Climate change


What is climate change?

'Climate change' refers to changes in the earth's climate that are caused by increasing levels of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere.

Greenhouse gases cause the earth to heat up, which affects global weather patterns, sea levels and the frequency of extreme weather events. Human activities have contributed to increasing levels of greenhouse gases - especially the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and natural gas, which release CO2 into the atmosphere.

In order to reduce the challenges posed by climate change, we must reduce the amount of CO2 carbon dioxide) we produce. This can be achieved by making simple changes to our day to day lives, like using less energy, driving less and recycling more.

We also need to prepare for the changes in our climate (adaptation) and by taking positive action we can take advantage of opportunities.

How could climate change affect the East Midlands?

UK Climate Projections 2009 (UKCP09) is the official source of climate projections in the UK.

The UKCP09 Projections show a general trend of:

  • increased summer temperatures

We will be experiencing summers that are 2.5ºC warmer, with daily summer highs 3.3ºC warmer. This is about the same difference as you would expect to see between Glasgow and London on an average August day.

-- Met Office, 2010

  • increased winter temperatures - Our winters will be milder with the average temperatures being 2.2°C warmer.
  • reduced summer rainfall - There may be a 16% decrease in summer rainfall making our summers much drier.
  • increased winter rainfall - Winters will be wetter with an average of 14% more rainfall.

For more information, visit the UK Climate Projections website.

What is the Council doing about climate change?

We have developed a ‌Climate Change Strategy to address the climate change impacts of our activities and has a commitment to reduce carbon emissions from our own estate and services, domestic properties, transport and industry.

Reducing carbon emissions

As a local authority we report on greenhouse gas emissions and work is carried out across the Council to reduce emissions from our estate and operations.

Overall our carbon footprint has seen a decrease of 29% from the baseline year (2008-09). The carbon footprint is generated by monitoring our carbon emissions, taking into account:

  • office buildings and schools energy use
  • fleet vehicles and employees' business travel at work
  • street lighting
  • waste
  • energy use and travel data from contractors which provide services to, or on behalf of, the Council.
Greenhouse gas emissions data (in tonnes of CO₂) for period 1 April to 31 March
 Tonnes of CO₂e
Base year
Gas Consumption 12427 11572 12857 12112
Owned transport 2494 2534 2540 2406
Purchased electricity 22372 21265 22146 12634
Business travel 154 141 129 130
Waste disposal 5288 4484 4274 3284
Outsourced services 184 202 87 42
Total annual emissions (tonnes of CO2e) 42904 40198 42033 30608
Intensity management (tonnes of CO2e each employee) 5.3 5 5.3 4.1

These greenhouse gas emission figures are calculated based on guidance provided by Defra.

Emissions that have decreased from the baseline year include those from:

  • outsourced contractors: 78%
  • energy consumption: 46.5%
  • waste disposal (from educational establishments): 38%
  • business travel: 16%
  • waste disposal (internally generated): 5%
  • owned transport: 3%

Overall analysis of the greenhouse gas emission data shows a continued decline in CO2 levels each year since 2008-09. This has lead to the lowest recorded annual CO2 levels in 2011-12 with a decline of 29% from the baseline level of 42904 tonnes of CO₂e in 2008-09 to 30608 tonnes of CO2e in 2011-12.

For more detail on these figures please see the Greenhouse Gas Emission Report.

For information on what the government is doing to reduce UK's carbon emissions, visit The Department of Energy and Climate Change website.

How is the Council adapting services to tackle climate change?

It is important for us to to consider how we will adapt to future changes in our climate. This will allow us to both minimise the potential of harmful impacts and take advantage of any beneficial impacts.

Harmful impacts can include heatwaves in Derby like we experienced in 2003, or the severe snow experienced in 2010.

Beneficial impacts can include a boost to tourism or growing new food crops that require a longer, warmer growing season.

To ensure we are able to adapt our services to the changing climate, we have been working with other East Midlands local authorities through Climate East Midlands on the Planning to Adapt Project.

So far we have:

  • produced a Local Climate Impacts Profile (LCLIP) for Derby. This shows how severe weather events have affected us between 2000 and 2008
  • conducted a climate risk assessment for each of our services to determine the severity of risks and potential opportunities that will arise as a result of climate change
  • done research with partners throughout the East Midlands to assess the risks and find out more about the changes we could make to reduce those risks
  • organised free events and workshops on adapting to a changing climate
  • produced a service level Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan
  • incorporated climate change issues within our key documents.

Well Adapting East Midlands

We have taken part in a regional programme called Well Adapting East Midlands (WAEM). This project looked at ways that we, and our partners, can become more resilient to extreme weather and better adapt to the future climate.

As part of this we have produced a case study of one of Derby's key risk area, flooding. This details what plans are in place to improve flood defences along the river Derwent as it passes through the city.

Find out more on how we are preparing the city for extreme flooding events.

How can I get more information on climate change and what I can do to help?

For more information and facts on climate change, visit:

  • Environment Agency - climate change - Find out about the causes and impacts of climate change and what international governments are doing about it. Learn how you can reduce your contribution to climate change.
  • The Met Office - climate change - Including a climate change guide, news, policy and reference to other sources of information.

For information and advice on climate change adaptation, visit:

For information on what the government is doing to adapt to climate change, visit:

For information on what you can do to reduce your carbon emissions, visit:

The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has set a target to bring down carbon emissions to 20% by 2050. Why not try their 2050 tool and see if you can find a way to meet this target? You can even send your result to DECC and be part of the conversation.


Contact details

Post address:
Derby City Council
The Council House
Corporation Street

Derby City Council
The Council House
Corporation Street