Zero carbon emissions by 2041 possible 'if we all pull together' - The Solihull Observer

Zero carbon emissions by 2041 possible 'if we all pull together'

Solihull Editorial 6th Feb, 2021   0

THE region can achieve its target of becoming net zero carbon by 2041 and create thousands of new jobs into the bargain if it pulls together on climate change, say independent experts.

Commissioned by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) they’ve outlined a draft five-year roadmap to 2026 which if adopted they say will also bring major improvements to the economy and people’s quality of life.

The scale of the challenge – as well as the economic, social and environmental opportunities it can bring – have been set out in the proposed WMCA #WM2041 Five Year Plan.

The Plan outlines the action needed to drive a cut in carbon of around 25 per cent by 2026, the reduction needed to keep the region on course to meet the 2041 target and accelerate a green economic recovery.

Conducted by independent consultants WSP the draft plan admits this target reduction will be tough to reach but WMCA believes it is achievable if everyone in the region – councils, businesses, government and members of the public – play their part.

The research also found that more than 21,000 new jobs could be created over the next five years, and 92,000 by 2041, mostly in new carbon cutting green industries and technologies.

Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council and WMCA portfolio lead for energy and environment, said: “We knew that achieving net zero by 2041 was a bold and ambitious statement for the region to make.

“We need to be clear about the sheer scale of this challenge but also the significant economic opportunities it offers, so we can rise to it. This plan shows how by working together we can do just that.”

The draft Five-Year Plan identifies where and how the region needs to invest in carbon cutting projects – and has estimated the cash required will be approximately £4.7billion in the first five years and £15.4bn by 2041.

Proposals already drawn up include:

Retrofitting thousands of homes to make them more energy efficient.

A Zero Carbon Homes Charter setting out how all new homes built in the region from 2025 onwards can be ‘zero carbon ready’.

The upgrade of the region’s bus fleet to zero-emission vehicles.

An ambitious tree-planting programme including one tree planted for each resident, and plans for a national park.

The Plan also focuses on working with the region’s businesses and education and training institutions to give local people the skills to work in the new green industries.

Other opportunities are expected to be generated by a rapid growth in electric and autonomous vehicles with the West Midlands already seen as a UK leader in their research and development as well as their manufacture.

The proposed Five Year Plan goes before the WMCA board on March 19.

If approved it will continue to be updated to factor in new knowledge and policies.

A citizens panel is also planned so a wide range of residents can shape the work.


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