The proposition was put forward by Environment Minister John Young and sets out three defining principles in the move towards carbon neutrality including formulating a long-term climate action plan and setting out a timetable for the rest of the year.
Potential carbon-neutral policies could include the doubling of road-fuel taxes, a £3,500 car scrappage bonus and policies to reduce the use of gas and heating oil.
And, before the end of this year, the Environment Minister is due to come back to the States with a ‘climate action plan’ setting out how the government will fulfil its carbon-neutral objectives.
The Assembly also agreed to create a Citizens’ Assembly – formed of up to 50 Islanders – which will help create the policy aimed at reducing Jersey’s carbon footprint along with adopting four principles concerning neutral status, carbon off-setting plans and the ‘people-powered approach’.
However, speaking before the vote yesterday, Deputy Kirsten Morel warned Members that they were yet to encounter the most difficult part of making the Island carbon neutral.
‘What we are doing here is the easy bit. The hard bit will be when the minister comes back by the end of this year with a climate action plan for the States Assembly,’ he said.
‘That is when we will see what addressing the climate emergency is going to do for Jersey. I am not trying to speak against it – all I want to do is make people aware of the complexity that still lies before us.
‘Too often, I am concerned that I have made statements about the apparent simplicity people suggest there is for dealing with climate change. There are no simple options, whether it is the electric car, changing our heating fuels, taxes or spending, these all have effects – some of them negative and some positive. None of this is going to be very simple.’
During the debate, St John Constable Chris Taylor raised concerns about the ethical issues and ‘scope three’ emissions – those generated outside of the Island – produced by the mining of cobalt for use in electric car batteries.
Deputy Young thanked Members for contributing their ideas and concerns to the debate and agreed with Deputy Morel’s assertion that the most difficult work was yet to come.
‘This is the easy bit – the principals – but then we know there are really tough decisions ahead and, of course, issues of money and the economy. Is inflation important or does it matter that we save the world?,’ he said.
‘Rather than just focusing on our own emissions, scope one and two, we have to also think about the scope three emissions. None of the other Members [apart from Constable Chris Taylor] spoke about the effects internationally and that is why we are going to need expert help on this.’
The Carbon Neutral Strategy was eventually voted for by all 41 States Members who were present for the sitting.