WinACC launches debate on how we can do our fair share to meet climate change targets

Winchester Action on Climate Change (WinACC) is launching a major debate about the best way for us to meet our local climate change targets at a public meeting hosted by on Saturday 7 June, called. “The World in Our Hands”.

Speakers from WinACC will explain the national and European targets for greenhouse gas and renewable energy and their implications for us locally. WinACC has some suggestions about how we might hit the targets, and want to know what people think.

Bob Barnes of WinACC’s panel of scientific experts will explain how they have looked at the legally binding targets for cutting greenhouse gas emission across the UK by 2050, and worked out what these mean for Winchester over the 5 years to 2020.

In Winchester District, we produce around one million tonnes of greenhouse gas a year. We need to cut this by 25,000 tonnes CO2e a year from 2016 to 2020. This is a cut of 200 kilos a year for everybody in Winchester District – man, woman and child. “This can be done”, said Bob Whitmarsh, chair of the Science and Technology Advisory Panel. “It means driving the car 600 miles less, or cutting out one short return flight to Europe, e.g. Brussels. Another way would be to save 1000 kilowatt hours of gas heating, or 400 units (kilowatt hours) of electricity – for example, by switching every light to LED.”

We also need to get more of our energy from renewable sources instead of fossil fuels like oil, gas and coal. Richard Ritchie, Chair of WinACC’s Renewable Energy Group, found that we used 1735 million kWh of energy in Winchester District in 2013 (not counting transport). But only 32 million kWh came from renewable sources – less than 2%!

WinACC calculates that 15% of the energy we use should come from local renewable sources by 2020. By 2025, it should be 25%, and 30% by 2030.

“We could easily generate more renewable energy locally”, explained Richard. “We have worked out how we could do it using different renewable sources of energy, all based on identified resources and known technologies.  If you want to vary the amount of energy we suggest we get from each source, please let us know.  But bear in mind that anything you want to remove needs to be replaced with something else, so that we still get to the target.”

Steve Brine MP has agreed to chair the discussion.

WinACC hopes that the meeting will include a representative of Winchester City Council, telling people about the recommendations on creating a low carbon economy discussed by the Council Cabinet on 5 June . 

Notes to Editors:

 [1] Greenhouse gases are measured as “carbon dioxide equivalents” (CO2e for short).