Climate change

Climate change

What is climate change?

Climate change is a major and long-term shift in the earth's weather patterns (such as rainfall). While there are many natural factors that affect the climate, scientists agree that human activity is the dominant cause of climate change we are seeing now.

By burning fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas), using intensive farming techniques, and destroying large areas of forest, we are causing a rapid rise in heat-trapping gases called greenhouse gasses (GHGs), such as carbon dioxide (CO2), in the atmosphere. GHGs in our atmosphere are now higher than they have been at any point in at least the last 800,000 years. This has caused the earth to warm up, affecting global weather patterns and sea levels.

You might increasingly see the terms 'Climate Crisis', ‘Climate and Ecological Crisis’, or 'Climate Emergency' used by campaigners instead. This is to better reflect the urgency of the situation and actions needed.

If you want to learn more about climate change the Met Office have put together a short explanation of climate change and have also summarised the causes of climate change.


Why does climate change matter?

Climate change will mean significant changes to the way we live. The earth is already approximately 1°C hotter than before the Industrial Revolution. While it may seem slow from a human perspective, the climate is responding and will continue to respond for many years to come. As well as rising sea levels, we can expect to see more extreme weather events such as droughts, gales, floods, and heatwaves.

This may affect us directly by damaging our homes or affecting our health. But it will also mean loss of crops globally and reduction in food supply, damage to the natural world, and increase in political uncertainty around the world.

By making changes in our everyday lives, we can help prevent the situation from getting any worse and manage the effects that have already begun.

The Met Office have provided a short summary of the expected effects of climate change and have also provided an explanation of how extreme weather and climate change are linked.


What can we do?

The good news is there is lots we can do to tackle climate change from using less energy and recycling more to lobbying governments to do more on a national and global level.

We can respond to climate change in two main ways:

For some suggestions of things you can do yourself, see our lists of mitigation and adaptation measures.


What are the council doing?

Climate Change represents one of the biggest challenges we will face, not just locally but worldwide. We will all need to work together.

The council is taking this problem very seriously and declared a climate emergency in July 2019.Our first Climate Change Action Plan covered 2019 to 2023 and included forty-five specific, measurable actions that we have focussed on and has led to a reduction in the organisation’s emissions by about one third.

Building on this work we have developed a new Climate Change Strategy which will guide the organisation to achieving our target of becoming a carbon neutral organisation by 2030 and lay the groundwork for our second target of becoming a carbon neutral borough by 2050.

The new strategy is based around six central themes that describe the areas where the council can have the biggest impact and influence in reducing our own emissions and supporting others to do the same.

Each theme will provide a structure for specific actions across all council services which will be created and monitored through an annual delivery plan.

In this short video, Councillor Amanda Serjeant Deputy Leader of Chesterfield Borough Council, explains what the council has done since 2019 to reduce our emissions by about one third. Cllr Serjeant also explains the themes of our new strategy and how this will help guide us towards our target of becoming carbon neutral organisation by 2030.


Climate Change Strategy 

You can download a copy of the Climate Change Strategy 2023 to 2030 and the current delivery plan below.

If our documents are not accessible to you, you can request a different format here.
Climate Change Delivery Plan 2024 to 2025 PDF (PDF 259 KB)
Climate Change Strategy 2023 to 2030 PDF (PDF 4.48 MB)
Climate Change Annual Report 2022 to 2023 PDF (PDF 4.96 MB)
Climate Change Annual Report 2023 to 2024 PDF (PDF 4.61 MB)


More information about climate change

If you have specific questions you can contact us on

We publish a quarterly newsletter about climate change, you can sign up to receive this on our newsletter sign-up page.

Last updated on 13/03/2024