In November 2008, the UK Parliament passed the Climate Change Act, the culmination of campaigning by groups like Stop Climate Chaos (now The Climate Coalition) and Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, both of which the RSPB is a member.
What has the RSPB been doing since then to reduce the effects of climate change?
1) We helped bring about the UK and Scotland Climate Change Acts (2008) in the first place!
And we continue to work on strengthening the UK and devolved government's commitments to tackling climate change.
2) We're one of the founding members of The Climate Coalition and Stop Climate Chaos Scotland
We are one of the founding members of The Climate Coalition. Together we raise awareness of how climate change is impacting the things people love; and work to influence governments in the UK. We’ve played a major role in the recent Show the Love campaigns, where people including MPs and celebrities wear handmade green hearts to show their commitment to protecting wildlife and the environment.
3) All our nature reserves are now managed with resilience to climate change in mind
We work to help wildlife thrive and adapt, including allowing for species shifting their range, and formerly occasional visitors moving in more permanently from continental Europe (e.g. spoonbills).
4) We are restoring valuable peat bogs across the UK
Our reserves in England alone save more than 90,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year. In Scotland, long-term engagement with the Scottish Government has been key to securing a commitment to restore 250,000 hectares (equivalent to 250,000 international rugby pitches, or 350,000 football pitches!) of damaged peatland by 2030.
5) Creating new inland wetlands to provide new homes for wildlife such as bitterns, whose coastal habitats are threatened by sea level rise
The RSPB reserves at Ouse Fen, Ham Wall and Lakenheath Fen are prime examples of this. Ham Wall is now home to at least six species of heron. And Ouse Fen will contain the biggest reedbed in the UK.
6) We are future-proofing coastal communities to minimise flooding risks whilst creating new habitats for wildlife
Examples of this can be seen at Medmerry in West Sussex and Wallasea Island in Essex. Coastal realignment at Medmerry helps protect nearby homes but has also created a range of habitats for nature. Wallasea is another landscape-scale habitat restoration scheme, resulting in 670 hectares of coastal wetland. This ten year project was completed in 2018.
7) We have shown how the UK can deliver very high levels of renewable energy in harmony with nature
Take a look at our Energy Futures report.
8) We have put up a wind turbine at our UKHQ which produces enough energy to meet half of our total electricity needs
We're also about to invest £1 million pounds in LED lighting and renewable energy on our own buildings, as well as adding a further eight solar panel systems to 25 existing installations.
9) We have built super-sustainable buildings
For example, the visitor centres at Saltholme, Rainham Marshes, Arne and the brand new building at Sherwood.
10) Through our work with Ecotricity, RSPB supporters have already saved over 3,500 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide
It would take 1,737,000 trees a whole year to store that much carbon! The average RSPB customer saves 704 kg of carbon dioxide every year they are supplied by Ecotricity.
Jamie Wyver is a conservationist, gardener and RSPB Consumer PR Executive.