The Steyning 10:10 Climate Action Group is a local initiative aimed at making a start in cutting carbon emissions right here in Steyning. We’re running a ‘Greening Campaign’ to get the whole community thinking about what we can do – and taking action so that together we can make a real difference. It is aimed at everyone in Steyning, Bramber, Upper Beeding and the surrounding area.
Fracking in Sussex: could it ever happen?
Plans to push ahead with fracking in the UK have been quietly moving ahead. North Yorkshire County Councillors have given a drill site in Rydale the go ahead, in the face of staunch local opposition. And there’s talk of sweetener payments to local residents becoming part of government policy. So could it really happen in Sussex? The map shows the areas that are already licenced in Sussex. You’ll see we’re only 7 miles from the nearest licenced sites in Storrington and just north of Partridge Green. So we’re certainly on the fracking radar.
Beki Adam, Ellie Wyatt and Jill Sutcliffe from local pressure group FrackFree Sussex gave an excellent talk at Green Drinks in September, laying out the
environmental and health hazards of fracking, and the casino economics behind the US fracking boom. To find out more about it, and sign up for updates, check out their website, which includes loads of useful resources and links to series of hard-hitting videos that really get the message across.
This video is one of the most striking (click on the image). It provides a Google Earth tour of Texas, showing the incredible number of fracking sites across the state. Just imagine Sussex being pock marked this way. It doesn’t bear thinking about.
Good news on renewables!
Amid all the dismal news that’s been swirling around recently, not least on UK policy towards wind and solar, you’ll be reassured to know that looking at the global picture, renewables are booming! A recent report by renewables watchdog REN21 showed that:
- 2105 was the best year ever for new renewables installations. An estimated 147 gigawatts (GW) of renewable power capacity was added in 2015, the largest annual increase ever.
- Renewables accounted for a record 19.2% of global energy consumption in 2014
- For the sixth consecutive year, renewables outpaced fossil fuels for net investment in power capacity additions.
- Global investment in renewables climbed to a new record level ($285 Billion), in spite of the plunge in fossil fuel prices.
- Employment in the renewable energy sector (not including large-scale hydropower) increased in 2015 to an estimated 8.1 million jobs (direct and indirect).
Taking Tesco to task: the inside story of supermarket packaging
We got a great turnout for February’s Green Drinks talk by Mark Caul, Tesco’s head of packaging. It was a really interesting evening. We gave him a pretty good going over, but I think most agreed that he answered the questions well and presented an encouraging picture of a firm that trying to do the right thing on packaging. We heard how reducing food waste is their top priority – so packaging that helps protect produce and extend its shelf life can make sense. If you missed the talk, here’s his presentation.
They did it!
After two weeks of intense negotiations, a break for lunch, and some nerve-wracking final wrangling, a climate deal was struck in Paris on December 12th. The relief and jubilation in the room was palpable, a feeling shared by thousands of activists, scientists, negotiators, and other climate champions around the world who’ve been working for this every since the disastrous Copenhagen summit.
But as French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, put it, “this is not the end of the journey; it’s the beginning.” There is a huge challenge ahead in getting on top of climate change.
Here’s a link to a Guardian article summarising the key elements of the agreement and what is means. Many commentators have been quick to point out that while it is a big step forward, the hard work lies ahead. Here’s a sneak preview of our Green Piece article in January’s Your Steyning magazine setting down a five point “to do list” for all of us to help keep things moving in the right direction. The key point is that dealing with climate change is not just a job for governments, as Laurent Fabius put it, “it is the business of all.”
If you’re interested in a blow-by-blow account of how they reached the final agreement, here’s a summary of how the negotiations inched their way to a final outcome.
Steyning on the March!
A big gang of us from Steyning made it up to the London Climate March on 29 November – the biggest gathering of its kind every in the UK.
It was an inspiring and fun day, despite the blustery weather. More than 50,000 people took part, including at least 30 from Steyning, Shoreham and Worthing.
Solar under threat – yes the axe fell
The cut in feed in tariffs for domestic solar announced by the government the week after the Climate Conference was not quite as bad as originally proposed, but almost. The rate was cut by 65% rather than the originally proposed 87%. This is seriously bad news for the domestic solar sector – and it is likely that many more solar companies will go under as a result. Here’s a Guardian article talking about the implications.
Since the cuts were announced, we’ve heard of three local solar firms that have gone into liquidation – Grenergy in Lancing, Southern Solar, and Southern Renewables. So these dire predictions are coming true.
The only good news is that there has been a surge in installations in the last few weeks before the cuts kick in, so solar is already making a big contribution to UK energy supplies. Total solar capacity across all kinds of solar schemes in the UK totalled 8.4 Gigawatts by December – the point is, it could and should be a whole lot more. We should continue to make our views heard on this. We already sent a letter to our local MP Nick Herbert on behalf of Steyning 10:10, which you can read here.
Join us for Green Drinks
This is our regular informal get together to talk about matters green over a pint and a packet of crisps. It is the last Wednesday of most months. Often we have a speaker – and it’s usually at the Norfolk Arms on Church Street starting at 8.00pm. But the venue and start time can vary – we sometimes head for Steyning Cricket Club when we are expecting a bigger audience. So check the Events page to find out the latest.