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Carbon Bubble comes to Trafalgar Square to highlight impact of climate change

Carbon Bubble at Trafalgar Square

Carbon Bubble at Trafalgar Square

Published: 29 October 2021

Westminster City Council and PwC are working together to raise awareness of the urgent need to tackle climate change and reduce our carbon emissions, in the form of a giant Carbon Bubble in Trafalgar Square, ahead of the UK hosting the UN Climate Change Conference (also known as COP26) this November.

On Thursday 28 October 2021, the Council and PwC hosted the installation of an innovative Carbon Bubble at Trafalgar Square, which represents a tonne of carbon; the average person in the UK produced 5.3 tonnes of CO2 per year, with the average person in Westminster producing 7.3 tonnes of CO2 per year. In the UK, we emit around 1 million tonnes of CO2 every day, and over 2.2 million carbon emissions equivalent from Westminster each year.

The Bubble installation helps people visualise how their daily activities can impact emissions and make them think about how to reduce their carbon footprint.

Carbon Bubble at Trafalgar Square

Tackling climate change is the most pressing challenge of our generation, which is why Westminster City Council declared a climate emergency in 2019. The Council has committed to becoming net zero by 2030, with the aim of Westminster becoming a net zero city by 2040. The Council’s Greener and Cleaner agenda is at the heart of the City for All vision for Westminster.

The Council will be launching its very own Climate Action Plan next month, highlighting the wide range of initiatives proposed to reduce emissions, improve air quality, and create a sustainable future for the city, including:

  • decarbonising Council properties such as offices, libraries and leisure centres with new low-carbon heating, insulation and solar panels.
  • upgrading our social housing to improve energy efficiency and applying zero-carbon standards to all new developments, retrofitting social homes with the poorest energy performance up to EPC Band C.
  • introducing electric cleaning vehicles across the West End, converting all our residential waste vehicles to fully electric by 2022 and the remaining commercial fleet by 2025. 
  • installing LED lightbulbs across our streetlights which will reduce carbon emissions by 56%
  • providing more than 1,000 on-street electric vehicle chargers across Westminster, with another 500 chargers on the way by April 2022. Westminster has more on-street electric vehicle chargers than any other borough in the U.K.

Cllr Rachael Robathan, Leader of Westminster City Council said:

“The climate emergency is one of the greatest challenges faced by our generation and with the average person in Westminster producing 7.3 tonnes of CO2 per year, we must act now. We’re doing all we can in our commitment to cutting our carbon emissions and achieving net zero emissions by 2040 in our City. This carbon bubble installation really helps us to visualise the climate challenge – it’s just a tiny portion of our daily carbon emissions, but it is a stark reminder of the impact we can all have through our day-to-day activities.

“It’s so important for us to work together with our partners, and to encourage our residents, businesses and visitors to play their part. By encouraging people to make small changes and commit to a pledge, we can tackle the climate emergency and secure a Greener and Cleaner future for the next generation.”

Kevin Ellis, PwC UK Chairman & Senior Partner, said:

“Large cities like London are amongst the biggest emitters of carbon but this means they can play a massive role in cutting emissions.  As a business with offices in the capital, we have to play our part in changing behaviour. Raising awareness among employees, commuters, visitors and residents is crucial to achieve Net Zero emissions. We're headquartered in Westminster and are proud to work with Westminster City Council to do this. The carbon bubble may look light but its message is hard hitting.”

Ipsita Bhatia, Count Us In Partnerships Lead said:

“Count Us In’s mission is to inspire citizens around the world to take meaningful climate action in their daily lives. We all have a role to play – and together, we can protect what we love from climate change, before it’s too late. Westminster City Council is not only taking steps to invest in infrastructure and services for the health and wellbeing of its residents, but also inviting them to get involved and address the challenge. This is a wonderful example of how alone, our steps may seem small, but when we come together, we can add up to something bigger.”   

Alongside work to cut the Council’s own emissions and incentivise others to cut theirs across the borough, the Council has launched a new campaign calling on everyone who lives in, works in or visits Westminster to help tackle climate change.

Small changes such as walking and cycling more, reducing energy use, or cutting waste – can have a big impact if we all make them together. Working with our partners at Count Us In, we have identified the most effective steps people can take to reduce carbon pollution.

Join our campaign by making a pledge to cut your carbon emissions.

Find out more on what the Council is doing to tackle the climate emergency.