Subjectivity and Climate Change

In her 2016 PhD thesis, Gillian Westcott examined the part played by subjective attitudes to climate change in determining the policy and actions of local authorities in South West England.

The research used interviews with officers and members of seven local authorities in the area, conducted during the years 2010 to 2013. While much has changed since then, the views expressed could well be relevant to today’s community energy workers and others who engage with local authorities on climate change issues. Read more here.

What you can learn from Energy Performance Certificates

All domestic and commercial buildings in the UK available to rent or buy must have an Energy Performance Certificate. The Certificate provides details on the energy efficiency of a building, gives it a rating from A (very efficient) to G (inefficient), and tells you what you can do to improve that rating. It is valid for 10 years.
ACT has analysed certificates since 2008

An EPC lets the person who will use the building know how costly it will be to heat and light, and what its carbon dioxide emissions are likely to be.

In the Teignbridge area EPCs have been issued for more than 37,000 of around 54,000 dwellings. Nearly two-thirds of these (62% or 23,137) are rated D or worse, with just 58 rated A. Only 27 dwellings have zero or negative carbon emissions, but of those, 10 are new estate houses built by Redrow in Kingsteignton. This shows it can be done so why aren’t all new build estate houses zero carbon? Most have a B or C rating.

Total emissions from dwellings rated D or below currently amount to 127kt of CO2, against 31kt for the higher rated ones.

The top recommendations in Teignbridge EPCs for improving energy efficiency are to install: solar panels (29,642 certificates), solar hot water heating (26,591), low energy light bulbs (24,075), a new condensing boiler (11,994). There are also various insulation recommendations.

If all the suggested improvements were carried out, only 5,949 dwellings  (16%) would be rated D or worse and emissions per dwelling would drop by nearly half, from 4.23 tonnes to 2.37 tonnes. But those low rated dwellings would still account for around a third of CO2 emissions.

EPC data is a useful starting point for Parish and Town councils that have declared a climate emergency. It will help to set carbon targets and implement initiatives designed to reduce emissions.  For more details, and maps showing current and potential CO2 emissions by parish, please visit https://actionclimateteignbridge.org/index.php/energy-performance-certificates-epcs/

TDC formally accept our support proposal

ACT has met Jackie Hook, TDC climate emergency portfolio holder and David Eaton, climate emergency lead officer, on several occasions, to discuss a joint approach for delivering on the TDC declaration. We have also gathered over 150 proposals for possible action from members of the community, which has been passed to the council.

The coordination group is confident that ACT can help both TDC and everyone in Teignbridge achieve the goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2025. This proposal describes ACT’s vision, mission and objectives, and proposes a partnership with the council. Finally, it provides an provisional timeline for getting the relationship established.

TDC formally accepted our role in supporting them in at their full council meeting on 24th Sept 2019.

Our full proposal can be read here.

Teignbridge declares a climate emergency

April 2019

The following Notice of Motion was submitted by Councillor J Hook and supported by Councillors Connett, Dewhirst, Hayes, G Hook, Nutley, Parker and Wrigley.

Background

Council Notes:

  1. Humans have already caused irreversible climate change, the impacts of which are being felt around the world.  Global temperatures have already increased by 1 degree Celsius from pre-industrial levels. 
  2. In order to reduce the chance of runaway Global Warming and limit the effects of Climate Breakdown, it is imperative that we as a species reduce our CO2eq (carbon equivalent) emissions from their current 6.5 tonnes per person per year to less than 2 tonnes as soon as possible.
  3. Individuals cannot be expected to make this reduction on their own. Society needs to change its laws, taxation, infrastructure, etc., to make low carbon living easier and the new norm;
  4. Carbon emissions result from both production and consumption;
  5. Our current plans and actions are not enough.  The world is on track to overshoot the Paris Agreement’s 1.5 degrees Celsius limit before 2050.
  6. The IPCC’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius, published in October 2018, describes the enormous harm that a 2 degrees Celsius rise is likely to cause compared to a 1.5 degrees Celsius, and told us that limiting Global Warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius may still be possible with ambitious action from national and sub-national authorities, civil society, the private sector, indigenous peoples and local communities.
  7. Local Councils around the world are responding by declaring a ‘Climate Emergency’ and committing resources to address this emergency.

Council believes that:

  1. All governments (national, regional and local) have a duty to limit the negative impacts of Climate Breakdown, and local governments that recognize this should not wait for their national governments to change their policies.  It is important for Teignbridge Council and other Councils to commit to carbon neutrality as quickly as possible.
  2. Towns, Cities and Local Authorities at all tiers are uniquely placed to lead the world in reducing carbon emissions; they are well placed to help decarbonize villages and more remote areas as they have closer links with their residents.
  3. Bold climate action can deliver economic benefits in terms of new jobs, economic savings and market opportunities, as well as improved personal, social and environmental well-being for people, locally and worldwide.

Motion:

Teignbridge District Council will,

  1. Declare a ‘climate emergency’
  2. Pledge to do what is within our powers, to make Teignbridge District carbon neutral by 2030, taking into account both production and consumption emissions.
  3. Call on Westminster to provide the powers and resources necessary for Teignbridge District to achieve the target of becoming carbon neutral by 2030, and to implement best practice methods to limit global warming to 1.5C.
  4. Report to Full Council within six months with an Action Plan, outlining how the Council will address this emergency. The Action Plan will detail the leadership role Teignbridge District will take in promoting community, public, business and other Council partnerships to achieve this Carbon Neutral 2030 Commitment throughout the District. The Action Plan will also outline adequate staff time and resources to undertake the actions to achieve the target.
  5. To investigate all possible sources of external funding and match funding to support this commitment