The United Nations Environment Programme’s 2019 annual Emissions Gap Report says that even if all current unconditional commitments under the Paris Agreement are implemented, temperatures are expected to rise by 3.2°C, bringing increasingly wide-ranging and destructive climate impacts.
To prevent warming beyond 1.5°C, and the Paris agreement slipping totally out of reach, the world needs to reduce emissions by 7.6% every year for the next decade (2020-2030). Most climate change experts agree that the next ten years are crucial, and that we must see a massive reduction in atmospheric CO2.
Despite well-intentioned ambition the UK has fallen behind in its progress to tackle and prepare for climate change. England is not prepared for the impacts of a 2°C increase in global and UK temperature, let alone a 3.2°C temperature increase. According to the Committee on Climate Change, current policies and plans are insufficient to meet the fourth or fifth carbon budgets (covering 2023-27 and 2028-32 (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/carbon-budgets).
The UK is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, and Hampshire has the second greatest concentration of wealth in the UK (behind London). ACAN therefore expects the UK government to be leading the way and ensuring that local councils, businesses and citizens can and do take every opportunity to help prevent warming beyond 1.5°C.
The findings and recommendations for East Hampshire from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research (https://carbonbudget.manchester.ac.uk/reports/E07000085)* are clear, reasonable and very helpful, and highlight the fact that East Hampshire – in particular – is not currently making its ’fair’ contribution towards the Paris Climate Change Agreement.
Tough targets and immediate action are required.
ACAN propose that government and local authorities commit to the following:
- Each MP to publish annual emissions figures with summary of results
- Government to shift all fossil fuel subsidises to renewable energy, thereby promoting more ‘green jobs’
- Government to decarbonise aviation and shipping. Initially, this will mean seriously considering strategies for significantly limiting emissions growth from aviation and shipping(*)
- Government and councils to reform planning advice so that authorities can and do demand zero carbon developments, transport, energy and waste systems
- Government and councils to ensure children receive ‘climate smart nutrition’ which encourages ‘grow your own’ and the purchasing of more seasonal, local products
- Government and councils to campaign for and support behaviour change – eg consider origin of products, reduce energy and food waste, and increase active travel and recycling
- Councils to promote and invest in low carbon energy generation within the region(*) & energy efficiency with a programme to retrofit all buildings, starting with public and rental sectors
- Councils to halt deforestation & restore degraded lands to ensure CO2 sequestration where possible and increase wider social and environmental benefits
- Councils to decarbonise public transport, and support shift to walking and cycling – eg by reallocating highway space to walking and cycling
- Councils to create more Clean Air Zones and Green Transport Corridors, and support switch to electric vehicles – eg with network of EV charging points and eScooter parking