At the end of October 2021, leaders from the United Nations will gather at COP26 to discuss the urgent subject of climate change.
Hosted by the UK in Glasgow, world leaders will make their public commitments to drive positive environmental change. But what will we hear from the UK government, what can we expect, and what do we truly need to drive the agenda forward?
The key role of councils to reach net zero targets
COP26 will be eagerly anticipated by councils, 70%+ of which have declared a climate emergency.
Without action from councils, the government’s legally binding target to reach net zero cannot be met. Many councils already have a plan to address the climate crisis, but they urgently need the power and resource to scale up action.
More than half of the emissions cuts needed, rely on people and businesses to take up low-carbon solutions. Decisions that need to be made at a local level, will depend on having supporting infrastructure and systems in place.
Can central government do more to support local authorities?
Something much needed from central government is direction. So far, the role required of local authorities to help meet the country’s net zero carbon goals has not been clear.
Funding is also needed by local authorities to deliver upon their carbon reduction ambitions. Council budgets have fallen in recent years, which have been compounded with the impact of Covid.
4 key actions to enable councils to achieve their carbon goals
The Green Alliance and the Climate Change Committee (CCC) have recommended a central framework. This has been developed by local and national leaders and sets out what local government needs to do. It also supports them in their ability to deliver action.
The CCC have identified four key things needed by local authorities to play their part in delivering net zero carbon goals:
Framework: An agreed framework incorporating local and national climate action
Financing: Appropriate long-term financing to support local authorities
Flexibility: Local operational flexibility around how local areas address climate change
Facilitation: Coherent policy and powers for the facilitation of delivery
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