Personal Action, Community Ambitions

Community Carbon Reduction (CCR) is a free library of ideas, information, methods and models for creating community-scale projects of carbon reduction, provided by Cambridge Science and Policy Consulting. Our focus is on stimulating individuals and organisations to engage with programmes that deliver low (ideally zero) carbon communities using methods of Collective Action. The choice to focus on communities is that this is the scale at which individuals - working together - can have the greatest impact. By mobilising demand for solutions, we can enhance participation in community-wide programmes.

We do not directly deliver or manage projects. Many others are already hard at work on that in communities around the world. Rather, we provide resources for organising, engaging and mobilising communities to participate in those projects, using lessons drawn from our past experience carrying out such projects. To paraphrase an old BASF slogan: We don't make the projects you run, we make the projects you run better

This website contains materials in three areas:

You can learn more about these on the Reducing Carbon page.

The resources you will find here use examples from Cambridge in the UK, as this is where we live most of the year and this is where we developed these ideas in helping run the Cambridge Retrofit programme. But our approach to carbon reduction can be applied in communities anywhere in the world with a commitment to reducing the risks of climate change.

How can we help?

Have a tour through this site for ideas as to how your own low carbon programme might benefit from community engagement and mobilisation. You might pay particular attention to several areas:

  • Learning Centre, providing background information on key concepts of carbon footprints, policies and strategies

  • Reducing Carbon, providing insights into low carbon Behaviour, Buildings and Energy

  • Project You, showing you how to calculate your own carbon footprint and identify strategies of reduction

Feel free to use the materials you find here, adapting them in any way you wish to fit your specific ambitions. There is no need to cite us; we have borrowed ideas from others and you should do the same with ours. And if you would like an initial (free) consultation about how to create a robust community programme, Contact Us.

One site, three sections

There are three sections of this website:

  • Community Carbon Reduction (you are there) provides background information on carbon reduction. It contains ideas, data, experience and models for creating your own programme of carbon reduction. Use it to discover strategies for low carbon behaviour, buildings and energy, and the principles of community action.

  • Cambridge Retrofit shows how those ideas were developed in a specific programme. While Cambridge Retrofit closed in 2017, it produced many lessons that can guide you. Use it to draw inspiration for your own low carbon programme, learning how the community of Cambridge developed theirs.

  • Taking Action contains templates for community mobilisation to reduce carbon, drawing on the experience of Cambridge Retrofit. Use these to bring structure to your programme of community actions that motivate and engage people to collectively move towards carbon reduction.

You will find the markers for these three sections in the upper left corner of each page, helping you keep track of which section you are in at any time.

Be careful about units!

The units of carbon footprints can vary from different publications, often with no indication of what the author means by a 'ton of carbon dioxide'. You may find any of several units being reported:

  • Carbon can be found in many chemical forms in the environment. Therefore, scientific publications might report the amount of carbon being emitted per year, not the amount of carbon dioxide. If they do report carbon, multiply by 44/12 (the ratio of the mass of a carbon dioxide molecule over a carbon atom) to obtain carbon dioxide.

  • There are greenhouse gases other than carbon dioxide (such as nitrogen oxides). While the focus tends to be on carbon dioxide, these other greenhouse gases can be especially important for items such as food. Therefore, scientists sometimes report 'carbon dioxide equivalent' emissions, which takes into account all of the greenhouse gases.

  • The mass of carbon dioxide might be reported in either 'short tons' (more common in the US), which is 2000 pounds, or 'metric tonnes', which is 1000 kg or 2200 pounds.

In this website, we always use units of metric tonnes of carbon dioxide, with the exception of speaking about emissions from food production where we use metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.

And now for something completely different...

Here are three videos to get you started. The first was produced by the Vatican for the Pope's 2015 encyclical on the responsibility to reduce the risks of climate change, featuring our thoughts on how to stimulate action. It is a global call to governments, businesses, communities and individuals. Just turn your speakers on and click the arrow to begin the video. The second explains how CCR developed the principles of community carbon reduction in Cambridge UK. It is a movie of about 9 minutes featuring the launch of Cambridge Retrofit. The third is a tutorial on the Cambridge Retrofit process, produced as a narrated Powerpoint file.