New report sets climate ‘budgets’ for West Norfolk

New report sets climate ‘budgets’ for West Norfolk

A report released this month has outlined climate change targets including reductions in carbon dioxide emissions for King’s Lynn and West Norfolk to meet over the next 71 years.

The report has been published by the University of Manchester’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and is titled ‘Setting Climate Commitments for King’s Lynn and West Norfolk’.

The targets they have set for the area reflect the commitments in the United Nations Paris Agreement. They have outlined three recommendations:

1) To stay within a maximum cumulative carbon dioxide emissions budget of 8.0 million tonnes (MtCO2) for the period of 2020 to 2100. They add that if CO2 levels from 2017 remained the same, West Norfolk would use this entire budget within seven years from 2020.

2) Initiate an immediate programme of CO2 mitigation to deliver cuts in emissions averaging a minimum of -13.6% per year. “These annual reductions in emissions require national and local action, and could be part of a wider collaboration with other local authorities,” the report adds.

3) Reach zero or near zero carbon no later than 2041, with the report providing an indicative CO2 reduction pathway that stays within the recommended maximum carbon budget of 8.0 MtCO2. “At 2041 5% of the budget remains. This represents very low levels of residual CO2 emissions by this time, or the Authority may opt to forgo these residual emissions and cut emissions to zero at this point,” the report states.

    “The recommended energy only CO2 carbon budget for the King’s Lynn and West Norfolk area for the period of 2020 to 2100 is 8.0 MtCO2."

    They state that Land Use, Land Use of Change and Forestry (LULUCF), which consist of both emissions and removals of CO2 from land and forests, be monitored separately from the energy-only carbon budgets provided in their report, and for West Norfolk to align with the Committee on Climate Change’s ambition to plant more trees, forestry yield improvements and forestry management.

    The report also identifies the importance of non-CO2 gases (for instance, methane and nitrous oxide) and assumes a significant reduction in rate of these over time for which West Norfolk should take action to reduce these emissions.

    In conclusion, the report establishes:

    “For Kings Lynn and West Norfolk to make its fair contribution to delivering the Paris Agreement’s commitment to staying “well below 2°C and pursuing 1.5°C” global temperature rise, then an immediate and rapid programme of decarbonisation is needed.”

    “To stay within the recommended carbon budget King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, will, from 2020 onwards, need to achieve average mitigation rates of CO2 from energy of around -13.6% per year. This will require that King’s Lynn and West Norfolk rapidly transitions away from unabated fossil fuel use.”

    They also recommend that they seriously consider ways of significantly reducing emissions from aviation and shipping

    “It is recommended that King’s Lynn and West Norfolk promote the deployment of low carbon electricity generation within the region and where possible influence national policy on this issue,” they add.

    The report comes just before the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk will discuss whether to declare a climate emergency at a meeting on 17th October.

    The report can be read in full here.

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