Brighton and Hove Energy Services Co-operative (BHESCo) acknowledges and supports the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sixth report assessment, the result of a rigorous process, written by hundreds of the world’s most knowledgeable experts, selected by their own governments, on the scientific, technical and socio-economic impacts of climate change – the rise in the Earth’s atmospheric temperature due to human activity, primarily by the emissions of greenhouse gases like methane and carbon dioxide.
We are threatened by a planetary climate emergency that requires rapid mobilisation of the type that is needed to fight a war.
Because of our inactivity since 1992 when the first climate conference in Rio de Janeiro took place, human activities have already caused the average global temperature of our planet to increase between 1-1.3°C. This global average temperature increase is embedded for the foreseeable future. We must take action now to prevent temperatures from rising even higher, leading to unprecedented, catastrophic events, especially to the world’s most vulnerable people.
This increase in global temperature is already causing exceptional changes to our weather patterns and systems. These are being expressed in extreme droughts, desertification, forest fires, sea level rises, melting glaciers, deluges of rain and flooding. Mankind’s persistence in releasing harmful greenhouse gases, because of our unwillingness to change, or our attachment to the current economic paradigm, will cause further melting of permafrost, mass migration from lands that are no longer inhabitable, further biodiversity loss, with consequent food and water shortages.
BHESCo is committed to facilitating the transition from fossil fuels in the energy supply, being the cause, either directly or indirectly of most of greenhouse gas emissions. We are tackling the areas that are more dependent on people’s attitude towards action on climate change – their willingness to modify activity in their daily lives, making it easier for them to adapt to a lifestyle that prioritises their concern to safeguard the wellbeing and happiness of future generations – addressing their concerns, while reducing their fear and anxiety about the state of our planet.
BHESCo is committed to holding the 300 local authorities who have declared climate emergencies1 to account. According to the Local Government Association, ‘8 in 10 local councils have suffered climate related events in the past five years, including over 23,000 properties in England being affected by flooding in this period2’ 60% of Local Authorities have adopted the more urgent and relevant target of 2030, as opposed to the national target of 2050, which is too late given the current global average temperature rise already reached.
BHESCo promotes the conclusion of the Committee on Climate Change that local energy generation using the natural resources of the area, including wind power, solar power and water power, combined with energy efficiency measures to reduce energy consumption in our properties, can significantly reduce carbon emissions. This action, combined with the electrification of transport, local food production, tree planting to enhance carbon sequestration and management of waste can reduce carbon emissions by up to 95% in most areas.
BHESCo acknowledges that Central Government’s 10 point plan and energy strategy, combined with their net zero target of 2050 are insufficient to address the climate crisis. The plan will not optimise value for taxpayer’s money because too many of the areas of the plan, including hydrogen boilers for homes, small modular nuclear reactors and carbon capture and storage are unproven technologies.
To build back better, the government must invest in technologies that are available today, with a productive approach to Research and Development in advanced carbon neutral technology to build the energy infrastructure we need to safeguard our planet, while delivering affordable, reliable energy. Our Alternative Ten Point Plan sets out a realistic investment plan to guarantee long term, affordable, clean energy.
As the fifth wealthiest nation in the world, the United Kingdom could be a world leader by taking action to reduce carbon emissions must faster. Investment must be targeted to areas that deliver clean, affordable heat and electricity. To build back better, we must invest in manufacturing leading products, like hybrid electric vehicles, create a reliable national electric vehicle charging infrastructure, build our own heat pumps to reduce their cost, and design and build a world leading wind turbine manufacturing facility, significantly scaling up wind energy generation.
The current plan to invest in unproven, expensive technologies that permit us to continue burning fossil fuels or creating hazardous waste for which we have no long term disposal solution must stop, as it doesn’t contribute to an efficient, strong and healthy economy. Taxpayer funding must be spent to empower communities to generate and save their own energy in a collaborative, resource rich approach.
Most local authorities are lacking concrete plans for reducing their carbon emissions including milestones and dates for achieving their ambitious 2030 carbon neutral targets. They are already qualifying their action plans by stating that many of the emissions from their constituencies are out of their control.
Although legitimate, we do not accept this as a way out of their commitment. Local Councils are the recipients of most of the national government funding. This funding should and can be used to work with local partners to:
BHESCo is committed to supporting the creation of jobs in the sector by participating and encouraging the growth of a network of local energy groups that will provide work for the hundreds of thousands of newly trained, PAS 2035 qualified energy efficiency practitioners to insulate our homes, install carbon neutral heating systems and engineers who will decarbonise our electricity grid.
Funding must be provided by central government to attract the millions who have lost their jobs because of the pandemic to retrain in other skills needed for the climate effort. Job security can go hand in hand with tackling the climate crisis and developing modern, healthy, affordable places to live and work.