New report claims local government can cut greenhouse gases by 60% by 2025

A new report argues that local councils can take the lead in fighting climate change. The New Local Government Network claims that local government can save 320m toones of CO2 emissions by 2025.

The report, called carbon Footprints, Local Steps, says that councils can achieve this by converting landfill waste into electricity and offering interest-free loans for people to invest in microgeneration technology. Other more radical options include introducing congestion charging and allocating each local resident with a ‘carbon credit’ to monitor and limit household CO2 emissions.

The report also proposes a carbon trading framework between local authorities, financially rewarding councils that reduce their emissions, and penalising those who don’t. This is based upon a study of eight local authorities who participated in a carbon trading role play to reduce CO2 emissions in their locality. In the study, councils officers were obliged to introduce a number of economically and politically viable policies over a five year period to reduce their carbon emissions, with all authorities registering a reduction. The report concludes that a performance grant system would act as a powerful driver for local actions that would reduce CO2 emissions.

The report’s author, James McGregor said: “Local government can take responsibility for reducing carbon emissions. Our research reveals that if the performance of the best local authorities can be matched, councils can reduce CO2 production by 60 per cent by 2025. This is 25 years before central government expects to reach this level of saving. This is a powerful offer that should not be ignored”.