Birmingham City Council for some time has had an ambitious target to reduce its carbon emissions without having taken the step of establishing how this is to occur.

On the 29th of March the council took just such a step as the decision was finally taken by Birmingham city council to approve a climate change action plan. The much anticipated document outlines the measures the council will take to reduce the cities carbon emissions by 60% on 1990 levels by 2026. This was in part to drastically reduce the cities energy budget by roughly 1.5 billion pounds and As the Deputy Leader of Birmingham city council Cllr Paul Tillesley states “There is plenty of work still to do but we now have a road map that plots how we can reach the ambitious, but essential, goals we have set. It is imperative we take action to enhance energy efficiency across all sectors as it will help reduce fuel poverty, boost businesses, improve residents’ health and make Birmingham a better city in which to live, work and play.” (1)

The plan itself is divided into nine sections of which there are broadly two different types, those concerned with how the reduction in CO2 is to be made and those focusing on the strategic and logistical difficulties that are to be overcome in implementing the plan.

With the release of this plan the actions required may well be within our reach – both socially and technologically – but will they be enough to meet the council’s ambitious goal?
To determine this the Climate change and Energy action group of Birmingham Friends of the Earth is going through the process of sifting through each section of the action plan in an attempt to determine if the steps the council intends to take are sufficiently robust to meet the ambitious 60% target. As the action plan is laid out in a number of sections each concentrating on a different area the council intends to make the reduction in emissions. Birmingham FOE is currently in the process of analyzing each of these sections individually. While some of the sections concern how the cuts are to be made, such as the sections on Low Carbon Transport, Resource Management, Low Carbon Energy Generation and Homes and Buildings. Others focus on the strategic vision of the city and the logistics of monitoring that the actions laid out take place such as ‘Engaging Birmingham citizens and businesses’, Climate change vision for Birmingham and Making it happen and keeping on track.

Once these individual disparate sections have been scrutinized they shall be collated into a coherent response which, at a later date, shall be presented to the council at the earliest feasible opportunity feedback on the document is possible.   

For those who wish to contribute to how Birmingham Friends of the Earth’s response is taking shape please come along and attend the climate change and energy group, which meets monthly.