Archives

Blog

Carbon Logic Results are out!

We’ve finished the data analysis. I have to say we are delighted, the result is much better than we thought!

Cost per tonne to cut carbon = £1.98!

Summary Results

  • Footsteps to Copenhagen started in 2009, Truro Cathedral asked me to mobilise the people of Cornwall to cut carbon.

o   With a fantastic Steering Group we devised 10 carbon cutting pledges and one declaration

o   4488 organisations and individuals made pledges and signed the declaration

  •  The 2010 research asked why people made the pledges. They said trusted messengers asked them to, it was colourful and fun – but most of all easy.
  • In 2015 we Crowdfunded for expenses to do the data analysis to ask how much carbon did we cut and breathe life into the pledges again through the Carbon logic Campaign. 

 

o   Based on 65 people answering the 2015 survey, who took part in 2009, then scaling those responses up to the 993 we have evidence of pledging, we have cut 3029 tonnes of carbon since 2009.

o   The 2009 project cost £6k. 3 Pledges could not be accounted for, the 2015 report finds the cost per tonne of carbon to cut as £1.98.

 

What can I do now?

This enables us all to ask MPs and policy makers to not give up on behavioural change policy, to notice the added value of these pledges (including one that could not be accounted for but does lead people to think about resilience) and for everyone to adopt the Top Ten Pledges created – at home and at work http://www.trurocathedral.org.uk/hot-topics/top-ten.php

 

Feedback

For us we want to enable policy makers to realise the value in behavioural change policy, not only added value in our pledges, but the value of working through with people and tricky policy making. Behavioural change policy is a challenge as people are ‘messy’ we all reposed in different ways, but having looked at behavioural change research in a big way in 2009, the 10 Pledges were devised to accommodate all our funny little ways, our different financial back grounds, upbringing, surroundings and find ways to make them colourful, easy and doable!

So the comments and questions people have kindly directed at us you might find interesting:

COP21 delegates are largely government representatives, who already know their position. It’s a huge and diverse audience which I think you would struggle to have any impact on, to be honest. There is also traditionally a vast amount of related material pushed out around COP, and there’s a danger that output will be overlooked in the stramash. Agreed, Euan McPhee is voluntarily cycling from Truro in Cornwall to COP21 in Paris November 17th and he is taking copies of the report with him. He will hand out the Top Ten Pledges on a card to people he meets en route (we are looking for sponsorship to print the cards).  

What sort of scale are you looking at – local, national, European, international? We would like to roll out the project across the South West, throughout the UK and to our neighbours. Footsteps 2009 is easily replicable, with the right Steering Group (Trusted Messengers), we just need funding to cut carbon – to organise next a way of making it sustainable. It could pay for itself, the power companies that benefit from Pledge 1 or the shops from Pledge 2. This is more work that requires funding. Or we source funding from those who seek to cut carbon – £1.98 a tonne is of course extremely efficient. Signposting and introductions are welcome. 

Who are you hoping to influence – the public, policy-makers, local government, community leaders? I think we have to realign everyone with “it can be done” first – so all of them. Its simple, we have 10 very, very busy Carbon Logic Ambassadors, who are managing to squeeze it into their lives, publicly and with great rewards breathing life into simple actions that make huge differences. We would like everyone to adopt the pledges at work and at home, clicking the tick box as they do them http://www.trurocathedral.org.uk/hot-topics/top-ten.php

It should be made clear that much carbon emission saving can be done without cost (e.g. turning down the thermostat by 1 or 2 degrees in winter) Great point

From your evidence, further reductions can be obtained at a very reasonable cost Great point – saving people even more money in the longer term at the same time

In addition some of these behaviour changes (e.g. active transport) will have health co-benefits: a more active population is a more healthy population, and of course less car miles means less local air pollution – this will mean savings to the NHS Thank you – I’m sending the report to The Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP now, I have asked him to comment and invited him to do the Top Ten Pledges too.  We meet with my own MP tomorrow morning to ask her to do the 10 Pledges too.

Carbon capture and storage is unproven, no large scale demonstration has been carried out, also potential large safety questions; Thank you, we did spend quite a bit of time during our literature review seeking a consensus of opinion, but found a great deal of uncertainty in time scales, costs and abilities. While it is clear many believe having this volume of carbon dealt with is essential, I hope our 4 month set up enabling over 3000 tonnes to be cut over 6 years enables policy makers to do something with this model.

The government’s climate change mitigation policies are a mess This is the most common message we hear. We do understand how complicated it all seems to those tasked with the job, who might not have  a natural interest, but really hope by demonstrating this example they might take the opportunity to realise the benefits. For them it comes down to cost, £1.98 per tonne of carbon to cut. For us its how easy is it what the benefits to me. This Carbon Logic Project has ticked both of those boxes. We hope everyone involved will at least ask one person in authority to adopt the pledges and DO something with them. 

Will you be producing materials for people to use in their own communities? We aim to direct people to http://www.trurocathedral.org.uk/hot-topics/top-ten.php via our website, Facebook and twitter. We hope others will also do the same. We aim to create Top Ten Pledges items to gift and display for the home and workplace to build it into every day lives to provide a good route map for living – this is one of Carbon Ambassadors great ideas!

We have heard today about this group of people who would like to see more help from the bottom up;

Reinvigorating International Climate Policy: A Comprehensive Framework for Effective Nonstate Action

(Global Policy, forthcoming in November 2015)

Sander Chan, Harro van Asselt, Thomas Hale, Kenneth W. Abbott, Marianne Beisheim, Matthew Hoffmann, Brendan Guy, Niklas Höhne, Angel Hsu, Philipp Pattberg, Pieter Pauw, Céline Ramstein, Oscar Widerberg

As countries negotiate a new climate agreement for the Paris climate summit in December 2015, a groundswell of climate actions is emerging as cities, regions, businesses, and civil society groups act on mitigation and adaptation, independently, with each other and with national governments and international organizations. The Paris summit provides a historic opportunity to develop a framework to catalyze, support, and steer these initiatives. Without such a framework, “bottom-up” governance runs the risk of failing to deliver meaningful results. Social science research highlights the need for a comprehensive approach that promotes ambition, experimentation and accountability, and avoids unnecessary overlaps. This article specifies functions and design principles for a new, comprehensive framework for sub- and nonstate climate actions that could provide effective coordination.

Download pre-publication (PDF) at: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2654214

Carbon-Logic-Footsteps-Report-2015

Carbon Logic Ambassadors – Pledges 3 & 4 Results

1. Pete Masters, Truro City Football Club

PLEDGE 3: I pledge to educate myself about the science and impacts of climate change starting with reading Climate Vision’s article “Climate Change” or something else

“After reading various articles about climate change I have found that people are more likely to take action against climate change when they have had a direct experience.  Almost everyone that was affected by the recent UK floods are now more in tune with environmental issues and would say that climate change is one of their top three issues facing Britain in the next 20 years.  For people who have had no experience it will be more difficult to change their views.”

PLEDGE 4: I pledge to contact my MP and my friends and make these pledges too

“I confirm that I have contacted my MP and asked three friends to do the pledges.  I am awaiting their response.”

2. Ruth Smith, ZLC Energy

PLEDGE 3: I pledge to educate myself about the science and impacts of climate change starting with reading Climate Vision’s article “Climate Change” or something else

“It’s fantastic news to hear that Sarah Newton chosen to take on the carbon cutting pledges. It’s promising to hear about local MP’s engaging on a personal level with the issues of climate change. Individuals making achievable changes on a daily basis really can make an impact, especially as our clean energy industry is under such enormous threat right now.

Many people of our generation believe acting on climate change is a choice, our children and grandchildren will not be so fortunate and we can but guess the kind of world we will be handing on to future generations.” 

PLEDGE 4: I pledge to contact my MP and my friends and make these pledges too

“So, I wrote to both Sarah Newton and George Eustice, twice. Once about the pledges, and once asking them that as they had promised to show support for Cornish renewables industry when they visited Wattstor, would they address the issue with the recent FiT cuts. I haven’t heard from either yet.”

3. Deborah Clark, former PR Company Director

PLEDGE 3: I pledge to educate myself about the science and impacts of climate change starting with reading Climate Vision’s article “Climate Change” or something else

“I’ve been following the debate and reading articles about Climate Change for some time now and I’m personally persuaded that it’s something we all need to be mindful of.  Common sense says that an increasingly populated world consuming resources at a terrifying rate is bound to have long term consequences.  The scientific evidence appears strong to me, although I am not a scientist and find a lot of the information hard to digest.  My personal belief is that I should do my best to reduce my carbon footprint where ever possible.  The fact that it makes sound economic sense is a beneficial by product!”

PLEDGE 4: I pledge to contact my MP and my friends and make these pledges too

“It was good to meet with Sarah Newton MP and to learn that she has been following the project and has already completed a number of pledges and intends to complete them all within the Ambassador’s timeframe.

We were able to stress to her the importance of carbon cutting at both the domestic and industrial level, but also the need for this topic to remain high on the government’s agenda.

It is a conversation we need to keep on with and have been invited to do so with Sarah again soon.

We have been undertaking 2 carbon cutting pledges a month with just 3 months left, ending just in time for us all to be better informed to understand a little more about the United Nations Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris in December. There governments and global leaders will attempt to reach ambitious strategies for curbing carbon emissions and we can contribute to inspire individuals and communities to take climate change seriously and adopt alternative behaviours – such as these pledges. We hope individuals might inspired to join us. Please visit the Cathedral website, under hot topics and select your pledges.”

 

0915-0036 PR4Photos - Truro Cathedral - Sarah Newton MP0915-0034 PR4Photos - Truro Cathedral - Sarah Newton MP

0915-0038 PR4Photos - Truro Cathedral - Sarah Newton MP

0915-0035 PR4Photos - Truro Cathedral - Sarah Newton MP

0915-0037 PR4Photos - Truro Cathedral - Sarah Newton MP

4. Cllr Edwina Hannaford, Cornwall Council

PLEDGE 3: I pledge to educate myself about the science and impacts of climate change starting with reading Climate Vision’s article “Climate Change” or something else

“We often get told don’t look back look forward the future is what is important. True, but we can learn from what went before and it helps inform and shape out future behaviour and choices. Local knowledge is important. However if we don’t record that knowledge then it’s easily lost. In planning terms during the particularly heavy rainfall of November and December of 2012 Springs and watercourses that had long disappeared generations ago emerged. But, their courses have been built on, walls blocked their way and in a steep sided valley like Looe water will inevitably find its way relentlessly to the river and sea, it’s underground passage largely unseen. These long lost springs with the water table so high manifested themselves on Hannafore Lane, West Looe under a wall and bank that became so waterlogged it gave way, blocking access to Hannafore which caused great anxiety and distress for residents as this was the only access road.
If we had retained this knowledge would we have allowed development in this area?

Would Polperro have built a car park over the River Pol flood plain if it had known the consequences would be devastating floods in the village, not once but twice, a fatality and subsequently a multi-million pound flood alleviation scheme. We need to have better understanding of the role a piece of land plays both socially, economically and most importantly environmentally. I not saying there should be no car park as it contributes to the vitality of the village as a tourist location, but it might have been designed differently.
Recording this information and reminiscences is not only cathartic for the individual but useful for the community in its development decisions, as we adapt to climate change.
It’s clear business as usual is not an option.”

“Learn the last, watch the present and create the future.” – Jesse Conrad”

PLEDGE 4: I pledge to contact my MP and my friends and make these pledges too

“I have received a response from my MP Sheryll Murray, but was disappointed that she thought it inappropriate to undertake the challenges. She says in her response she ‘thought it inappropriate to sign up for a campaign relating to my Department’
I’m not sure how well she read the request as we weren’t asking her to sign any for a campaign just undertake the pledges.
I also felt it strange that she sent me printed out pages from Government guidance about climate change when the fact I am concerned enough to undertake the challenge should have alerted to her that I may be quite informed already.
Our challenge is about reducing carbon which is not covered in the guidance.”

5. Archdeacon Bill Stuart-White, Archdeacon of Cornwall

PLEDGE 3: I pledge to educate myself about the science and impacts of climate change starting with reading Climate Vision’s article “Climate Change” or something else

“Another soggy August, and the fact that it wasn’t forecast, ensures that the weather is never far from our conversation. However, behind the eternal vagaries of the Cornish summer lie far more urgent and far-reaching issues. Our local climate is changing, as the research shows, but as a tiny part of a complex network of worldwide factors – caused, beyond doubt to some degree, by human behaviour. 

The most significant and life-threatening impacts of climate change, though, are felt by the poorest people on earth, and for me this is the main driver to want to make a difference. Huge swathes of the planet are turning to desert and are no longer usable for food-production, other places are destroyed by storms of (what appear to be unprecedented ferocity and frequency) and these factors lead to increasing drought, starvation, migration and social upheaval.

The reading I have done in response to Pledge 3 has included some of the science, which appeals convincingly to our human reason to act now to do what we can to mitigate the effects of our actions, but also some from a Christian perspective, including Pope Francis’ encyclical “Laudato Si” which stresses human connectedness with all life on earth and urges all people to come together to prevent catastrophic global warming.  

Put together, the arguments from scientific research, from our own observations of weather and climate phenomena, and from the mandate to care for the wonderful earth that has been entrusted to us, compel a response. For me, this response needs to be in how I seek to influence decision-making as well as in how I order my daily life.”

PLEDGE 4: I pledge to contact my MP and my friends and make these pledges too

“4/9/15; I contacted Sarah Newton a couple of weeks ago and am awaiting a reply.”

6.   Donna Birrell, BBC Radio Cornwall Presenter

PLEDGE 3: I pledge to educate myself about the science and impacts of climate change starting with reading Climate Vision’s article “Climate Change” or something else

“I’m learning that minimising the effects of climate change is all about thinking differently. It doesn’t have to cost the earth but if we don’t all take responsibility at a local level, this article makes clear that our inaction will cost the earth”

PLEDGE 4: I pledge to contact my MP and my friends and make these pledges too

“I have contacted George Eustice MP, awaiting response.

I have sent the link around to my colleagues here at BBC Radio Cornwall and am urging them to get on board too!”

7.  Robin Freight from St. Austell Brewery

PLEDGE 3: I pledge to educate myself about the science and impacts of climate change starting with reading Climate Vision’s article “Climate Change” or something else

“I have taken the liberty to post this on my LinkedIn page.  I have over 600 + professional friends (world-wide) so your post has now gone global! 

Climate Vision Article

By: Luci Isaacson MSc, Director, Climate Vision Summary

This article describes the complex climate system responsible for the challenges we experience in the weather today. By understanding its chaotic behaviour, combined with human intervention, we are able to understand the struggle to provide the robust predictions people need to make changes in their lives. It is time to prepare for an unknown future and to discover that which is unknown, by empowering people to make decisions today about how to act for tomorrow.

History and local knowledge are extremely useful tools. Interesting stories can take us back to our catchments, help us look at the land, how it once was, and how it has reacted to centuries of human occupation. They help us paint a picture of what it will look like in the future, and enable us to re-connect with it and connect others who have drifted far from interest in it.

Placing ourselves in this better position helps us to make long term decisions, for ourselves and how we will adapt to the different climate we are experiencing now. We know we have to take action today, but we need to be better informed in order to be a part of that process, in charge of it ourselves.

To read more about please download the full article, Climate Change.”

PLEDGE 4: I pledge to contact my MP and my friends and make these pledges too

“Steve Double MP has been sent our message”

8. Bishop Tim Thornton, Bishop of Truro

PLEDGE 3: I pledge to educate myself about the science and impacts of climate change starting with reading Climate Vision’s article “Climate Change” or something else

“I have read the article Climate Change and have read and absorbed various reports about the issue of climate change over the years.  Of course I do not understand all the complex science and can see there are competing arguments.  I do know that the presence of humans and our extraordinary ravenous appetite for using the earth’s resources are matters of real concern.

I do therefore think it is important to keep myself informed and to do so not only by reading the science but also by considering the relationship between humans and the rest of creation.  This is a theological issue above all.”

PLEDGE 4: I pledge to contact my MP and my friends and make these pledges too

“Many thanks I have e mailed Sarah and will let you know what her reply is.”

07 September 2015 

Dear Bishop Tim,

Thank you for your email.

I met with Luci on Saturday and I am happy to commit to the ten pledges. I am aiming to complete them by December.

I agree with you that Climate Change is on the greatest challenges of our time.

Kind regards,

Sarah Newton MP

Member of Parliament for Truro and Falmouth

 

9. Rev Steve Wild, Chairman of the Cornwall Methodist District

PLEDGE 3: I pledge to educate myself about the science and impacts of climate change starting with reading Climate Vision’s article “Climate Change” or something else

“The article by Luci Isaacson makes fascinating reading.  It is extremely well researched and her message “Be prepared and Cut Carbon” are things we should take to heart.  I commend this article to everyone.”

PLEDGE 4: I pledge to contact my MP and my friends and make these pledges too

10. Kirstie Newton, Cornwall Today Editor

PLEDGE 3: I pledge to educate myself about the science and impacts of climate change starting with reading Climate Vision’s article “Climate Change” or something else

Pledge 3 was an interesting one – to research climate change, with a particular emphasis on resilience. A handy internet link was provided, to a peer-reviewed article written by organiser Luci Isaacson. However, as I am far from being Luci’s peer in this field, I struggled to grasp some of the complex ideas, especially as they were couched in terms unfamiliar to the layman. My efforts were not helped by the fact that I only really get chance to read when in bed (too tired) or when my daughter is playing (too noisy).
A Google search for “climate change resilience” threw up a mixture of similar articles, and links to the websites of companies which I suspect had paid to come top of any search including the words “climate change”, and which were therefore not terribly useful. What I really needed was “climate change resilience for beginners/idiots”.

It would seem that resilience is still under discussion among academics and policy makers, hence the impenetrable language afflicting most papers. I did find some helpful websites, however, which offered information in plain English. Gaiafoundation.org quotes Rob Hopkins, founder of the Transition movement, who explains how the idea of resilience comes from the study of ecology, and how systems stand up to change rather than unravelling. He thinks it’s a more useful concept than sustainability: “When supermarkets only have enough food for two days, sustainability seems to focus on the efficiency of the freezers. Looking through the lens of resilience, we really question how we let ourselves get … so vulnerable.”

I think I can just about sum it up: climate change resilience is the acknowledgement of the causes and effects of climate change, followed by adaptation to damage already done, and action to minimise future impact. While erecting a sea wall might have been enough a few decades ago, today we need a wider-reaching, joined-up approach.

An article entitled “What does it mean to be climate resilient?” at www.rtcc.org was very helpful, offering interesting examples from around the world – for example, how rural communities in Africa are preparing for future global warming by choosing crops and livestock to withstand extreme weather, and how households in Jamaica are being encouraged to reinstate water butts to harvest rain during rare downpours.

While browsing, I discovered a U.S. site containing some interesting statistics: 40% of greenhouse gases are produced by electricity use, compared with 30% from vehicle emissions and even less from big industry. It really drove home to me how the little things we do can make a big difference. That afternoon, I bought a waterproof timer for the shower – no more 15 minute showers. Better for my pocket, better for the planet.

The planet will find ways of coping, but will we, with our rigid ways of living and working, fare so well? Will our structures survive?

Another useful stat gleaned from my browsing session: sea temperature has risen by 1%, and if things don’t change, could increase by 4% over time, with catastrophic consequences. If we change our ways, we could limit the increase to a more manageable 2%.

PLEDGE 4: I pledge to contact my MP and my friends and make these pledges too

Dear Mrs Newton,

 I’m currently undertaking 10 Carbon Pledges alongside other Carbon Logic Ambassadors, and would like to invite you, as my MP, to do the same. We are undertaking two pledges each month in a bid to breathe life into the Top Ten Carbon-Cutting Pledges devised by the Footsteps Campaign in 2009. You can find the 10 pledges here:

http://www.trurocathedral.org.uk/hot-topics/top-ten.php

I firmly believe that we can make a considerable difference to our environment by making even small changes to our lifestyles, from shopping habits to energy usage around the home. I can confirm that It takes a short time to carry out theses pledges. 

I would be delighted if you could let me know if you are on board. More about this campaign and why it is happening can be found here: http://climatevision.co.uk/carbon-logic-project 

I look forward to hearing from you in due course.

Kindest regards

Kirstie Newton 

Editor, Cornwall Today magazine

 

7 September 2015 

Dear Kirstie,

Thank you for your email.

I met with Luci on Saturday and I am happy to commit to the ten pledges. I am aiming to complete them by December.

I agree with you that Climate Change is on the greatest challenges of our time.

Kind regards,

Sarah Newton MP

Les dix premiers engagements

1  Je m’engage à appeler mon fournisseur d’électricité après 24h afin de voir si je peux passer à l’énergie verte (si pas je trouve un moyen).

2  Je m’engage à acheter des produits de saison le plus possible, commencer par deux repas par semaine.

Je m’engage à me renseigner à propos de la science et les impacts du changement climatique en lisant des articles sur les changements du Climate Vision “changement climatique”.

4 Je m’engage à contacter les politiciens locaux et mes amis à faire de même.

5 Je m’engage à marcher, à prendre mon vélo et à utiliser les transports en commun le plus possible sur une journée pour travailler.

6 J’ai travaillé à l’extérieur de mon empreinte carbone et d’utiliser la plus facile des calculettes carbones et http://footprint.wwf.org.uk.

7 J’ai le gage de vérifier l’énergie de la maison afin de voir comment puis – je sauver l’énergie de ma maison.

8 J’ai le gage d’éteindre le thermostat ou de le diminuer dans le but d’avoir une température confortable entre 18-21°C et penser à mettre un vêtement plus chaud.

9 J’ai le gage de réduire mon voyage en vacances à 50%.

10 J’ai le gage de rechercher “conduire dans un environnement convivial” sur google ou appeler un instructeur de conduite ou apprendre quelques leçons à propos des idées conviviales environnementales.

Carbon Logic Ambassadors – Pledge 1 & 2 July – Results

1. Pete Masters, Truro City Football Club

IMG_4616

PLEDGE ONE: I pledge to ring my electricity supplier over the next 24 hours and see if I can switch to green energy (if not I will find one)!

“Southern Electric have informed us that we are already on their cheapest Evergreen tariff and that they would let us know at least once a year if this changes.  They worked out for us that we have used 5% less electricity than in the same period last year!”

PLEDGE TWO: I pledge to buy local seasonal produce as much as possible – starting with at least 2 meals a week

“In recent years there has definitely been a shift in our family towards buying products with a strong local provenance. Just down the road from our own L2 Night Club is ‘Thorne’s’ fruit and veg shop which we probably visit a couple of times a week.  Although not all their products are locally sourced we always buy Cornish products when available. Both L2 Night Club and Bunters buy all their fruit for their drinks from Thorne’s. Thorne’s also very kindly sponsor Truro City Football Club by supplying all the fruit for the players at half-time.”

 

2. Ruth Smith, ZLC Energy

IMG_3369

PLEDGE ONE: I pledge to ring my electricity supplier over the next 24 hours and see if I can switch to green energy (if not I will find one)!

This pledge was a great starting point, and I’m really interested to know how others found it? We’ve been customers of Good Energy for many years, as choosing more renewable energy has always been important to us. When we made that choice, it definitely came at a higher cost than the cheapest options from the bigger suppliers; however, it’s far more competitive these days.

I think if you’re fortunate enough to be in the position to make that choice, then it’s definitely an easy, affordable way to make a difference. However, it’s important to remember that, especially for the many people in fuel poverty, choosing an energy supplier comes down to who is the most affordable. There should be more emphasis on the suppliers taking the responsibility, and making it easy for people to choose affordable green energy tariffs. Schemes such as Community Energy Plus group energy switch are working hard to make that more accessible to people in Cornwall.

The current energy market doesn’t make it easy for smaller more ethical energy companies to compete with the more established providers, and it will be interesting to see what happens in the review of the industry this year. It would be great to see the market opening up to smaller suppliers and community generation.

For anyone in a position to make more of a commitment, renewable energy is definitely a great choice. In his recent interview with Obama, David Attenborough highlighted the need to increase the take up of renewable energy and energy storage. We’re experiencing more and more interest from homeowners and businesses choosing renewable energy, which is really positive. We’ve also been developing energy storage right here in Cornwall, with a product called Wattstor, so it was great to hear David Attenborough sharing our enthusiasm for renewable energy and storage.

We’ve had lots of initial interest in Wattstor, so some homeowners in Cornwall are already leading the way and enjoying cheaper energy costs and future proofing themselves from an uncertain energy market.

It’s a really positive time for cleaner, renewable energy, and switching to a more renewable tariff is a great place to start.

Renewable Energy Storage and WATTSTOR

‘Solar PV and Wind energy systems are useless when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing’. They also generate their power at the ‘wrong time’. These criticisms are silenced by the addition of a Wattstor™. Affordable Renewable Energy storage will revolutionise energy provision nationally and globally (Germany introduced a subsidy scheme for energy storage on the 1st May 2013). Renewables systems efficiencies can be increased by as much as 300% and savings of 75% on imported power are achievable. Off grid conditions are available to Solar PV system owners in the summertime and those with wind power as well as Solar PV can be off grid all year round. Standby power/grid independence is also provided in the event of mains failure (brown outs and blackouts forecast by OFGEM in winter 2015/2016 arising from the delayed replacement of UK Power Station). The Wattstor™ Mission is to provide low cost, affordable and viable energy storage systems without the need for unreliable political subsidy consistent with high quality and business sustainability. It will develop and adapt its offerings in line with the certain future innovations in energy storage technology. Transmission of electricity via a creaking grid system is very inefficient. It is much better to generate locally, store locally and use locally – a Wattstor™ achieves this. If adopted nationwide, storage of Renewable and Grid energy surpluses for later use has the potential to make much of the grid and the power stations supplying it, redundant. We could be closing down Power stations rather than building new ones – especially the nuclear one the UK Government is planning to pay the French and the Chinese £20bn to build for us!

The world renowned naturalist, David Attenborough met with Barack Obama and the meeting was shown on BBC1 on the 29th June 2015. David mentioned TWICE that renewable energy storage was the way ahead for the planet’s future energy provision. See www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsoPOQE5ass. David has since written to us “I was most interested to read of the WATTSTOR. Clearly the ability for individuals to store energy generated by their own individual sources is a most important one if we are to solve the problem of Climate Change”

PLEDGE TWO: I pledge to buy local seasonal produce as much as possible – starting with at least 2 meals a week

“Running a business and juggling work with 2 young children means it’s not as easy as it used to be to shop local. When the children were small, I used to make a trip out of visiting the local farm shop, fishmonger and the green grocer, each of them choosing something to eat there and then or take home as a treat. I just don’t have time to do that anymore! We used to use People and Gardens veg bag, which is fantastic, but we’re too far away now.

This pledge was a great reminder, as I’d slipped back into getting all my shopping from whichever was the closest supermarket, trying wherever possible to choose local, but it’s not that easy. I’ll be honest, it’d taken me a month of having it on my to-do list, but I have now signed up for a weekly food box from Cornish Food Box. Our first box was delivered today, and I’m really looking forward to being inspired by the contents of the box.”

 

3. Deborah Clark, former PR Company Director

PLEDGE ONE: I pledge to ring my electricity supplier over the next 24 hours and see if I can switch to green energy (if not I will find one)!

“The quality of response from my supplier was disappointing, as are the many phone calls I get cold calling to sell energy efficiency measures at home.  Sourcing low carbon energy and reducing power consumption are both important initiatives deserve better.  (My energy supplier directed enquiries to a live web chat, and we all dread those awful cold calls!)  I made the choice to invest in PV and solar thermal years ago and find the quality of cold calling especially shabby.”

PLEDGE TWO: I pledge to buy local seasonal produce as much as possible – starting with at least 2 meals a week

“On retirement I have ramped up my own gardening and at this time of year a lot of what we eat is home grown, supplemented with a neighbour’s small vegetable stall and local markets where possible.  When it comes to meat buying, as a farmer’s daughter who still keeps a few bullocks I mourn the loss of the local butcher but still try to buy local, or at least English, as much as possible.  Our local choice is “Lily’s Tearooms” just down the road from Shortlanesend which grows much of its own salads, vegetables and fruit, although not, I am ashamed to report – scones and cakes – which I am very partial to!”

 

4. Cllr Edwina Hannaford, Cornwall Council

veg box1

PLEDGE ONE: I pledge to ring my electricity supplier over the next 24 hours and see if I can switch to green energy (if not I will find one)!  

“My first pledge was to find out if my electricity supplier had a Green Tariff. How difficult could that be?  However it turned out to be anything but simple. My supplier is British Gas. I have a dual fuel agreement with a £15 discount paying a unit rate of 13.460p per kWh and a standing charge of 26.000p per day.

I logged into my online account and called British Gas asking them if they had a Green Tariff because I wanted to buy electricity that was sourced from renewable sources of generation. Initially the operative said, oh you want to fit solar panels? No! I want to know if you have a Green Tariff. “I can put you through to the insulation team” No I just want to know if you have a Green Tariff, who should I speak to? Every time I was put through to the ‘Green Team” I listened to green sleeves for 2 or 3 minutes then the phone went dead. Nothing! I rang again after negotiating the press 1 etc system and asked for the direct number of the mysterious Green Team. Same scenario, music then nada! Im very frustrated now. What should be a simple question to answer has proved to be so frustrating. Another operative seemed to be making sense, “I just go and check with my manager”. 15 minutes later, yes 15minutes and I was still no further forward. I made a final call venting my frustration and I thought I had someone who could help. She made the right noises but left me on the line for 10mins to find out the information I needed. That’s when I gave up.

Come on British Gas your staff are very poorly trained, it should not have been so hard to answer a simple question. If you don’t offer a Green Tariff just tell me. So my first pledge has been an epic fail and I did try very hard! I’m considering changing my supplier as a result of my very poor experience of British Gas.”

PLEDGE TWO: I pledge to buy local seasonal produce as much as possible – starting with at least 2 meals a week

“My second challenge is to eat at least 2 meals from locally sourced and seasonal produce. I wanted to choose a meal that was fairly effortless to prepare and cook and not overtly expensive. 

This was not so much a challenge for me as I have delivered to my door a weekly Keveral Farm organic vegetable box which costs £8.00. I see the benefits of purchasing this box to be beyond the obvious; access to fresh local organic produce that encourages me to eat more healthily, but that it supports a collective of local growers and keeps my money circulating in the local economy. It saves food miles and avoids ‘leakage’, creating a more ‘circular’ local economy where money is spent supporting the local economy. It also keeps alive that link and understanding between where the food is grown and the consumer as well as adding a social dimension in the manner in which the Keveral farmers work collaboratively. Trerieve Organic Farm a supplier is also part of the higher level stewardship scheme and this week welcomed a group of school children from Polperro Primary School in my division.

This week’s box contained Cornish new potatoes, beetroot, carrots, a cucumber, salad leaves and onions.

However I’m still an omnivore and therefore I ventured to Quayside Fresh on East Looe Quay for some meat. We are lucky in that Philip Warrens at Oughs have a butchery counter here as well as Tamar Fruits green grocery and a range of delicatessen style cheeses, pickles and other treats.

First to the butchery counter. They were advertising Lanson sausages, Cornish bacon, South Devon burgers as well as chicken, beef and lamb. I quizzed the assistant as to where the meats came from as I spotted on one pack that the postcode was Exeter. He assured me that this was where their processing and distribution operation took place and that the animals from which this meat came from were indeed in Cornwall. The assistant was extremely helpful and talked about traceability, but I needed some reassurance so checked their website and emailed them asking for that reassurance which I duly received. It did get me thinking how much of what we purchase actually comes from where we think it comes from. 

How easy is it for the consumer to check and be confident they are not purchasing something that is just packaged in Cornwall’s? For example it could be labelled Cornish when it’s produced miles away? 

Traceability is important as is the knowledge of the shop assistant. It’s up to us as consumers to challenge. 

I had more luck with the South Devon beef burgers. Although the shop assistant knew they were produced in Cornwall, again I had to take to their website to find the details and this rare breed South Devon Red herd are just a few miles away at Menheniot on Tregondale Farm. This prize winning Tregondale Herd of 240 South Devon Cattle traces its pedigree history back to 1947. This long established and successful herd are well known award winners at major and local shows including society sales and herd competitions.

This recognised native breed provides excellent eating qualities, finely grained and marbled succulent beef. Tregondale South Devon Beef is naturally fed and produces a high quality premium meat from a traditional breed that tastes great.

Although not the cheapest burgers, the burgers are delicious made from the tasty shin cut. The price does however compare favourably with an Asda extra special steak burger which is £1.87.

I asked another assistant in the green grocery to signpost me to produce that was produced locally. He was only able to suggest Cornish new potatoes and usually they would have Tamar Valley Strawberries but could not get hold of any currently.

I found this disappointing although most produce was English.

Why isn’t Cornish produce being stocked? Is it price or availability? Or are others just more adept at getting produce to market?

In attempting to source my meal from local seasonal produce my last purchase was some artisan bread rolls which came from a bakery in Devonport, Plymouth.

No early Summer meal would be complete without some strawberries and cream. A stroll further down the quay to Pengelly fishmongers and I find Cornish soft fruit for sale including Tamar Valley Strawberries. Combined with Rodda’s Cornish Clotted Cream from the Co-op my mission was nearly complete. The display of locally caught fish was breath-taking and the Pengelly family take such pride in the quality of their produce and service. In keeping with my easy cook meal I purchased Looe caught haddock fish cakes made on the quay at £1.50 each.

My observations.

  • Challenge shop keepers on traceability and their food knowledge
  • Finding seasonal produce is not as easy as you might think unless you have a farm shop on your doorstep
  • I could find no locally produced seasonal produce in the local Co-op and Spar supermarkets
  • You may have to pay a little more and go out of your way to find it but the quality is superior and the buying experience definitely much more pleasurable.

My meals

  • South Devon beef burger with caramelised Keveral Farm organic onions in a Devonport Bakery artisan bread roll, with minted (from my garden) Cornish new potatoes, Keveral organic broad beans and carrots.
  • Tamar Valley Strawberries and Roddas Clotted Cream
  • Pengelly’s Haddock Fishcakes with Cornish new potatoes and salad leaves, beetroot and cucumber.
  • Tamar Valley strawberries with Treleavans vanilla ice cream, made in Looe.

http://www.cornishfarmhousebacon.co.uk

http://www.philipwarrenbutchers.co.uk

http://www.treleavens.co.uk/contact-us/

http://www.pedigreesouthdevons.co.uk/tregondale-south-devons-news.htm

http://www.keveral.org

http://www.roddas.co.uk

http://www.tamarviewfruiterers.co.uk/home

http://pengellys.co.uk

 

meal veggie box

 

5. Archdeacon Bill Stuart-White, Archdeacon of Cornwall

IMG_4287

PLEDGE ONE: I pledge to ring my electricity supplier over the next 24 hours and see if I can switch to green energy (if not I will find one)!

“Our current utilities contracts were complete so I was able to change to a Green Tariff. After a little internet research via the “Which” Switch website and filling in various online forms, I talked to a consultant as a result of which, we have taken out a new 12 month contract with “Ovo” for our gas and electricity, which includes a 100% green electricity tariff. The website claims that this will save us £46 per year compared to our current contract, but this is not easy to verify since we pay by standing order and have built up considerable credit. We’ll wait and see about this and about how smoothly the switch goes, but are glad to be able to be on a green tariff.

The process was not without the usual frustrations of talking to a call-centre operative, but it took about 40 minutes from start to finish.”

2015-07-25 12.31.28

PLEDGE TWO: I pledge to buy local seasonal produce as much as possible – starting with at least 2 meals a week

“Lovely fresh fish, locally caught and sold from the stall on Lemon Quay is a regular treat. This time is was wonderful Pollack and “interesting” Smoothhound (a kind of shark). The choice of veg was limited, but we got what we could.”

 

6.   Donna Birrell, BBC Radio Cornwall Presenter

PLEDGE ONE: I pledge to ring my electricity supplier over the next 24 hours and see if I can switch to green energy (if not I will find one)!

 “Completed, but only after some time on the telephone. .. another reason to be better at planning my day. I haven’t changed to green energy yet, but will consider it. However, this has made me think about energy consumption in my home. Eg.. I’m terrible at leaving all the lights on in every room, but now I’m making a conscious effort to switch them off. Also, I drive a very old Land Rover and much as I love it, I feel guilty and would like to convert it to bio-diesel. Not sure about the cost, but I will find out!”

PLEDGE TWO: I pledge to buy local seasonal produce as much as possible – starting with at least 2 meals a week

“If anything, this pledge made me realise that my current carbon footprint and the way I live my life is more like a giant pair of waders! I found it difficult to complete even this simple task, but it has made me realise that if I am to succeed in this challenge, I need to be more efficient and organised with my time and plan longer- term. 

I need to reassess the way I live my life, less short term decisions and more long range planning.”

 

7.  Robin Freight from St. Austell Brewery

PLEDGE ONE: I pledge to ring my electricity supplier over the next 24 hours and see if I can switch to green energy (if not I will find one)!

“We don’t currently use a Green Tariff but produce a large amount of Solar PV to help offset our usage.  We are looking at this subject as part of our 2016 procurement review.”

PLEDGE TWO: I pledge to buy local seasonal produce as much as possible – starting with at least 2 meals a week

“Local Sourcing – basically, where possible, we source all our food produce from our County!”

brewery food map sourcing

 

8. Bishop Tim Thornton, Bishop of Truro

PLEDGE ONE: I pledge to ring my electricity supplier over the next 24 hours and see if I can switch to green energy (if not I will find one)!  

“The Church Commissioners are responsible for the bills at Lis Escop (Bishop’s house near Trelissick) so I have put the question to them.”

PLEDGE TWO: I pledge to buy local seasonal produce as much as possible – starting with at least 2 meals a week

“I have been away quite a bit.  I was in York University for the meeting of General Synod I was staying in James College.  I asked the staff if the food we were being served was locally produced and sourced.  They introduced me to the Head Chef Adam Thur who told me that most of their food was locally sourced and produced and took me through the various foodstuff and where they came from.  He was very helpful. I then went to Sheffield and stayed at the Church Army Centre Wilson Carlisle Centre and asked boss Mark Russell about their food and again he was able to say the majority of it was locally produced and I met the chef who explained their policies.

I then went to Mirfield where again the monks have a policy of using much locally produced food. I am now staying in the Farmers Club where again (and you will not be surprised to hear!) they have a policy of using good quality farm produced foods and have clear lists in their menus about the origin of their food. I have not been home much but when I was I shopped in the local spa in Playing Place.”

I was very impressed how open all the people were in the places in which I have stayed to being asked about the source of their food and clearly it was a priority for most places to ensure food was locally produced and sourced and wherever possible as fresh as possible.”

 

9. Rev Steve Wild, Chairman of the Cornwall Methodist District

steve pledge 2

PLEDGE ONE: I pledge to ring my electricity supplier over the next 24 hours and see if I can switch to green energy (if not I will find one)!

“This was a fascinating experience we use ‘British Gas’ the young lady on the other end of the phone was very kind and listened as I explained – she had never had anyone ask to switch before she didn’t think that they did it. She went to ask someone and came back offering me a special discount if I made my home ‘greener’ but although I am 60 it didn’t count because I am in full-time employment. I must say I am disappointed in my supplier for not doing this and will explore changing my supplier.”

PLEDGE TWO: I pledge to buy local seasonal produce as much as possible – starting with at least 2 meals a week

“Going to buy fresh locally sourced vegetables was easy I walked from my office and picked up a wonderful basket of beautiful fresh food from the Cornish Food Box all locally grown and we have nearly eaten it all already. The staff were incredibly helpful the whole experience cheered my day

“Luci Isaacson is in my book of heroes! She belongs to Truro Methodist Church and is such a lovely person. We had such a great time last week shopping and having such fun with the people from the Cornish Food Box. I learnt a lot about climate change and the way locally sourced food has a role to play in reducing my carbon footprint as well as supporting the Cornish economy.” 

10. Kirstie Newton, Cornwall Today Editor

PLEDGE ONE: I pledge to ring my electricity supplier over the next 24 hours and see if I can switch to green energy (if not I will find one)!

“The first challenge was already at the back of the net for me. We switched to Good Energy shortly after moving in here (June 2013). Their description: “We supply you through the National Grid, which is like a dirty pond of electricity. When you switch to us, we match all the electricity you use over a year with electricity sourced purely from renewables. It’s like pouring fresh water into that pond.” More than half of the energy they match comes from wind, 20% from solar. Also, about a year ago, we had solar panels fitted. Our bills are now lower (I have to keep calling Good Energy to ask them to lower my direct debits, as we are hugely in credit!) and we also get payments from the Feed-in Tariff (which is sadly under threat under the current Government). I wish I could claim credit for some of this, but it was all my partner’s initiative. That said, we appear to be a low usage household – we don’t have loads of electronic gizmos like X Boxes, we try not to leave things on standby, and by doing the washing etc during the day, I get to use natural power from the solar panels.”

PLEDGE TWO: I pledge to buy local seasonal produce as much as possible – starting with at least 2 meals a week

“Two meals a week using local produce, I found much harder, and I’m not sure I made it – but I am taking baby steps! I’m really busy, juggling work and family, so I tend to shop for convenience. That usually means supermarkets – but I shop little and often at the Co-Op (very ethical) in town, rather than driving to a big supermarket and buying loads of stuff (including impulse buys, and food which might get wasted). And I try to buy British wherever possible, avoiding produce that’s been transported across the globe if UK alternatives are available.
However, we grow our own too, and I’ve been cooking a lot of potatoes and cabbage from the garden, supplemented with something from the shop – say chicken Kievs. I used to get a fortnightly delivery of local veg, but found that an undesirable amount was not being used, going mouldy and straight onto the compost heap! As such, I feel I’m saving money and minimising food waste by shopping differently. I’m trying to use alternative outlets where possible – the pannier market, say, for fruit/veg and meat, or the Cornish Food Box Company.” 

The Footsteps 2009 Data Analysis Survey (ends 31st July 2015)

Phew! It’s out!

The survey is now complete and in peoples inboxes awaiting the light!

Having completed pre-surveys to gauge the kind of answers people might provide when questioned about the Top Ten Pledges, we looked at how we were going to break down the answers to match the carbon saving data we have available in the time frame and within the budget. At this stage we could spend FOREVER looking into the many interesting aspects of the where’s and why’s but what we have to focus on now, for the good of the whole project is to find out what people really need to know – at what cost was it successful and establish it in a robust manner. So we capture what activity people DID as a result of the Footsteps 2009 Project, completing those Top Ten Pledges via the campaign that cost £6k and took 4 months.

So far, it is looking good. So much is  squeaking out of the data dying to be evaluated. We can later. This can be revisited. For now, we want to see if we can stand up and say “Give weight to behavioural change, it is possible, it just requires trusted messengers, easy requests and to be colourful and fun”. We think we can.

Risks: Our contact data is 6 years old! Our only problem is that some of the email addresses don’t exist anymore… If you remember anyone telling you they had done the pledges, please let them know, as they are GOLD DUST, we need them to complete the survey by July 31st too. Please do ask them to call 01872 241239 or email luci@climate vision.co.uk Thank you!

Crowd Funder Reward – Tour Of Arch Bishop Benson School & School Dinner with the Head

Mrs. Giblett warmly welcomed members from the Carbon Crowd at Arch Bishop Benson School.

This fantastic reward not only enabled everyone to have a look into a day in the life of a school head but to enable discussions to be had regarding each members interests. In the Head’s office, over a coffee a fascinating discussion took place and so many views on interesting topics were exchanged. A tour of the school to include new plans was followed by a sensational school dinner! I think 50% of the those in attendance came because of the school dinner opportunity! Feedback has been fantastic, an opportunity to have deep insight into a 5 year olds world and how that translates into growing and then being prepared for 11 onwards, was humbling. A great Head teacher, embracing the hurdles of cut backs, government changes, climate changes combined with demands on family life, yet managing to be amongst a sea of smiles and wonderful attitudes leaving us all wishing we could go back to school!

 

IMG_2718 IMG_2726 IMG_2730 IMG_2733 IMG_2743 IMG_2745 IMG_2747 IMG_2752 IMG_2755

Crowd Funder Reward – Cathedral Tour

Lovely Special Tour of the Cathedral as a reward for members of the Carbon Crowd who are supporting the Carbon Logic Project.

Suzie Greenslade  and Canon Lynda Barley conducted the tour with wonderful stories including the gorgeous stone screen arriving in carbon style via the river and noticing Truro Cathedral Cornwall is actually bent (to fit the original Chapel)!

Thanks to all those who came and special thanks to the Cathedral and the ladies for a great tour.

IMG_2634IMG_2642

IMG_2643IMG_2644

Ten Carbon Logic Ambassadors

10 Carbon Ambassadors take Carbon Pledge Challenge 

Ten local personalities, including the Bishop of Truro, have agreed to take part in a five month project to lower their carbon footprints. The aim of the Carbon Logic Project is to show how possible it is to make a genuine impact on individual carbon consumption and thus on global issues like Climate Change.

The Ten people have been asked to take part by Luci Isaacson, Director of Climate Vision working with Truro Cathedral as part of the Carbon Logic Project. The ten include,

1.            Pete Masters, Truro City Football Club

2.            Ruth Smith, ZLC Energy

3.            Deborah Clark

4.            Cllr Edwina Hannaford, Cornwall Council (Cabinet Member for Planning)

5.            Arch Deacon Bill Stuart-White, Archdeacon of Cornwall

6.            Donna Birrell, BBC Radio Cornwall Presenter

7.            Robin Freight from St. Austell Brewery

8.            Bishop Tim Thornton, Bishop of Truro

9.             Rev Steve Wild, President of the Methodist Conference

10.           Kirstie Newton, Cornwall Today Editor

Each of the Ambassadors have agreed to try and complete two pledges a month for 5 months using the pledge form found on the ‘Hot Topics’ page cathedral’s website

In July each Ambassador will attempt to change to a ‘green’ energy supplier and buy local seasonal produce for at least two meals a week. At the end of each month they will report back on their particular experiences, the successes and the failures, sharing what they’ve learnt.

Pete Masters, Truro City Football Club

“Being committed to cutting carbon in ten different ways could prove even more challenging than gaining promotion, but I’m determined to give it a go. But anyone who knows me knows I don’t take on simple tasks so I’m pledging to being greener and no doubt a lot leaner with all the cycling and running I’m expecting to undertake to do my bit to help the planet.”

Ruth Smith

“When I saw Luci’s pledge project, it seemed a really accessible, effective way to get people engaged with making carbon cutting part of their everyday lifestyle. It’s always been important to us to be aware of our impact on the environment, so we’ve made a lot of small changes to our lifestyle already. I think there are a lot of pressures on people these days, so the environment doesn’t always come high up in people’s everyday considerations. Hopefully this project can demonstrate that it doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. When you’re faced with the huge potential impact of climate change, it can be hard to have the conviction that your small choices make a difference, so it will be great to see the end results of the project!”

Deborah Clark

“I have a deep commitment to supporting Cornwall in whatever way I can, if that local outlook translates into a more carbon efficient way of living then it’s even better”.

Cllr Edwina Hannaford, Cornwall Council (Portfolio Holder of Planning and Environment Strategy)

I am delighted to be asked to a climate change ambassador. Climate change is not just an abstract concept discussed by boffins and environmentalists, but is manifesting itself in direct ways here in Cornwall. Over the past few years in my division of Looe, Polruan and Polperro we have experienced this directly with severe weather events that caused flooding, extensive damage and disruption. I believe we all have a responsibility to do our bit to help address climate change and by making small changes to our everyday behaviours we can make a difference.

Archdeacon Bill Stuart-White, Archdeacon of Cornwall

“I learned the prayer long ago “Lord, change the world – and start with me”. It’s a dangerous thing to pray but it’s my prayer for this challenge.”

Donna Birrell, BBC Radio Cornwall presenter 

“It’s sometimes easy to think our actions as individuals won’t make any difference to the global issue of climate change. As an Ambassador, I’m looking forward to challenging myself to think differently and I hope my own small steps will help lead towards the much bigger pathway.”

Robin Freight, St Austell Brewery

“St Austell Brewery are proud to be Ambassadors of Carbon Cutting and doing our part to protect the unique and beautiful environment of this part of the world, we hope others will join us in making this extra effort. No matter how small every little bit helps and together we will make a huge difference.”

Bishop Tim Thornton, Bishop of Truro

I’m really happy to be part of an easy carbon cutting project in Cornwall. We hope to share our experiences and encourage others to do the same. The Ten Pledges I will undertake over the next five months will help me to have a better understanding of the problems with carbon, support the local economy and become more resilient to climate change. I hope everyone will join us and have a go at the pledges too.

Revd Steven Wild 

I think this is a really good idea and wholeheartedly support the  project.

Kirstie Newton, Cornwall Today editor

Kirstie has signed up to complete 10 carbon-cutting pledges, and will be reporting back on her monthly challenges. “I committed to this project because while I’m aware of climate change and try and do my bit for the environment, I also know that I could think more about it and work harder,” she says. “Like a lot of people, I’m very busy, and that means that sometimes I’m lazy and take short-cuts. I hope this project will be not only good for the environment, but also good for my purse.

If members of the public would also like to join with this Carbon Pledge Challenge then they should go to http://www.trurocathedral.org.uk/hot-topics/hot-topics.php .

Luci Isaacson hopes to take the results of this project to the UN Conference on Climate Change in Paris at the end of the year.

The negatives of Carbon Capture and Storage

Earlier this months Aberdeenshire Council approved the construction of a Carbon Capture and Storage facility at Peterhead. one of the first of its kind. This facility will pump millions of tonnes of CO2 back into depleted gas wells in the North Sea. There was little protest, with many praising the project’s potential to create jobs in the area and reduce CO2 emissions. Leader of the SNP Nicola Sturgeon said it was a “big opportunity for Scotland”. There was however, little discussion about the potential negative effects of such a project and little debate as to whether encouraging continued use of fossil fuels is really a sustainable approach.

Plants fitted with Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) capabilities require 15-25% more energy than conventional plants. This additional energy use can increase emissions indirectly, such as emissions caused by the extraction and transportation of this additional fuel. The technology used in CCS can also increase certain aspects of air pollution. Particulate matter and Nitrogen Oxide are both predicted to increase due to the additional fuel consumption. Ammonia is expected to increase by more than 3 times current levels from energy plants, due to the degradation of the solvents in the process of capturing Carbon. Ammonia can lead to acidification and Eutrophication as well as forming particular matter in the atmosphere. Particulate matter is considered by the World Health Organisation to be the deadliest form of air pollution due to its ability to enter the respiratory system. Some of the potential effects can include DNA mutations (which can lead to cancer), heart attacks, respiratory illness and premature death. The overall increase in Ammonia is likely to be small overall as the agricultural sector is by far the biggest emitter, however it is still important to consider these consequences when there are safer alternatives available.

CCS has also been linked with damaging the environment due to leakage of CO2 from the pipelines or storage reservoir. Leakage of CO2 underground has been shown to increase plant mortality, reduce growth and create potentially severe localised damage to ecosystems. The mining and transport of the additional fuel needed for CCS, usually Coal, produces its own environmental damages as well as the environmental cost of building such a plant and all of the required pipelines. Gradual leakage of CO2 or large scale leakage caused by catastrophic failure of the system could remove the benefits of capturing CO2 as well as producing additional environmental damage and damage to human health. The CO2 would need to remain stored for 100s of years or potentially indefinitely and the feasibility of this has been questioned. The built up of pressure underground may also lead to small seismic events.

Some have claimed that the environmental risks and risks to human health involved in CCS are similar to those already experienced in the oil and gas industry. But is that really acceptable? Surely we should be considering solutions that do less damage, not a similar amount.

The nightmare scenario associated with Carbon Capture and Storage is the threat of sudden catastrophic leakage of CO2, which would decimate human and animal life in the surrounding area. A good example of this is the sudden release of CO2 from Lake Nyos in 1986. This resulted in the deaths of 1700 people in rural Cameroon. Nuclear power has long been frowned upon despite having no direct carbon emissions because of the nightmare scenarios associated with it, so these events are worth considering. This situation is of course, unlikely, however this technology is new and untested and it needs to endure for extremely long timescales, which is a challenge unlike any Humans have faced before.

A more likely scenario is gradual leakage of CO2. This could occur if the incorrect site is selected or the site is not prepared correctly. Leakage of CO2 would remove the purpose of Carbon Capture and Storage and may also pose a risk to fresh groundwater resources if the site is incorrectly selected. Aquifers that are not connected with groundwater systems have been proposed as potential site for CCS. However it has also been argued that injecting CO2 into these aquifers can cause acidification of the water, increasing its ability to break down the surrounding rocks, increasing the potential for leakage into the soils or water table. Considering the fact the CO2 would have to be stored for 100s or 1000s of years, we cannot be certain what would happen.

Overall CCS carries a host of risks and unanswered questions, so needs to be carefully regulated and scrutinised. CCS may be useful in carefully selected sites however it is important it is not viewed as a panacea, as it doesn’t address the core problem of fossil fuel usage, it simply masks the main problem associated with it, which is carbon emissions. There are ways to reduce emissions which carry none of these risks and will be required when fossil fuels run out anyway, so is it really worth taking all of these risks for a technology which requires further use of fossil fuels, distracts from the adoption of renewable energy and doesn’t address the core issue of unsustainable fossil fuel dependence?

Select Committee at Cornwall Council

Catch up this week (after Crowd Funding for 2 months) including being questioned as a Witness at The Flood Risk Management Select Committee.

Cornwall Council’s Scrutiny Management Committee arranged the Select Committee in order to seek assurance that Cornwall’s flood risk management authorities are working together to mitigate flood risk and maintain a clear strategy for the future. Generally of course we are very pleased to be working with Cornwall Council as Chair of Cornwall Community Flood Forum,  I presented my view on all the questions, but with no mistake I presented my views on SUDS ‘enthusiastically’. I’m sure they will take this to their Cabinet. If they do take my message to central government, I will be delighted and they would have made a valuable decision.

What are SUDS?

Susdrain.org: 

Drainage systems can contribute to sustainable development and improve urban design, by balancing the different issues that influence the development of communities. Approaches to manage surface water that take account of water quantity (flooding), water quality (pollution) and amenity issues are collectively referred to as Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS).

SuDS mimic nature and typically manage rainfall close to where it falls. SuDS can be designed to slow water down (attenuate) before it enters streams, rivers and other watercourses, they provide areas to store water in natural contours and can be used to allow water to soak (infiltrate) into the ground or evaporated from surface water and lost or transpired from vegetation (known as evapotranspiration).

What happens to SUDS if the development management company fail or go under?

Under the Flood and Water Management Act the Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) approval process was going to be closely linked to the planning process. Once commenced, the Act would have required that future construction which has drainage implications will not be able to take place until approval of the drainage system has been given by the SuDS Approving Body. It does this by requiring drainage systems to be approved, against a set of National Standards. It would have been the role of the newly established SuDS Approving Body (SAB) within Devon County and Cornwall Councils, to approve, inspect, adopt and maintain sustainable drainage systems for new developments exceeding one property.

So, whats the problem?

Made on: 18 December 2014 Statement Made by: Mr Eric Pickles (was The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government) from 6 April 2015:

Under these arrangements, in considering planning applications, local planning authorities should consult the relevant lead local flood authority on the management of surface water; satisfy themselves that the proposed minimum standards of operation are appropriate and ensure through the use of planning conditions or planning obligations that there are clear arrangements in place for ongoing maintenance over the lifetime of the development. The sustainable drainage system should be designed to ensure that the maintenance and operation requirements are economically proportionate. **The Government will keep this under review**

The consultation was published under the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Relative sea level (sea level taking into account changes in land height) in the South West has risen by approximately 250mm since 1916, thats around a ¼ of a metre in 100 years.

Whats the view given to Select Committee?

The decision in December set the whole ‘exciting’ SuDS Approving Body (SAB) plans back by a decade!

The government are building 24,000 house a year they know will flood

There isn’t the money we have enjoyed to deal with the trauma, aftermath and clear up

Flooding will only get worse (3 minutes from 1.22-1.25)

The solution?

Utilise the Select Committee’s powers to inform their Cabinet and particularly urge them to take the message to central government.

What can I do?

Write to your Councillor today, copy and paste this article and just ask the question, “With all the new development, you really need to make sure SUDS are maintained when the developer has gone, please can you ask Government to restore plans for SuDS Approving Body’s”

They will reply, let us know how you got on, thanks.