Leaders of Greater Manchester have set about tackling the growing threat of climate change through an ambitious plan to make the conurbation carbon neutral by 2038. The vision would see Greater Manchester become carbon neutral 12 years ahead of the government’s 2050 target.
“It’s bigger than any challenge, bigger than Brexit, the future of our planet,” – Andy Burnham (Mayor of Greater Manchester)
Greater Manchester as a county has been no stranger to the consequences of allowing climate change to go unchecked. You just have to look at the 2015 Boxing Day floods or the Saddleworth Moor wildfires last year to see just how important it is for the region to take positive action now.
How will they achieve this?
Initially, a five-year plan will be implemented to ensure urgent measures are put into place by councils, businesses and residents to make the goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2038 achievable. The plan includes reductions of CO2 emissions within homes, commercial and public buildings as well as reductions across the energy and transport sectors. Heat and energy demands of homes will be reduced by retrofitting 61,000 per year with improvements such as insulation, draught-proofing and LED lighting. New builds going forward will also have to ensure they meet a 20% renewable energy generation requirement1.
The long-term project will target a reduction to zero tailpipe emissions to 100% of cars and buses by 2035, as well as the number of charging points across the city region ‘increasing massively’ in an effort to make electric vehicles more viable.
Greater Manchester’s natural environment will be a big focus of the project with the aim of planting 3 million trees by 2035 and a further 1-2 million by 20501. Trees filter pollutant gases out of the air by trapping them in their leaves and bark, so not only will it help Greater Manchester meet its carbon neutrality ambition, but it will help resolve issues around air quality in the area. The launch of the ‘nature capital fund’ will enable more investment in tree planting activities which are one of the most cost effective and fastest ways of arresting the rise of atmospheric CO2 and global warming effects.
Speaking about the project, Mayor Andy Burnham said “This is a science-based target. We have got the evidence behind us and we are making that commitment today, knowing it’s achievable and we can do it.”
How to make a difference yourself
There are simple things we can all do. Brands and organisations can use Carbon Balanced Paper for their printed communications and office paper to reduce their carbon footprint and impact on climate change. The Carbon Balanced Paper scheme works in partnership with World Land Trust, an environmental conservation charity that protects the world’s most biologically significant habitats acre by acre.
Sir David Attenborough, patron of World Land Trust says, “World Land Trust (WLT) gives us all an opportunity to do our bit – to look at our actions, reduce the emissions as far as possible and then offset unavoidable emissions with WLT’s Carbon Balanced programme, which protects ‘locked up’ carbon in forest areas otherwise endangered by deforestation. It’s a way of putting back what we are taking away.”
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