UN chief warns of ‘grave climate emergency,’ says Paris Agreement goals not enough

Praising New Zealand’s climate leadership U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres lauded the Paris climate accord, but said even if its promises are fully met, the world still faces what he described as a catastrophic three-degree temperature rise by the end of the century.

Arctic permafrost is melting decades earlier than even worst-case scenarios, he said, threatening to unlock vast amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas.

“It is plain to me that we have no time to lose,” Guterres said. “Sadly, it is not yet plain to all the decision makers that run our world.”

Greening the landscape

Paul our friend from Kenya shared this video with us… the transition to agro forestry

These pictures below are a little tour of Machynlleth visiting the Gerddi Bro Ddyfi project where a tam of volunteers supported by a core team are gardening the edge of the town and the playing fields for wildlife, diversity and production. There are some great little ideas here and shows the possibilities of what we can achieve.

Electric Vehicle workshop

Ruth, Bill and I attended a workshop hosted by Renew Wales and Open Newtown to look at social/community requirements and potential benefits of using 3 funded EV cars across Mid Wales. In addition, there were speakers covering local government plans for a Wales-wide EV charging network and others explaining different Car Club models.

Key points:

Welsh Government has £2m to spend in this sector and is considering funding rapid charging points (80% charge in 30 mins) across Wales but is still ‘consulting’ for solutions.

Powys CC – has £100k to spend by March 2020 and following a survey earlier this year has identified 13 locations to install fast chargers (3-4 hour charging of 2 vehicles per charging unit). (We need to email to find out if Llanfyllin is one of the 13.) PCC are looking for additional funding from OLEV (Office for Low Emission Vehicles) to complete the funding. Their primary focus is to supply charging in local authority car parks for residents who lack off-street parking.

To add to the charging infrastructure is the national plan to have charging points in all petrol stations within 2 years.

TrydaNi are a co-operative who are working to support local infrastructure through Community Energy Wales.  Their aim is to install over 1000 charge points by 2025 with “charge points in every market town in Powys” and keep the revenues from EV charging within Wales rather than it being taken over by a multinational. They are planning their formal launch in November 2019. They want to see 1200 charging points across Wales by 2025 covering:

         a rapid charging point every 30km (although this was questioned as battery life can be up to 300miles now and likely to improve over time)

         fast chargers in sizeable workplaces

         fast chargers in residential areas with limited off-street parking

         fast chargers at tourist attractions (and retail areas???)

They would also like to have them set for contactless payment rather than having to have a dedicated App.

Scottish Power Energy Networks spoke about the electricity supply issues and the costs of adding more capacity (substations and cabling as opposed to h ow we generate more electricity). They are developing a ‘self-service’ platform on their website so communities and individuals can check the impact of any proposed charging system on the grid infrastructure in their area. They are also looking at Smart Charging to manage charging requirements and peak demand/grid capacity. (leaflet available if anyone wants to see it).

Llanidloes Car Club started in 2007 with 4 friends, their main advice was for it to be set up by a core group of about  4 people who really want it and will use it then run it as a business – it has to cover its costs if it is to be sustainable. Sort out membership agreements, charges – combination of hourly and mileage charges, insurance, storage, access to keys etc before worrying about getting a car as there are lots of cars out there!

Transport Consultant (Chris) has worked all over the country but especially in Scotland on a variety of Community Car Schemes and his main finding is that no 1 model fits all situations but key points are that the community really wants it and understands the benefits to them. One good example is Moray which has been going for a while and has 9 cars and 50 members – they have a 3 tier membership with different annual membership costs vs journey costs. Also rural communities tend to have very different requirements than urban. Shrewsbury have a car-club as part of the Co-wheels franchise which enables members to use cars in other locations (useful if planning a journey out of area where public transport could be used for part of the journey)  http://franchises.co-wheels.org.uk/shropshire/  In order to be successful the car needs to be being used for 7 to 8 hours a day minimum so it could be something local businesses could use to boost useage.

Afternoon workshops covered a variety of topics but the most relevant to Llanfyllin (and surrounding area) was probably the one about how and where to build up a charging network around Wales. If PCC is not intending to include Llanfyllin in it’s 13 locations then there is the option of applying for funding through OLEV (up to 50% if a business or 75% if a community project), also could apply to Welsh government for some of the £2m and companies such as Barclays might offer match funding. If the community pays to have the charging point(s) put in then they would receive the income (but would be responsible for the maintenance etc) however there are companies (eg instavolt) that will install for free but then they will take the income and be responsible for maintenance – if this route is followed be aware of how long it might take to get maintenance done. Also need to look at how the revenue would be collected – contactless is likely to be the way forward but at the moment there are many different systems – each with their own App (bloova.com was mentioned). Food for thought!

Diana

2nd July 2019

join the National Conversation

The next BRACE meeting is July 4th. it is open to all and free to attend. We are exploring some of the many themes raised by climate change, and have already started more strands of conversation that we can keep up with. It seems to make sense to align our work to what is going on at a national level.

Visiting your Areas

Members of my team will be in different parts of Wales from June 2019 until November 2019. Let us know if you’d be interested in attending one of our sessions by registering on the link below. Please be aware we are currently confirming a date and venue for further events across Wales.

Everyone is welcome, whatever their background. You can also use the toolkit and resources below to run your own event.

Uninhabitable Earth

David Wallis-Wells on the Rogan podcast

David Wallace-Wells is Deputy editor and climate columnist for New York magazine. His book “The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming” is available now and is causing a stir around the world.

Its 2 hours, so it is a bit of an investment to watch but well worth the listen and easier than reading the book. We are in serious trouble and not really understanding the challenges before us. This is very well informed, David Wallace-Wells really knows his stuff.. but when it comes to solutions it is really revealing that he doesn’t mention biology once. The solutions are beyond technology and sociology but a change with our relationship with this living planet – so there is something really revealing about the framing of the problem and the solution.

I am sure there are shorter interviews with the author, but Rogan has a very easy and chatty manner and makes this challenging subject approachable, it is a good listen and helps us frame responses going forward.

Notes from 20th June

Next meeting: Our Future Wales – Wellbeing and Future Generations Act. Chair: Alison

Think of how it can be opportunity to connect with this initiative that hopes to tackle climate change, loneliness, health services and technologies to keep people well.

UPDATE STEVE ON FUNDING: apply for all projects at all levels etc. Important to note here is also that European funding for wildlife will end soon but that they are preparing for it over here.

REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE:

Mayor Simon Baynes wants to come visit BRACE – potential to have this in one week on Thursday. He will be away over the summer so if not next week it will have to wait till September. Result from council meeting was that the amount of land that can be used for cultivation will only augment if list of those waiting for an allotment will grow. (Suggestion is to turn this around, present more land and have as result that more and more people will get involved in growing through community initiatives.) Being prepared includes producing more food at local levels.

HOW TO CONNECT WITH FARMERS:

-Farming Connect

-Collect information on what’s already happening: young farmers are eager… , gather local examples and case studies

-Explore economic and social opportunities for the farmers who wish to alter practice

-Oxford real farmer’s conference and Welsh complement in Brecan.

-Invite young farmers to come and speak to BRACE – could be during an intermediate meeting

-Film screenings of alternatives, once a month to be held at Cross Keys

-Peter Lewis (?) – potential person to speak to, both farmer and councilor

-Lorna to organize conference with farmers and high school  with public meeting on following day with a forum. (Don Fermio (?))

STALL IDEA:

Is there anyone to staff the stalls???

  • Local shows, i.e. Llanfyllin Show (10th of August)
  •  BRACE @ Farmer’s market.
  • Bigger Repair Café in September/October

Suggestions Stall: to include questionnaires and photos of workshops already organized. Include war on plastic, awareness of our plastic use. Progress with Council, mini repair café, Richie’s bird boxes so people can take something away, treasure hunt to see how much plastic used, seed swop etc.

ELECTRIC CAR WORKSHOP – been invited to Powys EV workshop – 3 attending – Tuesday 2nd of July 10 am (on this topic also need to create car sharing event at Cross Keys)

LLANFYLLIN BACCALAUREATE:  part of their task is to engage with the community – see whether BRACE could be a community group they could come and speak to as part of their assignment.

FRIENDS OF THE EARTH: eager to work on community level with groups like BRACE who are doing the same thing… They have community organisers and trainers that could link up with us. Idea could be to have BRACE as partnered with Young Farmers, Friends of the Earth, Llanfyllin Council etc.. Would be useful to attend each other’s meetings.  

FILM BOOK SUGGESTIONS:

Idea to make a list of book/film suggestions on BRACE website – suggestions from this meeting included: Kiss the Ground documentaries/book and Symphony of the Soil. (Suggestion to screen this on one of the monthly screening meetings at Cross Keys)

  • Who can be repository of information?

NEED FOR A YEAR PLANNING AND TASK DIVISION CHART

To get a clearer idea of where we are going and who is involved in which initiative. Categories to include are connecting with farmers, town council, short and long term plans, permission for green spaces in October etc.

Hang permanent board of this at Cross keys, local community shop and library.

HOW TO MAKE THE MEETINGS MOST EFFICIENT:

  • Chair to keep focus on day’s meeting (past issues not to be repeated unless there is an urgent update required, but otherwise best to discuss this in smaller groups, make a personal plan of action)
  • Good time keeping
  • Someone to shortly introduce day’s topic (not the chair)
  • Rotation of 4 people potentially to chair the meetings as difficult to find volunteers
  • Meeting to end around 10 past 9
  • Set Clear tasks at end of Meeting

NEED TO REMIND OURSELVES OF BRACE’s AIM

Regenerative agriculture is the future

really concise list of core regenerative Ag approaches

Agro- forestry. Basically this is a strategy to integrate the forest back into farming. See Wakelyns research farm below surrounded by mono culture it is interesting to see how it contrasts with its neighbours. Some primary cropland is given over to trees which does reduce the yield to a certain extent. Even if the trees are aligned north south to minimize shading. Rows can be made a width that is suitable to the machines and harvest methods being used.

The difference between the two systems is striking The combined yield of the crops and trees is 1.4 times more than the monoculture and crucially in the agro-forestry system soil carbon is rising, where as in the other it is dropping and soils are much more prone to erosion. Interestingly also because of the increased diversity on the agro-forestry site disease spreads more slowly and is less of an overall threat.

Wakelyns Agrofrestry research farm
Farm tour of Wakelyns

Notes from 6/6/19

Thanks to Aine who chaired the meetings, next meeting facilitator: Barbara

Picture from Scotland

Electric Vehicles

Talk from Bill Smith, Bill owned and ran Bashchurch service garage for 35 years and has an extensive knowledge of the motor trade and electric vehicles from their first introduction to the present day. This 30 min talk is packed with information and Bill can be contacted with questions.

Electric vehicles, Bill Smith

Climate Emergency

Ideas

1: We should frame proposals around the CAT Zero Carbon Britain report. This indicates that UK could reach net zero by 2030 and outlines the shape of this transition

2: Library should be an information hub for this process.

3: BRACE to use its July 4th meeting to discuss ideas to present to the July Council meeting. We should attend council meeting to better understand their remit and invite the mayor to attend at least one of our meetings. David Senior is Welshpool town Councillor who has pushed climate emergency statement for Welshpool

4: Newtown meeting, other town are going through a similar process as us, they are looking at food, energy, land transport and waste. Re convening in September with clear proposals

Proposals

  1. Can we have a link to the this website www.brace.cyrmu from the council website
  2. Electric vehicle charger behind the library/ institute or old jail
  3. Land and biodiveristy: Spraying.. is there a biodiversity plan for Powys? Cutting of verges for biodiverity. Andrew Collins is in contact with contractors, happy to leave out May cut.
  4. Cultivating the town’s green spaces. Cae Bodfach and composting at the allotments, keen to explore more green spaces in town we can plant up with bee friendly, edible herbs etc
  5. Next Town Council meeting is 19th June in Llanfyllin institute – suggested we listen in and on July 17th make a 5 min presentation from BRACE to council
  6. Town council: can they invest saving in North Wales Credit unioin or similr. Look at divestment from high street banks
  7. 21st June is the next school strike – calling for support from Adults

George Monbiot on why ‘Climate Change Goes Deeper Than Capitalism’

This is an excellent interview, unpacking how we perceive the climate crisis

Guardian columnist George Monbiot is one of the foremost progressive political thinkers in Britain today, one who has long put a spotlight on environmental issues, particularly those ignored by the mainstream press. He joins us The Elephant to talk about how the climate change crisis isn’t just an isolated problem, but one that is intimately intersected with other major problems we’re facing in our societies – from the run-away political power of corporations, to the rampant consumerism that dominates our culture.

Recorded for The Elephant Podcast

The alternative to hypocrisy is cynicism

George Monbiot

Cymru Ein Dyfodol – Our Future Wales

You can interact with O.F.W here

I think this really matters, it is essential for Wales as a nation as it puts us on the leading edge of positive change. Evaluating all new development through the perspective of the Well Being of Future Generations Act creates an essential lens that can steer policy in the right direction. The over-ruling of the M4 extension this week is a fine example. We need to find transport solutions that dont involve investment in more roads or the destruction of increasingly rare habitat.

As a farming nation regenerative agriculture can be the leading edge of our climate response. Here is Tim LaSalle talking on the essential role agriculture can play. This is the start of a big conversation. We will be picking up on this on June 20th at our next meeting and I think this si a subject that has an especially broad appeal. .

Short film on possibilities of holistic grazing
Theme for June 20th Meeting is agriculture and farming