Carbon reduction measures
Had the Council elected not to declare a climate emergency, and continue with 'business as usual' the Chart 4 below shows the estimated carbon emissions for the Borough to 2030.
However, having declared a climate emergency, and committed to the goal of carbon neutrality for the Borough by 2030, Chart 4 also illustrates the revised trajectory that the Council has elected to aim for.
Figure 8 - 2020 -2030 trajectories
The upper, orange trajectory to 2030 shows an estimated business as usual prediction if no corrective action was to be taken *
*These future estimates have been calculated using historic data for the Borough and a quadratic regression formula to predict future carbon emissions
The lower, blue trajectory from 2017 - 2030 illustrates the path that the Council has chosen to pursue in declaring a climate emergency.
The shaded area, in between the two trajectories, is known as the Carbon Wedge.
Climate Carbon Wedge
The climate carbon wedge concept was introduced by two Princeton professors, Rob Socolow and Stephen Pacala. These wedges describe a range of technologies and choices about how we act, that when taken together form wedges against increasing carbon emissions.
What does the climate carbon wedge contain? In essence, this is the sum of all of the changes required during the next decade to achieve the aim of carbon neutrality for the Borough by 2030.
There may be many ways to achieve the desired outcome, many of which may not be in the direct control of the Council for example national Government environmental levies or incentives. In addition, circumstances will change as we proceed through the coming decade to 2030. It is therefore proposed to review this strategy each year to document progress and ensure continuing development, in line with national requirements and emerging technology.
The carbon reduction plan can be split into 5 main categories:
- Energy and the Built Environment
- Waste and Water
- Consumption Off-setting
The World Health organisation has stated that the transport sector is the fastest growing contributor to climate emissions. Growth in energy use is higher for the transport sector than any other end-use sector. The main drivers of global transport energy growth are land transport, mostly light-duty vehicles, such as cars, as well as freight transport. (23)
Transport's contribution to climate change include:
a. long-lived carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and;
b. short-lived black carbon generated primarily by diesel vehicles.
Transport accounted for about 23% of global carbon dioxide emissions in 2010 and 27% of end-use energy emissions with urban transport accounting for about 40% of end-use energy consumption. Carbon dioxide persists in the atmosphere for over a century, with long-term warming effects (23)
Short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs)
Black carbon, a short-lived climate pollutant, is the second highest contributor to global warming after CO2. Black carbon has a warming effect many times more powerful than carbon dioxide, but it persists in the atmosphere for only a few weeks - so measures to reduce black carbon can also have an immediate effect on slowing the pace of climate change.
Diesel transport is one of the world's major sources of black carbon (along with household biomass cookstoves). Not only does black carbon have a significant warming effect, but it is also a major component of particulate matter, the air pollutant most closely associated with increased air-pollution related mortality and morbidity.
Ground-level ozone is another short-lived climate pollutant stimulated by transport pollution. Ozone is created by a mix of are pollutants, including oxides of nitrogen (NOx) produced by vehicle engines and methane emissions from other sources (e.g. landfills and animal waste). Ozone contributes to chronic respiratory diseases, particularly childhood asthma (23)
Ground-level ozone is another short-lived climate pollutant, stimulated by transport pollution. Ozone is created by a mix of air pollutants, including oxides of nitrogen (NOx) produced by vehicle engines (23)
The Council has already committed to many transport related actions with the Air Quality Action Plan 2018. This plan sits alongside the climate emergency strategy and action plan in detailing those works that the Council has committed to.
For ease, all of the actions from this plan (including many relating to the use of transport) have been attached as Appendix 4.
In addition to the carbon reductions resulting from these actions, wider benefits of tackling transport emissions will include:
- Improved air quality
- The creation of safe areas for walking and cycling
- Healthier lifestyles resulting from active transport
- Cost reductions associated with active transport and car sharing
Energy and the Built Environment
Currently, heating our homes, businesses and industry is responsible for a third of the UK's greenhouse gas emissions. Decarbonisation of heat is recognised as one of the biggest challenges we face in meeting our climate targets (22)
Across the Borough, this is likely to form a significant challenge in the coming decade as we seek to promote and assist with the retro-fitting of the Borough's existing privately owned housing stock. The housing within the Borough needs to become much more energy efficient in order to reduce the demand for energy.
The retro-fitting of existing housing stock is not a challenge unique to South Ribble, it is likely to be a national challenge within the coming decade. We will work with the national Government to identify ways of assisting residents in the process.
As an organisation we need to move to low carbon and / or renewable energy, and work with partners, businesses and our residents to encourage them to do the same.
The ultimate aim is to reduce the amount of gas and electricity used within the Borough to fuel commercial buildings and domestic properties.
To this end we will:
- Make best use of the planning processes to ensure all new housing stock is sustainable in design and affordable to heat
- Work with private landlords and housing associations to encourage best practice
- Retrofit a domestic property to use as a flagship of best practice for the Borough
- Work to heat our own buildings with low carbon and / or renewable heating. All carbon based energy will be purchased vis green tariffs. The Council will seek to lead by example in its use of decarbonised energy
- Use LED lighting across the Council estate wherever possible Lobby national Government for the provision of mass affordable domestic retrofitting options
- Enforce private rented Minimum Efficiency Standards regulations
- Investigate Energy from Waste options
- Examine the possibility of large scale solar projects within the Borough
- Lobby national Government to ensure low carbon energy is available and affordable for everyone
- Seek funding opportunities for low carbon heating
- Promote national Government low carbon incentives within the Borough
- Make use of emerging technology to continually improve how we act as an organisation
In addition to the carbon reductions resulting from these actions, wider benefits will include:
- Reduced energy bills for residents of the Borough.
- Reduced energy bills for the Council
- Improving the condition of housing stock within the Borough
- Improving air quality by reducing emissions of NOx from gas boilers
Waste and Water
For many years the Council has worked to treat waste within the Borough responsibly and reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. We have an established domestic recycling scheme including the recycling of paper, cardboard, certain plastics and metals, glass and garden waste.
However, we recognise the importance of our role in working to reduce waste further and accept that actions will be needed to reduce the volumes of waste produced within the Borough, and then further reduce the proportion of that sent to landfill.
To this end we will:
- We will work with partners, businesses and residents to reduce the amount of waste produced, promote reuse and recycling of waste and examine means of using waste as an energy source.
- We will work with United Utilities, partners, businesses and residents to promote the responsible use of water throughout the Borough.
- As an organisation we will strive to lead by example, reporting our consumption all those measures we are taking to improve our performance.
- The Council has already committed to eliminating the use of Single Use Plastics by 2025.
- Investigate those improvements than can be made to our recycling service
- Work with residents to improve the percentage of waste recycled
- Make best use of new technology to continually improve waste collection and recycling services
- Continue with tree and hedge planting to slow the flow of rainfall over land, protect watercourses against erosion, protect watercourses against rising water temperatures and improve biodiversity
The goods we purchase and use may have emissions built in to their manufacture and transport. This is known as imported emissions. Examples may include food grown abroad, clothing manufactured abroad, mobile phones manufactured abroad, etc.
Our actions as consumers have a direct impact on the demand for products. So, whether we choose to repair instead of replace, choose plant based foods instead of meat, choose locally produced goods instead of imported, these choices have an impact upon imported emissions and potentially on waste too.
If as an organisation and a Borough we are able to consume less, and consume more responsibly then this in turn will impact upon the imported emissions we cause and the amount of waste that we produce. To this end we will:
- As an organisation we will seek to reduce our purchase and use of high energy commodities, for example single use plastics and meat based products.
- We will move to a more plant based menu for functions and meetings, and to purchase products made within the UK in order to reduce transportmiles.
- We will also work with partners, businesses and residents to encourage responsible consumption and share best practice.
- Work with schools, colleges and partners to encourage more low carbon cooking and meals, and reduce food waste
- Work to improve the carbon emissions of Council events
As a method of tackling all four of these categories above, the Council will seek to:
- Develop a climate emergency staff forum
- Develop a climate emergency citizen assembly for the Borough
- Make best use of emerging technology
- Make a greater difference by working in partnership with others
- Communicate our work internally and within our community
- Strive for continuous improvement and learn from best practice
- Adjust our approach in line with emerging evidence and technologies
Carbon offsetting allows for organisations to compensate for their unavoidable carbon emissions with the use of projects that reduce an equivalent amount of emissions. The carbon emission projects can be internal to the organisation or procured from an external organisation. Examples of such projects could include tree planting and the installation of solar panels.
The Council already undertakes many carbon offsetting activities, which whilst not calculated as formal carbon offsetting, increase the capture of CO2 within the Borough.
Examples include the maintenance of parks, woodlands and open spaces within the Borough.
The Council has already committed to the planting of 110,000 trees within the Borough (one tree per resident) and the total planted to date is approximately 35,000.
Additional tree planting may be facilitated by use of the planning processes.
At this time the Council has not committed to the external purchase of carbon offsetting. However, as part of the contract with One Carbon World the Council received 300 carbon credits, which equates to the retirement of up to 300 tonnes equivalent of carbon.
Taking into account this credit, this leaves the Council with an offset total of 4006 tonnes for the year 2018-2019. One Carbon World state that to offset this volume via their organisation would cost the Council £4,807.20. However, it must be noted that these figures are for the Council as an organisation, not for the Borough as a whole.