Energy production will be a major source of discussion at COP 26 as producers of fossil fuels such as oil and coal are concerned that their source of income from exports could decrease and that investment in any new fields will not be economic.
When the Kyoto Convention was signed in 1997 to limit Greenhouse Gas emissions (GHG) to the upper atmosphere, the Parties to the Convention agreed that they would meet annually to review progress.
Biodiversity and the Queen’s Green Canopy
Biodiversity is the web of life which connects the smallest bacteria to the tallest tree and the whale, the largest species in the ocean. It is the variety of life forms that we see around us and comprises the whole range of species from mammals, plants, birds to insects. These species reside in ecosystems within habitats and changing a habitat will often affect the diversity of species contained therein.
The importance of biodiversity is that our planet’s essential goods and services depend upon the variety of genes, species, populations and ecosystems. Biological resources feed and clothe us and also provide materials for housing and medicines and spiritual nourishment.
Trees form the part of the natural habitats of many species and what has happened over the centuries is that Britain’s tree cover has diminished through land being converted for agriculture, grazing, transport modes and settlements. The disappearance of trees has reduced the available habitats leading to a decline in species and also trees’ collective ability to take in carbon dioxide to form their biomass.
It is therefore timely that the Queen’s Green Canopy project has been created to celebrate the 70th anniversary of HM The Queen’s reign. Individuals, schools and groups are urged to plant a tree for the Jubilee ‘to create a new network of trees across the length and breadth of Britain’.
All new trees can be added to a virtual map alongside 70 specially selected ancient trees and advice and support will be offered to make sure that the right trees are planted at the optimum time and given the best aftercare to help them establish.
Nurseries and garden centres are good sources of trees while bundles of young trees can be bought from the Woodland Trust which is also offering free 3 million saplings for planting from October to March. Applications for spring planting open from 1 September to 4 January subject to availability,.
For more information go to queensgreencanopy.org and for tree planting advice rhs.org.uk
Neighbourhood Plan Vice Chair
COP 26th Conference to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
Limiting climate change
At the end of October, the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Kyoto Convention to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) will take place in Glasgow, UK. The Parties will review the agreement reached in Paris in December 2015 (at COP 21) to restrict the average global temperature rise to 2 C and no more than 1.5 C if possible.
In August this year the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its 6th Assessment Report which concluded that the average global temperature had risen by 1.2 C already and that this average temperature rise should not exceed 1.5 C rise if irreversible changes in climate are to be avoided. Moreover to stay within the 1.5 C limit, global GHG emissions would have to reduce by 50% in the next 10 years.
However the current national declared contributions (NDC) suggest that this reduction will NOT be achieved.
3 possible scenarios
Business as usual Not all countries agree at COP 26 to increase their national declared contributions. Under this scenario, the climate will continue to change resulting in –
- risks to the natural world in terms of continuing loss of habitats and ecosystems, species and biodiversity
- increasing extremes in weather and their occurrence such as tropical storms and droughts
- more people going hungry due to loss of food production
As already 10% of the world’s population go without one or more meals a day, this number should not increase but decrease if the Sustainable Development Goals are to be achieved by 2030
Good intentions Countries agree in Glasgow to increase their national declared contributions but do not implement them. This is climate activist Greta Thunberg’s greatest concern. At the International Youth Climate Summit in Milan this week she said
“ All we hear from leaders are words that sound great but so far have not led to actions. Our hopes and ambitions drown in their empty promises. There is still time to achieve our goal but it will take immediate, drastic and annual emission reductions. But if words are not met with actions then our leaders will betray not only present, but also future generations”.
Saving the climate In this scenario, words are followed by actions. The principal argument for such actions has been described in 2009 by Nicholas Stern in his book Blueprint for a safer planet. The analysis by his economic team shows that a changing climate poses great dangers to food supplies, biosphere and employment. Therefore it is more economic to invest NOW in actions which will limit climate change rather than wait until these changes occur and then try to adapt to them. For the UK he has costed such actions as requiring an annual investment of 1% gross domestic product (GDP) some £50 billion until 2050. Moreover such an investment would create sustainable employment and result in reducing poverty and limit extremes in weather.
Will agreement be reached at COP 26?
Limiting climate change can only be achieved if all countries take actions to limit GHG emissions. The greatest concern is whether politicians can agree at COP 26 that the time for taking actions is now and if not now, when?.
Making it happen
Each of us is responsible for our carbon emissions. So rather than wait for political actions, we should also consider what we can and should do to limit our GHG emissions.
Warmer Homes Webinars
As part of next week’s Reading Climate Festival, the Warmer Homes Group is giving two webinars on creating warmer homes and preparing buildings for low carbon heating.
Creating warmer homes Tuesday 21 September 1200 -1300
UK homes are more poorly insulated than any other housing stock in Europe relative to its climate with a rate of replacement less than 1% per annum. So it makes sense to create warmer homes to improve health of occupants whilst at the same time reducing carbon emissions.
A range of measures for creating warmer homes will be described, many of which cost very little compared with the benefits. Sources of help and advice and availability of various grants will also be discussed. There will be an opportunity for posing questions during the webinar
Preparing buildings for low carbon heating Friday 24 September 1000 – 1100
As gas boilers will be phased out from 2025 onwards, it makes economic sense to prepare buildings for low carbon heating now for both new build and existing buildings. The topics discussed will include restoring the efficiency of existing radiator systems, retrofitting insulation and the type of hot water storage. The availability of various grants will also be discussed and how these can be accessed. There will be an opportunity for posing questions during the webinar
To register for either of these events go to Eventbrite using the following links:
- Creating Warmer Homes – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/creating-warmer-homes-tickets-170414712994
- Preparing Buildings for Low Carbon – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/preparing-buildings-for-low-carbon-heating-registration-170415992822
Chair, Warmer Homes Group.
The draft Neighbourhood Plan was submitted to Hart District Council in December 2020 to undergo an Environmental Screening Process.
Their conclusion is that the plan does NOT require either a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) or a Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA).
To read the resulting report, look at:
Proposed Timeline from December 2020 to final publication
Draft Plan For HDC Screening
Looking at planting Wildflower Meadows in Yateley Parish
Details of an online event to explain the UK Government Green Homes Grant 2020
Consultants KB Planning presented their initial analysis of the work completed so far on the Neighbourhood Plan to the Volunteer Group at the meeting of 29 September.
As a result of the Spring 2020 Survey, the Steering Group have:
- Issued a tender for consultancy services
- Revised the Steering Group Terms and Conditions
- Produced an analysis of the survey responses in relation to the draft plan
The documents detailed all 3 of these can be found in our Document Repository.