Action on climate change
Our elected members declared a climate emergency in October 2019. We are committed to becoming a carbon-neutral organisation. We are also working with partners to reduce Belfast's net carbon emissions by 80 per cent compared to 2005 levels as quickly as possible. We also want to transition to a low-carbon economy in a generation. In 2021 we intend to set a target date for Belfast to reach net-zero emissions.
Our plan to mitigate climate change
Our Resilience Strategy is Belfast's first climate plan. It is the basis of our climate adaptation and mitigation plan.
Through these external and internal plans, we want to:
- reduce our own carbon footprint
- reduce the city’s pollution and noise
- reduce the level of greenhouse gas emissions from buildings
- promote cycling, walking and public transport
- promote a green economy
- build resilience to flooding and other climate risks
- plant one million trees by 2035
- promote and support clean transport technology and infrastructure
- help our residents to reduce their carbon footprints
- use green procurement
You can read our climate aspirations and a vision of what we want Belfast to be as a city in Belfast Resilience Ambitions.
Partnership actions to date
On our journey to tackle climate change, we have:
Becoming carbon neutral
We are also setting an example to other organisations and businesses in the city by becoming carbon neutral. We are doing this by:
- producing an Environmental Sustainability Review
- establishing an internal officer board to develop a Climate Plan
- planting trees on our own land as part of our Belfast One Million Trees campaign
- supporting Fairtrade
- buying electricity from renewable sources
- reviewing our fleet strategy to include the sustainable future-proofing
- preparing for climate change impacts, such as flooding, as part of our Climate Plan
Resilience and Sustainability Board
To develop ideas for tackling climate change and progress climate action, we set up a Resilience and Sustainability Board through our Community planning process. This board has people from key public and community organisations in Belfast. They intend to share experience and knowledge on environmental sustainability to advance the agenda.
How we make decisions
We set up an All Party Working Group with one member from each of the eight political parties on the council. They are advised by our Climate Commissioner. The group meets monthly to make recommendations. We also have a Belfast City Council Climate Plan Programme Board. They meet regularly to allow staff to share information and to help develop and implement our Climate Plan.
Members of the All Party Working Group are:
- Councillor Daniel Baker
- Councillor Sarah Bunting
- Councillor Sonia Copeland
- Councillor Séamas De Faoite
- Councillor Fiona Ferguson
- Councillor Billy Hutchinson
- Councillor Peter McReynolds
- Councillor Brian Smyth
UN Climate Change Conference 2021
We will be representing Belfast at COP26 (link opens in a new window) in Glasgow during November. COP26 means 'Conference of the Parties'. This is the annual UN climate change conference. It will be the 26th annual summit. We are working with city partners to develop and promote a local programme of events in the run-up to this global event.
How you can help
Making changes like the food you eat and the way that you travel could reduce your carbon footprint. These 16 Steps (link opens in a new window) have been selected with experts from the UN Environment Programme based on three criteria:
- the impact on your personal carbon pollution
- the power to influence leaders
- the ability to involve everyone
For updates on what we're doing about the climate change emergency:
Lord Mayor's environmental challenge
The Lord Mayor, Councillor Kate Nicholl, is championing action on climate change and the environment for her year in office. She is encouraging residents to take part by setting a monthly challenge and said:
I will do what I can to promote every change we can each make to play our part in tackling the environmental crisis. With the help of some of our wonderful organisations, I will be setting a monthly Lord Mayor’s environmental challenge and I hope you will join with me each month.