Oxford City Council has pledged £19 Million for a Climate Emergency Budget in response to the Assembly on Climate Change. They are working on a number of different initiatives, such as a network of charging ports for electric vehicles in the city and introducing electric busses.

The Assembly was established by the council this year to consider possible solutions to carbon emissions. It consists of 50 Oxford residents selected from different demographics and Oxford postcodes. After discussions with climate experts, 90% of the members agreed that Oxford should aim to overshoot the national goal to implement a ‘net zero’ policy by 2050.

Oxford City Council said: “We’ve listened to the Assembly and our brand new climate emergency budget acts on its findings by providing at least £18 million of new money to the City Council’s zero-carbon mission, plus a further £1 million of new money to ensure that we deliver on those investments.” This is in addition to the £84 million of ongoing investments in Oxford council’s climate commitments.

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One of the concerns raised by the Assembly was that the responsibility for emissions was being placed on the individual instead of institutions and businesses.

According to a report commissioned by the council, residential buildings are the biggest contributors to Oxford’s emissions. However, in 2017, institutional and commercial buildings summarily amounted to 51% of all emissions in the city. At least 8% is solely attributable to the University of Oxford.

As a result, the council intends to encourage businesses and institutions to cut down their carbon footprint. The council itself plans to reach a ‘net zero’ rate by switching to renewable energy sources in 2020 and offsetting any unavoidable emissions.

Other initiatives include increasing residents’ awareness and engagement with climate issues, encouraging shifts away from private car ownership through transport improvements and safer bike routes, and lobbying in government to bring the end of new petrol and diesel vehicle sales forward by ten years.

After declaring a climate emergency earlier this year, City Council has actively searched for new ways to increase climate awareness and sustainability in Oxford.

The council claim: “We are setting a new course, taking the city towards zero carbon.” Currently, in the process of a “stock-take” of council projects and circumstances, they intend to make detailed plans on the implementation of their response to the Assembly in the coming months.