What is the UK doing about Climate Change?: Nottingham Declaration

In the UK we are decided that climate change is an issue worth dealing with. With countless world leading scientists based here delivering top research to further validate the expanding evidence.

So now the facts are decided its time for the policy makers to do something about it and that means politicians…. never the fastest of movers unless they are saving their own skin.

While the UNFCCC attempts to get all parties to agree on a global emissions reduction policy other work has been going to prepare for such an agreement. In the England one of the most significant statements has been made by local authorities  and comes in the form of the Nottingham Declaration.

In the UK local authorities are at the front line of emissions reductions legislation, by implementing government backed schemes and also coming up with their own  strategies to help their constituents and local business become more energy efficient.  The government has committed the UK through the Climate Change Act 2008 to legally binding emission reduction targets for 2020 (reduction of 34 percent in greenhouse gas emissions) and for 2050 (reduction of at least 80 percent in greenhouse gas emissions), and introduced five-yearly carbon budgets to help ensure those targets are met managed by the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

This has left the local authorities with targets to meet and one of the ways they have done this is through the Nottingham Declaration (See bottom for full wording). This commits them to acknowledging the threat and to pledge to systematically address the causes of climate change and to prepare their community for its impacts.

Launched in October 2000 in Nottingham, the Declaration has now been signed by more than 300 English Councils. All Scottish and Welsh councils have signed their own versions. Many local partners organisations, such as Fire & Rescue Services, National Park Authorities, Primary Care Trusts, and Waste Disposal Authorities have also signed the Declaration.

In addition to this most authorities have their own strategy for managing their own emissions and helping the wider community.

Find out if your local authority has signed up here and visit their website to find out what their response to the threat of climate change is.

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The Nottingham Declaration on climate change

We acknowledge that

  • Evidence shows that climate change is occurring.
  • Climate change will continue to have far reaching effects on the UK’s people and places, economy, society and environment.

We welcome the

  • Social, economic and environmental benefits which come from combating climate change.
  • Emissions targets agreed by central government and the programme for delivering change, as set out in the UK Climate Change Programme.
  • Opportunity for local government to lead the response at a local level, encouraging and helping local residents, local businesses and other organisations – to reduce their energy costs, to reduce congestion, to adapt to the impacts of climate change, to improve the local environment and to deal with fuel poverty in our communities.
  • Endorsement of this declaration by central government.

We commit our Council from this date to

  • Work with central government to contribute, at a local level, to the delivery of the UK Climate Change Programme, the Kyoto Protocol and the target for carbon dioxide reduction by 2010.
  • Participate in local and regional networks for support.
  • Within the next two years develop plans with our partners and local communities to progressively address the causes and the impacts of climate change, according to our local priorities, securing maximum benefit for our communities.
  • Publicly declare, within appropriate plans and strategies, the commitment to achieve a significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from our own authority’s operations, especially energy sourcing and use, travel and transport, waste production and disposal and the purchasing of goods and services.
  • Assess the risk associated with climate change and the implications for our services and our communities of climate change impacts and adapt accordingly.
  • Encourage all sectors in our local community to take the opportunity to adapt to the impacts of climate change, to reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions and to make public their commitment to action.
  • Monitor the progress of our plans against the actions needed and publish the result.
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