Call to be carbon neutral
We are publishing a letter from Sophie Howe, Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, in full, that asks the construction industry and specifically the public sector to respond to the call from Lesley Griffith AM Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs to become carbon neutral by 2030.
As you will be aware, the Well-being of Future Generations Act requires you to use the five ways of working to maximise your contribution to the seven well-being goals - many which relate to climate change and low carbon. In Wales, we also have the Environment Act which places a duty on Welsh Government to develop carbon budgets for Wales with the aim of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050, to support the global ambition agreed in Paris in 2015.
There are currently two Calls for Evidence on the topic of decarbonisation and carbon budgets which I wanted to draw your attention to:
The first relates to the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs recent announcement regarding their ambition for the Welsh Public Sector to be carbon neutral by 2030; Welsh Government is calling for views on how this can be achieved.
It recognises that although the public sector only accounts for a relatively small amount of Wales’ emissions you are uniquely placed to influence emissions far more widely in areas such as transport, energy, land use and procurement. A focus on reducing emissions will not only tackle issues such as air pollution providing benefits to health, but will also have a positive impact on the local economy by reducing energy costs and by creating investment opportunities for the low carbon economy.
It also recognises the work Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has undertaken through its Carbon Positive Project. Through calculating the organisation’s net carbon impact, it found that over 80% of their emissions were indirect (i.e. not due to energy use in its estate or its fleet) with 55% from the procurement of goods and services alone. As part of the Project, NRW has identified feasible options to reduce emissions and protect and enhance carbon stocks. For example, it found it could achieve up to 27% emissions saving from its vehicle fleet through adopting low emission transport options.
The aim of the Call for Evidence is to explore the most effective mechanisms for achieving this ambition and the appropriate strategic actions required, and I would urge you to consider and contribute before the deadline of 13th September:
The second Call for Evidence has been issued by the UK Committee on Climate Change (UKCCC) and will inform the advice they provide to Welsh Government on setting carbon budgets and interim targets for Wales. It asks questions about the pathway (trajectory) of emissions reduction Wales should take to meet the 2050 target (of at least 80% reduction) given that we are on track to miss the current target of 40% reduction by 2020. It also asks what role the Public Sector, and others, can play in delivering emissions reductions and what opportunities we must take a different approach given the Well-being of Future Generations Act. Again, I would advise you to consider this Call for Evidence and respond if you are able to, before their deadline of 11th September.
I will be hosting an event in November, in partnership with Welsh Government and Natural Resources Wales to: explore how the public service in Wales can involve people in collaborating and integrating their work, to take greater account of the long-term carbon implications of their activities, and help prevent the effects of climate change becoming even worse.
Sophie Howe Future Generations Commissioner for Wales