2050 declarationI, the undersigned declare my commitment to play my part in making the Bradford on Avon Community Area carbon neutral by the year 2050 and to a target of 40% reduction in carbon emissions by 2020.

The results of climate change will be great and this threatens the community, environment and economy of the Bradford on Avon area as well as the rest of the world.

We still, just, have a positive choice of futures to avoid the worst outcomes from climate change but delay could be disastrous.

There are social, economic and environmental benefits from action to counter climate change and reduce carbon emissions. I will take up the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of a low carbon future – such as renewable energy, energy efficiency and a healthier life.

We in the Bradford on Avon area share the responsibility for reducing our carbon emissions and consequent climate change. We align ourselves with local, national and international action such as the UK Government’s commitment to cut national emissions by 80% by 2050.

Becoming carbon neutral by 2050 means that our lifestyles will have to adapt and evolve. We will need to make changes to our energy using behaviour, to our transport system, to our buildings and homes and to our patterns of consumption and working lives.

Achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 will require careful measurement, regular reports on progress and sharing of lessons learned.

We need to continue to reduce our own carbon emissions and to encourage others to do so. This means our community working together to put in place a series of actions that build over time to reduce emissions. Together we can make a big difference and achieve the aim to become carbon neutral by 2050.

WHAT IS CARBON NEUTRALITY?

This means that net carbon emissions will be zero. Close to 2050 our carbon emissions will reduce to very low levels. To achieve carbon neutrality we will additionally have to offset residual very low carbon emission levels. Offsetting can, for example, be achieved by generating more renewable electricity than we use ourselves and through funding projects that reduce emissions in developing countries. Our first and strongest commitment is to reduce our own emissions – offsetting is a supplementary action to support global and other initiatives.

How can carbon neutrality be achieved?

Direct carbon emissions are the primary target – our own use of power in transport and heating, for instance. Lowering energy use in buildings and businesses, developing renewable energy and sustainable travel can make significant impacts. Indirect emissions – the ‘embedded’ carbon from the manufacture, distribution and disposal of the food, products and services we use - will be addressed over the longer term.

Where are we now?

We already have annual government data on carbon emissions for West Wiltshire, broken down into different categories. We also have domestic energy use data for Bradford on Avon, broken down into areas of about 1,500 people and have produced an overview of per capita carbon emissions in the Bradford area. We already know that the easiest aspect to tackle is energy use, especially through improved insulation and energy efficiency. This could cut household energy use in the area by 20% in just a few years. This is why we have chosen it as the first area to concentrate on, alongside increasing the local production of renewable, clean energy.

What can we do as a community?

We are already sharing experience and expertise through initiatives such as the Energy Open Homes Days. We’re also developing more ambitious plans, working with partners like Wiltshire Council. In 2010 the British Gas “Green Streets” project got us off to a great start, supporting energy upgrading of 100 homes, as well as 3 schools and 3 community buildings, followed by the DECC funded LEAF (Local Energy Assessment Fund) project in early 2012.

What can I do as an Individual?

It’s a real pick and mix of choices. We’re all different, and each of us will have different priorities for action. Check our website or contact us for advice.

Three steps to get started….

CHECK OUT YOUR OWN CARBON FOOTPRINT Use a simple carbon calculator to find out where you have most impact, and where you can most easily cut down.www.energysavingtrust.org.uk

JOIN THE 10:10 CAMPAIGN and agree to cut your carbon by 10% each year. All sorts of people have already signed up from the Government's Cabinet to Wiltshire Council. By signing up you help create a mass movement for change: www.1010uk.org

SIGN UP TO OUR 2050 DECLARATION - at the top of this page.