The consultation on the Interim Devon Carbon Plan closes on 15th February, writes John Watson. Please take the time to comment on the plan. In particular, tell the Devon Climate Emergency partnership (DCE) that a target date of 2050 for achieving carbon neutrality is much too late.
The plan, put together by a specialist task force set up by DCE, describes what has to be done to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050, and looks at the opportunities and challenges and what the costs will be.
Many of the changes proposed by the plan are far reaching, but they will improve our health and wellbeing as well as our environment, and make the world a safer place for our children and grandchildren by avoiding runaway climate change. There is little in the plan to disagree with.
My main concern is to bring the target date forward. If we aim for 2050, we will produce way too many emissions in the intervening years and make the task all but impossible. The plan has had to be based on the government’s 2050 target for net zero, but that target is likely to be made more ambitious. As many highly respected national and international scientific bodies have pointed out, we need to aim for net zero by 2030.
The Interim Devon Carbon Plan itself is supportive of an earlier target, and encourages “all Devon-based organisations to become net-zero by 2030, including their supply chains”. It also “strongly encourage[s] national government to bring forward the net-zero carbon date for the UK”.
It is perhaps not surprising that one of the questions in the consultation is about the target date, particularly as many of the local authorities collaborating under the DCE partnership have set target dates significantly earlier than 2050.
The task force that drew up the plan is composed of academics, business people and individuals. They have taken evidence from many sources so far and have consulted younger people via a youth parliament. In the lead up to the draft final plan later this year there will be a citizen’s assembly and further consultation.
The task force is a sub-group of the DCE, which is a partnership, established in May 2019, between local councils, environmental groups, health bodies, utility operators, and organisations such as the Met Office and the NFU.
I have already made my comments on the plan. I hope you will too. It’s an important opportunity for local residents to have a say in the future of their local area.