Well-established climate change campaigners Divest East Sussex (DES) designed a symbolic artefact this week to make a political point to East Sussex County Council (ESCC) – a giant fudge cake. 

The council declared a climate emergency in 2019. But according to DES campaigners it has done nothing in recognition of that emergency in the two years since.  Not only has it refused to to divest the East Sussex Pension Fund (which covers Brighton & Hove as well as East Sussex) from investments in fossil fuels, which has been DES’ primary goal since the group’s formation; it has failed to endorse the Climate & Ecological Emergency Bill (read further articles; Local group campaigns in support of Climate Bill and OPINION: We Need This Bill), and appears to have done very little to make its supposed target of reducing the County’s carbon emissions by 13% a year a reality.

Accordingly, on Tuesday morning (12th  October), the campaigners were intending to deliver their giant ‘climate fudge’ anniversary cake to County Hall in Lewes as symbol of a mass protest. The metre-tall cake with two giant candles was decorated with the words: ‘Two years of climate fudge’ and ‘ESCC: It’s time for climate action!’  It would be carried by two people in chefs’ outfits through the streets of Lewes to County Hall, then presented personally to Council Leader Keith Glazier if he would accept it.

Support for the protest was offered by many campaign groups across the county, including Energise Sussex Coast, Transition Town Hastings and XR Hastings & St Leonards.

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, Green Party councillor at County Hall, said: ‘”We’ve seen greenwash claims and pre-election promises. But action hasn’t followed, or it’s been half-hearted. ESCC have acknowledged there’s a climate crisis, but fossil fuels are still part of the pension portfolio. They say we have to address the ecological emergency, but plans to create a dual carriageway 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.”


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