David Ellis

The man charged with helping lead the drive to tackle the Climate Emergency in Warrington is calling on local people to play their part in creating a greener future for the borough.

Cllr Dr David Ellis, Chair of the Warrington Climate Emergency Commission, has said that it is only with the support of all residents and businesses that Warrington can achieve the changes it needs to protect our future.

The Climate Emergency Commission (CEC) was set up by the council, after it declared a climate emergency in 2019, in recognition that the climate crisis is a more-than-council issue.

An independent advisory body, the Commission is also tasked with leading the local conversation on the climate crisis, including the direction we need to be heading and what we should be doing right now.

The Commission recently published a Position Paper which sets the stage for Warrington’s green journey, the challenges ahead, and the part everyone can play in making the borough carbon neutral.  An associated consultation was undertaken in December 2021 to gather feedback. This is being used by the commission to develop a new climate emergency strategy for Warrington.

David wants to turn discussions to action, and is calling on everyone across the borough, from residents and businesses to schools, volunteers and community groups to get involved in the fight against climate change.

David said: “I want to take steps to reduce my own carbon footprint, which I hope will provide inspiration to others to do the same. I have changed my electricity supply to a green tariff, and have also changed all of my lighting to LED – which is easy to do and can save you money.

“I installed substantial extra insulation in my house, and I also changed to a small electric car three years ago. It wasn’t without some anxiety initially about how far the car could travel, but in practice it was a change which has been very positive. I have not only substantially reduced my emissions, but it has also saved me money, and the car is a joy to drive.

“Electric cars are an important step forward, but aren’t the full answer. At the same time, I have managed to substantially reduce my mileage too, and I have invested in an electric bike for short journeys.” 

Although David spent many years working for a multinational business which focused on low environmental impact products, he was originally a chemical physicist, having completed a doctorate in the reactions of ozone in the upper atmosphere.

David said: “The breakdown of the earth’s ozone layer was an important indicator of the severe impact that humans can have on our planet. Fortunately, this was quickly recognised, and the aerosols responsible were quickly banned. In the case of the impact of greenhouse gases, the consequences will be equally devastating if we do nothing, but the dependence on fossil fuels makes it much tougher to make the change. Frankly, however, we are at a point where the cost of doing nothing will be much greater than reaching net zero emissions, and we have all the technology we need to do that.      

“We’re fast running out of time to make the changes we need before the damage is irreversible. Everyone has a part to play big and small, and the responsibility is not just on government and local authorities, but on each and every one of us to protect our planet for our children and future generations. It’s clear we can only reach the goals we need to if people make a commitment to act.

“Not everyone has the luxury of being able to change to an electric car immediately, or to make substantial changes to their homes in one go. But everyone can still play their part to do what they can – some of which are inexpensive but make a big difference. For example, I have made some changes to my diet, including eating far less meat than I used to, and I’ve made the swap to oat milk from cow’s milk – I actually find it tastier, too!”

“You can now pledge to play your part, and by doing so encourage and inspire others to get involved too. There are many small changes people can make to get started.

“These day-to-day changes that will help reduce your carbon footprint, such as walking and cycling when you can, recycling as much as possible, and switching off lights and appliances when not needed, to be more energy efficient. Small changes won’t get us all the way but it’s important to make a start, and many changes can also save you money at the same time.” 

Working with the climate commission the council has created a webpage to support and inspire residents to play their part by detailing 10 simple steps you can take straight away on their website, with the first of these steps is to pledge action.

Businesses can also get involved too, with lots of opportunities to become greener in everyday operations from training staff to become Carbon Literate to choosing suppliers with a lower carbon footprint. 

For more information about the Climate Emergency in Warrington and how you can get involved, visit warrington.gov.uk/climate-emergency.

You can keep in touch with the commission’s work and ways you can take action by following the Commission social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook and the Count Me In accounts on Twitter and Facebook and via the commission page at www.warringtonclimatecommission.org.uk.