More than 150 people from across East Sussex, Brighton and Hove delivered a giant 'climate fudge cake' to East Sussex County Hall yesterday (Tuesday), as part of a mass climate change protest.
The meter-tall cake with two giant candles, carried by two people in chef outfits, was decorated with the words: 'Two years of climate fudge' and 'ESCC: It's time for climate action!'.
The cake was paraded through the streets of Lewes to County Hall, led by well-known local musician, Dirk Campbell, playing the bagpipes.
Campaigners say that two years after declaring a 'climate emergency', East Sussex County Council (ESCC) is still refusing to divest the East Sussex Pension Fund from fossil fuels, hasn’t endorsed the Climate & Ecological Emergency Bill and appears to have done little to make its ‘target’ of reducing the county’s carbon emissions by 13% a year a reality.
Yesterday's council meeting was its last meeting before this year's historic climate summit in Glasgow.
The protest was organised by Divest East Sussex, XR Lewes and Lewes Climate Hub, with support from a wide range of organisations, including Lewes District Green Party, Lewes Labour Party, Brighton Energy Coop, Brighton and Hove Friends of the Earth, Energise Sussex Coast, Frack Free Sussex, Hanover Action, Lewes Liberal Democrats, Plastic Free Seaford, Seaford Environmental Alliance, South East Climate Alliance, Transition Town Hastings, Transition Town Lewes, XR Brighton, and XR Hastings and St Leonards.
Photo by Katie Vandyck
Arnold Simanowitz of Divest East Sussex said:
"The UN Secretary-General described the latest UN climate report as a 'code red for humanity', saying that it 'must sound a death knell for fossil fuels, before they destroy our planet'.
"Yet two years after declaring a climate emergency, East Sussex County Council won't even agree to stop investing in the giant fossil fuel companies, like Shell and BP, that are driving the climate crisis. It's time for East Sussex County Council to finally start treating the climate emergency as an emergency."
Kate Chappell of Lewes Labour Party said:
"With COP26 coming up in 20 days time, the UK's claim to lead on climate change action is completely undermined by the actions of public bodies such as the East Sussex County Council Pension Fund who are still investing in fossil fuels. It beggars belief."
Jane Carpenter of Lewes Climate Hub said:
"Members of Lewes Climate Hub recognise the climate and ecological emergency and our groups are working together on many initiatives to address the threats to our area. Our elected county councillors need to lead on this and take action now."
Mark Engineer of XR Lewes said:
"ESCC must do its part in reducing its emissions to net zero, starting now. Targets without active plans risk all our futures."
Wendy Maples of Lewes Green Party said:
"We've seen green wash claims and pre-election promises. But action hasn't followed, or it's been half-hearted. ESCC have acknowledged there's climate crisis, but fossil fuels are still part of the pension portfolio.
"ESCC say we have to address the ecological emergency, but plans to create a dual A27 are keenly pursued. Green Party councillors say: Divest. I've seconded the motion to support the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill since we need to act like our house is on fire: because it is."
We have approached East Sussex County Council for a comment.