Sussex experts gather to discuss plans to reduce carbon emissions
Experts throughout Sussex have begun the vital and urgent work of drawing up plans to remove hundreds of thousands of tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere as part of the battle to prevent climate disaster.
Sustainability Officers from all local authorities across the county have met to co-ordinate efforts to bring their council’s own carbon emissions down but also encourage residents and businesses to do the same.
Many of the councils have already declared a climate emergency in their areas, a rallying call to become carbon neutral. Adur and Worthing Councils want to achieve this by 2030. They have already reduced carbon emissions by 30% between 2012 and 2019. Emissions of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) from industry and the production of energy help create the greenhouse effect which is warming the planet .
In their 2018 report UN experts warned the world has just 12 years to act to limit catastrophic runaway climate change which will expose millions to flooding, heatwaves, poverty, drought, food shortages, biodiversity loss and the collapse of economies.
The gathering of experts, usually Sustainability Officers charged with drawing up plans for carbon neutral programmes met at Worthing Town Hall.
Francesca Illife, Adur and Worthing Councils’ Sustainability Manager, said: "It was a really productive meeting. Obviously all the authorities are already getting on with their own efforts but we all know we have to work together for maximum effect.
"All councils across Sussex are in no doubt that human activity is largely responsible for climate change so it is human activity that has to change. We have to play our part."
The meeting recognised that there was now political and public support for the battle and was enthused that with the current spotlight on this agenda those in attendance could really make a difference. Officers agreed to work at speed in defining what emissions were to be cut and how they were to be measured. Another meeting is scheduled shortly at which progress will be reported.
Alongside Adur & Worthing Councils officers from, East Sussex County Council, West Sussex County Council, Brighton & Hove, Crawley, Mid Sussex, Arun, Horsham, Hastings, Wealden, Lewes & Eastbourne attended as did East Hampshire & Havant from across the county border.
Adur & Worthing Councils have declared climate emergency and committed to work towards being carbon neutral council by 2030. It has set up a Chief executives Climate Emergency Board and committed to more £700K to deliver carbon reduction projects across the council's estate. All projects will pay for themselves in a short timeframe.
Strong commitments have also been made by the Councils under their environmental programme, called Sustainable AW, to reduce carbon emissions. LED lighting upgrades have so far saved 98 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, while solar panels have saved 32 tonnes.