COVID-19 and climate change

WRITTEN BY Local Partnerships
POSTED ON 28th August 2020

Lord Deben, Chairman of the Committee on Climate Change, recently talked about the impact of COVID-19 on climate change. His words resonated with, and related to, recent discussions with many local authorities seeking to adapt climate emergency plans and the pathway to net-zero target.

Lord Deben referred to the COVID-19 pandemic as an experience of what threat feels like, and talked about the way society has accepted and adapted to that threat. The pandemic has exponentially sped up changes that were already happening – overnight offices were vacated, home working spaces established and cars stayed in the garage. Changes that would otherwise have taken years were achieved in an instant, and on a very large scale. It is important that behaviours continue to adapt in responding to the climate emergency, and those societal changes that are positive are not lost.

The damage caused to the earth has been highlighted by the pandemic, with a big drop in air pollution levels. At one stage in early April daily global carbon emissions were as much as 17% lower than normal, returning to levels last seen in 2006. The focus for tackling the climate emergency must include biodiversity, waste, and planning and building successful communities.

At Local Partnerships we help councils develop responses to declarations of climate emergency, determine baselines, plot forward trajectories and develop action plans for dealing with greenhouse gas reductions in order to become carbon neutral authorities. For a discussion about how we can support, review and help adapt current plans, in light of the changes brought about by the pandemic, please contact or

Five key themes emerged from the assembly's (@NetZeroUK) work that councils can use to inform their decisions, writes Jo Wall, strategic director, climate response at @LP_localgov.#READ: "The people have spoken - the UK's first climate assembly"

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