Eighty-two percent of Liverpool City Region residents agree action is needed to reduce carbon emissions, according to an exclusive survey.
Research carried out by Liverpool City Region Combined Authority also revealed just over half (52%) of people have a good or very good knowledge of action they need to take to reduce carbon emissions.
In 2019, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority became the first in the country to declare a Climate Emergency, committing to become net zero carbon by 2040 – 10 years ahead of the UK target.
Significant progress is already being made following publication of the Combined Authority’s Year One Climate Action Plan last March, which outlined more than 80 immediate actions to tackle the Climate Emergency.
The extensive research was carried out to help inform the authority’s long-term plan to reach Net Zero by 2040 or sooner.
More than 1200 people took part in surveys and workshops to gauge public feeling about the drive to Net Zero – including their concerns and their understanding of possible benefits to their lives.
Carried out between June and September last year, 29% of people questioned were aged under 16. In a separate development, we also spoke to more than 100 children and young people in the Autumn as part of a hard-hitting 100 Voices video (LINK) which revealed their hope and fears over climate change. However climate concern is not restricted to children and a new video reveals the fears of dozens of adults over the Climate Emergency. (LINK)
The research has shown a high level of agreement that Climate Change is real and acceptance that change is needed:
- 87% of 253 adults asked in workshops, feel Climate change is definitely real
- 82% of the 679 residents who responded when asked in surveys and workshops, agree that we need to reduce carbon emissions
- 67%, of the 280 adults asked in workshops, felt we should follow the data to make the biggest changes in the fastest amount of time.
- Of 275 adults asked in workshops, 52% thought 2040 was a suitable target for net zero while 21% thought the target should be reached sooner
However, not everyone feels they have the information they need to make the necessary changes or accepts the urgency and severity of the situation:
- Just over half (52%) of 1025 respondents in workshops and surveys felt they have good or very good knowledge about the actions needed to reduce carbon emissions.
- More than half (52%) of 253 respondents in adult workshops thought Climate Change was real but exaggerated, although that figure drops to 20% for the 94 participants in youth workshops
- 73% of adult workshop respondents felt there needs to be a balance between the environment, costs, and other things, although again that figure was markedly lower for young people at 35%
The research results follow the release Liverpool City Region Pathway to Net Zero document that reveals how energy use must be halved in less than 20 years for the Liverpool City Region (LCR) to reach its target to be net-zero carbon by 2040 or sooner.
The Combined Authority today approved the document which sets out how a net-zero carbon city region will look, the massive work already underway and the rapid changes needed to achieve the target.
The Pathway reveals the cost of becoming net-zero, the economic and individual benefits and the effect climate change will have on the city region.
It says the target is achievable with rapid, collective action that will protect populations and prosperity across the city region and help people live longer and healthier lives. And it stresses the need to create a fair future with help for vulnerable people and those less able to afford the switch to zero carbon.
Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:
“I am committed to listening to the people of our city region and understanding what is important to them. What is clear from our extensive research is that a large majority of people, and particularly young people, understand that we are in a race against time to save our planet from the threat of climate change.
“It will not happen overnight and will not be easy, but we all have to play our part. Our research has also shown that people want to know what they can do to reach net zero carbon as soon as possible.
“We know that there is a world of opportunity available to us if we work together and embrace the changes that are now necessary.
“Trains, docks, and canals made us the gateway to the first industrial revolution and our emerging strengths in wind, tidal and hydrogen can make us leaders in the green industrial revolution, creating tens of thousands of high-quality, high-paying jobs for local people.
“At COP26 in Glasgow in November we showed to the world that we are one of the places leading the way through innovative and significant industrial projects including Mersey Tidal, Glass Futures and HyNet. Make no mistake, this is our moment. I want others to look to the Liverpool City Region as the exemplar when it comes to tackling climate change.”
Councillor David Baines, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Portfolio Holder for Climate Emergency and Renewable Energy, said:
“Here in the Liverpool City Region we have the political determination, the natural resources and the skills needed to reach our ambitious target of hitting net zero carbon by 2040 or before. Our research shows that we also have the support of the people of our city region in this fight.
“Our Pathway to Net Zero report sets out the scale of the challenge ahead but also shows it can be done – and highlights the many benefits of getting it right.
“The huge investment we need to make this happen will create jobs in new technologies and as a city region we are perfectly placed to lead the way in a Green Industrial Revolution.”
Underpinning the net zero pathway is the need to change from fossil fuels including natural gas, diesel and petrol – which provide 75% of LCR’s energy – to renewable sources such as low carbon electricity and hydrogen. The drop in carbon emissions needs to be greatest in the next five years.
By 2040 most people will use electricity for cars, heating and cooking, and reduced energy use through efficiency and people changing their behaviours will mean renewable energy goes further.
Work already underway to tackle the climate emergency has ranged from support for grassroots organisations through the Metro Mayor’s £500,000 Community Environment Fund to progress on projects to cut transport emissions – through low and zero-carbon public transport and a 600km walking and cycling network. Thousands of the city region’s least energy efficient homes are also being ‘retrofitted’ to use less power.
In the longer term huge, transformational clean energy schemes including plans to triple the size of wind power generation in Liverpool Bay and the Mersey Tidal Project are being progressed – building on existing and developing strengths in hydrogen and wind power – as part of Steve Rotheram’s vision to position the Liverpool City Region as the UK’s renewable energy coast.
New carbon capture and hydrogen production technology is being pioneered at Hynet while in St Helens, Glass Futures is leading the way in decarbonising the energy-intensive industry and Pilkington set a world-first by using hydrogen power to produce glass.
The report recognises the huge opportunities for the city region, which can become a global leader in the Green Industrial Revolution, offering lifelong careers with high-skilled, high-paid jobs. By building on the city region’s strengths in the low-carbon sector the Combined Authority can drive post-pandemic economic recovery while doubling the number of green jobs to more than 50,000.
It also highlights how every aspect of our lives will need to adapt and make changes – from our homes and neighbourhoods to travel and workplaces. A recurring theme is the need to continue lobbying the government for policy and funding to deliver the benefits.
It makes clear the investment required to deliver net zero is significant, although not in the context of governmental budgets or private sector investment in energy or transport, or when plotted against the cost of doing nothing.
And it warns the longer we wait to make the changes, the greater the cost in terms of money and wellbeing.