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.
A Framework document has been produced by the five local authorities to start the conversation with communities, interest groups, businesses and others, which will help shape the future Climate Emergency Strategy.
We want everyone in Somerset to feel a sense of ownership of the Strategy and that they have been able to contribute to the resulting actions. Aiming to reduce carbon emissions in the county and make Somerset a County resilient to the inevitable effects of Climate Change.
This Framework document provides some high-level detail explaining what we might do to address the most important issues and this consultation is your first opportunity to have your say in whether you think we have got this right.
Get involved - our questionnaire
People can initially get involved by completing an online questionnaire, which will be available from 6 January until 25 February 2020. In addition, an online survey for 11 to 18 year olds is available for young people to take part until 25 February. Young people under the age of 16 will need permission to participate in this survey.
The survey is being run on behalf of Somerset Councils in collaboration with Somerset Climate Action Network, by independent market research company, Hope-Stone Research.
And, you can attend one of the drop-in sessions that are taking place around Somerset. The events will be held on Saturdays, between 10am and 4pm at the following venues:
- 18 January, Somerset West and Taunton. The Glassbox, Taunton Library, Paul Street, TA1 3XZ.
- 8 February, Sedgemoor District Council. The Sedgemoor Room, Bridgwater House, King Square, Bridgwater, TA6 3AR.
- 15 February, Mendip District Council. The Council Chamber, Mendip District Council Offices, Cannards Grave Road, Shepton Mallet, BA4 5BT.
- 22 February, South Somerset District Council. Vicarage Street Methodist Church, Vicarage Street, Yeovil, BA20 1JZ.
Open to residents, businesses, groups and anyone with an interest, the drop-ins will be a chance to discuss the initial thoughts of the five councils set out in a Framework document.
An event aimed specifically at local businesses will also be held on 28 January 2020 at Taunton Rugby Club to discuss the impacts, risks and opportunities of climate change for the commercial sector.
We will be seeking feedback on whether the work so far focuses on the right themes, and the actions that will have the most impact in tackling the effects of Climate Change. We are seeking views on whether the draft Framework covers everything it should and whether there are actions that communities are already doing or could take forward themselves.
The draft Framework document sets out initial, high-level thoughts on what actions might be required and the approach to delivering them and will be developed working with – and listening to – Somerset communities.
The aim is to produce a detailed strategy by summer 2020.
The Climate Emergency Business Summit
Representatives from more than 100 businesses came together this week to discuss how Somerset’s business community can help tackle climate change.
The Climate Emergency Business Summit was part of the cross-council work to develop a Climate Emergency Strategy for the county, aiming to identify ways for Somerset to work towards being carbon neutral by 2030 and adapt to predicted climate change impacts.
Hosted by Somerset County Council on behalf of all the county’s local authorities, the sold-out event at Taunton Rugby Club heard presentations from local business leaders about how they are addressing the issues of carbon reduction, sustainability and climate change.
Key speakers included Richard Clothier, Managing Director, Wyke Farms; Verity Sparks, Managing Director of Taunton-based Sparks and Daughters; and Paul Coombs, Vice President of Facilities, at Leonardo UK in Yeovil.
In this video all three speakers tells us about how they have become more sustainable
Use the links below to read the latest news on the Somerset Climate Emergency.