What is the climate emergency?
In July 2019, we declared a climate emergency. We are committed towards:
- Ensuring the Council is carbon neutral by 2030
- Creating a Richmond that is low carbon and sustainable
- Working with communities to encourage action on climate change
- Achieving our target of a Net Zero Borough by 2043
The climate is the long-term weather patterns across the world or a region. Climate change means these patterns are changing, leading to warming global temperatures and making extreme weather (like floods, cold spells, drought, heatwaves and extreme wind) more likely.
It is caused by many things, including the Earth’s natural cycle, but human activity is making the situation worse by increasing the amount of greenhouse gases (like carbon dioxide and methane) in the Earth’s atmosphere.
Some of the main contributors are:
- Burning fossil fuels to provide energy for transport, heating, and manufacturing
- Deforestation and removing forests prevents trees from absorbing more carbon dioxide, and if the trees are burnt releases the carbon dioxide they have stored
- Agriculture and rearing animals also releases greenhouses gasses. In fact, livestock produce methane which is 30 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide!
Each of these emits greenhouse gases that trap more and more heat in the atmosphere as they build up, which in turn affects the climate.
Here in the UK, climate change will increase temperatures and make extreme weather, including flooding and drought, more likely. It will directly affect people’s lives and have a big impact on local wildlife.
Humans have caused climate change, but humans have the power to curb it too. This gives each and every one of us the power to be part of the solution in responding to the Climate Emergency.
There is a global consensus that we must take urgent action to tackle climate change before irreparable damage is done to our environment, which would have huge knock-on impacts for society and for the other species with which we share the planet. In 2018, a United Nations report concluded that we need to act now to not miss the opportunity to prevent the worst effects of climate change and this was re-affirmed during COP26 held in Glasgow in 2021.
Up to: Climate Emergency
Updated: 15 September 2023