In this presentation Chima will draw on fieldwork he conducted between October 2020 and December 2021 to explore the County’s efforts to develop a new Climate Emergency Response Plan (CERP).
Dr Chima Michael Anyadike-Danes, DEI Fellow & Department of Anthropology, Durham University
On the 20th of February of 2019 Durham County Council (DCC) declared a climate emergency and announced they were going to target 60% carbon reduction by 2030. This practice of sub-national governments declaring that their areas were in crisis had its origins in the Antipodes. Specifically, in the Melburnian suburban City of Darebin which declared one in December of 2016. It then diffused across the globe with the American cities of Hoboken and Berkeley making declarations before Bristol became the first English city to do so in 2018.
But how in practice would the council manage this ongoing emergency and reach their stated targets? Cognisant of the need to achieve their goals in a way that attracted public support they instructed the DCC’s Low Carbon Economy Team to carry out an extensive consultation. Between the 19th of September 2019 and the 31st of October 2019 roughly 502 staff were surveyed via the intranet, concurrently 523 members of the public participated in online survey, 394 students were involved in targeted workshops, and a range of other stakeholder groups were consulted. The document that was produced was a Climate Emergency Response Plan (CERP). Since its creation that version of the CERP has been recognised by outside bodies as of the highest quality.
But what was next? In this presentation I draw on fieldwork I conducted between October 2020 and December 2021 to explore the county’s efforts to develop a new CERP. I ask what ambitions underwrote it? And discuss whether it could ever really hope to be the solution to the climate emergency that the Council had declared.
Chima is an anthropologist with an interest in the social aspects of energy transitions and decarbonisation. He joined Durham University in 2020 to work on the INCLUDE project exploring local government efforts to plan for inclusive post-carbon futures. Currently, as part of the GEMS project, he researches Durham’s post-coal communities.