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 2019. We previously had a target of reducing Islington’s carbon emissions by 40% between 2005 and 2020, and by 2019 we had achieved a 45% reduction, exceeding our 2020 target. Taking into account a significant increase in our population, this was a 58% reduction in emissions per person, the eleventh highest reduction in the country. Further analysis of the most recent figures is available in this factsheet (PDF).
What we are doing
In November 2020 the council adopted its Vision 2030 strategy, which sets out what is needed to achieve the net zero ambition and what we plan to do. The strategy is split into five main priorities; buildings, transport, sustainable and affordable energy supply, green economy and planning, and natural environment and waste, with action plans for each priority area.
To find out more about what we are doing, you can read our Annual Review which sets out all the activity we have undertaken since publishing the Vision 2030 strategy.
UK100 Net Zero Pledge
By signing the UK100 Net Zero pledge, the council has joined a group of ambitious councils who are working together to push for more funding and powers from Central Government which will enable them to go even further and faster in the journey to a net zero carbon future.
See the pledge document (PDF)
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 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
For residents and small businesses, the Solar Together scheme offers a simplified and cost effective way to have solar panels installed, while the Ecofurb scheme helps with wider retrofitting. 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.
Visit the Together Greener website for more information to help you reduce your emissions. Whether you are a resident in the borough or a local business, the website has resources to help you reduce your carbon emissions, energy use and waste.