Climate Emergency

Local Responses to the Climate Emergency

Context

Although Transition Stroud is currently focusing on the pandemic by providing information about community responses and practical support, when appropriate we hope to re-focus activities on the climate emergency. This page explains why and what we and local communities were doing on the climate emergency prior to the pandemic.

Background: the Climate Emergency

Prior to the pandemic, there had been growing realisation that we’re facing an era of environmental breakdown, headlined by the ‘climate emergency’.

In the Autumn of 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that global greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced dramatically by 2030 in order to keep warming below 1.5 °C. Above that impacts become increasingly dangerous and unmanageable.

This warning came shortly after summer heatwaves broke temperature records. Scientists then warned of the risks of runaway climate breakdown, including ‘Hothouse Earth’ with “serious disruptions to ecosystems, society, and economies”.

Although there is uncertainty about the severity and timing of impacts, it will be essential to take concerted action to reduce emissions and adapt where we can.

Stroud Carbon Neutral 2030

Against this backdrop, we welcomed Stroud District Council’s pledge to “do everything within the Council’s power to make Stroud District Carbon Neutral by 2030“. This is being called CN2030 for short. See more on the Council’s website here and see here the 10 Steps the Council is taking to tackle change.

To take this further, the Council is committed to developing a Plan of Action for reaching carbon neutrality across the district by 2030, and for adaptation to try to deal with the impacts.

Like the Council, we believe that the 2030 target will only be achieved by working in partnership across community, public and business spheres.

Transition Stroud’s (pre-pandemic) strategy is also based on the vision that by 2030 Stroud district will be carbon neutral and local communities will be resilient.

Local Climate Action Groups

As part of the strategy, Transition Stroud agreed that a programme of activities to encourage, enable and support local climate action groups was a high priority.

Over the last year we worked hard to encourage, enable and support the setting up of new groups across the District. For example, in the autumn of 2019 we helped local stakeholders organise ‘start-up’ workshops in Dursley and Berkeley that led to the creation of local groups. Since then, we have supported initial meetings of a range of new groups, including in Coaley, Cainscross, Minchinhampton, and Stroud Town.

Prior to the pandemic, 17 groups were in various stages of development, covering approximately half of the District’s 52 parishes. Some groups were just starting out, whilst others are well established. Some are Working Groups established by the Parish or Town Council while others are community-led initiatives. Some cover a single parish, while others cover a group of parishes.

We intend to shortly publish a map showing the coverage of groups across the district. When circumstances allow, we hope to help more groups form and flourish.

Prior to the pandemic, the activities of local groups were many and varied. They often included:

  • promoting behaviour change – so local people reduce their carbon footprints
  • developing low carbon community projects (on energy, food, transport, or tree planting – so local people get involved and work together
  • networking across community, public and business sectors – so a range of local groups and organisations get involved

Many groups have Facebook pages, some have newsletters and a few have a website presence – see in particular: Chalford, Nailsworth, Stonehouse and Wotton.

Local Climate Action Group Forum

We are also committed to developing and supporting a network of local climate action groups across the District. As part of this, we convene meetings of a district-wide Forum for representatives from local groups to share their stories, information, and learning.

The Forum also provides a link to Stroud District Council’s Carbon Neutral Officer, enabling communication and discussion between the Council and local group representatives. This link will become increasingly important when circumstances allow the Council to engage more widely in developing its action plan for achieving carbon neutrality.

During the pandemic, representatives to the Forum will be meeting together monthly on Zoom to discuss how climate change initiatives can be taken forward.

As part of its commitment to achieving the CN2030 target, Stroud District Council has provided funding to Transition Stroud for a part-time Climate Action Group Support Worker to advance this work. Noel Sharp began this role in March 2020.

If you would like to be linked up to an existing group, or are interested in a conversation about the possibility of setting up a local climate action group in your area, we might be able to help so please contact Noel at networksupport@transitionstroud.org.