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What is the Council doing about the climate emergency?

Greener greenwich bannerIn June 2019 the Council agreed to set an ambitious target to reach net zero carbon emissions 20 years ahead of the national target. This means building on 2016’s Greener Greenwich strategy and creating a new Greenwich carbon neutral plan with a 2030 target.

The Council is already doing a lot as part of our Greener Greenwich strategy, including:

  • procuring 100% renewable energy
  • buying more zero and ultra-low emissions vehicles
  • making sure all our new buildings are energy efficient
  • planning to install LED street lights which use less power
  • creating safer routes for walking and cycling
  • rolling out controlled parking zones to discourage car use
  • installing electric vehicle charging points
  • planting thousands of extra trees
  • establishing a carbon offset fund so we can fund future energy-reducing measures
  • setting up a partnership of businesses and local organisations to help reduce emissions across the borough

But we know we need to do a lot more.

Developing our carbon neutral plan

The actions we're already taking mean we are moving in the right direction, but if we want to reach carbon neutral by 2030, we need to invest in more policy changes and projects. We have commissioned experts to look at where the borough’s emissions come from, what policies and projects we could consider to reduce emissions and how much these policies and projects could cost.

We have now published an evidence base report which shows how much we would need to change, and the level of investment needed, to reach our goal. Read alongside the Cabinet paper and summary of options. The Cabinet and Council will consider the report which will help us to develop a fully costed carbon neutral plan which will be consulted on in late 2020. We know we cannot do this alone so we're setting up a climate emergency network and partnership so that residents, businesses and organisations within the borough can help us develop our plan.

Evidence base

The evidence base report considers what actions we can take which are consistent with science-based targets for Greenwich, in line with research by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. Maintaining the overall ambition in line with the report will mean that Greenwich is able to meet the target of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5oC.

In 2015 the total annual emissions for Greenwich were 860kt CO2. The graph shows that if we made the minimum number of changes recommended in the report, the "baseline scenario", the emissions would be reduced to 628kt CO2 by 2030, a reduction of 27%. These savings would mostly be made from energy efficiency improvements in buildings, a reduction in the use of carbon fuels in the national grid and increased use of some low emissions vehicles on our roads.

If we made all the changes recommended in the report, the "maximum ambition scenario", emissions in Greenwich would be reduced by 77%. This level of emissions saving would require an almost complete decarbonisation of heating in buildings. On our roads, it would mean that the total distance in kilometers driven in cars are reduced by 45% relative to 2015, and battery electric vehicles would need to make up 51% of the car fleet.

If full decarbonisation of the grid is achieved, the emissions in Greenwich would reach 95kt CO2 by 2030 or an 89% reduction from the baseline.

Fig 51


Fig 51