LCCN Newsletter Issue 77

Welcome to 2012 and the 77th 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 keen to find contributors who could send us an update (monthly?) on whats happening in their region 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
And why not make a new year’s resolution? – to send us a new item or update every few weeks!



The LCCN conference
The conference takes place in Oxford on Saturday 14th January – there’s still places because we’ve got a big venue. DECC are now supporting the conference, our thanks to them, and this means that we will have some funds to cover travel costs for those who need it.

The main focus is on developing stronger local action and there’ll be sessions on better work with local councils, with academics and with the wider community, with plenty of good examples. There’ll also be sessions on community renewables, community approaches to the Green Deal, local and regional networking, lessons from home efficiency projects and of course Jonathon Porritt will be speaking in the final session.

You can book easily via this link – http://lccnconference2012.eventbrite.com/

So where should LCCN focus its’ efforts?
Local action on climate takes many different forms from campaigning through awareness to community energy.  Our conference is to help you work more effectively, but it’s also to help us, as a member-led organisation, work out where we should look to work in future.
A paper on possible ways forward, written in a personal capacity by LCCN Chair Chris Church, is available to view by clicking here – we’d welcome comments to…



Reducing CO2 – your PV and the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS)

So you’ve installed a PV system. You and/or your community have reduced their carbon emissions. But what happens when your low carbon renewable electricity reaches your FIT provider? If they are one of the big six energy companies, most of the electricity they generate will be from coal and gas. Your renewable electricity helps them to cut back on electricity from fossil fuels, so that’s where the carbon saving you’ve made comes from.

But energy companies have had their emissions of greenhouse gases legally capped, under the EU’s Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), and they need an allowance to emit each tonne of CO2. So if you are saving, say, 100 tonnes of CO2 a year with your PV, the big energy company will now have 100 tonnes of allowances it no longer needs. They can sell these on the open market and a would-be polluter can buy these allowances and go on to emit 100 extra tonnes of carbon dioxide. So the net effect on carbon dioxide emissions of all your work to install PV could be nil.

Now, before you blame the EU ETS, the problem is not the design of the system but the way it operates at the moment. It’s a “cap and trade” system where a cap is set on the overall emissions and the allowances to make these emissions are traded. But today the cap is too high because lots of allowances were given away free, and industry lobbied successfully for a high cap. In addition the recession has reduced emissions.

If the cap was lower, and allowances more expensive, then emissions would be less.  So we need to make the EU ETS more effective. LCCN is now developing work with the NGO Sandbag, set up by Baroness Worthington to focus on these issues, with a view to getting community energy projects to ask FITs providers for the emissions allowances that match your carbon savings – after all you earned them. You can then destroy them reducing overall levels of pollution.  Interested – get in touch and we’ll keep you briefed. There’ll be a workshop on this issue at the Conference.

DECC funding for local action
The DECC ‘LEAF’ fund closed just before Xmas – over 200 people got bids in. But there’s more money to come in the second round – closing date January 21st. And don’t forget that you can budget for up to £1000 for someone to help you develop you bid.
It’s at http://www.greencommunitiescc.org.uk/

Climate Change Poetry Competition
Welsh group Awel Aman Tawe are running a competition for adults and children with a first prize of £500 (for adults, £50 for children). Each poem should be no more than 40 lines on any aspect of the theme of Climate Change. Closing date is 31st March 2012 and judges are well known poets Carol Ann Duffy (English entries) & Elin ap Hywel (Welsh entries)
For more information email: ehinshelwood@awelamantawe.co.uk

website: www.awelamantawe.co.uk



In the courts! A new section…

FITs appeal succeeds

On 22nd Dec. the appeal by FoE and others on the FITs changes was was successful. The Judge accepted the challenge that the 12th of December date is unlawful – and ordered it to be struck out of the consultation.
See the FoE press release 
here.

The judge refused permission for the Government to appeal the decision because they have no real prospect of winning. Despite that, Greg Barker has announced the Government’s intention to try to appeal. The Judge also ordered that if his decision was overturned an appeal would have to be brought urgently by the 4th of January. A High Court appeal would cost tens of thousands of pounds and plunge the solar industry and those planning clean energy projects into further uncertainty – thousands of projects and jobs will be on hold until this is resolved.


What does the ruling mean? 

As long as there is no successful appeal, the ruling means two things:

  • The 12th December date is gone. The Government cannot change the tariffs until after they are put before Parliament for 40 days. This means the earliest the rates could fall is the 19th of February. We specifically said in court that no new consultation was  needed to allow certainty to happen as soon as possible.
  • The Government cannot make such a proposal in the future – this is imperative for wider confidence in low carbon investments.

Stop Press
Greg Barker has confirmed that the Government will be appealing the High Court ruling. (See twitter http://twitter.com/#!/gregbarkermp ). Yesterday’sbusiness green blog provides a useful summary of the latest. The decision to appeal is prolonging the period of uncertainty for the solar industry, which still cannot be sure what rates projects installed now can get. FoE have put out a press release calling on the Government to accept the ruling, bring down the tariff rates from February and increase the budget for the scheme, here: http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/press_releases/gov_appeal_court_ruling_03012012.html

EU court agrees: airlines must clean up their act on emissions

In a historic decision just before Christmas, Europe’s highest court has upheld the innovative EU law that aims to reduce carbon pollution from the world’s aircraft and help tackle climate change. The court ruled against US and other airlines who’d claimed this EU legislation was incompatible with international law. This was despite a last-minute pressurising letter from the US government – you can read a joint NGO response to this letter here.

Government changes law to allow charities to join credit unions
Charities, social enterprises and community groups will be able to join a credit union from next week under changes made to the Credit Unions Act 1979.  Previously, only individuals were able to be members of credit unions. However, last November, a Legislative Reform Order was passed by Parliament, under the Credit Unions Act 1979, meaning that from 8 January credit unions can:

  • Reach out to more people by extending membership to new groups
  • Provide services to community groups, social enterprises and businesses, not just individuals
  • Choose to pay interest on savings, instead of a dividend

Mark Lyonette, chief executive of the Association of British Credit Unions, said: “These changes are a major breakthrough in the delivery of credit union services to organisations around Britain. The new rules mean that, for the first time, credit unions will be able to offer services directly to charities, social enterprises and community groups, allowing credit unions to compete more effectively with banks and other lenders to provide fair and affordable financial services. 

Thanks to http://www.civilsociety.co.uk

Finally…
If only Greenhouse gases were visible…
No idea if this is for real, but this site suggests that the graphics Department of ABC News in the US has developed a special Camera that shows them – see http://www. http://planetsave.com/2011/12/20/if-only-greenhouse-gases-were-visible-special-camera-shows-them/

Do you want to be a featured group on the LCCN website?

We have started a new featured groups page on the LCCN website hereRURENER is the current group featured, check the page out if you want to find out more about them.
If you’d like to be featured on the website, send us some text now. This should be broadly structured like this:

  • Who we are
  • What we’re doing
  • How we involve our community
  • The results we’ve achieved

250 words max, and please include a photo and logo.

Please email your details to – hello@lowcarboncommunities.net


Building LCCN – your help needed
This newsletter now goes out weekly to more than 600 people and groups, but we’d like to get it to many more. You can help!
If you find the newsletter useful, why not forward it to other people you know, either in your group or within  your network. Let them know it comes out weekly, it’s free and all they have to do to get it is to join the network…by sending an email requesting a membership form to – membership@lowcarboncommunities.net
Or you can download the membership form by clicking here.


LCCN Facebook page

Please like the Low Carbon Communities facebook page here



General Email: hello@lowcarboncommunities.net
Website: lowcarboncommunities.net                                                             04/01/2012

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