Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day: Climate Change, 10:10 and all that.

OK, so October 15th is blog action day and the theme this year, appropriately, is climate change. I say appropriately, because this December is the UN Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen and it really is make or break time for the planet on this - either we take the action needed, and reduce our emissions in a sensible and equitable way (ie those countries already emitting far more per capita have to take the biggest hit), or we let our governments faff around with carbon offsetting etc and just pretend they're taking the action needed.

Anyway, a few climate change related bits and bobs I've been meaning to post.

1) 10:10 Campaign
Lewisham Council (and a number of individual councillors, including me, gulp) have signed up to the 10:10 campaign. Hurrah! This is a campaign calling for individuals, businesses and organisations to pledge to cut carbon emissions by 10% in 2010.

Scientists say world emissions must peak and begin to fall within the next few years. That means we need deep cuts in the developed world as quickly as possible. The longer we leave it, the smaller our chance of avoiding disastrous warming.

Anyway, I asked the question below to the Mayor for September's Full Council meeting, and as you can see got a positive reply. In addition, a Lib Dem motion also calling for the council to sign up to 10:10 was passed unanimously.

Me: "Many Lewisham residents will be signing up to the recently launched 10:10 campaign, pledging to reduce their carbon emissions by 10% next year. The borough's stated target in our Carbon Reduction and Climate Change Strategy is to reduce emissions from council operations by 10% by 2008-2010. Are we on track to meet or exceed this target by the end of next year? Will you sign Lewisham Council up to the 10:10 campaign, and better still, can you persuade our partners in the Local Strategic Partnership to do the same?"

The Mayor: "Lewisham Council is on target to deliver our Climate Change Strategy target of a 10% reduction in carbon emissions from Council operations. The Council has already gone further than this and set a new target of a 50% reduction in carbon emissions from Council operations by 2015/16 compared to 2007/08. This target was developed in partnership with the Carbon Trust and is backed with a detailed carbon management programme identifying actions across the Council.

I support the 10:10 campaign and have signed up. I have also written to all our partners on the Local Strategic Partnership to encourage them to join 10:10 and commit to cutting their emissions."

So that's the easy bit done - now we've got to crack on and make sure that it happens! You can sign up to join the 10:10 campaign here, and there are also lots of easy tips on ways to save 10% of your emissions. If you're currently leading a bit of a jet-setting, gas-guzzling lifestyle, saving your 10% should be as easy as cutting out a couple of long-haul flights, if like most UK residents you don't regularly fly and you're already making steps to do your bit, it may require a bit more thought, but for most people, this first 10% is relatively easy.

2) Operation Insulation Part 2!
I still need to sit down and work out exactly what my carbon footprint is and how to reduce it by 10%, but I have made a bit more progress on 'Operation Insulation' this week. Back in January, I had my draughty floorboards insulated and sealed,which was part 1 of my plan to make my flat more energy. This week, I had my long-awaited, FSC-certified double glazing installed, which is part two.

Next week, hopefully, Dhanya, the local builder who did my floors, is coming back to put some insulation on the 'external' walls in my rooms. I will lose a little bit of space in my rooms (it will be about 7cm thick, once the wood fibre insulation board and the plaster rendering are in situ), but not too much as I live in a terrace so I only need the front and back walls done. Anyway, a picture of my new windows, of which I'm inordinately proud, waiting for the rest of the insulation to be fitted around them.

The flat already feels warmer, and much quieter, particularly in the front room, where acoustic glass has really deadened the noise of the traffic, the squeaky brakes of the 122 bus etc.

3) Take part in the Wave - 5th December

On Saturday 5 December 2009, ahead of the crucial UN climate summit in Copenhagen, tens of thousands of people from all walks of life will flow through the streets of London to demonstrate their support for a safe climate future for all. The Wave is organised by the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition. I will be there, along with lots of other Greens - join us in the UK’s biggest ever demonstration in support of action on climate change.

4) Countdown to Copenhagen - tell Joan what you think
Lewisham Deptford MP and minister for energy and climate change, Joan Ruddock, is holding a public meeting at the Laban Centre this Saturday. She has invited 3000 households in the constituency to a discussion about climate change and Copenhagen.

The details of the meeting are: Saturday October 17, 10:30 - 12:00, Laban, Creekside, SE8 3DZ.

I won't be going, as I'll be out and about campaigning in Ladywell to elect Darren as the next MP for Lewisham Deptford, but the demands of the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition seem a good place to start when discussing what we might want out of the Copenhagen talks:

Quit Dirty Coal

Protect the Poorest

Act Fair & Fast

Plus a nation-wide free home insulation programme to be rolled out, pronto, please!

1 comment:

Canada Guy said...

Lifestyle changes are good, but they can only slow emissions growth slightly, they will not reduce emissions. Personal lifestyle changes can only have an impact of a few percent at most. We cannot ignore the other 95 percent of the problem. Some have suggested that we can forget about caps and just focus on behavioural changes, which is insane.