On 10 July 2019, we passed a motion to declare a climate emergency and set an ambitious carbon reduction target to make Merton carbon neutral by 2050. Over the coming months, we will also work towards decarbonising our own buildings and services by 2030.

News: Merton Council declares a climate change emergency

 

Why have we declared a climate emergency?

The evidence is overwhelming. In October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a on the impacts of global warming of 1.5˚C. The IPCC found that a 1.5C world would have significantly lower climate-related risks for natural and human systems than a 2C world, and that global CO2 emissions would need to reach net zero around 2050 in order to have no or limited overshoot beyond 1.5 ˚C of climate change.

The public are calling for action 

We support the wave of public enthusiasm to bring climate change to the top of the agenda. School strikes, inspiring speeches from leaders of all ages calling for change shows the overwhelming message is that much more must be done to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change.

National, regional and local government are ready to act

The Mayor of London committed to making London a zero carbon city by 2050 in his Environment Strategy. Most recently, the Prime Minister has committed the U.K. to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 as recommended by the Committee on Climate Change. Across London, the UK and the world, local authorities are declaring a climate emergency and setting targets to reduce carbon emissions. We have recognised our role in this challenge, and are embracing the call to action from Merton’s residents, and have declared a climate emergency.

Sustainability and climate change have always been a priority for us. This declaration is a crucial step in achieving more carbon reductions in our operations, as well as inspiring and supporting more action across the borough.

 

What this means for Merton

The key sources of greenhouse gas emissions in Merton are road transport and domestic and non-domestic heat and electricity. We have direct control over a very small proportion of the borough’s emissions (<5%) so making Merton carbon neutral by 2050 will require action from a range of stakeholders across the borough including local residents and businesses.

Becoming carbon neutral is no small task. The key action areas are likely to include:

  • Heat – improving the energy efficiency of our homes and work spaces to minimise energy use, and decarbonising the energy we use to produce heat by moving away from gas and towards local, low carbon and renewable energy sources;
  • Electricity – decarbonising our electricity supply by purchasing electricity from renewable providers, and maximising on-site renewable electricity generation and battery storage to manage peak electricity demand;
  • Transport – reducing the number of car journeys, replacing diesel and petrol cars with electric vehicles, and expanding the network of electric vehicle charging points accordingly;
  • Resources and waste – consuming sustainable and local products to limit greenhouse gas emissions from their production, transport and disposal, by consuming less meat and avoiding single-use plastic for example. Reducing waste generation by promoting the circular economy within the borough, and minimising greenhouse gas emissions from waste treatment processes;
  • Investments – considering how to ensure investments and procurements are low carbon, such as backing renewable technologies; and
  • Green wpace – enabling green space across the borough to capture carbon from the atmosphere.

Action from across Merton’s community will be required in each of these areas to maximise greenhouse gas savings.

 

How you can get involved

Over the coming months, we will be drafting a climate action plan setting out how these targets will be achieved. This will involve the creation of the Climate Emergency Working Group to get ideas and feedback from the wider Merton community.

Have your say

  • Fill in our survey which will be available in September 2019 to provide your thoughts on how you think we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the borough
  • Volunteer to be part of the Climate Emergency Working Group
  • Attend one of the community forums where Merton’s Climate Change team will be speaking about the climate emergency
  • If you want to make us aware, or want input from the Merton’s Climate Change team to discuss any existing or planned climate change projects
  • Volunteer with one of Merton’s groups which are already taking action against climate change such as Sustainable Merton

And in the words of David Attenborough, ‘If I can bicycle, I bicycle’. Any individual efforts towards reducing your carbon footprint will contribute to our common goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Visit our What you can do page for some ideas on how you could reduce your carbon footprint.

 

Contact us

Climate Change Officers in the Future Merton Team - Future.Merton@merton.gov.uk