Introduction

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.