Summary | Routemap to Net Zero Carbon by 2030 GS 2258

June 27, 2022

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The Church of England should work to reduce its emissions and reach net zero by 2030. A plan of action should be drawn up to achieve this. The 2030 target is hugely ambitious, but we must act now to avoid suffering and death for our neighbours and God's creation. The Church of England has produced an action plan to achieve net zero carbon by 2030. The Routemap prioritises reducing carbon emissions from high energy-consuming, high carbon-emitting buildings.

It envisions a future where the Church's buildings are powered by renewable energy and using low or zero carbon technologies for heat and light. Net zero carbon is needed by 2030 but we must act now. We will communicate clearly the reasons for action and embrace the call to net zero carbon as an integral part of our mission. The CofE will aim to integrate ethical environmental principles into everything we are doing. The majority of recommendations from energy audits concern tackling heat loss, optimising the existing heating, or changing to new heating systems.

Decarbonising heat is not simple, especially in large churches currently on oil and gas. Dioceses should support their churches in planning for and achieving net zero carbon. Dioceses should support local authorities in building greener and more efficient school buildings, and consider using landholdings and woodland as an asset. Schools should review their climate resilience and targets, and should consider future planning and decision making with consideration of any impact on future generations. Clergy housing owners/managers should consider replacing fossil fuel boilers with heat pumps and biomass boilers.

For buildings older than ten years, heat pump installation should be accompanied by insulation. TEIs should measure their carbon footprint and develop a net zero carbon action plan. The Routemap to Zero Carbon will cost a significant amount to deliver, and reviews have been undertaken. Constant, clear and consistent communication at all levels will be key to success. A large part of the answer to decarbonising churches and schools will be through local fundraising.

The national Church will fund external support for schools to submit strong bids to the Public Sector Decarbonisation Fund, and engage with government on financing net zero carbon projects. The Church has responsibility for four categories of land, namely: assets owned by diocesan boards of finance, and parishes. The Church of England is moving away from fossil fuel heating and needs skilled professionals to help. Many of our churches and buildings are already using zero or low-carbon technologies. The Church will need to offset some of its carbon footprint to achieve net zero by 2030.