Everyone in Exeter must work together to cut carbon emissions

Our climate is changing – that’s the fact that’s pretty hard to deny after this week’s record-breaking temperatures across the UK. How fast and how far our climate changes is down to how we cut carbon emissions and prioritise the battle against global warming.

That’s the message from Exeter’s Lead Councillor for Climate Change Cllr Duncan Wood, after the city’s ambition to become Net Zero Carbon by 2030 was highlighted in a new report.

The report presented to council from the University of Exeter analysed the greenhouse gas created within the city and the emissions we are most able to control together.

Cllr Wood said: “The report makes for some stark reading and highlights the significant scale and complexity faced by cities and councils across the country in bring emissions down.

“This is a global problem but decisions about the way we live, what we eat and how we travel can all make a difference. All of our lives are unique and the changes we can make are as unique.

“Even small changes can make a difference. I know Exeter has always been good at rising to a challenge and this is the time to work together to achieve the changes we need to see.”

He said businesses and agencies across Exeter will be doing their part, looking at the changes they need to make to the way they work to ensure they become carbon neutral.

The challenges involved in Exeter becoming Net Zero were discussed at full Council after the scale of the challenge was outlined by Exeter City Futures (ECF). ECF is collaborating with Exeter’s major institutions – including the City Council – on ways to deliver Exeter’s Net Zero 2030 ambition.

Cllr Wood said the record-breaking heatwave experienced this week must serve as a call to action for all of us.

“We know that carbon emissions are significantly contributing to global warming and against a background or gradually increasing averages this extreme heat and other weather events are likely to become much more common in the future with significant impacts,” he said.

“In Exeter we have set ourselves the target of becoming Net Zero Carbon by 2030 and this certainly won’t be easy. As the report highlights, it will need significant support and funding.

“The Government needs to step up and deliver – there has been a lot of talk but not much action. They need to fully resource the kind of significant changes that we need to make now as business, organisations and individuals.”

The report highlights that around 35 per cent of the carbon emissions in Exeter are from our homes and buildings.

Cllr Wood added: “The Council is playing its part in developing Passivhaus new buildings – which have exceptionally low energy use – like our new leisure centre St Sidwell’s Point, as well as new residential housing. But we can’t do it on our own.

“We will all need to look at the way we live, how we travel and how much energy we use. Reducing our emissions and making the city carbon neutral is going to take changes, and it is crucial we achieve this.”

He said the Council is backing the work of Exeter City Futures, who are bringing together all of the stakeholders and partners who can contribute to carbon reduction, including residents.

“The City Council is working incredibly hard bring down our carbon footprint and our emissions as an organisation, and to become New Zero carbon by 2030,” he said.

“We will continue to deliver on a wide range of projects and initiatives, like the use of solar power, electric vehicles and developing Passivhaus buildings, and I am confident that the Council will achieve its target.

“We are leading by example, but others will need to join and the Government will need to step up if the whole city is to become Net Zero by 2030.”

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