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Mayoral Combined Authority unanimously approves independent Commission on Climate Change

29 November 2019

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In a unanimous vote, Mayor James Palmer received full backing from the Combined Authority Board to push forward with setting up an independent Commission on Climate Change.

The aim of the new Commission will be to make expert recommendations on how to decarbonise the economy, mitigate climate change, and adapt to its impact, within the context of the Mayoral Combined Authority’s ambition to see rising prosperity shared across the area.

To be set up on the model of the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough’s highly successful Independent Economic Review, the Commission will provide authoritative and joined-up recommendations on options and solutions available for the area. 

With a mandate to report within the next 12 months, the Commission will have a special eye on the effect of climate change across the unique terrain of the Fens and will be charged with identifying threats and opportunities and coming up with suggested actions and solutions.

As with the economic review, such an evidence base will offer a common understanding across Cambridgeshire & Peterborough and help the area collectively in its advocacy with central government, regulatory bodies, and national and multinational business decision-makers who can help the area meet its zero carbon ambition.

The Board approved the recruitment of the Chairman and members of the Commission and a budget of £125,000 to support its work. An independent expert group, led by Professor Ian Leslie, Cambridge University’s lead on environmental sustainability, has developed the proposal for the independent Commission’s scope reflected in the Terms of Reference agreed by the Board.  

The Commission, envisaged to comprise around 12 independent and non-political members, will commission its own research using budget provided by the Mayoral Combined Authority, and then make its report.

Its focus will be: 

  • taking stock of the area’s carbon footprint and progress towards reducing it;
  • recommending specific targets, where possible based on the science;
  • recommending micro level actions and ways of empowering individuals and firms to carry them out;
  • recommending macro level actions;
  • making recommendations about agriculture;
  • assessing and making recommendations about the risks and opportunities of climate change for the Fens;
  • examining the potential of the hydrogen economy;
  • assessing the implications of climate change for natural capital.

The Commission will have a management group of officers from the Combined Authority’s constituent councils, and a technical group of experts.