Climate emergency toolkit to boost UK sustainability policy

climate emergency toolkit
© iStock/georgeclerk

A UK-based sustainable development charity has created a ‘climate emergency toolkit’ to support local authorities in combating climate change.

The Climate Action Co-Benefits Toolkit, developed by Ashden in collaboration with city representatives, local authorities and the Grantham Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at Imperial College London, provides climate change data and case studies of municipal sustainability programmes to assist users in implementing climate action strategies. The toolkit details the benefits of environmentally friendly policies for citizens in four primary areas: health and wellbeing, equity and social cohesion, resilience of energy costs; and expanded employment opportunities.

Ashden CEO Harriet Lamb said: “If we are to stay within 1.5C of [global] warming and avoid catastrophic climate change, we need to act with urgency. There can be no more excuses – but change cannot just be imposed on citizens and communities. In order to create the consensus that local, regional and national governments need and secure the funds to deliver the work, we must take citizens with us. That’s what the working examples in this toolkit are all doing.”

The climate emergency toolkit makes a series of recommendations, including:

  • Unlocking new sources of funding for climate change reduction initiatives;
  • Promoting community engagement to build a politically relevant consensus on climate action;
  • Implementing ‘multi-solving’ policies addressing multiple aspects of climate change, for example increasing public transport provision to reduce air pollution; and
  • Adopting new policies with a view to serving all citizens as well as accelerating action on climate change mitigation.

Simon Brammer, head of cities at Ashden, said: “Our network of city sustainability leads agrees with us that a co-benefits approach can engage citizens, persuade key decision makers, and release new funding. The toolkit is a one stop source of vital information to help local authorities and city regions make the case for a radical step up of decarbonisation effort whilst improving local lives. By engaging people through structures like citizens’ panels and connecting climate policy to the needs of everyone, we can demonstrate that climate action improves lives rather than diminishes them. Better jobs, more money in local economies, clean air, healthier travel options, green spaces, and warm and cheap-to-heat homes – all these engage peoples’ values. This approach is at the heart of our Co-Benefits Toolkit.”

This article was updated on 26 June 2019 to reflect the fact that the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London, rather than the Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics, was involved in building the Climate Action Co-Benefits Toolkit.

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