Climate change

Climate change is a long-term threat that is directly influenced by human activity taking place today. This is primarily due to the burning of fossil fuels including coal, oil and gas, which release greenhouse gases.

There is an urgent need worldwide to rapidly reduce the release of greenhouse gases.

In 2019 the UK government committed to becoming net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Here in the Harrogate district, we are committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2038, and our Carbon Reduction Strategy provides a pathway for us to achieve this.

An overview

Climate change is the long-term shift in average weather patterns across the world. This is due to increasing levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Rising levels of greenhouse gases contribute to the ‘greenhouse effect', which traps the Sun's energy and causes the Earth to heat up. The higher the amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the hotter the Earth becomes.

Human activities are the main cause of climate change because we are increasing the amount of greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere. These greenhouse gases mainly come from:

  • burning fossil fuels for energy
  • agriculture and deforestation
  • the manufacture of cement, chemicals and metals

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has found that the average temperature of the planet has risen by about 1.1°C since the start of the industrial revolution when humans began to burn fossil fuels including coal, oil and gas.

Some of the impacts of climate change include more frequent extreme weather events, such as flooding and droughts, rising sea levels, and ocean acidification.

More information about climate change:

Climate resilience

Regardless of how much we can reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, we will still be significantly impacted by climate change.

The most visible impact of climate change in the Harrogate district is an increase in unstable weather conditions. We are already seeing an increase in storms and flooding, but heatwaves will also become more frequent. These impacts can harm biodiversity, damage property and crops, disrupt infrastructure and overwhelm existing drainage systems and have a negative impact on health and other local services.

It is necessary to adapt to climate change and to build resilience across society and within the environment to cope with climatic impacts.

Flooding information and advice can be found on our website and on North Yorkshire County Council website.

Heatwave advice can be found on the NHS website

Making a difference

We all have our part to play to tackle climate change.

Calculate your carbon footprint and understand your personal impact.

Reduce your carbon emissions:

Carbon Literacy training: learn about the carbon costs and climate change impacts of everyday activities, and explore how to reduce your emissions by taking Carbon Literacy training.

Working with schools - Power Down Pete:

‘Power Down Pete’ is North Yorkshire's finest Energy saving Superhero saving the planet a kid at a time.

As part of the North Yorkshire County Council energy and sustainability service, Pete is well known throughout the county for developing a planet protecting “Switch Off” culture in school. With a range of assembly options, workshops suitable for all ages and support for staff, the service supports the new Department for Education policy on sustainability and climate change.

His unique approach to environmental education was a key element of the team winning the association for public service excellence “Best climate action initiative” in 2021.

Regional climate action

View our Carbon Reduction Strategy to see how we are tackling climate change across the Harrogate district.

York and North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership's Routemap to Carbon Negative provides strategic direction and a coordinated approach to decarbonise in our wider region.

Zero Carbon Harrogate

Yorkshire and Humber Climate Coalition