Tackling climate change
In February 2019, Hastings Borough Council declared a climate emergency and committed to preparing a report, outlining how to reduce carbon emissions and work towards becoming carbon neutral by 2030.
What's the difference between zero carbon and carbon neutral?
Zero carbon means that no carbon emissions are being produced from a product or service e.g. zero-carbon electricity could be provided by a 100% renewable energy supplier.
Carbon neutral means that while some emissions are still being generated by a building/ process these emissions are being offset somewhere else making the overall new emissions zero.
Tackling climate change as a priority
Tackling climate change is a key priority for the council, as set out in our corporate plan. We know we must act now to start making a difference for future generations. We all have a responsibility to tackle climate change and encourage sustainability.
Current financial and regulatory frameworks put limits on what we can do. This is why tackling climate change needs to be a collective effort. We will work with partners, businesses and residents to take action. We will lobby central government to significantly increase powers to drive significant change locally, and for greater intervention by central government to reduce climate change.
As we have outlined, it will not be easy, 2030 is an extremely challenging target, and may prove impossible; however, that does not mean we should back away from the challenge or ambition to start this journey now. Our plan provides an outline road map for carbon neutrality a full 20 years ahead of the Government's target of 2050.
It's an ambitious target but as one of the first councils in the country to declare a climate and biodiversity emergency, we believe we should be leading the way to support the town's residents, visitors and those who work here to cut greenhouse gas emissions from the whole town as close to zero as possible.
We are not alone. The science is now building a string consensus of the need for action. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report on Global Warming, published in October 2018, describes the enormous harm that a 2°C rise is likely to cause compared to a 1.5 °C rise. The report went on to say that limiting global warming to 1.5°C may still be possible with ambitious action from national and sub-national authorities, civil society, the private sector, indigenous peoples and local communities. We are currently experiencing the impacts of approximately 1°C warming.
Since this declaration, we have seen growing public support for environmental action including the Youth Strike 4 Climate Action marches.
We're already seeing the consequences of climate change in the borough and around the world. Together we can make a difference if we act now.
Our strategy and action plan
You can download the Climate Emergency Strategy and Action Plan here and read more about what the council is doing.
The current action plan is our first step. Our response to the Climate Emergency will be an ongoing conversation with organisations, businesses and residents within Hastings and beyond, continuing to engage and learn as new challenge and new opportunities arise. In addition, we will continue to lobby central government to significantly increase powers to drive significant change locally, and for greater intervention by central government to reduce climate change and reduce dependency on unsustainable energy sources. We recognise that to achieve our ambition, Hastings not only needs action locally but form the Government and the wider world.
There are actions that we can and will take to limit our own use of unsustainable energy sources and encourage others to do the same. This is, however, limited by available resources and the scale of government cuts that the council is having to cope with. Hastings Borough Council is committed to taking a firm lead on this and we want to achieve a carbon neutral Hastings.
The strategy is a town wide ambition, we want to create a shared vision which is not owned by any single organisation.
The strategy considers the direct sources of emissions from our use of energy in the town that are responsible for climate change. It does not consider the indirect source of emissions from our businesses and residents caused by the things we buy form around the world.
The strategy is a starting point and considers some of the ways to reduce the towns direct emissions. The strategy also seeks to work with partners to prepare for the impacts of climate change and adapt to extreme weather events as a result of climate change, which are expected to increase in the future.
Tackling climate change