not do.

Tamsyn Widdon, Cornwall Green Party adviser to Penryn addressing the protest outside County Hall in Truro on plenary council day from the lockdown (Image: Cornwall Green Party)

“As an adviser to the Green Party, it’s good to see other parties now talking about the climate emergency. But words are not enough. They need to preach. If they’re not sure what that means, the Green Party has a ten-point climate action plan that clearly defines what needs to be done.

“Perhaps more importantly, we need a strong financial mechanism that can remove carbon from our economy. We need a tax on every unit of fossil fuel mined or imported into the UK, and use the ‘dividend’ to help pay for the investments needed to go zero carbon. “

The Green Party adviser said investments in sustainable public transport that can get people out of their cars should be a priority while renewable energy projects should be scaled up.

She added: “We need to stop any airport expansion, apply a carbon tax on aviation fuel and introduce a frequent flyer tax reflecting the fact that a small minority of people take the vast majority of flights.

“We need to restore nature by increasing the land for forests and woodlands, and using rewilding techniques that have been shown to be effective in protecting our communities from the impacts of extreme rainfall.

“We need to help farmers make the transition to sustainable and environmentally friendly forms of land use and away from animal husbandry. Encouraging people to stay away from a diet high in meat and dairy would also have great health benefits. “

She added: “None of this will be easy, and we must ensure that the costs of the transition are not borne by the poorest in our society. The best way to do this is to introduce a universal basic income to fight poverty and provide a financial safety net for all during the transition. “

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