Talking Climate Change to the Right

Hi All

First, some good news – thanks to solar energy, for the first time in the UK, on Saturday 15th March, electricity demand from the grid was lower in the afternoon than at night.

And on polling evidence, most people in the UK  support renewable energy.

Next a challenge –

What is the best approach to talking about climate change  with people whose political views are on the centre right? A new guide has been produced by Climate Outreach and the Climate Coalition.

It makes interesting reading. Two examples of ways to engage:

– “Great British Energy”: patriotic support for the UK’s flourishing low-carbon energy technologies, and

– a focus on avoiding waste as a critical part of saving energy.

We can each try and  set ourselves a challenge to strike up a conversation on climate change with a friend who has a centre right outlook.

And it’s not too late:

If you observe Lent, here is an invitation to a Carbon  Fast for Lent

The Moderator for the  Church of South India, Most Rev.Thomas K Oommen,  has suggested a new way of observing Lent:   “I challenge all of you to go a step forward and deeper by initiating a ‘Carbon Fast’. More details at www.ecocongregationscotland.org/news

 

Making Peace with our Planet

This month Friends of the Earth  and Stirling Methodist Church were delighted to welcome Dr Julia Edwards to a well attended event to provide  first hand account of the impact of climate change in Fiji and the Pacific islands generally. Some coastal villages are already having to  move the whole village to higher land and Fiji has agreed to take the entire population of Kiribati whose island home now seems destined to disappear beneath the waves. Julia explained that, since there was no human persecutor, those people who are displaced from their homes through climate change cannot regard themselves legally as refugees. See the press. release here.

Other snippets: Here is news of  the UK’ Government’s own climate change risk assessment which has not been widely publicised.

For this month, consider joining  in the Show The Love Green Heart campaign.

If you observe Lent, here is an invitation to a Carbon Fast for Lent

The Moderator for the  Church of South India, Most Rev.Thomas K Oommen,  has suggested a new way of observing Lent:   “I challenge all of you to go a step forward and deeper by initiating a ‘Carbon Fast’.

If you have not yet done so, please consider making the Geetotal commitment. If you have done so, now may be the time to do your annual CO2 assessment and offset).

We’d like to get feedback from others who have also used the calculator. To avoid being over-complex it asks same fairly broad questions – some are more easy to respond to than others. It also may be somewhat out of date, and overly negative, with regard to use of green electricity tariffs, for which it only makes a partial CO2 allowance. This may be fair for green tariffs from some large utilities for which genuine additionality has been questioned. But the CO2 reduction from high quality green tariffs eg Good Energy and Ecotricity we think deserves more  recognition. You can make your own decision as you use the calculator since you can insert your own figures.

2016 the hottest year on record

With 2016 now confirmed by NASA as the hottest year on record, beating 2015 into second place, it’s a good time to keep cool heads and hopeful hearts. For a balanced view of 2016 ‘The Good The Bad and the Ugly’ see this Guardian piece. It finishes on a note of hope: “I am also hopeful that the economic position of renewable energy continues to improve. If so, the president of the USA won’t matter. We will be on a path to a cleaner safer world just based on unstoppable economics.”

The Guardian has also provided some helpful hints on reducing carbon emission from Chris Goodall, with 15 ways to cut carbon here. It is noteworthy that cutting down on meat is second on the list. The same could be said also for dairy products – with health benefits from change of diet too.

If you have not yet done so, please consider making the Geetotal commitment. (A late New Year Resolution perhaps). If you have done so, now may be the time to do your annual CO2 assessment and offset. This can be done on the carbon independent calculator.

We’d like to get feedback from others who have also used the calculator. To avoid being over-complex it asks same fairly broad questions – some are more easy to respond to than others. It also may be somewhat out of date, and overly negative, with regard to use of green electricity tariffs, for which it only makes a partial CO2 allowance. This may be fair for green tariffs from some large utilities for which genuine additionality has been questioned. But the CO2 reduction from high quality green tariffs eg Good Energy and Ecotricity we think deserves more  recognition. You can make your own decision as you use the calculator since you can insert your own figures.

Do follow wegeetees if you are a Twitter user and please retweet, see
https://twitter.com/wegeetees

Renewables’ Capacity Eclipses Coal’s

There is some really positive news as 2016 draws to a close. You may have seen  headlines about renewables overtaking coal in world energy supplies. The full story is a bit more complicated. Renewables are now ahead of coal in terms of capacity. In  terms of generation, coal still provided 40% of world electricity generation in 2015 with renewables accounting for 23%. The International Energy Agency (which represents all energy sources) has just updated its projections and now expects renewables to overtake coal in generation by 2030.

This will require substantial investment, but the economics is heading in renewables’ direction, whilst fossil fuels stand increasing risk of becoming ‘stranded assets’. So its perhaps no great surprise that the fossil fuel divestment movement is gaining so much momentum. This month, divestment decisions (not all implemented at once) total $5trillion and in the UK, Southwark Council has just  become the second local authority to decide on complete divestment. Read the story of their campaign here.

Political leaders will come and go. There have been and will be setbacks. But the fossil fuel era is coming to an end. And we can all help make that happen sooner rather than later.
So, as we prepare for a new year, how about making the Geetotal Commitment as your new year resolution. The Commitment has been designed to be do-able however tight things are for you in terms of money or time. And if you have made the Geetotal Commitment, how about looking for new things you can do in 2017. There are plenty of ideas through links on our website.

A sustainable future after the US election

Usually Geetotal confines itself to one blog per month.
This is an exception. Our main blog was headlined

November 2016 is a real Good News Bad News month for the climate.

You can read it here if you missed it

That was before the US Election result. It is tempting to give up hope after the results of that election. A decade ago, many of us would hear ourselves say about action against climate change ‘what’s the point. It will make no difference when China is building a new coal-fired power station every day’, or something along those lines. Its natural to feel the same way about the US today.
But China is now a world leader in combating climate change and America can be too.

It is not all about federal government, critical though that is.The Climate Reality email below shares the result of Florida’s vote this week supporting solar energy.

Our message is: let’s not give up hope. It is more important than ever to be a catalyst for change towards a sustainable future. Do consider our Geetotal call to action.


Climate Reality Email 10th November 2016

Dear Friends,
Our work to solve climate change, one of the greatest challenges humanity has ever faced, has never been easy. But with the results of the election and its many, profound consequences for us as a nation, this challenge has become even greater.
While different people are affected by this election outcome in different ways, the divisive, often offensive rhetoric of this election season affects us all. We at Climate Reality are committed to fighting climate change, but we also recognize that in order to win we need to work in an inclusive, collaborative manner.
But even in the face of these attempts to divide us, what gives me hope is the fact that Americans are united in supporting real action to protect the planet and nation we share from climate change.
We saw this fact clearly in Florida, where fossil fuel interests and utilities spent millions backing a ballot initiative to halt solar in the Sunshine State. Voters roundly rejected the measure, opening the door to a brighter future in the state.
And this is just one ray of light among many. Consider, for example, how many businesses are turning to clean energy not just as the right ethical choice, but also as the right economic choice, making wind and solar increasingly ordinary – in a very good way. Many Americans may not even know they’re helping accelerate the shift to renewables when they shop every day at the nation’s two biggest users of solar energy, Target and Walmart.
In the years ahead, we’ll continue to work on accelerating this shift away from dirty fossil fuels by helping businesses, towns, universities, and other institutions transition to renewables. We’ll keep working at the local and state levels where regular citizens can make a real difference in supporting initiatives that expand clean energy and other climate solutions. We’ll continue participating in the diverse coalitions that will be required for us to win. We’ll also keep working through our international branches to keep the momentum going behind the Paris Agreement.
Believe me when I say that I understand the disappointment and sadness that so many Americans are feeling today. Today, our challenge is great. But we are equal to it and more committed than ever to fighting every day for a sustainable future for our precious planet. And remember, we’ve seen setbacks before. After the UN’s COP 15 summit in Copenhagen, it felt the world would never come together to find a solution to climate change. Six years later, we were celebrating the Paris Agreement.
If I’ve learned anything after decades in our movement, it’s that progress is never a given. It’s something you have to fight for. Often everyday. And at Climate Reality, we’re committed to the fight. One of the greatest tragedies of the campaign was that climate change never became the central issue it must be. We’re committed to ensuring it becomes an issue our leaders can never ignore again.
Today is a day to reflect. But know we will come back. And we will win.
You can help by supporting Climate Reality’s ongoing work to power a global grassroots network devoted to solving the climate crisis. Make a donation today and help us continue to fight for a sustainable, clean-energy future that Americans and people everywhere deserve.

Ken Berlin
President and CEO
The Climate Reality Project

The Paris climate deal comes into force

November 2016 is a real Good News Bad News month for the climate.

The Paris climate deal has come into force. As this is being written the US Presidential Election outcome is not yet known and how a Trump win could wreck the agreement is unclear. Whatever the outcome much more needs to be done. The UN Emissions Gap Report indicates that – even with the emission reduction plans nations have submitted under the Paris agreement – we are heading for a temperature rise of around 3 degrees, under which many millions of people would have neither a home nor food.

Bringing things back to the personal level, a new study has provided a basis for linking the emissions each of us are responsible for to the loss of Arctic sea ice. On current trends, all summer Arctic ice will be gone in 20 years. Each person in the UK with an average annual CO2 emissions of 7.5 tonnes is responsible for 22.5 square  metres of sea ice disappearing each year. That is something we can at least picture. Here is why arctic ice is so important, apart from those stranded polar bears:

  1. Rising sea levels will result in loss of habitat for many humans as well as other species
  2. Ice is white and reflects sunlight. Melting of summer ice adds to ocean warming.

So… two actions for this month

  1. Please make the Geetotal commitment (if you have still to do this) and tell friends about it. The sea ice data provides a graphic way to illustrate the difference each of us can make
  2. As the first post Paris conference gets underway this month (COP22 7-18 November) , sign the petition  asking world leaders to freeze new fossil fuel projects, here

And do please continue to give us give feedback on carbon footprint assessment and Geetotal in general.
Through the month, we give regular tweets and retweets (we don’t have the resource to repeat on Facebook.
Do follow wegeetees if you are a Twitter user and please retweet, see
https://twitter.com/wegeetees

Best wishes
The Geetotal team
www.geetotal.org/

A New Year. A New Initiative

At the start of a new year, here is a new initiative to help combat climate change.
It is called Geetotal. The G stands for Greenhouse gasses – those that are causing climate change – and it has a simple aim: ‘Together we commit to adding no more to total greenhouse gas emissions.’
Has the world finally woken up to the risk climate change poses? The Paris Summit on Climate Change last month has come to a historic agreement. Or has it? There are differing views. The campaign group Avaaz has called it ‘a brilliant and massive turning point in human history’. Greenpeace more cautiously has said ‘This deal won’t dig us out the hole we’re in, but it makes the sides less steep.’
Both are right. The Paris deal wills the end but does not mandate the means. As Avaaz goes on to say: ‘Ambitious visions like these rely on movements to carry them into the mainstream, and on movements to make them reality in our everyday lives. Today is no exception.’ Geetotal aims to be one of those movements. The Geetotal community will commit to adding no more to total greenhouse gas emissions. The deal signed in Paris sets the aim for the world as a whole to get to the same point in the second half of this century. The Geetotal community will pave the way by doing this now.

The Geetotal Commitment
“I am willing to join others in making the Geetotal Commitment. From now on, together as a community, we commit to adding no more to the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions
Why?
• We need to step up a gear in our response to Climate Change. Governments can only do so much. Each of us has a responsibility.
• The Commitment is manageable: it has been designed by people with busy lives to be a practicable commitment for all of us to make, individuals and organisations
• It provides a wake-up call for others in our society.
What does it involve?
The Commitment has four parts: Cut, Offset, Pressure, Share: COPS for short.
Take a look at the website for details:
http://www.geetotal.org
And do give some thought to taking part.

Introducing Geetotal

Introduction to the Geetotal initiative
The purpose of the Geetotal initiative is to gather together a growing community which can help cut our dependence on dangerous greenhouse gas emissions. The ‘Geetotal Commitment’ is a commitment to add no more to total greenhouse gas emissions.

Why?
Have a look at the Geetotal Commitment. Why make it?
• We need to step up a gear in our response to Climate Change. Governments can only do so much. Each of us has a responsibility.
• It is manageable: it has been designed by people with busy lives to be a practicable commitment for all of us to make, individuals and organisations
• It provides a wake-up call for others in our society.