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City council urges citizens to adopt climate-friendly behaviour

Oxford City Council has published a list of nine key actions that communities and individuals can adopt in order to reduce their carbon footprint. This list is part of Oxford’s plans to reach net zero by 2040 or earlier.

The first seven measures are living car-free, traveling less, flying less, reducing energy consumption, eating less meat and dairy, reusing and recycling appliances, and using gardens in biodiversity friendly ways. The last two measures are contacting politicians and investing money sustainably.

The list of individual actions comes on top of a set of political actions the Council has already taken on a local level. These include the introduction of a Zero Emission Zone in the City Centre, investment into the hybrid battery energy storage system ‘Energy Superhub Oxford’, and creating a Zero Carbon Roadmap.

The individual actions also needed to be supported by national policy. The Council notes that there is a lack of funding from the central government for improving the energy efficiency of housing. It says that this refurbishment is “critical to reducing emissions and preventing increasing levels of fuel poverty”.

Energy efficiency has also been the target of the recent Insulate Britain protests. Blocking important highways, activists have called for national programmes to help insulate private and social housing. Insulate Britain say that failure to insulate is linked with high environmental and social costs. 

Low Carbon Oxford North expressed its support for the Council’s list of measures. However, the group also highlighted the role of central government in making local change easier. They said: “As our government hosts the climate talks in Glasgow this week and next, we hope they will announce new practical policies and funding to make it easier for individuals and households to play their part. This is particularly important on flying and on home energy, especially insulation.”

Student-led Oxford Climate Justice Campaign, said: “We especially call on the University of Oxford to listen to the advice given by Oxford City Council and to immediately end financial ties to the fossil fuel industry. Despite partially divesting its endowment fund, the University’s pensions continue to invest in fossil fuels. We call on the University to publicly demand USS, the University pension provider, divest from fossil fuels immediately or for the University to at least provide alternative ethical pension options for staff.”

The University and the Home Office has been contacted for comment.

Image credit: Markus Spiske on Unsplash

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