A short précis of two recent events I attended: Suffolk Climate Change Partnership – Community Energy Workshop and; Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit – Communicating Around Climate Change webinar.

Starting with the latter, 2013 & 2014 have exceeded many records on several aspects of the weather: coin_transparent

  • Wettest winter in England and Wales since records began back to 1766
  • Winter mean temperature 1.5C above average
  • Thames Barrier closed 50 times – more than the total closures in 1982 – 2000
  • Warmest year in central England since records began in 1659
  • …and warmest in the UK since records started in 1910
  • Five of the UK’s six wettest years have happened since 2000
  • 8 of the UK’s 10 hottest years have occurred since 2002
  • …and more, refer to Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit slides

However, this webinar goes on to explain that extreme weather events, such as the recent floods and storms, do not necessarily lead people to become more concerned about climate change according to research compiled by communication charity the Climate Outreach Information Network.

COIN suggests that the relationship between extreme weather and public attitudes is complex and still little understood. It shows that people tend to interpret extreme weather in the light of their existing assumptions, and that their attitudes are more likely to be governed by their politics than their personal experience.

COIN also argues that people in affected areas may consider it inappropriate to talk about climate change at all, creating to an deliberate silence around the topic, or be unable to reconcile the complex long term issue of climate change with the more compelling narratives of loss, recovery and blame.

The organisation’s research suggests this is a crucial consideration for those advocating for climate change, highlighting the need to carefully consider their campaign messaging.

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So, something to consider when developing a community based energy project, which has been a long term aspiration for the BCG, which has renewed enthusiasm again for something worthwhile for Boyton residents to benefit.

We have yet to devise a suitable project that is worth while – this could be to provide community funded solar PV for individual households who could not otherwise afford it; or something of scale, providing say the equivalent renewable energy for all 70+ households in the village: 291,900 Kw peak [ = 4,170 Kwh UK avg x 70 households].

This is where the Suffolk Greenest County Community Energy workshop gave lots of good advice and inspiration to spark our interest again. This event (see website link above for copies of slides) had talks on the different renewable energy options and technologies, examples and case studies of some local community schemes, Power4Kelsale and Transition Lavenham, as well as advice on planning and fund raising.

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The workshop outcome has resulted in this useful guide which nicely summaries all the key activities and issues needed to be considered when developing a community renewable energy project.

We would be delighted to hear of any ideas or schemes which would be appropriate for Boyton to consider, bearing in mind that we live on the Heritage coast in an AONB within the village area. However, a larger scale regional scheme based not too far away may also be appropriate.

Contact us by email if you have any comments on the above : Boyton.co2 @ btinternet.com

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