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 2022 we adopted these city targets:
- 66 per cent reduction on the 2000 level of emissions by 2025
- 80 per cent by 2030
- 100 per cent by 2050
- a Belfast Local Area Plan will be produced at the start of 2024 which will shape how we use energy in the city in the future
- a Belfast Electric Vehicle (EV) Strategy will be produced at the end of 2023 which will set out an ambitious EV plan for the city
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
Climate and City Resilience Committee
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
The purpose of the Committee is to meet monthly with the Climate Commissioner to consider the potential implications of climate change for the city of Belfast and make recommendations to the Council on Belfast City Council’s approach to addressing the climate crisis and Council’s role and responsibilities at city level.
UN Climate Change Conference 2021
We represented Belfast at COP26 in Glasgow (link opens in a new window) during November 2021. 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:
Belfast Resilience and Sustainability Board
To support coordination, planning and delivery to tackle climate change, 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 share experience and knowledge on environmental sustainability to advance the agenda.