What are we doing?
Climate change is one of the most significant issues facing the world today. The effects are being felt already. In the UK 2019 was the 11th warmest year on record, with the top 10 warmest all having occurred since 2002.
In a special report of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the United Nations highlights the need to take immediate action to limit the increase in average global temperatures to a 1.5°C threshold. Even an increase of half a degree beyond this will drastically worsen the risk of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty.
The challenge of climate change is a global issue, but everyone needs to play their part. This is why the five Somerset local authorities have each declared or recognised a Climate Emergency.
In 2019, the Somerset local authorities (Somerset County Council, Mendip District Council, Sedgemoor District Council, Somerset West and Taunton Council, and South Somerset District Council) all passed resolutions to declare or recognise ‘A Climate Emergency’ and have since agreed to collaborate to produce and deliver an ambitious, joint Climate Emergency Strategy for Somerset.
The strategy will identify ways that Somerset might work to together towards being carbon neutral by 2030 and adapt to predicted climate change impacts.
Current C02 emissions in Somerset
You can find out on the Somerset Trends website how we are doing in Somerset with historic and recent C02 emissions, otherwise known as greenhouse gases. There are both natural and human sources of carbon dioxide emissions. Natural sources include decomposition, ocean release and respiration. Human sources come from activities like cement production, deforestation as well as the burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas.
Due to human activities, the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide has been rising extensively since the Industrial Revolution.
In 2017 a total of 3285 kt (kilotons) of CO2 were emitted in Somerset from industrial, domestic and transport-related sources. For context, a kiloton of carbon is emitted by 200 average cars in 1 year. In fact, the majority of emissions in Somerset derive from the transport sector – 46.7%, compared to 29.5% from industry and 23.8% from the domestic sector.
Carbon Literacy Project
Somerset County Council has commissioned ClimateGuide to run a series of free, accredited Carbon Literacy training days for Parish and Town Councils. This training is being funded through the Climate Emergency Community Fund to help Town and Parish councils take their own actions on climate change, and has been a huge success so far.
We have also started to run similar training for our own Somerset County Council officers, and will be extending the offer of training to County and District Councillors in due course. You can read testimonials from the Parish and Town council Carbon Literacy Project participants below.
Please note – If you would like to find out more about future training Carbon Literacy training days for your Town or Parish Council, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carbon Literacy Project testimonials
“I recently attended the Carbon Literacy Training. It was the most useful and relevant training event I have attended in a long time. It brought home the immediacy of our situation but also empowered us in the role that we can all play to effect local change. It was brilliantly facilitated and delivered by Rachel and I recommend all to attend.”
Juliet Shrimpton, Langford Budville PC
“Just want to say thank you for organising this training. I guess it was fortuitous that we had it just before the IPCC report release that seemed to immediately increase correspondence on climate change 100-fold.”
“I went straight back to my council and drafted an action plan that was adopted by Full Council and is open to additions by the Environment Working Group. The training continues to inform initiatives, open up conversations and encourage creative ways of reaching all sections of our communities.”
“I would say that it has affected the entire council – because we are now more consciously considering implications across all our committee work.”
Cllr Gill Pettitt – St Cuthbert (Out) Parish Council