Work will be starting soon on preparing plans to tackle the climate emergency at both Somerset West and Taunton Council (SWT) and Somerset County Council.

Working groups are being set-up for the district council and jointly county-wide, which will involve all principal councils in Somerset. I have a seat on both groups. They follow climate emergency declarations earlier this year, including as a result of the motion I proposed at SWT.

I am a little frustrated at the time it has taken to get the working groups established, but am very keen to see work get underway, and hope to contribute to the development of effective plans and to see good policies adopted and projects started.

To stop global warming and climate change, we need to stop the accumulation of greenhouses gases or carbon emissions in the atmosphere, which have several sources, including the burning of fossil fuels. To reduce these to zero will require many changes, including to our economy and lifestyles. The following are two good guides on what will be needed for the UK to achieve carbon neutrality or net zero carbon emissions:

Centre for Alternative Technology: Zero Carbon Britain – Rethinking the Future (2013)

Committee on Climate Change: Net Zero – The UK’s contribution to stopping global warming  (2019)

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) is an independent, statutory body established under the Climate Change Act 2008 to provide advice to government on building a low-carbon economy and preparing for climate change.

Energy Systems Catapult have published a short study called Living Carbon Free, which is based on CCC’s Net Zero reports and describes what it would mean to cut carbon in UK households by 100% across six activities: heating, transport, electricity, aviation, diet and waste. I recommend reading their report and thinking about what changes you could start making at home to move towards living carbon free.

We can all make a contribution, but will only to be able to get so far, as action is also needed by businesses and by our councils and government. I look forward to a lead from SWT and SCC and the necessary commitment being made by the government too.

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