Achieving Zero

Brenda Boardman is at the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford. I have always found that she has interesting things to say about climate change and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in buildings. She has now written a report “Achieving Zero” which you can read in full at http://www.eci.ox.ac.uk/research/energy/achievingzero/achieving-zero-text.pdf or in summary at http://www.eci.ox.ac.uk/research/energy/achievingzero/achievingzero-execsum.pdf which sets out some findings and ideas about reducing greenhouse egas emissions from buildings. This is a difficult problem in the United Kingdom where there are more than 26 million buildings the vast majority of which were built to designs and specifications when green house gas emissions and fuel costs were not a concern. Continue reading

How to reduce your fuel oil bills

In the United Kingdom this time last year heating oil prices soared as very cold weather set in. Overall the price increase suffered was more than 70% in some cases. Almost all the homes that use fuel oil are off the gas grid network, and for these homes fuel oil is a cheaper heating alternative than electricity. It offers the same flexibility of heat as gas but much more expensive per unit of heat. Continue reading

The English Must follow where the Scots Lead

Three ago I attended a meeting of Energy Action Scotland as a guest speaker at their annual conference on a cold rainy night in Scotland in November. Energy Action Scotland is a highly deserving charity which campaigns to end fuel poverty in Scotland. The issue of fuel poverty is very important throughout the British Isles, but nowhere more important than in the northern parts of these islands where winters are longer and colder and where you need more money to heat your home to the same standard as those of us who live in places like London, where I live. Continue reading

CERT and the no brainer of home insulation

The United Kingdom’s energy companies, that virtual monopoly of supply of gas and electricity, are, as part of the various climate change emission reduction targets, obliged to carry out certain measures to reduce the demand for energy from fossil fuel sources. These obligations are known as the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target. It is an ill fitting name, as the “target” is a legal obligation to carry out so many measures, not to reduce carbon emissions but to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide. At the risk of being called a pendant, I would prefer that the obligation was more accurately named, but I suppose “CERT” is an easy to remember acronym, even if it is confusing. Continue reading

Sustainable Development and Governments

The Sustainable Development Commission is abolished. Its role was to act as a watchdog and bark when the Government did not implement its sustainable development strategy within its own departments. It was supposed to ensure that the government did embed the principles of sustainable development within government decision making. I can understand why it has been abolished. Continue reading

Bolivia nationalises electricity companies

In 2006 President Evo Morales nationalised the Bolivian oil and gas industry. Last year his government took over a subsidiary o BP which supplies jet fuel and on May Day Mr Morales announced the nationalisation of Bolivia’s four major electricity suppliers. Continue reading

Enforcing the law – or ignoring it, depends on whether you are the Government

The Association for the Conservation of Energy together with “Unlock Democracy” have prepared a report which I find rather disturbing. It shows in clear and unequivocal terms just how the Government has ignored the very laws it passed to alleviate fuel poverty and to improve the domestic efficiency in homes.

You may find it rather astonishing that a Government goes to the trouble of passing laws and the simply ignores them and refuses to enforce them. If you have found yourself running foul of any of the 3600 new criminal offences that the Government has created in the past thirteen years you will find meticulous and unnecessary enforcement of them by all kinds of people. If you now enter the United Kingdom with a British Passport Continue reading

The Lehmann Chesshire Research Fund

The fuel poverty charity, National Energy Action, has announced the creation of a new research fund to honour Peter Lehmann and John Cheshire. This fund, called the Lehmann Chesshire Fund will help young academic researcher enquire into the alleviation of fuel poverty and will be administered by a committee under the chairmanship of Lord Whitty. Continue reading

Energy efficiency of homes marginally improves over a decade

There are twenty two million dwellings in the United Kingdom; the vast majority of these are houses, as opposed to flats. More than eighteen million families live in houses, according to a recently published survey by the Department of Communities and Local Government. Continue reading

Signing up to targets at Copenhagen will be meaningless

As the world’s nations prepare to negotiate at Copenhagen in December the specific negotiators will be concentrating on targets. Each major nation will have a different idea about which target is right for it, and each small nation will have more ambitious targets than each large nation.I expect that at the end of the negotiations various leaders will attend and as a result of their attendance claim credit for a deal that has saved the world because the nations of the world will have signed up to a series of targets. Hooray! Unfortunately most of targets will be Continue reading