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The Climate and Ecological Emergencies

Use this page to find out how we are responding to the Climate and Ecological Emergencies and how you can help.

What is the Climate Emergency?

In March 2019 the Council declared a Climate Emergency, resolving to provide the leadership to enable the Bath and North East Somerset area to be carbon neutral by 2030.

A Climate Emergency is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as, “A situation in which urgent action is required to reduce or halt climate change and avoid potentially irreversible environmental damage resulting from it."

What is the Ecological Emergency?

We declared an Ecological Emergency in July 2020, recognising the severity of the degradation of the natural environment and loss of wildlife, the consequences of this, and the urgent need to take action to restore nature.

Nature has been collapsing at an alarming rate. Since 1970, across the globe we have lost 60% of wild vertebrates (including fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals), 83% of freshwater species and up to 76% of insects. Species that were once considered common in our countryside, towns and villages have declined drastically; in the West of England, data suggests the population of starlings has fallen by 75% and the population of swifts by over 95% since 1994.

This matters to all of us as we ourselves are part of nature, and wildlife and natural processes play a vital role in supporting our wellbeing, society, and economy. Nature provides the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink, and many of the resources we need to survive and maintain our quality of life.

Some of our sites and species are of international importance, and we recognise our commitment to tackling the Ecological Emergency has the potential to deliver benefits much wider than Bath and North East Somerset.

How the two emergencies are linked

While the Climate and Ecological Emergencies are not the same, they are linked and share some of the same causes.

Climate change is not the main cause of the Ecological Emergency. However, responding to climate change will help reduce the impacts on nature and many of the solutions to tackling the Ecological Emergency will also help to mitigate and adapt to climate change.