Monday, 23 October 2017

Locally Determined Contributions - the view of the UK Government

With Jenny Jones at Croftlands, Newsome in 2014
I asked my friend Jenny Jones (or Baroness Jones of Moulsecomb) if she would ask the following Parliamentary Question to the Government so I could test the waters on my Locally Determined Contributions proposal to get Local  and Regional Governments around the world to contribute emission reductions towards the Paris Climate goals.

This was the question:-

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will support the proposal by the EU Committee of the Regions to establish locally determined contributions and regionally determined contributions to the greenhouse gas emissions targets set by the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The response was very interesting

UK greenhouse gas emission targets under the EU framework and our domestic Climate Change Act cover the whole of the UK. Devolved Administrations and Local Authorities also already have their own emissions targets and ambitions, and with wider actors in the UK, have an important role to play in contributing to UK emissions reductions.

The reason the response  was interesting was because it just wasn't true. Local Councils don't have emission targets unfortunately and many are too busy dealing with the day to day job of delivering basic services with massive funding cuts to have higher ambitions on climate change. So as it wasn't true I thought it warranted another question.

 To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Prior of Brampton on 15 February (HL5165), what are the greenhouse gas emissions targets, broken down by local authority; and what assessment they have made of progress against each of those targets over the last seven years.

and the response

Local Authorities are not mandated to have greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets. However, many cities and places have set their own targets following the Paris Agreement. Over 30 places are members of international agreements such as the Covenant of Mayors and, within the UK, over 70 places have now signed up to UK100 with a political commitment to use 100% clean energy by 2050.
"Over 30 places" well there are 418 Principal Councils in the UK so  it is hardly a comprehensive list of Local Authorities that are signed up to the Covenant of Mayors and clearly the second answer from Lord Brampton contradicts his first answer. The UK 100 mentioned has a worthy aspiration but I doubt that many councils have any detailed plans about how they will actually acheive this. I'm guessing they will be hoping national strategies deliver this for them. My conclusion is that there is still a strong case for adopting Locally Determined Contributions in the UK and the Government would lose nothing by recognising that too. In fact it may help them acheive their Nationally Determined Contributions towards the Paris Climate Agreement.

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