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Carbon neutrality

Somerset West and Taunton Council have declared a climate emergency, pledging to collaborate with partners across the district and region to work towards making the district carbon neutral by 2030.

What does being Carbon Neutral mean?

Human activity produces damaging gases such as carbon dioxide and methane, which rise into the atmosphere, leading to global heating and impacts all over the planet. Carbon dioxide is the main contributor to the problems, and we are currently producing far more than we are removing from the atmosphere. To get this balance back we need to radically reduce current emissions, and offset whatever is left e.g. through tree planting. It is not just about what we do here, but also our impact from what we buy from elsewhere.

Other Key Terms

Here are some other key terms you may see in conversations around climate change:

Climate Resilience

This means ensuring that our communities are adapted to cope with the projected impacts of global heating locally.


This essentially refers to actions which will lead to the avoidance or reduction of emissions or will reduce the projected impacts of global heating. 


This refers to actions which are necessary to deal with the impacts that cannot be mitigated.


This is a way of mitigating emissions, by taking action elsewhere. For instance, it may not be possible, feasible or viable to actually reduce emissions from a particular source any further, so instead money would be diverted to deliver additionality in mitigation projects elsewhere to make up for the emissions that will remain.


This is the process of capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and the long-term storage of it in trees and plants, soils and geological formations and the ocean.


These are secondary or ancillary benefits of an action that are also a relevant reason for that action in their own right. Many actions to mitigate and adapt to the climate emergency will have co-benefits such as improving health and wellbeing, improving air quality and building biodiversity.