Tyndall Carbon Targeter helps Local Authorities respond to their Climate Emergency

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CarbonVisuals_via Flickr is licensed under CC BY 2.0 August 8, 2019
September 23, 2019

Tyndall Manchester is using science-based targets to help local authorities calculate their carbon budget and cut their emissions in line with climate science and the UN Paris Agreement. They have calculated free-to-access science-based carbon budgets for all UK Local Authorities.

Researchers from The University of Manchester and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research have developed an online tool which is now being used by local authorities including Manchester to understand their role in meeting the climate change objectives set by the UN. More than half of UK Local Authorities have declared themselves in climate emergency.

The unique new tool, announced today, allows users to calculate a carbon budget for any UK administrative area larger than local authority scale, and set climate change targets which meet the objectives of the United Nations Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

The tool is based on latest synthesis report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on how quantities of carbon dioxide emissions from human activities relate to global warming.

Dr Chris Jones from The University of Manchester who helped develop the tool said: “Our approach applies principles from the Paris Agreement to scale this global carbon budget down to the UK and a set of clearly stated allocation principles to share the carbon budget between local areas.

“This is a practical and straightforward way for local and devolved governments in the UK to translate the implications of the Paris Agreement into carbon reduction commitments based on the latest science.”

Tyndall Manchester's carbon target tool, the Tyndall Carbon Targeter, is a particularly relevant resource for local authorities who have declared a climate emergency. By using the tool authorities can better understand the scale of the challenge when addressing climate change through local action.

Our approach applies principles from the Paris Agreement to scale this global carbon budget down to the UK and a set of clearly stated allocation principles to share the carbon budget between local areas. This is a practical and straightforward way for local and devolved governments in the UK to translate the implications of the Paris Agreement into carbon reduction commitments based on the latest science, said Dr Chris Jones, of the Tyndall Centre at the University of Manchester

27 local authorities including; Manchester, Sheffield, and Leeds, have already piloted and are now actively using the online tool to set science drive climate goals based on research. The method and data behind the tool was also used by the Greater Manchester Council to set targets at the recent Green Summit held in the city.

Michael Keenlyside, Environmental Sustainability Officer at North Tyneside Council said: “The Tyndall Centre team have worked closely with the Authority in the application and interpretation of the on-line carbon budget tool. This is the first time we have seen a visual representation of the scale of challenge to tackle our fair contribution of carbon emissions reduction as per the Paris Agreement. It’s important to us that the on-line tool uses the latest science on climate change and the most robust data to provide us with clear science based projections.

“Having seen the carbon budgets, the important thing now is to work with all of our stakeholders in a concentrated effort to develop and undertake action to move us forward.”

The tool calculates a maximum carbon budget for the selected area, as well as projected emissions reduction pathway, interim carbon budgets and average emissions reduction rate. The tool provides a downloadable PDF covering the method, results and recommendations for the carbon budget. The tool is free to use and is compatible with the SCATTER carbon footprint tool  and CDP sustainability reporting.

The approach is based on a carbon budget setting approach for local authority areas developed through the BEIS funded Setting City Area Targets and Trajectories for Emissions Reduction (SCATTER) project.

Here is the Tyndall Carbon Targeter for UK Local Authorities. We have used it to calculate a science-based target for all UK Local Authorities.