It is proposed that the following targets are adopted. RMBC: Council’s carbon emissions to be at net zero by 2030 Rotherham: borough-wide carbon emissions to be at net zero by 2040 The purpose of these dual targets is to recognise the borough’s carbon footprint alongside the Council’s carbon budget and acknowledge the need for the Council to lead by example in securing commitments and pledges from other organisations.
The RMBC target is ambitious and will require commitment across the organisation, however we are not starting from scratch. The aim is to accelerate current activities such as the roll out of energy switching schemes and integrate carbon reduction into everyday business activities, ensuring that climate impact assessments are undertaken as part of Council decisions and emissions associated across all activities are accounted for.
In addition the Council has considered analysis undertaken by the Tyndall Centre looking at industrial, commercial and domestic carbon emissions for Rotherham and used this to inform the setting of targets for the borough.
Net zero or zero carbon? The Council considered whether to have a ‘net zero’ carbon target or a ‘zero carbon’ target. Zero carbon requires there to be no emissions at all, whilst net zero carbon means that an organisation is responsible for removing as much CO2 as it emits, so that the two figures are offset. As this allows emissions to continue for some operations, net zero is considered to be a more realistic aim. In setting a target for the reduction of carbon emissions, the Council has undertaken detailed analysis to understand and establish its current baseline position. This analysis of the Council’s carbon emissions includes looking at operational energy, waste and transport (both fleet and grey). This has also helped to identify the data gaps in the organisation which include:
No regular formal integration or analysis of collected emission data
Issues with reliability of social housing emissions data, based on estimations from asset management software
No reliable carbon capture data for trees and other green infrastructure
No procurement-related emissions data. It is proposed that these data gaps are addressed as part of the delivery and monitoring of actions
Scale of the challenge Since 2012, the Council has actively reduced energy consumption and CO2 emissions in operational buildings and street lighting. Audited annual reports show a reduction of 51.98% since the 2014/15 reporting period. Based on 2018/19 emissions (7005 tonnes of CO2) from operational buildings and street lighting, the Council would need to reduce CO2 emissions by an average of 9% (630.5 tonnes CO2) each year to 2030.