The impacts of climate change are becoming increasingly clear with Scotland’s ten hottest years having all occurred since 1997 despite record keeping beginning in Victorian times.
The urgency to act has been given even greater impetus by the fact that Scotland’s highest ever temperature of 35.1°C registered in July 2022.
Temperatures in Clackmannanshire in the same period included 32°C in Menstrie and 31°C in Alloa.
This fits into a wider global trend with nineteen of the twenty hottest years on record registering since the year 2000 despite records of global average temperatures beginning in 1880.
Climate change is caused by heat-trapping gasses, known as greenhouse gases, being released into the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels (such as coal, oil and gas) for energy generation, industry and transport.
These greenhouse gas emissions from human activity have led to significant heating in Earth’s climate with 2020 and 2016 registering as the joint hottest years since modern record keeping began in 1880.
The climate is becoming increasingly hostile to life as a result of our emissions.
Heatwaves, heavy precipitation, droughts and tropical cyclones has strengthened and climate change is already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe.
There has been an average 68% drop in mammal, bird, fish, reptile and amphibian populations since 1970.
Weather extremes in Scotland have also changed with our hottest days getting hotter and our wettest days getting wetter.
These increasingly extreme observed impacts are why immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are needed, alongside urgent actions to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
Almost 200 countries agreed to set targets to reduce their emissions in the Paris Agreement of 2015.
They also agreed to regularly meet to make the targets more ambitious including at the COP26 event in Glasgow in 2021.
Collectively members of the Paris Agreement are aiming to keep a rise in global average temperature below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to attempt to limit the overall increase to 1.5°C.
The UK Government has set a legally binding target to reach become carbon neutral (reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions) by 2050 while the Scottish Government has set a legally binding targets to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.
Clackmannanshire Council unanimously declared a climate emergency and recognised climate change as one of the most serious challenges facing communities here in Clackmannanshire and across the world.
The Council also brought forward its net zero targets to 2040 at the latest and set an area-wide target of net zero by 2045.
The new Interim Climate Change Strategy sets out a framework for achieving these targets and included ways of aligning major decisions, budgets and approaches to planning decisions with a shift to net zero greenhouse gas emissions.
Specific emission reduction opportunities have been allocated into six areas to aid the development of a thematically based Climate Emergency Action Plan:
The Council also recognises the need for the public to have a much more significant role in shaping collective future actions – particularly since the most severe impacts of climate change are likely to be felt by people who are at greater risks of poverty.
This is why the Council is establishing Climate Change Forums in each of the five ward areas of Clackmannanshire.
The Forums will allow young people, businesses and residents to meaningfully contribute to environmental targets in Clackmannanshire.
To register your interest or find out more contact email@example.com
It is well documented that benefits of strong, early action on climate change far outweigh the costs of not acting.
Or as the old adage goes, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.
Given the on-going cost of living crisis, with major increases in the cost of energy and petrol affecting residents and businesses in Clackmannanshire, net zero policies are becoming even more important.
Some specific benefits of net zero action for Clackmannanshire include:
In short, there are compelling economic, financial and health benefits to addressing climate change.
These benefits have led to hundreds of Councils around the UK setting net zero targets.
In the process of moving to net zero, Clackmannanshire will also aim to create thousands of new jobs and investment opportunities in renewable energy, recycling and the green economy.
Over the past 12 years the Council’s Energy and Sustainability team have secured over £18.5m in Government funding to improve the energy efficiency in homes resulting in an estimated emissions reduction of over 13,000 tonnes of CO₂e in annual savings or over 334,000 tonnes of CO₂e in estimated lifetime savings.
The Council’s Home Energy Advice Team provides support to low-income houses in fuel poverty by providing energy efficiency improvements, consolidating energy debt and accessing funding to help to alleviate the rising cost of living.
The team also holds surgeries and regular community-based events to engage residents.
The Housing Team has also undertaken significant work on housing quality standards, energy efficiency in social housing and the fuel poverty agenda.
This includes on-going work to make council-managed buildings more energy efficient and less dependent on fossil fuels and substantial retrofitting and renewable energy investments being made in housing stock, our schools, libraries and public buildings.
Roads & Transportation is working to produce a spatial framework for the delivery of our off-road walking and cycling network linking all of our communities and the wider Forth Valley area.
Significant investments are being made in active travel network through the City Region Deal and in partnership with Sustrans.
Our legacy aims to pass on a better Clackmannanshire to the next generation - a place where people can thrive, live healthy and fulfilling lives, and enjoy their environment.
Other sustainable transport initiatives that the Council is working on include:
Clackmannanshire and Stirling’s City Regional Deal included the establishment of the Scottish International Environment Centre (SIEC).
The SIEC will deliver transformational change in business practice, in order that the protection and enhancement of our natural resources becomes an enabler of economic prosperity, inclusive growth, and wellbeing.
Clackmannanshire has an above average recycling rate of 48.6% compared to 42% Scottish average and further work is being completed to build up on this and reduce emissions from waste.
The Council is also upgrading streetlights to save energy and developing feasibility studies and costed business plans for green energy generation initiatives as part of a Regional Energy Masterplan.
As part of the Be the Future programme the Council are transforming Clackmannanshire through innovation and partnership in order that the protection and enhancement of natural resources becomes an enabler of economic prosperity, just transition and wellbeing.
The Council is establishing five new Climate Change Forums across Clackmannanshire to provide a space for dialogue between businesses, young people, residents and the Council.
Despite the wide range of emission reduction projects, it is crucial to gather bright, innovative and creative ideas to progress towards net zero.
This is why we urge you to contact us with any suggestions and ideas that you have which could contribute to our net zero targets or to register your interest in getting involved in our Climate Change Forums by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
All climate reports published since it became a requirement under the Climate Change Act are available via the Sustainable Scotland Network website.
Kilncraigs, Greenside Street, Alloa, FK10 1EB
Tel: 01259 450 000 Fax: 01259 727 453