Reducing our emissions

What we mean by carbon neutrality

Carbon neutrality and net zero are essentially the same thing, getting net greenhouse gas emissions to zero. Greenhouse gases are mainly carbon dioxide, but also other gases such as methane and nitrous oxide.

Net greenhouse gas emissions means the balance between emissions of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, and removals of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

We can remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through nature such as trees, peat bogs etc, or through man-made technologies such as carbon capture and storage.To get net greenhouse gas emissions to zero we need to reduce emissions as much as possible, and offset any remaining emissions with emissions removals.

Carbon Neutral Action Plan

Carbon Neutral Action Plan was approved by Trafford Executive in December 2020. This plan contains measures that will reduce the borough carbon footprint and put us on a pathway to carbon neutrality by 2038. In doing so, this will help to improve the health and wellbeing of our communities, our environment, and our economy.

The action plan was reviewed and refreshed by the Trafford Climate Change Network in June 2023, and the refreshed version can be found under Action Plan Refresh.

The action plan aims for carbon neutrality across Trafford by 2038, aligned with the GM 5 Year Environment Plan (a new version of which is being produced) and overseen by the cross-sectoral Trafford Climate Change Network.

The decision to aim for 2038 was based on a huge amount of analysis carried out by Anthesis. Achieving carbon neutrality 12 years ahead of the UK 2050 target will be ambitious but we believe that the nature of the climate emergency means it is right for authorities to step up and show ambition.

Carbon neutrality pathway

Whilst 2038 sounds far off in the future, there is an urgent need for action now and in the coming years. This is because what is important is not just the date that we achieve carbon neutrality but also the emissions pathway we take to get there.This  pathway is what dictates cumulative emissions, and it is cumulative emissions that matter when it comes to climate change.

A pathway whereby emissions fall very slowly over time, and then drop drastically nearer to 2038, will result in much higher cumulative emissions than a pathway where emissions cuts are deeper in the early years.Climate science shows us that an early action pathway is crucial to remaining within our carbon budgets and achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement.