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Researchers develop climate change tool for councils

24/09/19

Mark Say Managing Editor

Researchers from the University of Manchester and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research have developed an online tool for local authorities to understand their role in meeting the climate change objectives set by the UN.

Melting planet

Named the Tyndall Carbon Targeter, it enables users to calculate a carbon budget for any UK administrative area larger than local authority scale, and set climate change targets which meet the objectives of the UN Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

The tool is based on latest synthesis report from the Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on how quantities of carbon dioxide emissions from human activities relate to global warming.

It calculates a maximum carbon budget for the selected area, as well as projected emissions reduction pathway, interim carbon budgets and average emissions reduction rate. It also provides a downloadable PDF covering the method, results and recommendations for the carbon budget.

SCATTER approach

The approach is based on a carbon budget setting approach for local authority areas developed through the funded Setting City Area Targets and Trajectories for Emissions Reduction (SCATTER) project funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

The Targeter is free to use and compatible with the SCATTER carbon footprint tool and CDP sustainability reporting.

Tyndall said that more than half of UK local authorities have declared themselves in climate emergency. 27 have piloted and are now using the tool, including Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

Dr Chris Jones from the University of Manchester, who helped develop the tool, said: “Our approach applies principles from the Paris Agreement to scale this global carbon budget down to the UK and a set of clearly stated allocation principles to share the carbon budget between local areas.

“This is a practical and straightforward way for local and devolved governments in the UK to translate the implications of the Paris Agreement into carbon reduction commitments based on the latest science.”

Robust data

Michael Keenlyside, environmental sustainability officer at North Tyneside Council, said: “This is the first time we have seen a visual representation of the scale of challenge to tackle our fair contribution of carbon emissions reduction as per the Paris Agreement. It’s important to us that the online tool uses the latest science on climate change and the most robust data to provide us with clear science based projections.

“Having seen the carbon budgets, the important thing now is to work with all of our stakeholders in a concentrated effort to develop and undertake action to move us forward.”

Image from garlandcannon, CC BY 2.0

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