Climate Change

Climate change and sustainability

The Council is tracking daily energy use in key Council buildings. Read more about our energy use at Kensington Town Hall & Library, Chelsea Town Hall & Library, and the Council Offices at Pembroke Rd.

What is climate change?

Climate is the average weather experienced over a long period. This includes temperature, wind and rainfall patterns. The earth’s climate is not fixed, and in the past has changed many times in response to a variety of natural causes. However, the earth’s surface has warmed by about 0.754°C on average since around 1900, and by around 0.4°C since the 1970s. (DECC, 2011).

We influence this climate mainly by emitting greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and nitrous oxide. As these greenhouse gases build up in the atmosphere, they trap heat on earth – known as the “greenhouse effect”. Tonnes of CO2 are emitted globally each year by burning fossil fuels and land use changes (including deforestation).

Why is it a problem?

As we continue to emit greenhouse gases and warm the earth, weather becomes more severe, with intense heat waves, droughts and severe storms in many areas. Such changes have a big impact on society, environment and economy, and we must therefore take action to reduce our emissions.

In London, we are expected to have hotter summers and wetter winters. Weather events we currently consider extreme, such as floods, droughts and heat waves, may occur more frequently.

The Council believes that in the future we may face:

  • more frequent flooding from torrential rain, excessive run-off and overflowing drains
  • droughts and more frequent water restrictions
  • storm damage to property
  • more variable temperatures
  • higher average temperatures creating a greater need for cooling in offices and homes
  • impact on health; such as heat stress on the elderly and infirm

What is the Council doing about climate change?

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges for the Council. We adopted the Climate Change Strategy in 2008 and set up the Climate Change Programme to tackle climate change. The Council will work with residents, businesses and other partners to help reduce the impact of climate change.

What can we do?

There are lots of things you can do to tackle climate change: