Majority of local authorities have declared climate emergencies
Almost two years on from when the first council in the UK declared a climate emergency and responded with ambitious decarbonisation plans, a new mapping tool has unveiled that nearly three-quarters of local councils have made similar declarations, with more than half of those committing to reach net-zero.
In 2018, Bristol City Council became the first council body in the UK to declare a climate emergency. Controlled by Labour – the officially declared a climate emergency in November 2018. That motion was unanimously passed and now acts as the foundations for the City’s transformative commitment to become carbon-neutral by 2030.
Since that landmark moment, many other councils have followed down the net-zero pathway. In fact, new research by Carbon Copy has found that almost three-quarters of all local councils across the country have formally declared a climate emergency and more than half of them have set a goal of reaching net-zero carbon emissions locally by 2030 or sooner.
Carbon Copy uncovered the data through its new UK Carbon Zero Explorer interactive map. The map enables users to explore local authorities and regions across the UK, outlining details about climate action plans and efforts to cut current carbon emissions.
Carbon Copy’s co-founder Ric Casale said: “We designed the UK Carbon Zero Explorer to help people across the UK to discover how their local community is responding to the climate crisis. What we have learned is that actually, there is a great deal to be positive about.
“More than half of UK principal councils have acknowledged that the nationally set 2050 deadline for reaching net-zero carbon emissions is simply not ambitious enough and that we need to treat this crisis as an emergency.
Councils area approaching the net-zero transition in different ways.
Oxford City Council, for example, has pledged to achieve net-zero carbon emissions within its own operations by the end of 2020, after residents on the local authority's Citizens' Assembly on Climate Change requested such a move.
Warrington Borough Council has launched a green bond that will see residents invest in the region's renewable energy and energy storage sectors, as it works to deliver a carbon-neutral town by 2030.
Hackney Council is now sourcing 100% of its electricity demand from renewables, with the council accelerating towards a goal to reach net-zero emissions by 2040.
In addition, Manchester City Council hopes a new action plan will commit to halving the council's carbon footprint by 2025, in assistance with the city's wider ambition to reach net-zero emissions by 2038.