United Kingdom Subnational Best Practices

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Scotland—In the UK, Scotland has taken strong leadership in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and for the first time last year met and exceeded its emissions targets. According to the Evening Express, the figures released by the Scottish Government revealed that the country managed a reduction of 39.5% from 1990 to 2014 whereas England’s and the UK’s reductions were 34% and 33% respectively. In terms of carbon emissions reductions in Europe, Scotland came second only to Sweden that had a decline of 54.5% over the same period.


Aberdeen—According to the Aberdeen Council, the city has reduced its carbon emissions and is committed to continue doing so in different ways. Earlier this year, Aberdeen became the first city in Western Europe to have hydrogen-powered cars for public use on a pay-as-you-go basis. This is part of the “City Council’s next step in expanding hydrogen infrastructure in the city”. This comes a year after the city got a fleet of hydrogen buses that replaced 10 diesel fuelled buses as part of the Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project. The fleet travelled about 250,000 miles in the past year without releasing any harmful emissions during its 1,600 refuels. The buses have also proven to be four times more efficient than diesel engines of the same kind. The Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project is part of the H2 Aberdeen initiative which is enabling development and deployment of additional hydrogen infrastructure and vehicles.

Bristol—Bristol was the first city in the UK to be granted a European Green Capital in 2015. It was also the second Greenest City in the World the same year. With more cyclists than any other city in the UK and the lowest carbon emissions of any major UK city, it has continued to put more efforts into reducing its carbon emissions. Like Aberdeen, Bristol has also introduced a new fleet of 20 low carbon buses which are fitted with the latest Euro VI engines. The engines produce 95% less oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions. They also have start-stop technology which cuts out the engine when a bus is stationary.
Glasgow was coined one of the global top 25 cities for environmental sustainability. Glasgow city council has partnered with a number of businesses on different sustainable projects that provide jobs and create green capital growth. Some past initiatives include funding for 10,000 LED street light replacements and funding for renewable projects. One such project diverts over 90% residual waste from landfill into an energy-waste-facility. Both projects have been in partnership with businesses.


Scottish Cities Alliance—Scottish Cities Alliance is a collaboration of Scotland’s seven cities. Its goal is to achieve a stronger economic future for Scotland through a joint effort. The Alliance’s other goal is to drive the agenda for a low carbon future forward in order to help reduce the impact of climate change as well as ensure the future economic prosperity of Scotland.

Website: http://www.scottishcities.org.uk/about-us

Climate UK—Climate UK is a not for profit organization that describes itself as the national face of local climate action. It is made up of a network of organizations as well as individuals supporting local action in the devolved UK countries.  It works to facilitate a bottom up nationwide response to climate change by uniting knowledge and technical expertise from every part of the UK to tackle the challenges and opportunities faced.

Website: http://climateuk.net/content/about-us

Core Cities—Core Cities describe themselves as a unique and united local authority voice that promotes the role of its cities in driving economic growth and the case for city devolution. Represented in this group are the councils of England’s eight largest city economies outside London: Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield. Glasgow and Cardiff are also part of this group. They are not necessarily focused on climate change, but that is one of the functions.

Website: https://www.corecities.com/  

Covenant of Mayors—Formed in 2008 by the European Union, the Covenant of Mayors is a European movement that involves both local and regional authorities who voluntarily commit to increasing energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources in their respective regions. Signatories to this movement abide by the EU’s target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their states by at least 20% by 2020. Thirty of the UK’s cities including Aberdeen and Bristol are members of this movement.

Website:  http://www.covenantofmayors.eu/about/covenant-of-mayors_en.html

The Under2 MOU—The Under2 MOU is a pledge by sub-national governments to reduce their carbon emissions to net-zero by 2050. The core to this pledge is the commitment by all the parties to reduce their emissions by 80-95% from 1990 levels by 2050. The 165 jurisdictions that represent 33 countries and six continents that have signed the MOU are collectively referred to as the Under2 Coalition. The UK members of the Coalition include Scotland, Wales, Greater Manchester City and Bristol City.

Website: http://under2mou.org/the-mou/

Learn More

For more on how Scotland met its emissions target see: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jun/14/scotland-beats-climate-emissions-reductions-target-six-years-early

Could be useful. http://www.ukgbc.org/resources/blog/global-cities-set-pace

For more on Scotland’s carbon emission reductions see: https://www.eveningexpress.co.uk/pipe/news/scotland/scotland-second-to-sweden-in-reducing-greenhouse-gas-emissions-in-western-europe/

Convent of Mayors- http://www.covenantofmayors.eu/about/covenant-of-mayors_en.html

See UK’s greenest here: http://www.mcleanross.com/blog/what-are-the-greenest-cities-in-the-uk–blog-61919161858

For more on Aberdeen’s investment into cycling infrastructure: https://www.eveningexpress.co.uk/fp/news/local/council-cycling-spend-to-pass-6m-by-tax-year-end/

How businesses play a role in low carbon cities: http://www.edie.net/news/6/Businesses-will-play-a-crucial-role-in-the-transition-to-low-carbon-cities/

For more on Aberdeen’s hydrogen buses: http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/CouncilNews/ci_cns/pr_h2busanniversary_110316.asp


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