What is a climate emergency
Islington Council declared a climate emergency in June 2019, recognising the need to drastically reduce carbon emissions in the borough. A pledge was made to work towards being a net zero borough by 2030.
The burning of significant amounts of fossil fuels since the start of the industrial revolution has increased the concentration of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere. This has led to global temperatures increasing (around 0.8-1.2ºC to date), more extreme weather and rising sea levels, which threatens societies and ecosystems around the world.
A report by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) showed that keeping global warming below 1.5ºC would limit the damage to ecosystems and human health and wellbeing. The report noted that to achieve this objective, global carbon emissions should reach net zero by 2050, a target since adopted by the British government and the Mayor of London.
The IPCC report also stated that current commitments under the Paris Agreement for emissions reduction by 2030 were insufficient to limit warming to 1.5ºC, and that global emissions need to start reducing well before 2030. As a result, our climate emergency declaration committed us to working to achieve net zero by 2030, and to lobbying central and regional government to support us in achieving this goal.
Carbon emissions for each district in the UK are published annually by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The most recent data is from 2017. We previously had a target of reducing Islington’s carbon emissions by 40% between 2005 and 2020, and by 2017 we had achieved a 39.8% reduction, effectively reaching our target three years early. Taking into account a significant increase in our population, this was a 53% reduction in emissions per person, the twelfth highest reduction in the country. Further analysis of the most recent figures is available in this factsheet.
Net Zero Carbon Strategy consultation
Despite our achievements to date, we recognise there is still a significant amount of work to do to reach a net zero carbon Islington. The target has been embedded in our decision-making process, with all policy and procurement reports now having a mandatory section on how the decision in question will contribute to eliminating carbon emissions.
We want to hear opinions and ideas from as many people and organisations as possible and are consulting on our Vision 2030: Building a Net Zero Carbon Islington by 2030 from 27 March. The strategy sets out the proposed actions we will take to achieve net zero carbon by 2030.
You can tell us what you think of the strategy by completing our online survey which will be open from Friday 27 March 2020.
What you can do
We recognise that we cannot do this alone – the council contributes around 4% of the borough’s emissions, and achieving a net zero carbon borough needs every resident and local business to play their part. We will continue to enable and support residents and businesses to reduce their emissions, whilst also continuing our work to reduce fuel poverty and support SMEs.
Businesses and third sector organisations that are interested in reducing their emissions and improving their environmental performance can join the Islington Sustainable Energy Partnership, which is supported by the council.