Our planet – the only place we can call home – is warming, and the warming is accelerating.
Globally, 2010-2019 was the warmest decade since records began in 1850. 2019 was the second warmest year on record and 2020 is on course to be the hottest.
This warming is causing more extreme storms, droughts, heat waves, melting ice, ocean acidification and rising sea levels.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has advised that carbon emissions must reduce globally by at least 45% by 2030 from 2010 levels. There is a chance we can avoid the worst effects of climate change by keeping warming below 1.5 degrees. To achieve this we must be carbon neutral (net-zero) by 2050 or earlier.
In response, a range of public, private and voluntary organisations from across Devon came together on 22nd May 2019 to form the Devon Climate Emergency Response Group, to declare a climate and ecological emergency and to endorse the principles of the Devon Climate Declaration.
This recognises that we are aware of the significant implications of climate change for Devon’s communities. Together, we are developing a Devon Carbon Plan, which is being created by the Net-Zero Task Force.
Additionally, it recognises that we need to understand the current and future risks of climate change for Devon and communities will have to adapt to a warmer world. This work is being taken forward by the Climate Impacts Group.
Local authorities and various organisations in Devon have declared climate and ecological emergencies that aim to help Devon reach net-zero, reverse the associated declines to wildlife and ecosystems and prepare for the inevitable risks. The timescales for achieving ‘net-zero’ emissions vary between the declarations, but all take heed of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s stark warning.
The project is overseen by the Devon Climate Emergency Response Group (DCERG). This was established on 9th May 2019. The DCERG is being supported by a Tactical Group, which will provide advice and practical support as requested.
The DCERG has appointed two groups:
They are reviewing current levels of community preparedness to a warmer world and preparing a Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Adaptation Plan.
The project governance described on this page is available to download: Climate Emergency Terms of Reference
A net-zero carbon Devon, with its environment and communities strengthened and resilient to the effects of inevitable climate change. Net-zero means that the balance of carbon stores and emissions in any one year will be zero.
- A Devon Carbon Plan.
- An initial review of Devon’s climate-related community and environmental risks and opportunities and a subsequent adaptation plan.
- A plan from each signatory to the Devon Climate Declaration, within 6 months of signing, to reduce their organisational carbon emissions.
The scope extends across all carbon-emitting activity in Devon (including production and consumption emissions) and the climate and inter-related risks to its environment and communities. This includes all those people who live, work in and visit our county, those businesses who are based or operate in Devon and the condition of its natural environment.