Net Zero Carbon

At General Synod, in February 2020 the Church of England agreed to reduce its carbon emissions to ‘net zero’ by 2030.  The Diocese of Hereford debated and agreed with this same target at the Diocesan Synod in September 2020. 

The national Church’s current carbon footprint is described as “very significant”.  A baseline study in 2012 found that it created between 600,000 and one million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent: the standard measure of greenhouse gas emissions. That figure was purely for energy and did not include transport, water, waste, and purchases.  Heating accounted for more than 80 per cent of church energy use. Purely electric heating has, on average, a lower net-carbon footprint than gas or oil, and there are some helpful practical recommendations for reducing both energy use and carbon emissions to be found on the national church website.

The lowest tier of these are actions that nearly all churches can benefit from, even low-occupancy churches only used on a Sunday.  They are relatively easy, with relatively fast payback and are a good place for churches to start. These include attention to maintenance and draught-proofing; switching to 100-per-cent renewable energy on a “green tariff”, perhaps through the parish buying scheme; replacing light bulbs and floodlights with LEDs; writing an energy-efficient procurement policy; making a commitment to renewable electric and A+++ rated appliances, and offsetting small remaining amounts of energy with a contribution to community projects in the developing world.

Carbon Footprint Tool

To support our journey to net-zero by 2030 each church is asked to complete the ‘Carbon Footprint Tool’ on the Parish Returns.  This gives us information that helps measure and monitor part of our carbon footprint.  There is a useful short video made by the Diocese of Manchester which we can share to help with the completion of this: 

Additional Resources

Church of England resources

Carbon footprint tool  Frequently Asked Questions