Climate Change is an issue of huge significance for all communities and was formally recognised by the Isle of Wight Council when it signed the Nottingham Declaration on Climate Change in November 2007.
Eco Island, the sustainable community strategy, also recognises the importance of climate change. The Local Area Agreement includes two relevant indicators:
• National Indicator 188 – planning to adapt to climate change.
• National Indicator 186 – per capita reduction in CO2 emissions in the local authority area.
Climate is the average weather experienced over a long period and whilst this has changed in the past, we are now experiencing relatively rapid increases in the Earth’s surface temperatures. The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) states that:
• the Earth’s surface has warmed by about 0.754°C on average since around 1900 and by around 0.4°C since the 1970s.
• over 30 billion tonnes of CO2 are emitted globally each year by burning fossil fuels.
• atmospheric concentration of CO2 is now higher than at any time in at least the last 800,000 years.
• average global temperatures are likely to rise between 1.1°C and 6.4°C above 1990 levels by the end of this century.
Scientific evidence leaves no doubt that human activity is the main cause of the warming observed over the last 100 years, particularly over the last 50 years. The main human influence on global climate is the emission of so called greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and nitrous oxide.
Climate Change is inevitable and the extent of change is largely dependent on how quickly man-made carbon emissions can be reduced. It is therefore essential that local areas begin to understand the likely impacts of climate change and begin to plan for adaptation to that change.
The Island’s Local Area Agreement includes National Indicator (NI) 188 – Planning to Adapt to Climate Change.
NI defines ‘Levels’ of progress of a local area to:
• Access the risks and opportunities comprehensively across the area;
• Take action in any identified priority areas
• Develop an adaptation strategy and action plan setting out the risk assessment, where the priority areas are – where necessary in consultation and exhibiting leadership of local partners – what action is being taken to address these, and how risks will be continually assessed and monitored in the future; and
• Implement, assess and monitor the actions on an ongoing basis.
The Island’s baseline position was assessed in February 2008 as Level 0. The agreed targets in the LAA are:
• To complete Level 1 by March 2009
• To complete Level 2 by March 2010
• To complete Level 3 by March 2011
Reducing carbon emissions is essential to prevent even greater climate change and local action is likely to be critical to the achievement of the Government’s objectives.
The level of carbon emissions in a local authority area is reported under National Indicator (NI) 186. This indicator relies on data produced by the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) which measures end user CO2 emissions in the Local Area from:
• Business and Public Sector,
• Domestic housing, and
• Road transport
These emissions are divided by the local population to give per capita CO2 emissions.
The percentage reduction in CO2 per capita in each LA will be reported annually. The statistics for 2005 will be used as the baseline and at this time total Island emissions were 824,000 tonnes (t) or 6.0t per capita
In the Local Area Agreement, the Island has set a carbon reduction target of 12% over the period 2008 -11 (i.e. average reduction of 4% p.a.) which equates to 98,880 tonnes CO2. ‘National’ measures – e.g. improvements to building regulations, improved fuel efficiency of new cars etc – are expected to provide savings of 7% over this period, leaving a further 5% to be found locally. Local activity therefore needs to reduce carbon emissions by 41,200 tonnes from the 2005 baseline.
The production of energy from renewable sources – wind, tidal, hydro, solar, geothermal, waste - also has a major role to play in reducing carbon emissions. The ISP has an ambition for the Island to produce as much of its electricity as possible from renewable sources.
It is the intention of the Isle of Wight Council to publish a Climate Change Strategy during 2011 in response to its Nottingham Declaration on Climate Change commitments.
The Strategy will identify how the Island can respond to the Challenges of climate change and will include:
• Adaptation Action Plan
• Reducing Island carbon emissions
• Reducing Council carbon emissions (updated Carbon Management Plan)
If you would like to comment on Eco Island or would like more information, please email or visit the Eco Island contacts page.