GILES Archibald is the leader of South Lakeland District Council. Here, the Liberal Democrat councillor for Kendal Town, sets out his hopes for the district in 2020.

My hope is that 2020 will be seen as the year when the world took the tough decisions to tackle climate change. 2020 presents our country with an opportunity to lead. In November 2020, Glasgow will host a global, UN-sponsored conference at which countries will be asked to commit to much more ambitious targets for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. If they don’t we are all in serious trouble.

What we need is for climate change to be the number one issue for governments around the world, including ours. Sadly, many countries are distracted. Britain is emerging from the Brexit gridlock, the US is entering the election cycle (with the presidential impeachment process ongoing), France is in crisis over pension reform and the Middle East is still riven by conflict.

There is some cause for optimism. The public is beginning to realise the impending disaster that accompanies insufficient action. Governments will react to responsible pressure from the electorate, and my hope is that all governments of whatever conviction will not only understand the imperative of action, but will also understand that electoral success is contingent on such action. It is for all of us to send this message to those who can make a difference.

In Cumbria, we will soon be seeing a detailed report on our carbon footprint (both production and consumption). This report will not only set out the sources of carbon emissions but also indicate the actions we can take as a community to reduce that footprint. All Cumbrian authorities will need to agree a pathway to carbon neutrality by an agreed date. It is my hope that in 2020, residents of Cumbria will demand of their politicians a bold action plan for the region and,indeed, that they will support what is decided.