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Mapping the way to net zero

Opinion | By Alana Sinclair, manager, Cambridge Carbon Footprint

The Cambridge Climate Map launch. Picture: Carbon Carbon Footprint (58017341)
The Cambridge Climate Map launch. Picture: Carbon Carbon Footprint (58017341)

At the end of June the Climate Change Committee published its annual Net Zero Progress Report, which highlighted a huge gap between ambition and action in UK climate policy.

Its message was clear: the government has a solid framework to get to net zero by 2050 but needs to get on with making tangible progress.

At Cambridge Carbon Footprint, we make a point of collecting case studies of positive and tangible action, and there are plenty to be found if you go looking. For example, the University of Cambridge catering service has managed to save 500 tonnes of CO2 a year and slashed their emissions by a third by increasing plant-based options on their menus, removing unsustainable fish and working to cut their food waste. They’ve even managed a two per cent increase in profit despite increased food costs.

The Cambridge Climate Map launch. Picture: Carbon Carbon Footprint (58017349)
The Cambridge Climate Map launch. Picture: Carbon Carbon Footprint (58017349)

Cambridge City Council has been tackling its emissions too. It’s installed air source heat pumps, solar panels and other energy and carbon saving measures at council pools. These measures have saved another 500 tonnes of CO2 per year and reduced the council’s overall carbon emissions by an estimated nine per cent. And there are plenty of people installing energy saving measures in their homes too. Our Open Eco Homes case study archive is full of stories of families and individuals who have retrofitted their homes for energy efficiency and the environment.

We need to hold our politicians to account and keep the pressure on them to enact policies which will bridge the gap to our net zero ambition and put us on the pathway to a more sustainable future, with cleaner energy and better jobs. But we also don’t need to wait for them.

The CCC report highlighted the role of individuals in the net zero effort. It estimates that around 60 per cent of emissions abatement before 2035 is reliant on consumer choices, and they point out that individuals can support the move to net zero in the additional roles they have in society. For example, small business owners might change how they light their building, reducing emissions, saving money and possibly improving the quality of the indoor environment at the same time.

The map is available at Full Circle (58017353)
The map is available at Full Circle (58017353)

If you’re worried about climate change and wanting to get a head start on the government, pick up a copy of the new Cambridge Climate Map.

It’s a free guide to climate action for families and individuals, featuring local suppliers and resources. And if you want to join the community of people inspiring our climate case studies, make sure you sign the Cambridge Climate Change Charter. It’s a way to publicly share your commitment to climate action, which might also help you see your changes through.

The Cambridge Climate Map is available for free at Full Circle or Radmore Farm Shop, or downloadable at cambridgecarbonfootprint.org/map.

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