What is climate change?
Climate change is a major and long-term shift in the earth's weather patterns (such as rainfall). While there are many natural factors that affect the climate, scientists agree that human activity is the dominant cause of climate change we are seeing now.
By burning fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas), using intensive farming techniques, and destroying large areas of forest, we are causing a rapid rise in heat-trapping gases called greenhouse gasses (GHGs), such as carbon dioxide (CO2), in the atmosphere. GHGs in our atmosphere are now higher than they have been at any point in at least the last 800,000 years. This has caused the earth to warm up, affecting global weather patterns and sea levels.
You might increasingly see the terms 'Climate Crisis', ‘Climate and Ecological Crisis’, or 'Climate Emergency' used by campaigners instead. This is to better reflect the urgency of the situation and actions needed.
Why does climate change matter?
Climate change will mean significant changes to the way we live. The earth is already approximately 1°C hotter than before the Industrial Revolution. While it may seem slow from a human perspective, the climate is responding and will continue to respond for many years to come. As well as rising sea levels, we can expect to see more extreme weather events such as droughts, gales, floods, and heatwaves.
This may affect us directly by damaging our homes or affecting our health. But it will also mean loss of crops globally and reduction in food supply, damage to the natural world, and increase in political uncertainty around the world.
By making changes in our everyday lives, we can help prevent the situation from getting any worse and manage the effects that have already begun.
What can we do?
The good news is there is lots we can do to tackle climate change from using less energy and recycling more to lobbying governments to do more on a national and global level.
We can respond to climate change in two main ways:
What are the council doing?
The council is taking this problem very seriously and declared a climate emergency in July 2019. We aim to become a carbon neutral organisation by 2030 and a carbon neutral borough by 2050.
Climate Change represents one of the biggest challenges we will face, not just locally but worldwide. We will all need to work together.
The council’s climate change action plan includes thirty-nine specific, measurable actions that we will be taking before 2023 to:
- transform council activities,
- lead on a wider programme of borough decarbonisation,
- communicate the urgent need for change, and
- engage with partners to get us all on the right track.
Specific actions include:
- improvements to insulation in council-owned social housing,
- support for local businesses and community organisations,
- and employment of a council Climate Change Officer.
The action plan is a working document and will be updated over time to make sure that we are doing everything we can to meet our carbon neutral goals.
In this short video, Councillor Amanda Serjeant Deputy Leader of Chesterfield Borough Council, explains why we should all care about climate change and the progress we have made against our action plan two years after declaring a Climate Emergency. Amanda also talks about more we can do as a community to achieve our aim of being a carbon neutral borough and the choices we can all make to reduce carbon emissions.
You can download a copy of the Action plan through the February 2020 Council agenda.
If you have specific questions you can contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.