RYEDALE District Council’s response to the latest climate change projections has taken a step forward with the development of a ‘climate change task group’.

At a meeting of the council’s overview and scrutiny committee on Thursday night, members discussed the group and approved its terms of reference.

The purpose of the group, which has met twice so far since its inception on October 11, is to look at how the authority can reduce carbon emissions, use energy more efficiently, switch to low carbon fuels and also to prepare for the impacts of climate change.

These key areas are the recommendations of the Committee on Climate Change - an independent body established to advise Government on climate change.

Chair of the committee Cllr John Clark said that he was concerned that the last climate change strategy for the district of Ryedale was written in 2006 - and that the last time anyone looked at it was November 2007.

“That underlines how far we’ve got behind where we should be,” he said.

The terms of reference for the group will now go before the next meeting of full council for final approval.

In its latest report on climate change released in October, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - the global body of climate scientists - said that there is only 12 years to limit temperature rises to 1.5°C in an attempt to avoid the greater risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.

The world is currently on average 1°C warmer than pre-industrial levels. The IPCC report followed a year of strong hurricanes, droughts and forest fires around the world. It said that just half a degree greater warming of 2°C would mean substantially worse effects.