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Bristol commits to become a carbon neutral city by 2030

Council passes motion to move ahead of a number of major authorities in trying to curb city’s carbon emissions within 12 years

Bristol City Council has agreed to an ambitious environmental aim to become a carbon neutral city by 2030 as part of a strategy that will require new approaches to functions such as infrastructure, building performance and transportation.

The Bristol Post reported that a motion was passed by the council last week to declare a ‘climate emergency’ following a recent critical and high-profile report by the UN-established Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The report has demanded much stricter targets on climate change.

Authorities in Bristol have now agreed to try and bring forward targets to achieve carbon neutrality 20 years ahead of its previous intention. It will also bring the target ahead of a number of other UK cities such as Manchester and London that have also set out ambitious low carbon or carbon neutral targets that are separate from national commitments.

Labour councillor Kye Dudd, Cabinet member for energy waste and regulatory services with the authority, said the commitment was intended to build on Bristol’s existing 2050 carbon neutral target. He said that the council had already manged to curb emissions by 72 per cent, while the city as a whole was on schedule to cut overall emissions by 40 per cent by 2020.

In committing to try and moved ahead of cities such as Manchester that have intended to curb carbon emissions entirely by 2040, Mr Dudd said wider national support and expertise would be required to try and meet targets.

He said, “We need the UK government and businesses to take steps to achieve any targets we make. We will meet with partners, businesses and institutions to agree what needs to be done to achieve this collective ambition.”

IPCC warning

Bristol’s pledge follows the publication in October of a detailed report from the IPCC that brought together existing climate change research to warn that previous global commitments to limit global temperature rises to two degrees Celsius will not avoid irreversible environmental damage. It therefore said that this target must be revised to a maximum increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius instead.

Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry has since asked the independent Committee on Climate Change (CCC) for advice on setting a date for when the UK could achieve ‘net zero’ carbon emissions. Feedback is also being sought by government over whether a review may be needed of existing aims over the next three decades to cut carbon output by 80 per cent of 1990 levels.

The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) industry body said the government’s decision to ask for a review of how it may be possible to achieve net zero emissions was an important step in rethinking national and industry commitments.

UKGBC chief executive Julie Hirigoyen said government had signalled some ambition to look at how it may be possible to try and limit temperature rises to a maximum of 1.5 degrees Celsius.

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