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The Devon Carbon Plan has launched today (27 September)

The University of Exeter’s role in the new Devon Carbon Plan

The final version of the Devon Carbon Plan has been published today by the Devon Climate Emergency partnership.

Supported by the latest scientific evidence, the Plan is Devon’s roadmap to becoming net-zero by 2050 at the latest, spelling out what we all have to do to create a resilient, sustainable county where people and nature can thrive.  The University of Exeter has been involved in creating the plan, along with 29 businesses, public bodies, and voluntary groups, including Devon’s 11 principal councils.  Between now and the New Year, the University alongside all partner organisations will be called on to endorse and demonstrate how we will use our responsibilities and influence to bring the Plan alive.  

Through choosing what we buy, how we travel, and how we live the Carbon Plan highlights the long-term changes we can all make to help reduce our impact on the planet.

Additionally, the Plan sets out a range of detailed, evidence-based solutions and strategic objectives for national and local policy makers in areas such as energy production, transport, and the buildings we live and work in. 

The Chair of the Devon Climate Emergency Response Group, Meg Booth, said: "This Carbon Plan is the culmination of the latest scientific evidence and citizen participation, without which this plan would not have been possible, and I want to thank everyone involved. This is a plan that speaks to us all. It is the responsibility of all of us to adopt what each of us can individually from this Plan. There are things that we each must do to adapt our behaviour, to reduce our individual carbon footprint. There are also things that councils, businesses, and other organisations can do to help people reduce our county’s carbon footprint. And there are things that need to be done nationally, to reduce the country’s carbon output.”

Professor Patrick Devine Wright of the University of Exeter and Director of ACCESS* Chaired the Task Force of experts that led the drafting of the Plan, and added:  

“We must change if we truly want to make a difference, and truly want to stop this planet from becoming inhospitable to biodiversity and humankind. Change can be hard, but it’s achievable. This Plan sets out some very simple things that we can all do that will make a difference in reducing our carbon. I want us to focus on what each of us can do now; and what we can strive to do and commit to it. I don’t want us to look back and say why did we leave it too late. Making homes more efficient, transport cleaner and moving away from fossil fuels, can help address the cost-of-living crisis and concerns about energy supply. These changes bring with them a raft of opportunities for Devon, including new, skilled jobs.”  

As well as Patrick, Dr Conny Guell at the European Centre for Environment and Health at the College for Medicine and Health, and Dr Alice Moseley from the Department of Social and Political Sciences, Philosophy and Anthropology were part of the task force`. Patrick and Alice gave advice on how to design and use a Citizens’ Assembly and later used research resources to monitor and evaluate the work of the Assembly. A citizens’ assembly is a group of people who are brought together to discuss issues and reach a conclusion about what they think should happen. The people who take part are chosen so they reflect the wider population – in terms of demographics (e.g., age, gender, ethnicity, social class). Citizens’ assemblies give members of the public the time and opportunity to learn about and discuss a topic, before reaching conclusions. The recommendations or resolutions agreed upon can be taken up by policy makers as evidence of what the public wants to happen on a particular topic.

* ACCESS is a five-year climate and environmental social science project which aims to work collaboratively with local and national government, organisations and businesses to support the transition to a sustainable and biodiverse environment, and net zero society.  

The full Devon Carbon Plan is available online, including a Quick Read version, highlighting the key actions that Devon can take to become net-zero by 2050 at the latest.

You may also be interested in a webinar to explain the Plan in more depth, Wednesday 28th September from 6-7.30 pm:

Date: 27 September 2022