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Agenda item

Carbon Budgeting

This report introduces a discussion on the challenges and opportunities of Carbon Budgeting. Experts from the Stockholm Environment Institute, Anthesis, and City of York Council will be in attendance to facilitate discussion.


The Committee were joined by the Director of Economy and Place (CYC), as well as Jonathan Green (Stockholm Environment Institute), Ryan Green (CDP), and Sara Telahoun (Anthesis) for a round table discussion on the challenges and opportunities of Carbon Budgeting. Before Members discussed the item Sara Telahoun gave a presentation on local authorities and the climate emergency, the SCATTER tool, and Carbon Budgeting. After the presentation experts confirmed the importance of a team that worked on carbon budgeting and on providing oversight to all important council projects. Members were informed that the makeup of these teams varied at different authorities, but were recommended an example such as Bristol City Council’s Energy Services Team.


Members discussed reaching zero carbon by 2030 and the importance of having a strategy on how to achieve this. It was noted that should the Council continue with a policy of business as usual, then it could have used its entire carbon budget between now and 2050 in 6 to 7 years. The importance of targeting areas with the biggest impact that can be achieved quickly was highlighted as a crucial element of any strategy, but that overall the strategy must look to do everything possible if it is to achieve the Council’s goal of zero carbon by 2030. Areas identified to tackle carbon emissions included the cities current and future infrastructure, the cities energy supply, and the cities habitats and what land the Council had influence over.  


The importance of public engagement was raised as being potentially crucial to the zero carbon by 2030 target for the city and it was noted that Members should play a key role in leading that consultation with residents. Members considered the role of a carbon Budget that could be both an asset in developing strategy, as well as, being a key tool in communicating with residents that strategy. Co-benefits were raised as a key part of messaging to get support for projects when trying to reduce carbon emissions.


Members also discussed at what level (such as individual authorities, regions, or national level) could the goal of reaching zero carbon be most effectively achieved. It was noted that this depended on the sector and that the council could look at both regionally, where devolution was noted as having been effective and locally, especially in relation to things that were directly in the Council’s control. A potential lack of sufficient funding from central government was raised as a possible risk to initiatives seeking to make the city zero carbon by 2030. Therefore, Members highlighted the need to identify and then priorities areas that could be considered value for money. Exploring the economic opportunities of decarbonising the city’s economy was raised, Members highlighted examples of green projects having an economic benefit to a city.


The Committee unanimously agreed to make two recommendations to the Executive (see below under resolved).




                      i.         That the Executive be asked to appoint a Carbon Budgeting Specialist at a senior level, with a supporting team, to further develop a zero carbon strategy that will include a carbon budget.


Reason:     To enable City of York Council to deliver on its pledge to create a zero carbon future for York.


                     ii.         That the Executive be asked to give careful thought to whether this Carbon Budgeting Specialist should sit outside the existing directorates.


Reason:     In order to ensure that the proposed team can work freely in all areas of the City of York Council’s operations.



Supporting documents:


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