Search eceee proceedings

Pathways to a zero carbon Oxfordshire

Panel: 5. A smart new start for sustainable communities

This is a peer-reviewed paper.

Sam Hampton, ECI-CREDS, University of Oxford - Environmental Change Institute, United Kingdom
Hannah Budnitz, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
Nick Eyre, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
Lewis Knight, Bioregional, United Kingdom
Hannah Scott, Bioregional, United Kingdom
Alison Smith, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
Scot Wheeler, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
Gavin Killip, ECI-CREDS, University of Oxford - Environmental Change Institute, United Kingdom


Climate mitigation is a global problem whose solution involves local delivery. The need for coordinated interventions at multiple scales is widely acknowledged, but is hard to achieve in practice. Political commitment through declarations of ‘climate emergencies’ needs to be reflected in action on the ground. Local governments are well placed to convene partnerships, but resources are scarce and the task of scaling up is often hindered by national policy. This paper records the research commissioned by the six relevant local authorities to map pathways to a zero-carbon economy for the county of Oxfordshire (UK).

Building on an earlier report (presented at the ECEEE Summer Study 2015), we summarise recent progress on reducing carbon emissions, showing that Oxfordshire is on track to achieve a 50% reduction by 2030. However, decarbonisation achievements have been uneven and we highlight the need for urgent action on transport and heat decarbonisation if this trend is to continue. We present three distinct pathways for eliminating carbon emissions in Oxfordshire, with varying levels of individual behaviour change, community leadership, and reliance on technological solutions, and contrast these with a business-as-usual scenario.

Finally, we reflect on the ongoing process of engagement with representatives of local government and other stakeholders in trying to steer a path towards zero carbon.

Watch presentation


Download this paper as pdf: 5-096-21_Hampton.pdf