RESPONDING TO THE Climate Change Emergency
In May 2019, the Chief Minister recognised a global climate emergency and the need for urgent climate action in the Isle of Man. In the same year only one-sixth of the global economy made a net zero pledge. The Island’s declaration was quickly followed with the Council of Ministers' Phase 1 Action Plan which Tynwald unanimously approved in January 2020.
Today, the Isle of Man is committed to statutory net zero targets for 2030 and 2045 and a five-year Climate Change Plan. In March 2023, the Paris Agreement was formally extended to the Island.
In order to reach net zero emissions by 2050, the Isle of Man needs to significantly reduce the amount of greenhouse gases it currently produces. Those remaining and unavoidable emissions will also need to be balanced by absorbing the same amount from the atmosphere in carbon sinks – like our woodland, peatland and surrounding seas.
The changes needed to achieve this will have to be made by every Island resident, Government Department, business and third sector organisation across the Isle of Man.
We need to make changes to how we travel, how we consume energy, what we eat, how we heat our homes and buildings, and how we look after our environment. We also need to ensure our most vulnerable are not left behind.
It is a complex journey and possibly the greatest challenge we face, but one that is necessary to ensure that we leave a lasting legacy we are proud of for our future generations.
Here is the journey so far;
2019 - The IMPACT report
Professor James Curran MBE*, was commissioned to write an independent report, which set out a range of ambitious options for the Isle of Man to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
2020 - Phase One Action Plan
Informed by Professor Curran’s report, the Isle of Man Government’s Phase One Action Plan was published on the 9th January 2020, and detailed a range of tangible actions to ensure the 2050 net zero carbon achievement.
In September 2020, a new Climate Change Transformation Team was established within the Isle of Man Government’s Cabinet Office. This team has been tasked with delivering the current Climate Action Plan; working closely with other Government Departments and the wider community to achieve the Plan’s objectives, both short and long term, in the transition to net zero greenhouse gas emissions.
The team's work is led by the Climate Change Transformation Board, chaired by the Chief Minister and includes a further five Ministers, with independent advice provided by Professor James Curran.
2021 - The Climate Change Act
The Climate Change Act commits the current Government and future administrations, to reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
It requires a statutory five year Climate Change Plan to be in operation at all times, ensuring a clear direction for the Island and to ensure progess, a framework for climate change planning and reporting. The Act requires the creation of a five yearly report, outlining the net zero initiative’s progress, along with a full account of the achievements met to that date. This would include a detailed account on how emissions have been affected by any implemented measures.
The Act gives public bodies a statutory duty to contribute to the net zero target and recompenses several pieces of existing legislation in order to facilitate the delivery of the Climate Change Action Plan.
The Act also requires that at least one interim emissions target be set by 2022.
2022 - 5 YEAR Climate Change Plan
The Climate Change Act requires a statutory five year Climate Change Plan to be in operation at all times, ensuring a clear direction for the Island to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The Climate Change Plan for 2022 – 2027 was consulted on in 2022 and received Tynwald assent in October 2022. It highlights a wide range of topics and actions that will impact both residents and businesses on the Isle of Man, and are critical to tackling climate change. These include:
- electricity generation
- energy consumption in buildings
- waste management
- natural carbon removal
- community engagement.
The plan set two interim targets for the Island – a 35% reduction by 2030 and 45% reduction by 2035.
In the same year a new Climate Change Transformation Board was established, and Chaired by Daphne Caine MHK and attended by the DOI and DEFA Ministers. Two independent advisors on Buildings Decarbonisation and Energy & Electricity were appointed to help with the transition to net zero in two high emitting sectors.
2023 - PLAN DELIVERY
This year, work has commenced on a number of deliverables actions across the plan including decarbonising the Isle of Man’s electricity supply by 2030. Manx Utilities will commence work on construction projects which will see up to 30 megawatts of electricity produced from onshore wind and solar energy by 2026.
In 2023, to begin transitioning away from fossil fuel heating, regulations were brought to Tynwald to confirm from 2024, plans for new buildings will only gain Building Regulation approval if fitted with greener, low carbon heating systems. This is ahead of a ban on installing fossil fuel heating systems in new builds comes into place in 2025.