A Climate Action Plan (CAP) is currently being prepared to set out the steps we will take in East Dunbartonshire to support the Scottish Government's ambitious targets to secure a 75% reduction in carbon emissions (compared to 1990) by 2030, and to achieve net zero emissions by 2045, as set out in Scotland’s 2018-2032 Climate Change Plan Update. We propose to set a net-zero target for East Dunbartonshire, along with interim 'milestone' targets towards its achievement.
The CAP will build on the considerable progress the Council has already made in reducing our own carbon footprint in line with our Carbon Management Plan 2015-20. As set out in our fifth annual report on progress, the Council’s own corporate carbon emissions have already fallen 44% between 2012-13 and 2019-20. Work is under way to deliver a range of actions - contained in the Sustainability & Climate Change Framework Action Plan, which was approved by Council in December 2019 - to tackle climate change and fulfil our sustainability ambitions.
Efforts to reduce carbon emissions at an area-wide level are also being pursued through a range of Council strategies, including the Local Housing Strategy, Local Transport Strategy, Local Development Plan 2 and Economic Recovery Plan. A range of other work - including the delivery of our Flood Risk Management Plan, which is vital in responding to the increasing and intensifying rainfall experienced as a result of climate change - is important to help increase our resilience as weather patterns change.
The Council is also a partner in the preparation of the emerging Glasgow City Region Climate Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan. A full update on the Council’s recent climate change achievements is available in our fifth annual climate change report to the Scottish Government.
Stage 1 of the ‘Climate Conversation’, which ran from 8 March – 2 May 2021, was the first stage in preparing the CAP. It consisted of online surveys and events throughout the consultation period, which allowed the Council to seek local public opinion on climate change and related issues, and to discuss potential actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve our resilience to the accelerating impacts of climate change. It also provided an opportunity to consider the action that needs to be taken within the context of a green recovery from the economic and social impacts of the pandemic. Contributions to Stage 1 of the Climate Conversation are currently being analysed for inclusion in the emerging CAP.
We are also commencing work during 2021 on new strategies that will support the objectives of the CAP: the Open Space Strategy; Circular Economy Strategy; and Active Travel Strategy. Comments received during stage 1 of the Climate Conversation will be fed into the preparation of these strategies and further comments will be welcomed during the formal consultation stage for each document. Consultation on the new Active Travel Strategy takes place from 11 May until 28 September 2021. This document, which will be aligned to the ambitions and direction of the CAP, will focus on making journeys by physically-active means such as walking, cycling or wheeling (including travel by wheelchair). Through the Active Travel Discussion, people are being offered the chance to put their ideas in motion. You can join the discussion by using the interactive Ideas Map on our website to add your own suggestions of improvements that could be made. Online discussion sessions have also been organised and the first block of meetings are being held in May/June. Further information on the discussion including details of the online sessions and registration instructions can be found on the Active Travel Discussion homepage.
Advice on how you can reduce your carbon footprint is available on the Climate Change Resources webpage.
If it's an emergency, do we have time to act?
We do have time, albeit not much. The world's leading climate scientists warned in 2018 that there were only a dozen years left for global warming to be kept in check. So, time is tight, but we do have an opportunity to make a difference and it is crucial that we make the most of it.
If we act but other countries don't, are our efforts wasted?
There are various reasons for us to take action regardless. If we lead by example, we can demonstrate our success to others and encourage them to follow our lead. The actions we can take also have additional benefits, including short-term ones. While our influence on other countries may be limited, we can have confidence in international processes like the this year's UN Climate Change Convention of the Parties (COP26), which will bring decision-makers from around the world together in Glasgow to agree on ways to work together on this shared global challenge.
What actions should we prioritise?
Opportunities for action will vary depending on various factors including where you live, what your current lifestyle is like, etc. No action is insignificant, but it's useful to know what the big greenhouse gas emission sources are - in Scotland, transport is the largest contributor (12.9%), followed by businesses (8.4%) and agriculture (7.5%). Energy supply and residential emissions are other key sources.
How will we know what others in East Dunbartonshire are doing to support our efforts?
The action required to tackle climate change is wide and varied. While it will be difficult to collate and share details of all relevant developments, through the emerging Climate Action Plan the Council will aim to share key information about what's happening across the area and the impact that this is having on emissions.