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Cambridge City Council

Council urges city to come together to tackle climate change in response to landmark UN report

News release from 10 August 2021

CAMBRIDGE City Council has welcomed the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report which advises that scientists are observing unprecedented changes in the Earth’s climate in every region and across the whole climate system.  

The council is urging all Cambridge residents, businesses and organisations to do all they can to help tackle climate change, and work together to make Cambridge a net zero carbon city. 

The landmark UN report warns of increasingly extreme heatwaves, droughts and flooding, and states that strong and sustained reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases are urgently needed and would limit climate change.  

The release of the report comes less than three months before the UK hosts the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow in November 2021 which will bring together heads of state, climate experts and campaigners to agree coordinated action to tackle climate change.  

Cambridge City Council recently published its fourth Climate Change Strategy 2021-26 which sets out the council’s vision for Cambridge to be net zero carbon by 2030 and details six key objectives to address the causes and consequences of climate change: 

  1. Reducing carbon emissions from City Council buildings, land, vehicles and services 
  2. Reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions from homes and buildings in Cambridge 
  3. Reducing carbon emissions from transport in Cambridge 
  4. Reducing consumption of resources, reducing waste, and increasing recycling in Cambridge  
  5. Promoting sustainable food 
  6. Supporting Council services, residents and businesses to adapt to the impacts of climate change 

The council has set an ambitious target in its new Carbon Management Plan to deliver Objective 1 of the strategy and reduce the Council’s direct carbon emissions from its corporate buildings, fleet vehicles and business travel to net zero by 2030. 

Through its previous Carbon Management Plans, the council has implemented 66 carbon reduction projects to date.  

This includes installing solar PV panels at 11 of its major buildings (including the Guildhall, Mandela House, Waterbeach Depot, three swimming pools and the Crematorium), LED lighting at 10 major buildings, a solar thermal system at Abbey Pool, and a comprehensive package of heating improvements and energy efficiency measures at the Guildhall.  

The council has also purchased 12 electric fleet vehicles and an electric refuse vehicle replacing other vehicles with fuel efficient models at the end of their lifespan. At the end of August, Cambridge is hosting the Zero Carbon Bus, a 100% electric bus which is on a UK tour, at an event open to all local businesses offering further ideas for reducing their carbon footprint.   

Cambridgeshire’s Chamber of Commerce is also supporting local businesses and offering advice through the British Chambers’ new Net Zero Hub

The council also looks forward to the full report of the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Independent Commission on Climate in the Autumn and taking action together with partners across the county. 

There are lots of things Cambridge residents and businesses can do to reduce their carbon footprints and help tackle climate change at home and at work:   

  • Sign the Cambridge Climate Change Charter, an online tool developed for the Council by Cambridge Carbon Footprint to help residents and businesses take more action to help tackle the climate emergency. Visit www.cambridgecarbonfootprint.org/charter and use the carbon footprint calculator to help chart the environmental impact of your household or organisation. The Charter captures the variety of actions that can be pledged and by becoming a signatory, individuals, businesses and organisations can contribute to the vision of a net zero carbon Cambridge by 2030. The Charter also provides practical advice and information, online and through webinars, on how individuals and businesses can reduce their emissions with links to further sources of information. 
  • Reduce the energy you consume in your home by making sure that it is insulated and you use your heating system’s controls efficiently.  
  • Reduce the impact of your travel by walking or cycling more often, joining an electric car club or car pool for when you need to use a car 
  • Reduce your consumption of resources by repairing and re-use items instead of buying new, and reducing your water consumption  
  • Reduce food-related emissions by buying more locally sourced food and less red meat and using up your leftovers 

Cllr Rosy Moore, Executive Councillor for Climate Change, Environment and City Centre: “The IPCC report shows in stark terms that we must continue to act swiftly and decisively to try and halt the catastrophic effects of climate change, which we are already seeing around the world and which will affect all of us.

“As a council we have invested over £1.4m in a range of measures which have contributed to the council’s own carbon emissions being reduced by over 25% since 2015. But we know we can and must do even more, and I call upon everyone in Cambridge - individuals, businesses and organisations large and small – to work together towards becoming a net zero city and a more sustainable future for the planet.”