Calderdale’s bold target to be carbon neutral by 2038, if not sooner, is in line with the findings of a landmark international study into the science behind climate change.
A report published by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns that more intense rainfall, flooding and extreme heatwaves could become a more frequent part of life due to the impact of human activity on the climate.
However, there is hope that major, sustained reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases could limit climate change if people act quickly.
Calderdale lives with the impact of climate change in the form of ongoing flood risk due to its steep-sided valleys. Driven by the borough’s well-known resilience and the ambition to make a difference, Calderdale Council declared a climate emergency in January 2019 and agreed to make the borough carbon neutral by 2038 or sooner – ahead of the Government’s target of 2050 and the IPCC’s suggested worldwide target of 2040.
Cllr Scott Patient, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Resilience, said:
“Sadly, we are all too familiar with the impact of climate change in Calderdale. Our communities live in fear of flooding.
“Brilliant work is being done across Calderdale to reduce risk and build resilience, but this comes with significant financial pressure. We have pressed Government repeatedly to recognise our unique flooding threat and unlock the ongoing resources we need to protect the borough.
“We are pleased that the IPCC report on climate change points to the need to be carbon net zero worldwide by 2040. This reinforces our ambitious local aim to be carbon neutral by 2038 and to make significant progress by 2030, backed up by our Cabinet priority to address the climate emergency and the Vision2024 theme of resilience.”
The Council’s progress towards zero carbon includes:
- Swapping gas heating systems for energy efficient heat pumps in Council buildings.
- Replacing petrol and diesel vehicles with 35 electric and hybrid vehicles in the Council’s fleet.
- Working with partner organisations on schemes to help insulate cold and draughty houses.
- Setting up vehicle-free zones outside schools, bike lanes and better bus and rail facilities, to encourage people to use cars less.
- Educating local people about climate action, encouraging local food growing and promoting healthy, active travel.
- Slowing the flow of floodwater into our valleys through Natural Flood Management, in partnership with local communities and groups.
- Launching the £1 million Climate Emergency Fund together with the Community Foundation for Calderdale, to help community-led projects to tackle climate change. Local community groups can apply for a grant by Monday 13 September for work such as building refurbishment, clean transport schemes or community education and outreach.
- Modelling what can be done across Calderdale to help reach zero carbon, and working with the Leeds City Region and the Mayor of West Yorkshire. The Calderdale Emissions Reduction Pathway report sets out a pathway for how we can cut our fossil fuel use with clean technology and investment into communities. It is a blueprint for local success on climate which people can rally around.
- Much more has also been achieved – find out about Calderdale’s response to the climate emergency at www.calderdale.gov.uk/v2/council/our-vision/climate-emergency
Steve Duncan, CEO of the Community Foundation for Calderdale said:
“We pride ourselves in knowing where funding is needed to support projects that benefit everyone in our community. We recognised the importance of the Climate Emergency Fund and that it is an emergency and we need to act now. We were really excited about collaborating with Calderdale Council and enabling organisations to take action now. This latest report highlights the urgency of the need for this fund and the legacy it will create for future generations.”
To read the IPCC report, visit https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg1/(external link)