38 regional leaders have committed to reaching net-zero at least five years earlier than central government.
The group of authorities represent 20.4 million people, almost a third of the UK’s population, including all tiers of local government, all regions of England and parts of Scotland.
One year ahead of the COP26 climate summit, which is due to be held in Glasgow next year, the network of leaders is urging the government to act faster and to give them more powers to tackle the climate crisis.
The group, which is coordinated by the non-governmental organisation UK100, will sign the ‘UK100 Net Zero Pledge’ which explicitly commits them to neutralise their emissions by 2030 and those of their residents by 2045.
The leaders have also agreed to limit the use of offsets, only using them as a last resource when reducing emissions to net-zero at source is not possible. They ave also committed to annual reporting of their progress, from 2022 onwards.
COP26 climate action campion, Nigel Topping, will meet the group today to discuss the importance of local leadership in the UK in enabling greater commitments to be made at COP26 which is due to be held in Glasgow next year.
Polly Billington, director of UK100, said: ‘These ambitious local leaders have pledged to do everything within their power to reach Net Zero emissions as soon as possible in a way that benefits their communities with new jobs and skills. From Edinburgh to Cornwall, local leadership, alongside funding and powers is key to winning the Race to Net Zero.’
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham (Labour) said: ‘We are proud to be supporting the UK100 Net Zero Pledge and making the case for urgent collective action to tackle the climate emergency. With the eyes of the world on the UK ahead of COP26 next year, local authorities can support the Government to set an example for the rest of the world – but we require the funds and flexibility to act quickly and drive the change we need to see. ‘
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