Net Zero Carbon Planning Principles

The Net Zero Carbon (NZC) Planning Principles

1. Based in theology: Treasuring God’s creation

  • We recognise that the global climate emergency is a crisis for God’s creation, and unjust to the poor and future generations. It is the context into which we are called to live and preach the Gospel.
  • We will link all our actions on net zero carbon to our Christian mission, as expressed in the Five Marks of Mission.
  • We will grow the Church while reducing our environmental footprint; Christ’s Gospel message will reach and engage new people, particularly the young.

2. Urgent, relevant and widely understood

  • Net zero is needed by 2030 but it starts now. We aren’t waiting; a significant reduction is needed every year, year-on-year.
  • We will communicate clearly the reasons for action, and for acting now recognising the existential threat that we all face.
  • We embrace the call to net zero carbon as an integral part of our mission; caring for creation, achieving climate justice, ending poverty, creating a viable future for ourselves and coming generations, and increasing engagement with our communities.
  • We will implement only tried and tested technology

3. Data-driven, focused and transparent

  • We recognise this work covers all of our activities as a Church, as set out in the scope agreed by General Synod.
  • We will gather good data on major sources of emissions, to inform our decisions e.g. energy consumption, EPC surveys and travel data.
  • We will be strategic, using our data to focus effort on the large, busy buildings such as secondary schools and our busiest churches. We know most small, rural churches already have a very small carbon footprint and the onus for action does not lie with them.
  • We will learn from others, sharing resources and collaborating. We will estimate costs for the changes and actively seek funding.

4. Embedded in all we do

  • We will aim to integrate ethical environmental principles into everything we are doing as the CofE.
  • We will encourage every level and part of the Church to take a formal decision to answer the call from General Synod e.g. a motion by the PCC, school governors, cathedral chapter, diocesan synod. Leaders at all levels will need to prioritise action.
  • We will identify those things directly in our control, and the things we influence, and discern appropriate strategies for both (including cobenefits for wildlife, social value, health, community etc).
  • We will encourage each part of the Church to gather a team to work on this, including a champion in a leadership position.
  • We will include carbon footprints into our reporting systems, both nationally and locally, e.g. APCM reports.
  • We will also include climate adaptation/resilience to protect our buildings and communities in increasingly extreme weather.

5. Using less energy, and from cleaner sources

  • We will aim for quick wins, whilst planning ahead for the harder actions such as moving away from oil and gas.
  • We will first reduce demand for energy by maintaining our buildings well (tackling damp, fixing broken windows etc) and by reducing heat loss as appropriate. Then we will increase energy efficiency through steps such as LED lighting, zoning and controls.
  • We will ensure energy is supplied from cleaner sources: switching to ‘green’ tariffs and increasing renewables on our buildings.
  • We recognise the vital importance of decarbonising heat since any new oil/gas boiler installed now will outlast 2030. We acknowledge the challenge and will strive to ensure options appraisals take place for all heating replacements of fossil oil and gas systems.
  • We recognise that some decisions will need to wait until later in the decade, for more certainty on technologies, funding and regulation.
  • We will aim to avoid maladaptation and to remember the embodied carbon in our building projects; we will avoid carrying out big interventions for small savings, while recognising the need to futureproof buildings to comply with potential future legislation.

6. Travelling sustainably

  • We will avoid unnecessary travel.
  • We will encourage sustainable transport and remember the travel hierarchy: walking, cycling, public transport, shared journeys, electric cars, fuel efficient cars, less efficient cars, ferries, flights.

7. Offsetting only what we cannot reduce

  • We will reduce all the carbon emissions we can, offsetting should be a last resort.
  • There will however be some role for offsetting and sequestration, towards 2030, and we will explore viable options whilst recognising most will not sequester carbon in the timescale of our target.
  • Where excess renewable energy is generated on our sites (e.g. from solar PV) we can export to the national grid as a valid offset.
  • We will protect and nurture the trees, soils and wild spaces we already have and the carbon they store. There are a range of nature-based climate interventions which are to be encouraged in appropriate places, but which will take time to come to maturity and do not offset the effect of the carbon we are producing now. [Note: In the Diocese of Ely there is more farmland on peat soils than in any other diocese. This farming releases a particularly high level of carbon. The Diocese will explore whether investing in projects that protect our local peat might be the best way of offsetting emissions, significantly superior to tree planting.]
Page last updated: Friday 3rd November 2023 5:41 PM
Powered by Church Edit