Climate change group urge people to 'think globally, act locally'
- Credit: EAST CAMBS CAN
With the Global United Nations Climate Change Summit (COP26) taking place in Glasgow in November, the East Cambs Climate Action Network (East Cambs CAN) is calling for local people to “think globally, act locally”.
In 2015 leaders from 195 countries met to sign the Paris Climate Agreement – a commitment to keep the global temperature increase ‘well below” 2°C, and try to limit it to 1.5°C.
Despite this, since 2015, the concentration of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) has continued to rise rapidly.
In 2018 the IPCC warned that drastic emissions cuts were needed in the 2020’s to have any chance of limiting warming to 1.5°C.
Peter Bates, an East Cambs CAN and Eco Ely member, said: “There is hope that 2021 could be the year when world leaders use COP26 to back up their pledges with the detail about how they plan to decarbonise their economies.
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“As a flood prone region, vulnerable to the effects of sea level rise, it is in our interest in East Cambridgeshire that we do our bit by reducing greenhouse gas emissions closer to home.”
Jethro Gauld, East Cambs CAN co-chairman, added: “While these international summits may seem distant, action at more local levels will play an important role in tackling the climate and ecological emergency.
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“There are ways we can all reduce our own impact on the planet such as how we choose to travel, what we choose to eat and how we heat our homes but we are all living in an imperfect system, so these actions need to be part of a wider community effort.
“We also need government at all levels to help individuals and communities on the path to zero carbon with funding and legislation.”
This month East Cambs CAN is focussing on housing – how people can reduce carbon emissions and cut running costs.
The Energy Saving Trust estimates that domestic heating accounts for 31 per cent of household CO2 emissions because the energy used mainly comes from fossil fuels like gas and oil.
“Everyone can help fight climate change by reducing these emissions,” Mr Gauld added.
“The Government and local authorities are currently offering funding to help you or your landlord improve the energy efficiency of your home – through the Green Homes Grant.
Green Homes Grant
Under the Green Homes Grant – the government will provide a voucher worth up to £5000 to help cover two-thirds of the cost of making energy efficient improvements to your home.
If you are on benefits you could receive up to £10,000 – to be spent by 31 March 2022.
In addition, Cambridgeshire local authorities have also applied for funding to help low-income families.
All installers need to be registered with Trustmark – the government-backed scheme for quality assurance, or be a registered MCS (Microgeneration scheme) installer.
So, if you get a “cold call”, ask for their registration number first. The “Simple Energy Advice” website can help you find out more.
Take a “whole house” “fabric first” approach
Every home is a unique and complex building. Homeowners and landlords should develop a “whole house” medium-to-long term plan, tailored to your house, for energy efficiency improvements that will reduce energy costs, make the home cosier and reduce carbon emissions.
Think “fabric first”: how can the structure of the property – walls, loft, roof, windows, floors and doors - be improved to keep out the cold and keep in the warmth?
Steps may be needed alongside these improvements to maintain adequate ventilation so as not to increase condensation.
Improving the fabric of your building will reduce the amount of energy you need to keep your house warm, and will also reduce your carbon emissions and energy bills.
Once the fabric is as good as you can make it, the next step is to decarbonise the energy services. Low energy lighting and switching to a green energy supplier are quick wins.
Solar PV with battery storage, Solar Thermal (for hot water) or an Air or Ground Source Heat Pump for heating are solutions to reduce your bills in the long term.
On these dark and cold winter nights, now is the time to plan for reducing our contribution to climate change, a cosier home and to save on energy bills.