A SCEPTICAL councillor insisted climate change remains a theory yet to be proved as Tendring Council prepared to brand the situation facing the planet an “emergency”.

Councillors voted to declare a “climate emergency” at a meeting on Tuesday after a motion put forward by council leader Neil Stock.

But Anne Davis, who represents Homelands ward, urged her fellow councillors to “focus on what we can do” in the district to help the environment.

“Once we start talking about climate change, we need to remember there are two sides to this debate,” she said.

“One side is very much squashed down and ignored, which immediately rings alarm bells in my head.

“In fact climate change is a theory. It has yet to be proved.

“Met Office data going back to 1766 shows our planet is no wetter now than it was in other periods.

“The wettest recorded decade overall was the 1870s.

“I would also point out global warming scientists, at the Met Office at least, have for many years said that global warming would result in drier summers, and now they are claiming that wetter summers can be the result of climate change.”

“We just don’t know.”

She said the motion was a worthy one in its aim to address plastic pollution and environmental damage in the district, but pointed out Tendring could make little difference on the world stage.

The motion commits the council to preparing an action plan for consideration by councillors, with the aim of making its activities carbon neutral by 2030.

The council will also encourage business leaders in Tendring to join in its mission.

The authority has set aside £150,000 to pay for specialist advice to help draw up the plan.

It will also set up a non-partisan working party to oversee the preparation of the action plan.

Mr Stock said: “This is not party political, this is an issue that affects all of us.

“We want to make our buildings and vehicles as environmentally friendly as possible – we are probably not doing as much as is possible at the moment. I do believe there is a lot we could do, but it’s not about beating ourselves up.

“One of the things I think we could do is set up a business seminar to involve our very many small and entrepreneurial businesses to come up with ideas for being more efficient and less polluting. We need to lead the way and bring others with us to protect Tendring for future generations. This motion is not the end of it, it is the beginning.”

More than 80 councils have declared a climate emergency.

What is the consensus?

The scientific consensus is that it is extremely likely climate warming trends over the past century are due to human activities, with 97 per cent of climate scientists supporting this position.

In October, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report warning if the planet warms by 1.5 degrees there would be devastating consequences.

The panel found we are on track to exceed this temperature between 2030 and 2052 if the current rate of increase continues.

In a letter to councillors ahead of the vote, residents Gay Watton, from Clacton, and Gordon Revell, from Jaywick, said: “We know that there are still a few climate change deniers who attribute changes to purely natural causes but the overwhelming scientific opinion is that humankind is making matters worse.

"Our opinion is that we can’t afford to take a chance and, anyway, our day-today lives are enhanced, not diminished, by addressing these issues."