Since the industrial revolution, global temperatures have increased by about one degree Celsius resulting in damaging climate change, the impact of which is already being felt across the planet.

Following the creation of the Paris Agreement in December 2015, some 195 nations have committed to global action to limit temperatures from rising above 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2050. This is the point scientists warn climate change will start to push many natural ecosystems passed a dangerous tipping point, which will have far reaching consequences for life as we know it.

In October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned the planet was on course to miss the 1.5°C target, but with ambitious action it was still achievable. In order to do this the planet’s emissions need to be halved by 2030 and a net zero position reached – where emissions produced are balanced out by carbon capture or offsetting – by 2050.

However, it warned the bulk of the work to reduce emissions must be carried out during the next decade.

In February 2019, the Worcestershire Energy Strategy was published by Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership. The strategy includes targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the county by 50% - against a 2005 baseline - by 2030, with an ambition to be net zero by 2040. Tripling renewable energy generation and doubling the low carbon economy are also key measures in the plan.

In May 2019, the UK Committee on Climate Change, set-up to advise the Government, called for the introduction of a net zero target for the UK by 2050. The Government agreed to this recommendation in July 2019.

Hundreds of councils across the UK also responded to the IPCC report, and to increasing public concern about climate change, by declaring climate emergencies.

Malvern Hills District Council approved a motion on July 23, 2019 to declare a climate emergency and called on the organisation to address its own carbon footprint with new urgency. The Environment Policy Development Panel was asked to carry out the research to produce a carbon reduction plan in response to this, including recommendations for appropriate carbon emission reduction targets.

This report is the result of that research. It takes into account planned national action, existing local plans, evidence from other councils and consultation with our partners and residents.

It sets out an ambitious but realistic vision, which will help ensure Malvern Hills District Council, residents and businesses play their part in supporting the national and international effort to tackle climate change.