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Council staff take part in new Carbon Literacy pilot

09 August 2021

Derry City and Strabane District Council has been working with the Carbon Literacy Project as part of its drive to promote awareness of the repercussions of climate change and initiate action locally.

The Carbon Literacy Project works with people, groups and organisations drawn from all sectors of society, and provides valuable information and training about climate-change.

Working with the project on a regional level, Climate Northern Ireland has developed Climate Emergency training for Local Authorities in Northern Ireland and worked with Business in the Community NI to develop a Carbon Literacy for Top Management NI training targeting SMEs. In the last six months, Climate Northern Ireland has worked with the project to adapt their Local Authorities toolkit to the context of Northern Ireland and tailored the training content to fit NI Local Authorities' needs.

In June 2021, a first pilot training was delivered to 30 staff members of Derry City and Strabane District Council. This initiative is part of a 2.5-year project funded by DAERA to provide mitigation support to Local government and SMEs across NI.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Graham Warke, said it was vital for local Council's to take a lead role in tackling climate issues. "I am delighted that our Council staff have been part of the Carbon Literacy Project. It's just the latest step in the Climate Action campaign and will help raise awareness and assist in their work to promote better understanding and encourage action from other organisations across the City and District.

"We are in an emergency situation and it's reassuring to see Councils taking a proactive role as we try to identify the most effective ways to address climate change moving forwards."

Council's Climate Programme Manager Cathy Burns said it had been a fantastic opportunity to further Council's climate change mitigation goals. "We are delighted in Derry City & Strabane District Council to have had the opportunity to be the Northern Ireland pilot for the Carbon Literacy training through Climate NI.

"Equipping our teams to understand climate change and delivering action across Council is vital to achieving our pledge to reach net zero and climate resilience by 2045 for the City & District. The training acts as a catalyst for change creating climate champions to drive forward action across all of our Council and we hope to deliver more training to achieve our aim of becoming a carbon literate Council."

Climate Northern Ireland's mitigation officer, Perla Mansour, said: "Northern Ireland is already behind other parts of the UK in that we do not even have a net zero target. All sectors of society have a role to play in adapting to and helping mitigate climate change, we are working on delivering the Carbon Literacy training for Local Authorities and SMEs in NI as a first, but crucial step, to build an understanding of the current climate crisis and help enable informed decision making to reduce emissions on both an individual and organisational basis."

More than 20,000 people across the UK have now been formally assessed and certified as Carbon Literate, and as a consequence, pledged and taken well over 40,000 actions to directly address climate change and immediately reduce UK carbon emissions.