There have been many warnings about the need to stay below 1.5C of warming above pre-industrial levels, if the world is to avoid climate disaster.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned of the need to stay below 1.5C, declaring that going beyond that level would bring on famine, droughts, floods and  devastation.

The Paris UN Climate Conference in 2015 called for a 45% cut in carbon dioxide emissions from the 2010 level by 2030, proceeding on to net zero by 2050.

Guess what, last year was the warmest in recent history. We saw 40C in this country. Drought and floods are commonplace and rising sea levels are becoming the norm, as we seem to be sleep walking towards the crisis.

As the crisis deepens, we are served by a back to the future government, putting it's head in the sand. The Tory government is going backwards on the climate agenda - handing out fossil fuel extraction licences like confetti.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Cllr Paul Donovan says that the Tory Government is going backwards on the climate agenda Cllr Paul Donovan says that the Tory Government is going backwards on the climate agenda

It is notable while the government is letting oil companies drill across some of our most outstanding landscapes, it continues to be less than enthusiastic about renewable onshore wind.

Let’s hope a Labour Government, with a green agenda, will soon come to office.

Against this background, it has been great to see progression on the climate and biodiversity agenda in the borough over the past four years, since Cllr Jo Blackman and myself brought the Climate Emergency Motion to the council.

There is a climate action plan with 114 targets, some 85 of these are well on track. The use of more renewable sources of energy, converting council vehicles to sustainable sources and more active travel options are among the highlights. Progress has been steady.

On biodiversity, there has been extensive tree planting, the extension of the wild grow zone areas, the advance of pollinator pathways and tree pit developments. Exciting plans are afoot at Fairlop and Hainault Forest.

The lack of government funding to address this emergency is breathtaking. An emergency needs real investment from central government. Climate and biodiversity really need to come up the agenda.

We need to see the whole culture change to one of sustainability. The streets around us need to change, more active travel must be embraced. The dominance of the car needs to be confronted.

The climate crisis is way past the point when a bit of recycling is enough - not to devalue such activity, which has a vital role.  Less driving, flying, eating meat and just throwing things away.

There needs to be community and individual conversions to living more sustainably and treading lighter on the earth. We have begun this journey in Redbridge but need to speed up in all directions over the coming months and years if the planet is to be saved.

  • Paul Donovan is Labour councillor for Wanstead Village ward, Redbridge Council and a blogger (