News release: Urgent Action Needed to Reduce Winchester's Carbon Footprint
Urgent action is needed to bring about major reductions in the carbon footprint of Winchester District over the next eight years if this part of England is to make a serious contribution to minimising the most damaging impacts of human-caused climate change. That is the view of Robert Hutchison, the Convenor of Winchester Action on Climate Change, which has the support of many of the main organisations in the City including Winchester City Council, Hampshire County Council, the University of Winchester, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Sustainable Business Partnership, and Denplan.
On Wednesday last Mr Hutchison gave the third in the series of lectures ‘Perspectives on Climate Change’ which is being jointly promoted by Winchester Cathedral and the University of Winchester. Mr Hutchison argued that an eight-year time horizon was appropriate since the consensus among scientists was that global greenhouse gas emissions needed to peak by 2015 if the most damaging impacts of human-caused climate change are to be avoided. ‘Climate change is the biggest social justice issue facing humanity’, Mr Hutchison said, ‘if the developing countries are to be allowed to develop, the wealthy countries, which have been responsible for most greenhouse gas emissions, need steadily to contract their use of fossil fuels’.
Outlining plans for Winchester Action on Climate Change (WinACC), Mr Hutchison said that they were ambitious, adding that, while enthusiastic volunteers will always be the lifeblood of WinACC, he did not think that the organisation could achieve its aims without a small professional staff with expertise in communications, energy advice, training, and group facilitation. Much of the emphasis of the programme will be on empowering and supporting action groups – including local and neighbourhood groups. Mr Hutchison said that the initial response from the major organisations in the City was most encouraging.
The Steering Group of WinACC has agreed that the organisation should apply for charitable status and that in order to achieve its aims, WinACC will:
- Encourage its founder members to lead by example
- Organise and promote training for those willing to be active in encouraging, persuading and advising households and organisations about the benefits of low carbon living and the most effective ways to reduce their carbon footprint
- Work with Winchester City Council, The Environment Centre and other organisations to encourage households to conserve energy and reduce their carbon footprints
- Support and develop ‘low carbon champions’ for Winchester district
- Work with schools to develop new opportunities for understanding climate change issues and to encourage appropriate action on climate change both inside and outside the normal school day
- Promote public engagement with the science of climate change and the highest quality of communication on climate change issues.
The next Open Meeting of WinACC will be on Saturday 1 December from 1030-1200 at the Friends’ Meeting House, 16 Colebrook Street. Tea and coffee will be served from 1000. The meeting will include reports from Action Groups, discuss progress with other initiatives, and receive an up-date on the development of WinACC as an organisation.
Notes to Editors
1. The principal aim of Winchester Action on Climate Change is to encourage, persuade and advise all households and public, private and voluntary organisations in Winchester district to reduce their carbon footprints.
In pursuing the above aim Winchester Action on Climate Change will:
- Promote the many benefits of low carbon living;
- Work with and through existing networks and partnerships to set the highest possible standards in communicating about climate change; in particular it will work with the City and County Councils and the Winchester District Strategic Partnership to help achieve their climate change objectives;
- Act as a focal point for information about climate change and advice on measuring, monitoring and reducing carbon footprints;
- Initiate and support action groups trying to achieve these aims
- Make the achievement of all the aims as satisfying and enjoyable as possible.
2. Robert Hutchison can be contacted on 01962-870082 or 07734-088728