1. Why do we need to cut our carbon emissions?
2. What is our Council's carbon footprint?
3. How much do we need to reduce our carbon emissions by?
4. What is our Council doing to cut carbon emissions?
5. Are we on line to achieve our targets?
6. Won't carbon reduction require us to spend a lot of money?
7. Get Involved!!
a. Local Drivers
One of the six Council priorities is 'We will protect and sustain our environment'.
The first ambition under this heading in our Council's Single Outcome Agreement is 'We will be a carbon neutral region'
The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 sets out national targets for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, of
42% by 2020
80% by 2050
These are the most ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets in the world to date, meaning Scotland is a world leader in this field. Scottish Local Authorities have a duty to put plans in place to achieve these targets. Our Council's plan to reduce the carbon emissions associated with Council activity is the revised Carbon Management Plan (CMP2).
Energy prices have risen by 120% since 2003/4, and are predicted by Procurement Scotland to increase by 10% per year in the coming years. The graph below shows our Council's energy consumption and cost since 1997/98.
In addition to this, the energy we use to heat and provide electricity for our buildings across the region is subject to an annual 'carbon tax' through the UK wide Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC). At present this costs £12 per tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2) but is anticipated to rise to 30% by 2020. Based on current energy consumption our payment for 2011/12 will be approximately £360,000.
Increases in fuel costs mean the Council's fuel bill for fleet, plant and roads vehicles will increase in the coming years.
Landfill tax has already increased from £32 per tonne of waste in 2008/09 to the current rate of £56 per tonne, this cost will reach £80 per tonne by 2014/15.
d. Acting Against Climate Change
Climate change is said to be the single greatest threat to affect the present and future generations. The projected impacts extend far beyond dramatic sea level rise and changing weather systems to global food shortages, poverty and widespread civil unrest. Despite what is reported in the popular press, there is a consensus of opinion among scientists that the climate change we are experiencing is mainly man-made, caused by burning of fossil fuels to provide energy for industry, electricity and heating and to power motorized vehicles. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) made up of 200 scientists from around the world, the National Academies of Science which has representatives from 19 countries and the World Meteorological Organisation all agree with this.
Our Council's carbon footprint for 2008/9, upon which the revised Carbon Management Plan is based, is 64,318 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2E). The breakdown is shown below.
The footprint is made up of activities carried out by our Council, Police and Fire and Rescue Services. It includes the following:
Following the targets set out in the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009, in the revised Carbon Management Plan our Council pledges to reduce carbon emissions by
20% by 2014/15
42% by 2019/20.
Following this, further targets will be set to achieve the 80% reduction required by 2050 in the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009.
The revised Carbon Management Plan (CMP2) details a raft of projects and policies which reduce carbon emissions and help us achieve our targets.
a. Carbon Reducing Projects
b. Carbon Reducing Policies
c. Embedding Carbon Management Through Governance Changes
In addition, CMP2 outlines changes which will be made to our Council's governance structures to bring about an organizational shift in attitude to carbon management, a move essential if our carbon reduction targets are to be met. This broadly entails:
Our Council has the following carbon reduction targets to meet in order to comply with the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009
A 20% reduction by 2014/15
A 42% reduction by 2019/20
An 80% reduction by 2050
The revised Carbon Management Plan (CMP2) focuses on the first two of these. The carbon reduction potential of the projects listed in CMP2 has been calculated against then 2014/15 target. Overall, our Council is set to achieve 66% of the 2014/15 target. It is anticipated the shortfall will be made up with the following measures:
Achieving the 2014/15 target is the first step in hitting the long term carbon reductions required by the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 and in meeting our Council's priority of becoming a carbon neutral region.
We may have to make an initial outlay but the costs should be quickly recouped. Most carbon cutting measures have the added benefit of cutting costs too. An example is loft insulation. An initial spend is required to buy and install the insulation, but a saving will be made on the heating bill of the building as less heat is lost through the roof.
On a broader scale, the graph below illustrates the costs to our Council in two scenarios, the first the 'Business As Usual' (BAU) scenario if no carbon reductions are made, and the second if we hit our 2019/20 42% carbon reduction target. It can be seen in the carbon reduction scenario that costs still rise, with the rising costs of energy, fuel and landfill tax, but by 2019/20 we will have spent approximately £7m less by reducing carbon emissions than if we have taken no action.
Although the revised Carbon Management Plan (CMP2) applies mainly to Council activities, residents, organisations and businesses of Dumfries and Galloway can get underway with cutting their own carbon footprints, through which they can cut costs, by following the advice below.
Be energy vigilant. Switch off lights, domestic appliances and information technology equipment when not needed and at the end of the day. Try to keep your living and work spaces to a heated maximum of 21°C in winter*. A 1oC reduction in heating temperature can reduce your heating bills by 6 to 10%!
Householders are encouraged to prevent waste where you can such as by avoiding food waste. Reuse where possible and consider donating to local furniture reuse projects or charity shops. Householders can use local recycling points Recycling Points for items such as glass bottles and jars. The 11 Household Waste Recycling Centres Recycling Centres can be used by householders to take items such as waste electrical and electronic equipment, household batteries, wood, gas cylinders, scrap metal and cardboard. **
Taking a short journey of a mile or less? How about going on foot or cycling? Have you considered car sharing or taking public transport on your journey to work? These can provide a less costly alternative as petrol and diesel prices continue to rise.
*This advice is taken from World Health Organisation recommendations
**The carbon footprint in CMP2 includes all Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) and this includes waste from Council premises, household waste, street cleaning and commercial premises which use the Council's waste collection and disposal service. Therefore, reducing household and commercial waste will help contribute to the carbon emissions cuts required in CMP2.