Trumpton: Episode 1. A spot of Local Unrest

Mayor Trump has called a meeting in the market place. He is looking quite angry today.

‘Ahem. Some people here, bad people, have posted a petition on the front door of the Town Hall. They say they want more action on climate change. Bad. Very bad. In particular they want me to close down the Town Hall’s oil-fired boiler and put in a new district heating system to serve the whole town on a heat network.’

‘Yes,’ said Mr Troop, the Town Clerk. ‘That would save everybody money; and make the air fresher; and the Government will help with subsidies. I’ve already done the business case.’

‘You’re fired,’ said Mayor Trump.

‘It’s true,’ said Chippy Minton, the carpenter. ‘I read it on the BEIS website. Subsidies are index-linked to the CPI and guaranteed: the more heat we use, the more the subsidy. It’s a great idea. It could save us all lots of money compared to the oil we’re on.’

‘Fake news,’ said Mayor Trump. ‘Bad. Very bad. They don’t know. You can’t trust what governments say.’ He was starting to turn rather orange now.

‘I read a report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,’ said Mrs Cobbitt the flower seller. ‘It said that we need to get carbon emissions down to net zero by 2050 if we are to prevent irreversible damage to the environment, such as the destruction of all coral reefs, loads more hurricanes and large forest fires, and tens of millions of people being made homeless due to rising sea levels.’

‘I bet my shop would be one of the first to get washed away,’ said Mr Clamp the greengrocer. ‘It’s only stuck down with glue and was a last-minute rush job when the producer wanted more buildings on the set.’

‘I don’t believe it,’ said Mayor Trump, getting more orange than ever before. Secretly he was quite worried, because he had a house by the sea, but he wasn’t going to let on.

‘It was a last-minute job,’ said Mr Clamp. ‘It’s rubbish. You go inside and it hasn’t got any proper rooms at all.’

‘No – the UN report, I meant.’

At that moment Nibs Minton the apprentice and Miss Lovelace the hatmaker (who had a bit of a thing going on) started up a chant. ‘We want action and we want it now.’

Others started to join in.

Mayor Trump grew even more orange and his hair started to smoulder. But at that moment Mr Wilkins the plumber came running in to report that a fire had started spontaneously in Mr Clamp’s premises.

‘B****y typical!’ said Mr Clamp. He spoke a bit like Geoffrey Boycott.

‘Call the fire brigade,’ said Constable Potter.

And the rest is history…

Sherborne Girls – new Arts Centre

Sherborne Girls School is building a new Arts Centre. Being a performing arts centre the school was keen to have a heating and cooling system that was very quiet in operation. Also being a state-of-the-art building assembled with low-carbon in mind, the school were keen on a heat pump solution.

At ReEnergise we have supported Sherborne Girls with a Ground Source Heat Pump (GSHP) system to provide the cooling and heating requirement. The energy source is a closed-loop borehole array in the playing fields outside the building.

The system can be used to provide underfloor heating and can also be used to provide spatial cooling using a passive circuit to meet low level cooling demands or using an active circuit where cooling demands are higher. Both active and passive modes can act to partially replenish the ground array and, if both heating and cooling modes are utilised, the total annualised seasonal performance factors are expected to be very high, delivering excellent fuel savings and significant carbon emissions reductions.

Farm Business Innovation 2018

It was great to see so many landowners at the Farm Business Innovation show in the NEC, Birmingham last week. Such an engaged and knowledgeable audience with an appetite to get off oil and look at how renewables might fit into their forward programme. We talked to over 70 delegates on the different opportunities for landowners on the table today including heat pumps, biomass and solar technology. Bean Beanland, Heat Pump specialist and Peter Speakman, Biomass specialist were at the stand to talk through the current technology, practical application and government subsidy regime and where it is headed.

Bean Beanland gave a seminar on the future of Renewable Heat to a packed seminar room. Please contact [email protected] if you would like to see the full slide presentation.

Solihull School First Solar PV Array Completed

A shot of two of the arrays in the new 50kW solar PV installation at Solihull School. This was modelled and project-managed by ReEnergise over the Summer.  The subsidies are now being arranged. Once done, the vital statistics will be:

  • Saving in Year 1 on energy costs: £7,000.
  • Payback: 9 years.
  • Net benefit over 20 years: £133,000.

This is a good example of a school taking the right steps to become more sustainable and in the process save money.

The Bursar, Richard Bate wrote ”ReEnergise managed and implemented a 50kW Solar PV installation in July for the school.  The project ran as expected with minimal fuss or disruption and was completed with no hiccups – if only all our estates projects could run so smoothly!”

The IPCC Report is Arguably the Author of its own Failure.

What we really need is Die Hard 2030 starring Bruce Willis in his most knife-edge car chase yet.

Two weeks ago I suggested that the IPCC report is partly to blame for the ambivalent reaction it has so far received in policy making quarters and the general disinterest in the popular press.

Outrageous suggestion? Read on.

I have no qualification to judge the scientific or economic merit of the IPCC report, nor would I dare. But it is not easy reading. The Summary for Policy Makers (SPM) – all 34 pages of it – is meticulously balanced and scientific in style. What’s wrong with that – it has to be doesn’t it? Yes, but this is intended to be a document which makes the observations more accessible for policy makers, and I don’t think it does that. Its very balance and absence of any theatrics does not bring to life the consequences of inaction in a way that will make populations and policy makers sit up and take note in the way that we need.

I’d suggest that what we need is text that paints a picture and offers some tangible and localised examples. E.g. ‘If we don’t get to net-zero carbon emissions by 2030 then Hurricane Michaels will hit the Eastern Seaboard of the USA at a rate of one a week during the hurricane season’… ‘Venice will be uninhabitable by 2035’… ’Majorca will be finished as a tourist destination by 2040.’  (I’m not saying that precisely these things will happen – it’s the nature of the language I’m trying to get across).

Instead what we get is language like this:

Limiting the risks from global warming of 1.5°C in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication implies system transitions that can be enabled by an increase of adaptation and mitigation investments, policy instruments, the acceleration of technological innovation and behaviour changes (high confidence).

Did your eyes glaze over? Could it be more generalised and obtuse? Here’s another example:

A reduction of 0.1 m in global sea level rise implies that up to 10 million fewer people would be exposed to related risks, based on population in the year 2010 and assuming no adaptation (medium confidence).

See what I mean? The first extract is dryer than an extra dry Ryvita biscuit, and completely open to interpretation by those with vested interests. The second is precise and sounds serious enough. But again, it’s too easily ignored by policy makers. Which 10 million people are going to be saved? Which coastlines are going to escape devastation? Because if it’s not going to be in my backyard I don’t need to worry, do I?

The point is that this is disaster movie material starting to come true, before our very eyes, but it’s being portrayed with all the (absence of) drama of a parliamentary select committee session. (Sorry Ministers).

I suggest what we need from the IPCC now is a Summary of the Summary, with some graphic, localised examples that will make voters pay attention. Because if the voters ain’t moved, the leaders won’t act.

We need to get the Daily Mail fired up and Bruce Willis back behind the wheel for one more movie…Yippee-i-a Mr Trump.