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Belfast unveils climate plans as Manchester joins Race to Zero campaign

Image: Bristol City Council.

Image: Bristol City Council.

Belfast and Manchester have both revealed climate change plans, with the latter targeting a 2038 net zero target.

Having signed a cities pledge that outlines the actions Manchester will take to meet its environmental targets in its Race to Zero, leader of Manchester City Council Sir Richard Leese said the council was taking the climate emergency – which it declared in June 2019 – “extremely seriously”.

He added that the 2038 target is "challenging" but one "we are determined the city will succeed".

As part of this, Manchester has committed to follow and endorse the environment principles of the Race to Zero campaign, which is led by the United Nations and at the time of launch brought together a coalition of net zero initiatives and represented 449 cities, 21 regions, 992 businesses, 38 investors and 505 universities.

The Manchester Climate Change Partnership – an organisation set up in 2018 to bring together a range of stakeholders from some of the city’s leading organisation to work on solutions to the climate emergency – has already started on the Race to Zero, it said.

Mike Wilton, chair of the Manchester Climate Change Agency – which is supporting the Partnership - said its partners are “already taking real actions that are making a difference and are working to involve all Manchester people, organisations, and businesses on this journey”.

It comes in the same week that Belfast launches its Resilience Strategy, its first climate plan.

This follows two years of engagement across the city and collaboration with partners and communities, with the plan setting out 30 programmes to transition to an inclusive, zero-emissions, climate-resilient economy in a generation, the City Council said.

Following on from this, the council is to publish a climate adaption and mitigation plan in 2021 that aims to deliver on the vision set out in the Resilience Strategy.

The Net Zero Carbon Roadmap for Belfast, which has been developed by the Belfast Climate Commission, is also to launch alongside the Resilience Strategy.

The roadmap’s author Professor Andy Gouldson warned that based only on the fuel and electricity used within its boundaries, “Belfast will use up its share of the carbon budget through to 2050 in just over nine years”, with the roadmap setting out how Belfast can ensure “rapid reductions in carbon emissions, which also fulfils the aim of Belfast’s Resilience Strategy”.

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