2019 saw unprecedented recognition of climate change and the threat it poses. In November 2019, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that the planet "clearly and unequivocally faces a climate emergency".
The 2021 IPCC report declared "a code red for humanity", confirming that human activity is changing the climate in unprecedented and sometimes irreversible ways. The landmark study warned of increasingly extreme heatwaves, droughts and flooding, and a key temperature limit being broken in just over a decade.
To stay within that 1.5C temperature limit, we must stop emitting carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases - from burning fossil fuels, from agriculture and animal husbandry - which create methane - from cutting down trees and from certain industrial processes - almost completely by mid-century. Any residual emissions remaining by then, for instance from processes that cannot be modified, must be offset by increasing the world's carbon sinks, such as forests, peatlands and wetlands, which act as vast carbon stores. That balance is known as net zero.
Climate Change Strategy - A National Mitigation and Adaptation Plan
This Plan was prepared in response to the 2019 Climate Emergency Motion and to fulfill the requirements of the Climate Change Act.
It acknowledges the indisputable effect that humans have had on the climate system and recognizes that initiatives to address this need to be stepped up urgently.
Our emissions reductions targets are ambitious, and a clear plan is essential to direct and communicate the actions across all aspects of society that will be required to achieve them. This Plan outlines a roadmap of existing and planned measures to reduce emissions across numerous sectors in Gibraltar - energy, buildings, transport and waste.
Climate Change is a far reaching and complex problem. Every sector will need to play its part in responding to the climate emergency - government, businesses and individuals.
Gibraltar's Climate Change Strategy
Gibraltar Climate Change Vulnerability and Risk Assessment 2022
Government has established an independent body called the Climate Change Committee to provide advice to the Government on matters relating to Climate Change and to monitor progress against the legally binding targets established under the Climate Change Act.
More details about the Committee and its work can be found here.
Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventories
Tackling climate change requires us to reduce our GHG emissions. The first step in managing these emissions effectively is to have a good understanding of them - the major sources, activities and relative contributions of different activities. Since 2013, Gibraltar has been conducting GHG inventories following the Global Protocol for Community Scale Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventories (GPC). This is a robust, transparent and globally accepted framework to consistently identify, calculate and report on sub-national GHGs (for further information on the GPC, please visit: Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories, World Resources Institute (wri.org) ).
An emissions inventory is an ongoing tool for understanding and reporting emissions, for tracking changes in emissions over time and for identifying major sources and priority areas for mitigation.