image of Editor
By Michael Brown

Senior Staff Writer

18 November 2021

| | 4 min read

Climate Change

Newcastle retains CDP A rating and status as global 'climate leader'

Newcastle has retained its status as one of the world’s “climate leaders” for its ongoing efforts to achieve net zero by 2030.

An image of the CDP A rating stamp for 2021, with the text "As an A list city we are leading on action in our local area to create a better future and planet"

The city is one of only 11 places in the UK to receive the top “A” grade from international climate research provider CDP and one of only 95 globally.

Cllr Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council, said: “We are incredibly proud to have retained our top grade from the organisation which is the global gold standard for environmental reporting.

“Tackling the climate emergency remains the great challenge of our age and this very much reassures us that we are on the right track.

“As a city we continue to ensure that we are at the forefront of efforts to rapidly reduce emissions, to safeguard not only the planet, but our residents and economy.

“And we must now harness the momentum from COP26, building on the vast amount of good, collaborative work that is already underway, and take the further steps necessary, to effect the lasting changes that we know will create the clean, green and inclusive communities we all want to live in.”

How do you score an A rating?

Over 1,000 cities disclosed their climate data through CDP in 2021 and to reflect the level of ambition needed to achieve 1.5°C targets, the bar for entry to the A List has this year been raised.

To score an A rating, a city must disclose publicly and have a city-wide emissions inventory, have set an emissions reduction target and a renewable energy target for the future and have published a climate action plan.

It must also complete a climate risk and vulnerability assessment and have a climate adaptation plan to demonstrate how it will tackle climate hazards.

Despite the number of cities receiving a rating almost doubling fewer than one in 10 cities received the top grade.

'Impactful climate action is achievable'

A spokesperson for CDP said: “Newcastle and the other 94 cities on this year’s A List, are also celebrated for showing that urgent and impactful climate action - from ambitious emissions reduction targets to building resilience against climate change - is achievable at a global level, and in cities with different climate realities and priorities.

“However, this action needs to go further and faster to meet the new targets agreed at COP26.”

Decarbonising Newcastle

Newcastle City Council declared a climate emergency in 2019, with a commitment to drive down the city’s carbon emissions to net zero by 2030, 20 years ahead of the UK Government’s target.

Along with other major organisations, including Newcastle Hospitals and the city’s universities, the authority is working to deliver the far-reaching change necessary in every part of the city. 

Newcastle was built on coal, and the council – which itself is fully divested from any fossil fuel interests – believes that it would be both hugely symbolic and show real climate leadership, if the city can as a whole commit totally to renewable and sustainable energy sources in the future.

The ‘Net Zero Newcastle – 2030 Action Plan’ sets out the scale of the challenge and over 100 measures residents, businesses and organisations can work together on to achieve ambitious climate targets.

However, net zero is something that can only be achieved by everyone coming together to reduce our carbon footprint, mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change and grasp the opportunities of the new green economy.

Opportunities and benefits

Cllr Clare Penny-Evans, Cabinet member for climate change and public safety, said  “Tackling the climate crisis and our pathway to net zero will bring opportunities and benefits for our residents both now and in the future.

“Maintaining our CDP A rating is a brilliant achievement and it shows we continue to take the lead in reducing greenhouse gases, building resilience to the impacts of climate change, grasping the opportunities of the new green economy and creating pleasant, sustainable communities in which to live.

“We will not rest on our laurels and continue to push forward, benchmarking ourselves against, and potentially working with, cities across the world who are tackling similar challenges, to hopefully maintain this high standard for years to come.”

Our net zero action plan

Find out more about Newcastle’s net zero action plan at