What is Climate Change?
Climate change is a reality. Over the course of the last 250 years, our actions have increased carbon dioxide emissions by more than 30%, resulting in higher temperatures and changing the world we live in. Without taking action now, the impact will be devastating.
In response to the challenges facing not only the UK, in June 2019 we passed a motion to declare a climate emergency and, accordingly, committed us to taking a lead in achieving Carbon Neutral status.
“Gravesham Borough Council with this motion declares we have a climate emergency and we will begin to take action to prepare for the borough to become carbon neutral by 2030”
In the global context of long term climate change, this motion represents a small step but it is acknowledged that we have a social responsibility to improve the lives of local residents wherever possible and should therefore take a lead in the borough; taking action to reduce carbon emissions will also help make Gravesham a cleaner and more pleasant place to live in the short term.
Councils have a key role to play in creating and facilitating low carbon communities and supporting the national commitment to tackle climate change and we take this role very seriously. In addressing this key area, we have committed resources, both financial and human resources, to tackle climate change head on.
For Gravesham, carbon neutrality means the complete reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and does not include other emissions such as nitrous oxide (N2O) and methane (CH4).
The term Climate Change refers to a large-scale, long-term shift in the planet's weather patterns and average temperatures [The Met Office, 2020]. Over the past 200 years, the levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases released into the air has increased, causing a rise in global temperatures which has, and is continuing to, result in long-term changes to the global climate.
The 2015 Paris Agreement commits all nations to undertake ambitious efforts to keep global temperature rise this century to well below 2oc and to pursue efforts to limit warming to 1.5◦c. As a result of signing the Paris Agreement, and recognising the need to do more, the UK Government set an ambitious target in June 2019 to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions from across the UK economy by 2050.
More information can be found on the GOV.UK website.