Climate Commission calls for fairness and equity in tackling the impacts of climate change
Commissioners from the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Independent Commission on Climate came together today (18 October) to share their full recommendations report to help Cambridgeshire and Peterborough respond to the ongoing challenges the region faces because of climate change.
This second report builds on the 31 initial recommendations presented in its interim report, which was shared back in March 2021, and places additional focus on adapting to climate risks, nature and water, business and a fair and inclusive transition for individuals and communities. It also considers findings and principles developed from their conversations with the public and community groups.
The report highlights the need for transformation at a national government, local government, local community, business, and individual level from a financial and people-based perspective if the region is to mitigate against the impacts of a changing climate and prepare for hotter summers, intense storms which could lead to flooding, and the potential interruption to the supply of goods from across the world as well as from our region.
The Commission has once again raised the urgent need to reduce Cambridgeshire and Peterborough’s greenhouse gas emissions, which are almost 25% higher per person than the UK average, and to warn that the regions ‘allowed’ share of emissions to 2050 could be exhausted within as little as six years if no action is taken.
The report recognises that the transition must be delivered in a way that is fair, is good for nature and the environment around us, and doesn’t leave marginalised communities behind.
To allow action to be effective, it needs to be taken forward in a way that people feel is fair and just. The region’s communities are keen to engage and play their part. They want to see policies and information made clear and trustworthy to make their choices easier. This became apparent in the recent engagement panels and focus groups which developed 10 principles for a just transition.
Industrial, commercial, and public sector emissions across the region are slightly below the UK average in relation to the population. This can be attributed to the fact the area has relatively less energy-intensive industry. The report suggests an active approach to supporting businesses in the green economy. By developing net zero business links across the three economies within the region, as well as skills and training for net zero, this can help to rebalance the economy, reduce regional inequalities and contribute to a just transition.
At the same time, the report recognises the great potential for working with nature. By identifying and bringing forward nature-based schemes which provide more and better green space to protect wildlife and increase biodiversity. The outcome can also provide a positive result in the mitigation against changing weather patterns can help protect water resources and slow down surface water flooding and offer opportunities for farming to adapt their practices.
Baroness Brown, Chair of the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Independent Commission on Climate said:
“Our interim report highlighted that emissions in our area were significantly higher than the UK average, and that we face particularly high risks here from flooding, drought and high temperatures. 2021 has shown us, in the UK and globally, how fast the climate is changing and how devastating the impacts can be. Action is urgent and we are delighted that the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority has accepted all the recommendations in the interim report. This full report extends our recommendations, integrating the outcomes of extensive consultation with people and organisations in the region about how we can achieve change in a way that is fair and inclusive – delivering a just transition. It has been inspiring to hear the ideas and commitment to change from a wide range of local people. We can and must make significant changes in the region, to be successful, this must be done with people and not to people.’’
This full report will now be shared with Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority and its constituent councils for consideration and a response will be made in November 2021.
Dr Nik Johnson, Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough said:
“Once again Baroness Brown and the members of the Climate Change Commission have produced a full and frank report on the impact greenhouse gas emissions and our changing climate is having across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. I welcome this report and its recommendations. We will now digest the reports contents and in addition to the 31 recommendations the Combined Authority has already responded too, we will look how best to work with central government and our constituent councils to respond to these findings and recommendations.
“Focus on the impacts of Climate Change are at the front of everyone’s mind in the lead up to COP26 in Glasgow next month. How we engage fairly with our communities, encourage green skills and innovation are key questions that we as leaders need to ask so we can encourage green growth and just as importantly protect public health and wellbeing.
“It’s obvious to me that we need to take the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions seriously, and this seminal report helps with this green mapping, so we can take responsibility for the choices we make and lessen the impact climate change is having in our own backyard, on our lifestyle, our homes, at work and on our health.”