This publication ‘Winchester in 2015’ has been produced, on behalf of Winchester Action on Climate Change (WinACC), by WinACC’s Science and Technology Advisory Panel.  WinACC is spearheading local action to evolve to a low-carbon-emitting society, in which WinACC seeks to make Winchester and District a pioneer for local action. The viewpoint of this document assumes the 'Seven Near Certainties About Climate Change' (Annex 1), which is the starting point for WinACC's activities as a whole, and we aim to provide a vision in support of WinACC's activities.

In what follows we try to present a view of what some aspects of life in Winchester could be like in the year 2015, expressed as they might be seen by someone living in that year. One purpose in choosing that particular year was to select a point which is far enough ahead for significant change to have taken place, but is within range for action, taken now or already foreseeable, to be starting to have effect. By then WinACC’s target, as stated at its inception in October 2007, an average one-third reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by Winchester organisations and households by 2015.

2015 is also close to the date by which a drastic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is now thought to be required  to prevent runaway climate change. Others have warned that the eventual temperature increases from such an unstoppable change would lead to a massive unplanned reduction in the human population and a serious loss of biodiversity.

Clearly, action taken in Winchester alone cannot save mankind from the dangers of runaway climate change except as part of national and worldwide actions promoting the trend to a low-carbon society. In addition a one-third reduction by 2015 is seen only as an interim target as  there is general agreement that much more drastic cuts will continue to be required to prevent the serious consequences of runaway climate change. Our concept also takes into consideration the events of 2007-08 including an economic slowdown, related in part to sharp increases in the prices of fuel and food worldwide. We have noted such factors have already initiated some of the lifestyle changes we see as significant in achieving what has to be part of the national and global drive to reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide and other ‘greenhouse gases’ (GHG). In sketching this scenario, we hope that we are stimulating further  thought about the everyday paths to be followed towards a world where human activity will not be destabilising the climate.

We have assumed the global warming trend driven by human activity and established by the year 2000 continues, although we note that it has been suggested there may well be a limited period during which average temperatures in Britain are cooler than the long term trend. We have also, in this Edition, confined ourselves to matters within the broad scope of science and technology (and, specifically, largely excluded the economic considerations which have been termed the Green New Deal).

We have drawn our inspiration primarily from our own knowledge and understanding and that of our direct contacts. It is our aim to consult more widely; especially, we want to draw on ideas about the paths to be taken in education, health and agriculture to meet the challenges ahead. It is our hope that constructive critique of our efforts by you, our readers, will help us to strengthen, widen, and deepen our message. We invite you to send your constructive comments to 2015@winacc.org.uk.

Forward to 1. Seven years of cultural change in Winchester