Birmingham's ambitious plans to address the climate crisis will be in the spotlight this week when the city plays host to the UK’s Climate Change Committee (CCC).
Chaired by Lord Deben (former Environment Secretary, John Selwyn Gummer), the CCC is an independent, statutory body established under the Climate Change Act 2008 with the purpose to advise the UK and devolved governments on emissions targets and to report to Parliament on progress made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preparing for and adapting to the impacts of climate change.
Birmingham has been selected as the first UK city to play host to the committee and the 3 February day of events marks the start of the CCC’s ‘climate conversation’ initiative. Hosted by the city council and key partners, the committee will meet a range of groups across the city including college students, faith leaders, business leaders and members of the city council’s cabinet and leadership team.
Councillor Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “Birmingham is committed to tackling Climate Change with ambitious plans to achieve net-zero carbon status and the city council is determined to play a leading role in the city's Route to Zero Emissions. To achieve this we must put carbon reduction at the heart of council services and decisions.
“Birmingham will become a city where our communities are levelled-up through better insulated homes, lower fuel bills, more reliable public transport. We're one of the youngest cities in Europe so we need to be a city of new skills and opportunities, where we develop thousands of green jobs for current and future generations, where young people know they have a great future.
“The climate crisis is the single biggest challenge facing our city and we will work with everyone - our citizens, neighbourhoods, and businesses - to build a greener, healthier, and fairer future for all.”
Lord Deben, Chair of the CCC said: “It is great to be heading to Birmingham as we seek to learn more about delivering a fair Net Zero for the UK across the regions, local authorities and in communities. To reach Net Zero, the work of Birmingham City Council alongside all communities across the UK is key and we can’t do it without them. What we hear from these conversations will support and inform our advice to the UK Government published in June.”
The city is a global leader in research and green innovation and the CCC will be shown a number of these ground-breaking initiatives including plans to retrofit social homes across three cities – Birmingham Wolverhampton and Coventry – and a visit to Tyesley Energy Park (TEP).
The TEP is set to become the energy, waste and transport nexus for Birmingham, showing how novel energy technologies can form an innovative industrial ecology. The CCC will visit the site and see a demonstration of the council’s hydrogen bus fleet.
The buses were bought as part of the Council’s Clean Air Hydrogen Bus Pilot, which looks to ‘kick-start’ the hydrogen market as a viable zero-emission fuel. It’s intended that the pilot will be the catalyst for the next generation of hydrogen buses, hydrogen production and re-fuelling infrastructure development.