What is climate change?
Climate change is a major and long-term shift in the earth's weather patterns. While there are a wide range of different natural factors which affect the climate; these have been studied in detail and do not produce the effects that are being observed. Scientists agree that the overwhelming majority of climate change is being caused by humans releasing additional carbon dioxide (CO2) and other “greenhouse gasses” (GHGs) into the atmosphere.
The truth is uncomfortable, but the evidence is clear that virtually all of these changes have occurred since the industrial revolution and have been caused by: the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas), the development of intensive farming techniques, and felling large areas of forest.
There is no credible science showing that climate change is not real, a serious problem, and the result of human activity.
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.
What does this mean?
Activities that result in a changing climate have been taking place for many years, and while it may seem slow from a human perspective, the climate is responding and will continue to respond for many years to come. This means that significant changes to the way we live are inevitable.
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 property or affecting our health, indirectly by reducing global agricultural productivity, damaging the natural world, and increasing uncertainty in the wider political situation. We all need to act to prevent the situation from getting any worse and to 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?
There are two main categories of response to climate change: mitigation activities which reduce, and potentially reverse climate change and adaptation activities which mean we can live with the changes.
We can act as individuals, but many of the problems caused by the way we live are deep-rooted and will need us to work together to meet the challenges we face. The council is taking this problem very seriously and declared a climate emergency in July 2019.
For some suggestions of things you can do yourself, see our lists of mitigation and adaptation measures.
What are the council doing?
The council’s climate change action plan includes thirty-nine specific, measurable actions that we will be taking before 2023 to transform council activities, lead on a wider programme of borough decarbonisation, communicate the urgent need for change, and engage with partners to get us all on the right track. These touch every service area and range from improvements to insulation in council-owned social housing, to support for local businesses and community organisations and employment of a council Climate Change Officer. The action plan is a working document and will be updated over time to make sure that we are doing everything we can to meet our goal of becoming a carbon neutral organisation by 2030 and a carbon neutral borough by 2050.
You can download a copy of the Action plan through the February 2020 Council agenda.
If you have specific questions you can contact us on email@example.com.