Launch of plan showing work towards combatting climate change

A Plan showing the actions Aberdeen City Council is taking to combat climate change for its own operations was launched today as part of Climate Week 2021.

The Council Climate Change Plan 2021 - 2025 which also contributes towards the council’s commitment to net zero includes more than 100 internal projects such as increasing numbers of electric and hydrogen vehicles, making council homes and other council buildings more energy efficient, reducing power usage, and increasing biodiversity within green spaces.

Other projects include an award-winning green fleet which has boosted numbers of electric and hydrogen vehicles as part of a wider replacement programme, extending the existing district heating networks and includes new on-site energy systems for a number of new and existing schools, council buildings, and much of the Gold Standard new council house building programme, and also includes a project to learn about retrofit for our housing stock.

The Plan sets out the scope of the City Council’s ambitions with net zero and interim targets for a reduction in carbon emissions and it also highlights climate risks affecting the council and it outlines the project priorities across five themes being taken forward to 2025.

Aberdeen City Council Leader Councillor Jenny Laing said: “We are committed to helping to address climate change as we want to position Aberdeen as a climate positive city while helping to lead the world on the rapid shift to net zero future. This will be achieved through taking a lead in delivering climate change actions on the city scale both working with external partners and businesses and through playing our part in our own organisation.

“All of the actions we are taking provide an opportunity for the Aberdeen City Council to become an exemplar in the energy transition towards net zero and lead the way in how to change in a dynamic and thoughtful way.

“We look forward to the future and working with public and private sector partner organisations and companies to achieve net zero and tackling climate change together.”

The Plan has five themes covering council assets and operations – buildings, mobility (fleet and staff travel), other operations (street lighting, internal waste and nature based action), leadership and governance (processes, procurement and decision making), and awareness and behaviour change (communications, participation and training).

The Plan recognises the challenge of climate change and the City Council’s need to reduce emissions to play our part in limiting global emissions, as well as preparing for the impacts of a changing climate.

Action has already been taken to reduce the council’s own carbon footprint with the rolling out of LED street lighting, expanding the range of electric and hydrogen vehicles in the council’s fleet, increasing connections to district heating for public buildings and council housing, and installing several green roofs.

But a transition towards a net zero and climate resilience will require an increased scale of ambition, a faster pace of change and a different way of doing things.

To strengthen climate commitments, a Net Zero Vision for Aberdeen was approved at committee in May 2020 and supporting Strategic Infrastructure Plan, which includes a goal for a Net Carbon Zero, and a Council Energy and Climate Plan Routemap setting out phased approaches to developing a plan to reduce emissions from council assets and activity and to adapt to climate change.

Expanding on the Routemap, this Climate Change Plan 2021 – 2025 aims to demonstrate leadership, state ambitions and support progress with public sector climate duties. It sets a net zero target for Aberdeen City Council’s own assets and operations and drives a significant increase in actions to reduce carbon emissions and to build resilience. Delivery of the plan will make an active contribution to the council’s wider net zero city commitment.

The net zero commitment is to achieve net zero corporate carbon emissions (this refers to tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent) by 2045 at the latest with interim targets of a reduction of at least 48% by 2025, a reduction of at least 75% by 2030 (against the council 2015/16 reporting baseline). This plan will be reviewed in 2025 and thereafter every five years, or earlier taking into account changes to legislation strategy and guidelines.

The Council Climate Change Plan 2021 – 2025 is available at Climate change | Aberdeen City Council.