COP 26    Transition from fossil fuels to renewables

 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.  If investment is needed, would this not be better spent on developing renewable energy sources in energy consuming countries rather than fossil fuels in energy producing countries?

The advantages of renewable energy sources include that they are abundant, available everywhere and that the technology for capturing this energy has matured with the principal sources being solar photovoltaic and wind energy.  Their only disadvantage is their intermittency as the wind does not always blow nor the sun always shine so some form of energy storage is required.

However geothermal heat contained in the upper 200m of the surface is not diurnal nor seasonal dependent and can be concentrated using heat pumps which consume only one unit of electricity in producing 4 units of heat output.  If the electricity source is renewable then zero carbon heat will be available for space and water heating and even industrial processes which require heat.

Reversing deforestation

Trees and in particular, tropical rain forests, are major sinks for carbon dioxide as they reduce CO2 into its constituent parts and retain the carbon while releasing oxygen so they are the best form of carbon capture. The UK, who is hosting the COP 26 conference in Glasgow, is proposing a global agreement to stop deforestation by 2030 and then to reverse the loss of tree cover.

At present  forest clearances have been undertaken to grow crops like soya, coffee, cocoa and palm oil to meet increasing demand. By stopping deforestation and planting more trees, we will not only reduce GHG emissions but also help to reverse the loss in habitats which are vital for preserving biodiversity and species. The UK’s Minister for the Environment has observed that ‘we need to massively increase finance for nature as we cannot and should not take highly forested nations for granted’

Tree planting initiative in our Parish

Yateley Society has ordered and will receive in the next few weeks 420 small trees (‘whips’) from the Woodland Trust.  These trees will be planted as Yateley’s contribution to the national project ‘Plant a tree for Jubilee’ to celebrate the 70 years of the Queen’s reign.

If you are willing to help plant these trees during November please email greenactionATyateleysociety.org.uk – replace the word AT with the @ symbol

[22/10/2021]