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Local authority contributions “crucial” in cutting national emissions



The carbon reduction role of local authorities across the UK has been highlighted as decisive to cutting national emissions, in a new report by the Government’s official climate adviser.

The Committee on Climate Change’s (CCC) study, How local authorities can reduce emissions and manage climate risk, outlines the many ways in which each authority can play its part in reducing its environmental impact.

The report, which was commissioned by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), says that each region can actively reduce its greenhouse gas emissions from some of the most polluting sectors, which include residential and commercial buildings, surface transport and waste.

This, the CCC says, will hugely assist the UK in meeting its 34% carbon emissions reduction target from 1990 levels by 2020, and its 80% goal by 2050 – something that energy secretary Ed Davey said should be a key aim on the opening day of the Reuters Global Energy and Environment Summit this week.

There is a wealth of good work being done already at local and regional levels but many opportunities remain untapped”, said CCC member, Julia King.

It is essential that these opportunities are delivered if we are to meet our national carbon targets.

Local authorities need to show leadership and recognise their wider role in supporting local emissions reductions.

The Government needs to strengthen incentives for action by providing national funding where required and should consider introducing a statutory duty for area-wide, low carbon, plans.“

In the run-up to the recent local elections across the UK, Blue & Green Tomorrow conducted an infographic analysis of local authority pollution and waste figures.

Clearly, significantly cutting carbon is a tougher task for some regions than it is for others. The City of London, for example, is by far the highest emitter of CO2 in the UK, but only because of its densely populated, industry-dominated characteristics.

Responding to the CCC’s report, Friends of the Earth’s executive director Andy Atkins said, “This is a stark warning the Government can’t afford to ignore – UK climate targets won’t be met unless ministers ensure every council plays its part in slashing emissions, and has the funds to do so.

The Government has failed to support local action on climate change – and only a few council leaders are currently championing action on the scale required.

Cutting energy waste will reduce emissions and save cash by cutting soaring fuel bills – and investing in clean British energy and better transport and recycling programmes will help boost the economy.”

Indeed, B&GT’s recent report, The Rise of Renewable Energy, highlights the fact that an increased adoption of clean power would not only go a long way to reducing the UK’s environmental footprint, but it’s also incredibly smart economically.

The CCC study adds to the list of benefits behind becoming more sustainable as a local authority, saying that carbon reduction would lower energy bills, create local jobs, improve health and allow for economic regeneration.

Further reading:

Local elections: pollution and waste infographic analysis

Local and regional carbon emissions: infographic analysis

Local and regional carbon emissions: responses


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