Climate change is the greatest threat the world faces today. The impacts of this rapid and profound change are likely to include more frequent extreme weather events like floods and drought, and increase global instability, conflict, public health-related deaths and migration of people to levels beyond any of our recent experience. For the UK in particular, the heat waves, droughts, and floods seen over the last decade are likely to become much more regular events.
In 2007, Westminster City Council developed a Carbon Management Strategy as part of its broader Go Green agenda under the guidance of the Carbon Trust’s Local Authority Carbon Management (LACM) programme. This Strategy was described as the first step towards developing a systematic approach to reducing emissions from the Council’s operations, and produced the first overall picture of the organisation’s carbon impact, while pledging to reduce its emissions by 20% in 2020.
Two years on, and the Council has already succeeded in reducing the carbon footprint of its corporate operations by over 14%, down from 21,044 to 18,034 tCO2. Having achieved this, Westminster has stepped up its commitment, pledging that it will become Carbon Neutral in 2012.
To achieve this, an updated Strategy has been developed that will see the Council reduce its net carbon emissions to zero by July 2012, through reducing energy demand in its corporate property, street lighting and vehicle fleet, procuring energy from low- or zero-carbon sources, and then if necessary offsetting the residual emissions. This ambitious goal will see the Council fulfil its central government requirements for carbon emission reductions, while holding itself to an even higher standard by putting a price on carbon and driving down emissions as quickly as possible.
In addition to the Carbon Neutral goal, the updated Strategy also includes programmes of work for reducing emissions from schools and engaging with the Council’s supply chain, in order to ensure that the Council develops ways to manage emissions in all areas associated with its provision of services to the City.
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