The 2015 Paris climate talks known as COP21 are now underway, as negotiators aim for a deal that will reduce global carbon emissions and limit global warming to 2C.
Here in our own city, Birmingham Friends of the Earth is urging Birmingham City Council to completely transform their waste strategy and decommission the Tyseley Incinerator which burns the city’s waste. The incinerator is the single biggest emitter of Carbon Dioxide in the city and closing it would reduce emission by 323,000 tonnes a year.
As the Paris conference will almost certainly not deliver the international action we need, it’s particularly important we do all we can locally to tackle climate change. The majority of Birmingham’s Carbon Dioxide emissions can be attributed to three main factors: poor insulation and a lack of green energy in homes and buildings; our unsustainable transport system; and the way our waste is handled.
While there are a number of ways to deal with road traffic emissions, they will take a while to significantly affect the city’s total carbon output. Likewise, transforming the way homes and buildings in Birmingham are heated and implementing green energy systems will be an unavoidably slow process. That is why Birmingham Friends of the Earth see the council’s review of its waste strategy as a top priority for tackling the city’s carbon emissions
The incinerator is only 20% efficient, generating just 3% of the energy needed for Birmingham’s homes. If that weren’t enough, burning rubbish produces 300 tonnes of nitrogen oxides a year, greenhouse gases that are 300 times more powerful than CO2.
Whatever happens in Paris, Birmingham City Council must act now. The end of their contract with Veolia is approaching in 2018 and presents a vital opportunity to significantly reduce our city’s carbon footprint.
Birmingham’s current carbon emissions pose a threat to the health of its residents and make a large contribution to the UK’s global carbon impact. By ditching the incinerator to reuse, recycle, and produce energy via biodegradable waste, Birmingham would be one big step towards being a Zero Carbon city.
Take action for a zero waste Birmingham – tell Birmingham City Council Waste isn’t Rubbish