Leeds can become a carbon neutral city, according to new report

Thursday April 11th, 2019

Leeds can become a carbon neutral city by 2050—and could potentially achieve the 2030 target in the climate emergency motion passed by councillors —according to a new “carbon roadmap” report published by the Leeds Climate Commission.Government Opportunities

The science-based roadmap report, produced by a team led by Andy Gouldson, Chair of the Leeds Climate Commission and Professor of Environmental Policy at the University of Leeds, sets out the emissions targets required for the city to become carbon neutral by 2050 in line with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC).
The Leeds Climate Commission carbon roadmap document shows that the highly ambitious 2030 target could potentially be achieved if behavioural actions that make a global contribution, specifically reducing almost all food waste and reducing meat and dairy consumption and steel and concrete by a third by 2030, are accounted for.

As well as making Leeds more sustainable, many of the proposed changes would help improve the health and wellbeing of residents by further reducing air pollution and encouraging active travel; whilst growing and strengthening the city’s economy for all through investments in energy efficient homes, renewable energy and future technologies.

The council has now committed to work with the Leeds Climate Commission to facilitate a citywide ‘conversation’ throughout the year with residents, trade unions, public sector organisations, businesses and the third sector to develop a plan with the actions and milestones required to reach these ambitious carbon reduction targets. The conversation will be launched at a ‘town hall’ style public event, the date of which will be announced soon.

However, the Leeds Climate Commission warns against underestimating the “broader challenges” that the city will be required to overcome and the “transformative action” needed for the city to become carbon neutral.

Andy Gouldson, Chair of Leeds Climate Commission, said:

“The good news is that it is technically, and to a large extent, economically possible for Leeds to become a carbon neutral city and meet the carbon reduction targets in line with the global targets set out by the United Nations.

“However, those measures will only take us so far. We need to go further and employ a range of innovative measures to close the gap – and if we step up to the challenge and do all of those, we could close that gap and get to zero by 2050.

“The council’s White Paper Motion is even more ambitious and wants the city to work towards being carbon neutral by 2030. We’ve demonstrated that if Leeds as a city is prepared to rethink the way we use energy, move around and consume some key products this could be doable.”

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