Our carbon budget
Most countries have signed the historic Paris Agreement, committing to keep the rise in global average temperature well below 2 degrees Celcius.
Temperatures have already risen by over 1 degree Celcius. The remaining amount of carbon dioxide that we can release before breaching the 1.5 degree Celcius temperature threshold is called our ‘carbon budget’. It is only a small proportion of what has already been released since the industrial revolution.
When viewed at a local level, Derby has a carbon budget of 7.1 million tonnes (MtCO2). This sounds like a huge amount but continuing at the current rate, Derby will have used this up entirely within seven years from 2020.
To keep within this budget Derby needs to embark on an ambitious and urgent programme, reducing carbon emissions from its activities by an average of 13% per year. These are very challenging targets and will require action on a local, national and international scale.
Graph of Derby's carbon budget showing the amount used and and one possible trajectory for reducing what’s left in the budget over the next twenty years.
A transformation is required. We must reduce the amount of greenhouse gases we emit. The two largest contributors are the use of:
- energy in residential homes (29%)
- fuels to power vehicles (26%) mainly in domestic vehicles.
Our homes for example, need to be better insulated, but also need to consume less energy.
There needs to be a massive switch away from using petrol or diesel to power vehicles. The amount of vehicle traffic, especially private vehicles, needs to be cut dramatically. We need to move to a more energy efficient and resilient economic system aimed at eliminating waste and the continual use of resources. A system which aims to keep products, equipment and infrastructure in use for longer; improving the productivity of these resources.
These things are possible, and within our city we have a lot of expertise which we can utilise. Making homes more energy efficient and reducing and improving vehicle traffic will not only benefit our health but will also bring about considerable savings through smaller energy and fuel bills.
Taking climate action can result in opportunities and benefits in other areas of our life such as:
- air quality improvement benefits health and wellbeing
- economic recovery – green jobs to improve housing stock
- more comfortable, cheaper to heat homes
- more equitable society (insulation and energy efficiency means affordable warmth; public transport means enhanced mobility and freedom)
- more green space for wellbeing
- healthier, more interesting and varied diets.
City Climate Emergency Action Plan
Derby is developing a Climate Emergency Action Plan which will set out ambitions to proactively embrace the challenges that climate change is bringing to us, and what more needs to be done. Climate policy is connected to the needs of all citizens; combating climate change can improve lives, not diminish them.
There is need to consult widely, to help develop a sense of city-wide ownership. This has not been easy during the coronavirus virus pandemic, which has in many ways overshadowed the climate crisis. We have established a Climate Change Action Commission made up of senior politicians and officials from across the city, including external partners, to oversee the development and implementation of a City Climate Emergency Action Plan.
We are in the process of setting up a number of action hubs addressing:
- industry and business
- community engagement.
The action hubs will report back and their suggestions will be incorporated, as appropriate, into the plan.
For more information contact our Climate Change Coordinator Peter Robinson, email firstname.lastname@example.org.