'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.
UK Climate Projections 2009 (UKCP09) is the official source of climate projections in the UK.
The UKCP09 Projections show a general trend of:
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
For more information, visit the UK Climate Projections website.
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.
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:
|Tonnes of CO₂e|
|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:
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.
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.
So far we have:
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.
For more information and facts on climate change, visit:
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.