What we're doing about the climate and nature emergency
A guide to some of the key actions Stirling Council is taking on environmental issues and climate change.
Background to our work
In October 2018, the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a special report called 'Global Warming of 1.5ºC'.
In this report, the IPCC stated that:
- the amount of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere must drop significantly
- to prevent catastrophic climate change, this drop must happen by 2030
The publication of the report led bodies across the world to formally declare or recognise a climate emergency. This included:
- the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government, which both declared a climate emergency in April 2019
- the UK Parliament, which declared a climate emergency in May 2019
- Stirling Council, which formally recognised the climate and nature emergency in October 2019
It also led the Scottish Government to introduce the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act 2019, which set national targets on:
- reducing emissions by 75% by 2030
- Scotland becoming carbon neutral by 2045
Despite these steps, in 2021 the UN Secretary General called the IPCC's sixth assessment a 'code red for humanity' and called for more urgent action.
Our legal duties
Under the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009, we have a legal duty to:
- reduce greenhouse gas emissions
- adapt to climate change
- be sustainable in everything we do
- publish an annual report that outlines the work we've carried out in line with these duties
Climate and Nature Emergency Plan, 2021–45
Our Climate and Nature Emergency Plan explains our vision for a fossil fuel-free and climate-ready Stirling. Through it, we aim to:
- improve people's lives
- help our economy to thrive
- improve nature
The plan has 2 targets for reducing carbon emissions. These are that:
- Stirling Council will be carbon neutral in its own operations by 2035
- the Stirling Council area will achieve 'net zero' carbon by 2045
The plan also outlines our commitment to review and update our climate adaptation strategy.
Sustainable Stirling Annual Report
We communicate our performance on sustainability through the Sustainable Stirling Annual Report.
This report is split into the 3 sections. These are:
- the data we share with the Scottish Government about how we’re complying with our climate change duties
- information on the Council’s wider environmental impact, and our influence on greenhouse gas emissions in the Stirling area
- other general information on sustainable development
The most recent Sustainable Stirling Annual Report was approved by the Council's Environment, Transport and Net Zero Committee in November 2023.
Sustainable Growth Agreement with SEPA
We were the first Scottish local authority to form a Sustainable Growth Agreement with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).
Through this voluntary agreement, we work in partnership with SEPA to:
- improve our environmental performance
- focus on practical actions that can deliver environmental, social and economic success
In particular, we aim to:
- better connect people with their environments
- make Stirling a flourishing city region with opportunities for all
- help Stirling citizens to achieve social benefits
- develop economic opportunities that are in harmony with natural systems
- make the Stirling City Region more resilient
- make the Stirling City Region more sustainable