THE Wee County could declare a “climate emergency” this week with a forum to be established for people and organisations to make representations.

Council leader Ellen Forson is set to table a motion at a virtual meeting of elected members on Thursday, August 19.

She will be seeking agreement that “climate change is one of the most serious challenges facing communities here in Clackmannanshire and across the world”.

It follows the publication of a landmark UN scientific report last week, which confirmed changes in the Earth's climate are taking place in every region and across the whole climate system.

The report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sounded “code red for humanity” according to UN secretary-general António Guterres and confirmed that human activities are "unequivocally" to blame.

The document projects that unless there are immediate, rapid and large-scale reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, limiting the global warming of the planet to 1.5 degrees C will be beyond reach.

Climate change is not just about increasing temperatures as it is also impacting the water cycle, bringing more intense rainfall events and associated flooding, for example.

Cllr Forson's motion will seek agreement that “meaningful action at international, national and local level is required in order to safeguard our planet for future generations” while there is a chance to rebuild a “greener, fairer and more equal society” as the county emerges from the pandemic.

The paper to be tabled also acknowledges the challenges faced by small councils in taking meaningful and sustainable action – however, work is already underway to deliver some of the changes needed.

As part of the Clacks and Stirling City Deal, plans are in motion to establish Scotland’s International Environment Centre in Alloa for scientists to help tackle climate change across the globe.

Also previously reported by the Advertiser, a regional scale “living laboratory” across the Wee County and beyond in the Forth Valley Environmental Resilience Array is to be fast-tracked to enhance environmental management.

Another project part of the City Deal is a Regional Energy Masterplan (REM), work on which began last year.

It calls for large-scale and small energy projects and activities to ensure residents and businesses have access to resilient, secure and affordable energy supplies while reducing carbon emissions over the next 25 years.

In declaring a “climate emergency”, the council leader is seeking to ensure residents – especially young people, businesses and the third sector can make representations by establishing the Community Climate Change Forum.

If the motion is carried, the council will also write to the cabinet secretary to affirm the Wee County's commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2045.

A meeting to discuss how the Scottish Government can support the above ambition is also to be requested.