October 2021 saw the Greater Brighton Climate Summit. The half-day virtual conference attracted an online audience of around 200 including climate change experts, government officials, local environment groups and members of the public.
They were told that the people in the region averaged around 8,000 kilograms of carbon dioxide emission per person per year. This needs to drop drastically to around 3,000 to counter the effects of climate change. Without action on carbon emissions, temperatures were likely to continue to rise in Greater Brighton. Winter rainfall would increase on average by 25% with a corresponding summer decline, dramatically affecting the environment.
Despite the challenges ahead, the conference heard that actions were already being taken that demonstrate how Greater Brighton is a flagship city region leading the fight against climate change. Among the initiatives outlined were:
- Plans to create a Sussex Bay marine park restoring the kelp forest off the coast which captures carbon up to 100 times more effectively than trees
- Plans were developing to create a green hydrogen fuel hub at Shoreham Port using wind and wave power and cutting-edge technological work was underway at Ricardo’s global HQ in Shoreham creating carbon-free engines for the future
- Work ongoing to transform Brighton & Hove bus fleet from diesel to clean electric and hydrogen fuel. A similar initiative is taking place with Metrobus in Crawley.
- Ground-breaking co-operation between the Universities of Brighton and Sussex to create an Innovation Centre for climate change technologies
With the political leaders and other partners working with clear and collective aspirations, there is a fighting chance to solve climate crisis for the benefit of Greater Brighton communities now and for future generations. Significant investment is needed to unlock powers and take the action that is so urgently needed, and the Board has called on Government to accelerate the pace and scale of change.