Climate Change & Sustainability

Climate Change & Sustainability

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council are committed to helping address climate change.
We understand this involves reducing our carbon emissions (mitigation) and preparing for locked in carbon which will result in more erratic weather patterns (adaptation).

Climate Change Acknowledgement

The Elected Members passed a motion on climate change in September 2019.

We are committed to becoming a carbon-neutral organisation and are also working with partners to reduce our borough’s net carbon emissions.

As a Council, we have ensured that our activities are aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and we have measured and reduced our carbon footprint every year since our formation in 2015.

We are proud to hold the highest environmental performance for a Council in the 2022 NI Environmental Benchmarking Survey.

We continue to protect our biodiversity to help to reduce the impacts of climate change and involve our local communities, to work together to shape our borough and create a better future for all.

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is proud to launch our first ‘Climate and Sustainability Action Plan’, which sets out our roadmap to address climate change in Mid and East Antrim over the next five years.

Illustrating the current and projected impacts of climate change throughout the borough, the new Plan which was developed in partnership with Sustainable NI, looks at how we propose to tackle these effects, meet our requirements within the Climate Change Act (Northern Ireland) 2022 and deliver on the commitments in our Climate and Sustainability Policy.

Our Commitment

We will lead by example and work in partnership with local communities to develop a sustainable borough, safeguarding the future of our economy, society and environmental assets.

We are aiming to achieve this by:

•  30% reduction in Council operation emissions by 2030

• Decarbonize small vehicles in our fleet by 2030

• Council operation emissions to net zero by 2040

• Supporting the borough to net zero by 2050

• Climate resilience in our buildings, public spaces and infrastructure

The Plan sets out six key themes through which 97 actions will be delivered over the next five years.

The themes include Good Governance and Community Leadership, Our Environment, Economy, Transport, Resource Management and Buildings and Energy.”

How we make decisions

The Climate Change Working Group of Elected Members was established at Council's Annual General Meeting on the 6 June 2022.

How you can help

Making changes like the food you eat and the way that you travel could reduce your carbon footprint.

These 16 Steps on the 'Count us in' website have been selected with experts from the UN Environment Programme based on three criteria:

  • the impact on your personal carbon pollution;
  • the power to influence leaders; and
  • the ability to involve everyone.

If you need to get in touch E:

So, what is climate change?

Climate change is the long-term shift in average weather patterns across the world.

Humans have contributed to the release of increasingly more carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases since the mid-1800s.

This causes global temperatures to rise, resulting in long-term changes to the climate.

Average global temperatures have already risen by around 1°C since the industrial revolution. 

Impacts from climate change are already being experienced today and will continue to increase in the future.

Climate Impacts 

Some greenhouse gases stay in our atmosphere for hundreds of years.

This means that the emissions we have released into our atmosphere are effectively locked in and will contribute to increasing temperatures.

Even if we stop all emissions tomorrow, we cannot avoid some level of warming.

The extent of warming, beyond what we have already caused, depends on the changes we make.    

If we continue to burn fossil fuels and cut down forests at the same rate, the planet could warm by more than 4°C by 2100.

This warming could fundamentally change life on earth, with potentially significant consequences. Projected changes to the global climate include: 

Rising ocean levels

Rising temperatures are causing glaciers and ice sheets to melt, adding more water to the oceans and causing the ocean level to rise. Oceans absorb 90% of the extra heat from global warming: warmer water expands, and so our oceans are taking up more space.

Ocean acidification

Ocean acidification occurs when the ocean absorbs carbon dioxide and becomes more acidic.  

Extreme Weather Events

Climate change is causing many extreme weather events to become more intense and frequent, such as heatwaves, droughts, and floods. 

Flooding of coastal regions

Coastal cities (e.g. Belfast) are at risk from flooding as sea levels continue to rise   

Food insecurity

High temperatures, extreme weather events, flooding, and droughts damage farmland. This makes it difficult for farmers to grow crops and means that their yield of crops each year is uncertain.

Conflict and climate migrants

Climate change can exacerbate existing problems, such as lack of food or shelter. This may cause global conflict over resources (food, water, and shelter) and cause others to migrate in large numbers.  

Biodiversity loss

Rising temperatures, changing rainfall patterns and extreme weather events are disturbing natural habitats and putting pressure on species already threatened by other human activities.