Welcome to the 111th LCCN newsletter. These come to you regularly with updates on what the Network is doing, other developments and, if you tell us, what you’re doing.

We’re always keen to get news of what’s happening in your area that may be of interest elsewhere. And please forward this to anyone who may be interested, reminding them that they can get their own copy at: www.lowcarboncommunities.net

Energy Policy is clearly now a problematic and disputed area. The disputes cover energy targets and decarbonisation, especially within the Energy Bill, the role for community energy (also within the Bill), prices and fuel poverty, renewables especially wind, and of course fracking. It’s also clear that climate targets relating to limiting temperature rises to 2o are looking ever harder to achieve.

That’s a lot for any organisation to focus on and for smaller community groups and projects it may seem sometimes seem easiest to focus simply in immediate and local concerns. But if we don’t make our voices heard now then we also miss the opportunities to influence these various debates. There is still plenty to pay for and advocate in relation to the Bill and wider policies.

Energy we can all afford?

All this is one good reason to get involved in the Energy we can all afford? initiative.  This winter this coalition is organising a programme of over 40 major public meetings across the UK with local MPs and other national speakers. The coalition includes Friends of the Earth, the Energy Bill Revolution (EBR) coalition, Stop Climate Chaos, LCCN (us) and Greenpeace UK.  If there has even been a time to get your MP along to listen to local concerns this is it.

Please do think about organising a meeting in your area. First meetings are set: the support website is now on-line at www.energywecanallafford.org  This site has a range of downloadable materials – info pack, posters, a draft letter of invitation for MPs and links to a new discussion forum.  Support also covers on-line and phone advice, along with small grants to cover hall hire.

The EBR coalition links over 120 varied organisations. Among those now expressing active support for the public meetings programme are Barnardo’s, Children England, Age UK, National Pensioners’ Convention, Girlguiding UK and the Scouts Association, MENCAP, MS Society, Disability Rights UK, the British Youth Council and the National Children’s Bureau, the TUC, NUS and UNISON, and the National Right to Fuel campaign. This shows just how widespread is concern about energy issues. These organisations will be urging their local branches to get involved in the public meetings: if you are organising (or thinking of organising) a meeting contact the initiative via info@energywecanallafford.org

Citizens and Energy

LCCN (in the form of Chair, Chris Church, and Oxfordshire Community Action coordinator Simon Kenton) is off to Croatia next week for the first meeting of the CINERGY project, linking low carbon and indeed ‘zero carbon’ networks in six nations to look at how citizen action can be most effective. See the last newsletter for more details – report in the next one.

LCCN and Adaptation

Three years ago there was a feeling among many climate / low carbon activists that to work on adaptation was somehow an admission of failure. Now there’s some important aspects to consider:

  • Limiting temperature rises to 2o is looking ever harder to achieve
  • Work on adaptation is more than just flood protection – it’s about making our communities stronger, more resilient and thus sustainable;
  • An understanding of work on mitigation is important for effective work on adaptation (and this is something that those heading up local work coming from emergency planning background often lack)

For these reasons and others LLCCN is looking how we could work with locally interested networks to develop a programme to support low carbon community groups looking to engage effectively in work on this issue. We’ve talked with Defra who are taking the lead on adaptation and who are supportive (but lack funds for this) and we are developing plans.  If you / your group would be interested in a programme linking sustainability, low carbon and adaptation please get in touch – email Chris Church (chrischurch@cooptel.net) with Adaptation in the subject line.

Chasing Ice

We’ve all seen pictures of icebergs, but definitely not like this before.  The new movie Chasing Ice, a documentary supported by the Co-operative, starts out on limited release this weekend. It’s picking up massively good reviews for astonishing film work, primarily of the icecaps and glaciers as they recede and collapse. See http://chasingice.co.uk/  for full details. If it’s coming near you, go and see it! (organise your friends to go as well…) and please do promote it through newsletters etc.

The Co-operative are presenting Chasing Ice, as part of their ongoing commitment to combat climate change. Find out more at: http://www.co-operative.coop/cleanenergy

The Energy Bill and its impact on Community Energy

There’s plenty of work being done on this. A very useful starter is here: http://www.uk.coop/energybill-impact  and http://carbonleapfrog.org/energy-bill-impacts-community-energy/

Fracking

This may not be your highest concern right now but it could be impacting locally quite soon. BBC journalist Roger Harrabin (one to follow on twitter) talks about the ‘Extraordinary Press hype’ for this that seems designed to sweep objections under the table.  There is plenty of activity out there – FoE and other major NGOs are involved and the Frack Off website / movement has a hiuge amount n of very useful info, not least detailed maps of where planning applications exist etc. – check them out at   http://frack-off.org.uk/locations/.  A widely quoted ‘academic’ report that suggest fracking is safe has now been revealed (guess what) to be industry funded: http://www.npr.org/2012/12/07/166755886/positive-fracking-study-was-funded-by-gas-company

 Energy prices and bills – impacts of meeting carbon budgets

The latest report from the Committee on Climate Change got coverage for suggesting that annual household energy bills could increase by £100 in 2020 to support development of low-carbon technologies. Rather less coverage for the point that householders face a £600 increase in energy bills if the UK stays gas dependent. http://www.theccc.org.uk/reports/energy-prices-and-bills-2012

FoE’s statement on this – http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/press_releases/38568.html – has some very useful links on the notes, notably all those companies that want to see decarbonisation targets in the Energy Bill.

Give the sun to your local schools

The 10:10 Solar Schools project is now inviting you to make Christmas gifts to your local school in the form of solar energy: see http://www.solarschools.org.uk/donate/gift/

Renewables news

Lack of space means less on renewables this issue – sorry.  But don’t forget all that work on wind: there’s Friends of the Earth’s ‘Clean British Energy’ campaign (http://foe.co.uk/what_we_do/clean_british_energy_switch_full_35921.html ); there’s Yes2Wind (www.yes2wind.com ), there’s Action for Renewables (www.embracemyplanet.com/) and there’s the grass roots Pro Wind Alliance (www.prowa.org.uk/ ). There’s also the Wiltshire Clean Energy Alliance (www.wiltshirecea.org.uk/) working hard on their council.  Sign up and support them.

LCCN website and Facebook

The new website is on its way! One for 2013…

Climate Week

Climate Week is happening again next year, 4-10 March 2013. As ever there will be awards and publicity. This might be a good time to hold a public meeting (as above):www.climateweek.com/

Note their guide with Defra on being ‘climate-ready’ – adaptation to the rest of us: http://www.climateweek.com/2012/12/13/be-climate-ready-guide/

Green Alliance reports

Green Alliance has just launched a report on cities and low carbon growth, looking at how the city deals process can be a means to accelerate progress on cities’ low carbon ambitions. It looks in detail at the eight city deals that were agreed in July and looks ahead to the second wave of deals that will be agreed in the coming year. See the report here http://www.green-alliance.org.uk/grea_p.aspx?id=6786

Green Alliance has also just completed a project looking at sustainability in tower blocks and has published:

·         A toolkit for high rise green living, to support residents and the organisations that work with them in making individual and collective changes to green their tower blocks, as well as directing them to large scale changes they can work on in collaboration with their building manager and potential funding sources. It can be seen here http://www.green-alliance.org.uk/grea_p.aspx?id=6777

·         Alongside it there is a policy report that looks at how some of the big opportunities for sustainability in tower blocks can be realised via changes in policy http://www.green-alliance.org.uk/grea_p.aspx?id=6775

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