Yorkshire-wide approach to carbon reduction needed

17th September 2020 - 14:19

Carbon emissions from Yorkshire and Humber have fallen by well over a third and are projected to halve by 2050, a new report from the Place-Based Climate Action Network (PCAN) reveals. 
A summary carbon roadmap report for Yorkshire and the Humber, published today, shows that despite the reductions – brought about largely by national decarbonisation of electricity – the region still has much to do to stay within its share of the global carbon budget and reduce dangerous climate change. 
The PCAN team demonstrate that, by immediately employing a range of economically positive solutions, Yorkshire and the Humber could tackle recovery from Covid-19 and help to “close the gap”. The measures would save £2.6 billion a year on the region’s total energy bill and create nearly 35,000 years of additional employment.  
Over 130 energy-saving options have been identified, requiring a total investment of £16.5 bn. The measures would pay for themselves within seven years, generating billions of savings annually thereafter. They include improved heating, lighting and insulation in houses, cooling and insulation in offices, shops and restaurants and wider up take of electric vehicles.  
Further significant carbon savings could be made through by adopting options that already available but that may not pay for themselves directly through the energy they save. Many of these options would also generate indirect benefits such as reduced traffic congestion and air pollution and improved public health.  
The combined measures still fall well short of achieving science-based targets to remain within a global temperature rise of 1.5C, the ambition set out in the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The PCAN team, led by Prof Andy Gouldson at the University of Leeds, are recommending that a regional net-zero climate commission be established to identify and drive forward more innovative options to help Yorkshire and the Humber achieve a net zero target.  
Professor Gouldson said: “Dividing the global carbon budget up by population gives Yorkshire and Humber a total carbon budget of 244 million tonnes from 2020. Based only on the fuel and electricity used within its boundaries, Yorkshire and Humber currently emits around 47 million tonnes of carbon a year, meaning that it things continue as they are, it will use up its carbon budget in just over 5 years. 
“However, the science shows us that, to stay on track, Yorkshire and Humber needs to make the majority of all carbon cuts in the next ten years. The need for a joined up, pan-Yorkshire approach to tackling this couldn’t be more urgent or necessary. The benefits of doing so will protect our economy, our health, our environment and our climate and make us more resilient for the challenges ahead.”