What is the evidence for climate change and the environmental emergency?
“Scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal,” that’s the verdict from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that climate heating trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities. Most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position. NASA’s website has lots of resources to help us better understand the climate crisis, while these charts from the Guardian offer a useful visual aid.
At the same time, scientists are warning that one million species are at risk of extinction due to the decline of Earth’s natural life-support systems. “We are eroding the very foundations of economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide,” says Robert Watson, the chair of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (Ibpes).
How will the climate crisis affect Eastleigh?
The changing climate is already having impacts on the Borough.
Season have started earlier and scientists have recorded data indicating the most recent decade (2008-2017) has been on average 0.3 °C warmer than the 1981-2010 average, and 0.8 °C warmer than between 1961-1990.
Nine of the top ten warmest years in the UK have occurred since 2002 and all of the top ten have occurred since 1990.
Additionally, the most recent decade (2008-2017) has had 5% fewer days of air frost and 9% fewer days of ground frost, compared to the 1981-2010 average, and 15% / 14% fewer compared to 1961-1990.
Climate change will increase the severity, depth and regularity of flooding. This is due to the increasing intensity of rainfall, sea level rise and storm surges. Flooding can damage not only homes and businesses, but also infrastructure such as power, transport and telecommunications.
Hotter summers will lead to increased heat stress, particularly for vulnerable members of the community, such as the elderly.
The UK Government recognises that “climate change will present significant risks to the availability and supply of food in the UK.”
What has Eastleigh Borough Council pledged to do?
Eastleigh Borough Council has declared a climate change and environmental emergency. The declaration sets out our aim to be carbon neutral by 2025 and to support communities and businesses across the Borough to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.
How much CO2 can Eastleigh Borough safely release?
To stay within the targets set out in the Paris Climate Change Agreement, Eastleigh Borough has a carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions budget of 3.8 million tonnes (MtCO2) that it can use between 2020 to 2100.
But if Eastleigh carries on releasing CO2 emissions at the levels it did in 2017, it will use the entire 80 year CO2 budget within just seven years.
The Paris Climate Change Agreement target sets out to keep global temperature rises “well below 2°C and pursuing 1.5°C.” above pre-industrial levels. The target is important because research suggests going past 1.5C of warming risks the liveability of the planet, through increased droughts, floods and extreme heat.
The carbon budget of 3.8 MtCO2 for Eastleigh comes from a report by the University of Manchester and the Tyndall Centre. The UK budget to meet the Paris Agreement has been split between regions to arrive at the figure. It doesn’t include emissions from aviation and shipping and non-CO2 emissions aren’t included.
To stay within the recommended carbon budget Eastleigh will, from 2020 onwards, need to achieve average mitigation rates of CO2 from energy of around -13.4% each year.
Can individual residents really make a difference?
Around a third of Eastleigh Borough’s carbon emissions come from the lifestyles of our residents. That means each of us can play our part in tackling the climate crisis, by making changes to our daily lives. We can also have a big impact on improving our local environment for wildlife.
You can find out more about what you can do or pledge to make positive changes now.
Make a difference
Pledge to do what you can to tackle the climate and environmental crisis.