Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Big Climate Connection

In the Reading East Constituency five people, including two from Reading’s Christian Ecology Link, lobbied Rob Wilson MP on 5 November as part of the Big Climate Connection Stop Climate Chaos Lobby. We were cordially received and given over half an hour of his time. We reminded him that in the hustings prior to the General Election the first two questions were concerned with climate change and environmental matters and that the lobbyists represented the tip of an iceberg of concern among his constituents.
We brought four local initiatives to his attention asking for his support where needed.
  1. The initiative of Reading Energy Pioneers to promote renewable energy installations to home owners and support them to bulk buy as a group. An idea spawned from an event organised by the Greater Reading Environmental Network (GREN).
  2. A new initiative suggested by GREN’s board member on the Reading Climate Change Partnership (RCCP), a sub group of the Local Strategic Partnership, proposes a new public/private/voluntary company to undertake a major local initiative on energy efficiency/renewables installations in homes across Reading, particularly in the lower income/private rented homes.
  3. Neighbourhood groups are forming across Reading as part of the Transition Town movement. Also GREN is working on a vision for a truly sustainable Reading. These have obvious links with the Big Society agenda.
  4. Action is being taken by the Faith Communities; in particular Park United Reformed Church plans to install photovoltaic panels on its roof and a wood pellet boiler for its heating system.
We drew to the attention of the MP policy demands on home energy efficiency, an emissions performance standard for fossil fuel power stations and international finance.
Nationally we asked for the following to be included in the Energy Security and Green Economy Bill:
  • A strong Green Deal to ensure that by 2020 7 million homes in the UK have had an energy efficiency makeover, reducing their emissions by at least 60 per cent.
  • Minimum energy efficiency standards for the private rented sector so that by 2016 the most unhealthy homes (below Band F and G) cannot be let.
  • Enabling legislation so that a strong Emissions Performance Standard (EPS) for fossil fuel power stations can be set to enable delivery of a decarbonised electricity supply by 2030.
Internationally we asked that at the Cancun International Climate talks in December the UK must:
  • Support the establishment of one common climate fund to help developing countries adapt to climate change, develop in a low carbon way and protect their forests.
  • Support and champion new and innovative sources of public climate finance, including revenue from measures to tackle aviation and shipping emissions, and a levy on financial transactions.
  • Guarantee that UK money for adaptation in developing countries will be provided as grants rather than loans, and push other donors to do likewise.
In particular we asked Rob Wilson to write to the Prime Minister and Secretary of State at DECC expressing support for these policies; we also asked him to work with us over the next year to ensure progress on this agenda and indicated that we wished to have further meetings to enquire about progress.
Rob Wilson spoke with confidence about the commitment of Mr Huhne, the DECC Secretary, enthused about the Green Deal and expressed his views on nuclear power which differed from those of most of the lobbyists. The MP did not know at what level the UK participation at Cancun would be.
Those present at the lobby were Paul Harper (GREN), Katherine Watts (WWF), Chris Burden (Friends of the Earth) and Rita Belletty and Owen Jewiss (Christian Ecology Link), each contributing to the exchanges.
Owen Jewiss
11 November 2010.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

How to use your community building to generate clean energy

An information evening for voluntary, faith and community organisations:

This event is for you if your community, faith or voluntary organisation owns or rents a building.

On the night there will be:

* Impartial advice from an Energy Savings Trust expert plus local project study from Park United Reform Church

* How to save money making your building more energy efficient; a case study from Friends Meeting House

* Don’t own your building? Expert advice on how to convince your landlord to help

Please book a place by emailing or call 07828 498 315

Tue 23 November 2010 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Friends Meeting House, 2 Church Street, Reading, RG1 2SB

Monday, November 1, 2010

Bottle greenhouse

Collette has now finished her mini-greenhouse made of plastic bottles, pictured here. The frame is a playpen. We've now moved into Kingdom Season, and the new service booklets celebrate some efforts at building the Kingdom with images of congregation members at the Putting People First march last year and this summer's cycle ride.