Local authorities, business leaders and campaigners, statutory are meeting to consider how to tackle the Climate Emergency.
They will all be gathering at the Staffordshire County Showground today (February 13) to look at how they can work together to improve the county's response to climate change, and move forward in reducing local carbon emissions.
The Staffordshire Climate Change Matters Network was launched at Keele in October 2019 with the aim of promoting and raising awareness of the climate and ecological emergencies caused by human activity and the need for comprehensive action in the next decade through collaborative, targeted strategies and solutions.
The key note speaker at today's event will be Mark Atherton, who has been Director of Environment for Greater Manchester Combined Authority and its predecessors for the last 8 years.
This year, Greater Manchester has been rated `Grade A – Leader City’ from the independent Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) for its plans and work to tackle climate change; putting it in the top 1% of global cities that report on their progress annually to CDP.
Greater Manchester became one of the first places in the UK to set a science-based target for carbon reduction, setting the foundations to achieve carbon neutrality by 2038, 12 years ahead of the UK Government goal.
As a target that demands average annual emission reductions of 15%, it is no mean feat.
Targets cannot be delivered without a clear plan of action and, knowing this, Greater Manchester launched its 5-Year Environment Plan in 2019 which sets out how the city-region’s public and private sectors and citizens themselves can “act now and act together" to tackle the urgent carbon reductions required to address the climate emergency.
Mark says "I am delighted to be invited to talk about Greater Manchester's experience as I believe that the scale and urgency of the challenge to reduce UK carbon emissions will require greater cooperation and knowledge sharing between UK cities and counties."
Jeremy Lefroy, a Network Patron and former MP for Stafford, has said that "he is delighted that we will have this opportunity to learn from Manchester's experience".
Joan Walley, former MP for Stoke-on-Trent North, added "Business as usual is no longer an option. The time has come for Staffordshire to work out what we need to do to get the county to net zero by 2050 or earlier.
"Climate Matters exists to help and support that."
Chair of The Staffordshire Climate Change Matters Network, Michaela Fyson, said: "Climate Change will affect the lives of every one of us and the most vulnerable will be most affected.
"We will all need to make changes to all aspects of our lives.
"This can seem scary and even overwhelming but by acting together, we can bring hope for future generations.
"By bringing together such a diverse group of people, Staffordshire Climate Change Matters hopes to ensure that the Creative County can play a leading role in seeking and implementing solutions to the climate and ecological crises."