Climate change

Question: The issue to be raised is the council's action against climate change and what specific actions it is taking beyond the existing plan that goes till 2021 - particularly whether it will commit to 100% renewable energy by the end of 2020 and declare a climate emergency.

Response by Cllr Cem Kemahli: RBKC has already shown commitment and ambition in tackling climate change at the local level through the development of a joint 2016-2021 Air Quality and Climate Change Action Plan (AQCCAP) and through setting up the 40% carbon reduction target to be achieved by 2020 from the Council’s own operations compared to 2007/08 baseline.

We are currently looking at setting up new zero carbon targets post 2020 and develop clear actions which will help us achieve this target.

As a response of the latest IPCC report (which outlined the need for immediate radical action if global temperatures are to be kept within 1.5°C of pre-industrial levels) and the climate emergency campaigns/climate crisis, the Council acknowledges that:

climate change is one of the biggest issues of the 21st century

radical action and bold changes are required if global temperatures are to be kept within 1.5°C of pre-industrial levels

climate change is one of the biggest challenges and that we are determined to show our contribution towards the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement

we are committed to develop community owned energy projects which will bring benefits to the community and residents

The Council will be looking beyond the 2020 in-house carbon reduction target with new zero carbon targets.

After the 40% in-house carbon reduction target, the Council is aiming to show leadership and be carbon neutral by 2025 from its own operations for all the non-housing stock, and carbon neutral by 2030 from its own operations and activities including the Council housing stock. This will require embedding the reduction of carbon emissions in all relevant Council decision making and operations, where the Council has direct influence.

The Council will:

  • aim to work with residents, businesses, community groups and all actors involved, to reduce borough-wide carbon emissions and be carbon neutral by 2030, taking into account both production and consumption emissions
  • lobby Central Government to support our ambition, and give us the necessary resources and legal powers to achieve it
  • produce an annual report on progress in reducing carbon emissions similar to the current Carbon Performance Report
  • develop an action plan which will outline the key major focus areas and quick wins fur us to tackle internally and for the community to act on
  • set up a Climate Change Board to monitor and report on the progress
  • involve the community in the process, and empower them to contribute to developing the action plan

Achieving net zero emissions by 2030 would require a significant change in the Council’s policies, and joint collaboration across the Council (for example Planning, Transport, Housing, Public Health, Environmental Health departments), investment and emissions reduction activity across the borough, combined with wider government intervention. A compatible plan should be developed to align with the challenges and characteristics of Kensington and Chelsea (for example conservation areas for 70% of the borough, limitations on what can be done for listed buildings, dense borough etc).

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea will show leadership, education and advocacy, raise awareness and influence change, and get the Council’s house in order first which could be achieved within its budget and its scope/operations.

We will include climate justice in the action plan; define what it means for the community in Kensington and Chelsea, and align it with the climate justice movement worldwide.

During the development process for the AQCCAP I am more than happy to involve you in discussions and ensure that we help contribute to the climate crisis facing us.