It is becoming increasingly clear that by the middle of this century, the world needs to be approaching net zero carbon emissions if we are to avoid the consequences of dangerous climate change.
Cambridge is a well-connected and influential city, with significant investment in transport and housing planned in the newly created Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority. We therefore believe that our region should be at the heart of demonstrating how the UK can achieve carbon neutrality by the mid 2030s, while maximising health and social equity in the process.
Our vision is that by the 2030s, Measurable Carbon Emissions from the Combined Authority area will have reduced by a factor of 5, while our remaining emissions will be absorbed by recreating the lost peat, soils and woodlands in our area. We think we can then say we’re demonstrating regional carbon neutrality, Along the way we hope to have benefited from best practise demonstrated elsewhere and to provide an exemplar for other parts of the UK
Some will say this is wildly ambitious. Others that it’s not ambitious enough. But we believe it is achievable if we all work together. Which we must: failure is not an option.
We want a Cambridge Climate Commission to be formed and well-funded to undertake detailed studies and provide policy advice on how to achieve this locally. But in the meantime we think we can demonstate Carbon Neutrality by the mid 2030s in two ways: Firstly by slashing our carbon emissions by factor of 5, by:
- Accelerating the decarbonisation of the electricity supply
- Continuing the transformation of our industrial sector, by focussing our economy on clean goods and services, while closing down and reducing the demand for inefficient or polluting industries.
- Slashing transport emissions, by dramatically improving public transport and facilities for cycling and walking, promoting electric vehicles and improving rural broadband in order to reduce the need to travel.
- Slashing domestic carbon emissions and fuel poverty, by insulating older homes and building all new ones to high efficiency standards, with good access to public transport.
In parallel with this we want to see the remaining carbon emissions being locked up within our region by
- Increasing Woodland by a factor of 4, to match the national average.
- Creating new wetlands (eg the Great Fen Project) and actively managing them to rebuild peat.
- Reversing the loss of soil and carbon from the Fenland farms
This will make real our vision for the 2030s: of a healthier, more beautiful and more equitable region, with abundant employment opportunities within a carbon neutral economy