Sunderland City Council declared a climate emergency in 2019. This declaration committed Sunderland to reduce its citywide emissions and help global temperature rise stay well below 2.0°C, and pursuing 1.5°C by 2050, in-line with the Paris Agreement of 2015. As part of the declaration, Sunderland's central aim is to become carbon neutral by 2040.
To align as closely as possible with the Paris Agreement, Sunderland has targets to reduce annual citywide emissions by 16.1% by 2020 from 2015 levels, followed by a 14.4% year-on-year reduction after this. These goals have been adopted based on science-based recommendations from the Tyndall Centre.
Annual Carbon Data Report 2020/21
In January 2022 Sunderland published its for 2020/21. This report provides an estimation for the annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for Sunderland City Council in the 2020/21 financial year as well as citywide carbon emissions for Sunderland in the 2019 calendar year (the latest for which citywide data was available at the time).
In 2019, Sunderland emitted a net 1.177 million tonnes of CO2. This comprised of 1.186m tonnes CO2 emitted from the industrial, commercial, public, domestic and transport sectors and 8,700 tonnes were sequestered by natural offsetting from the land use, land use change and forestry sector (LULUCF). Citywide emissions decreased by 5.8% from 2018 levels and by 15.2% from a 2015 baseline. It therefore looks likely that the interim target of a 16.1% reduction in annual citywide emissions between 2015 - 2020 will be achieved, although it is acknowledged that decarbonisation will need to significantly accelerate year-on-year after this.
Domestic energy and transport have historically been the two major emitters of CO2 in Sunderland, accounting for over two thirds of annual citywide CO2 emissions in 2019. Emissions from all sectors have reduced since 2015, albeit some sectors are experiencing emissions reduction at much higher rates than other sectors in the city. Since 2015:
- Emissions from industrial energy reduced by 29%.
- Emissions from commercial energy reduced by 25%.
- Emissions from the public sector reduced by 26%.
- Emissions in domestic energy reduced by 14%.
- Emissions from transport reduced by 3%.
In July 2021 Sunderland disclosed citywide environmental data to CDP, to better measure and understand the environmental footprint of the city. Sunderland was 1 of 11 UK cities, and one of 95 globally, to be awarded 'leadership' status for the ambition of its citywide mitigation and adaptation efforts. Our CDP report for 2022 can be found and historic CDP reports can be found here.
One Planet City Challenge (OPCC)
In 2021 Sunderland joined hundreds of other cities in the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) One Planet City Challenge to better understand if the city is doing enough to meet its climate ambitions. Through the challenge, the WWF assessed Sunderland's vision and actions towards climate change mitigation and adaptation against the goals of the Paris Agreement to determine whether Sunderland is making its fair contribution to help to limit global warming to 1.5°C. Sunderland recently received a strategic feedback report which analyses the city's strengths and areas to prioritise for the future. The report shows that, compared to other cities, Sunderland performs well in vision and impact. It also shows that political commitment and adaptation actions are strengths, whereas mitigation actions and adaptation targets are areas to prioritise focus on in the future.
'The Council is committed to reporting its operational emissions on a quarterly basis. Read our most recent quarterly reports: