There have been natural fluctuations in the climate since time began but temperatures are now rising faster that at any other time and

this time scientists have linked  it to human activity. the composition of the gases in the atmosphere is changing, with CO2 levels reaching record levels in recent years, mainly from burning fossil fuels , oil, gas, petrol, diesel and coal as well as deforestation.

So why does this matter ?

The change in climate means more unexpected and extreme weather , more floods, stronger more frequent hurricanes and extreme heat waves. If you live in Herefordshire or Yorkshire this will seem all too real in February 2020 – once in a hundred year floods have occurred three times in the last seven for some communities . Londoners are protected from river surges by the Thames Barrier , designed to be raised twice a year it , it has averaged three times that in the 2000’s ( figures skewed by being raised 50 times in 2014)

It is a global problem and it may seem an overwhelming problem to solve- we cannot influence China , India or the climate crisis denials by the leader of the USA .Before panic sets in and you decide you can’t do anything use one of the online tools to work out your own carbon footprint  for example : https://www.carbonfootprint.com/calculator.aspx

We can start to change our habits and consider what we can do with our homes – 40% of UK emissions come from households. Rental properties must be assessed and have ‘EPC’s that are publicly available ( Energy Performance Certificate) . This will tell the tenant how well their rental property scores, what can be done to improve it and how much it will cost to run. Landlords are no longer permitted to let properties with a rating of less than an E ( F & G’s were the lowest score)  . However house owners are not being required  to have their homes rated .

New homes will not be permitted to have gas boilers from 2025.

However existing homes are the biggest use of gas heating and there is no requirement for owners occupiers to do anything for the time being  . Fulham’s housing stock is largely made up of Victorian, Edwardian and post war housing stock  . There will be a move to decarbonise the existing natural gas grid  but this will need to be accelerated to meet the targets set. Although no specific timescales have been mentioned by the government , a change from 0.1% hydrogen to 20% is certainly possible by 2025. To have a fully decarbonised gas grid, using 100% hydrogen, could be achievable by circa 2035 but this potentially requires large scale Carbon Capture and Storage if natural gas is used as the source of hydrogen. New gas boilers are being designed to  be easily adapted – this will not be the case for older boilers that will require replacement.

LBHF Resident led Climate & Ecological Emergency Commission

On 17 July 2019, LBHF adopted a commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030 and to significantly enhance biodiversity across the borough to combat climate change. The Commission will think big and bold to define the art of the possible, and create a compelling, attractive vision of the future. Paul Beaty-Pownall, a former member of the Fulham Society Committee, has become chair of the Resident’s group overseeing LBHF’s efforts.

The commission will scrutinise all aspects of Council policy and operations, both its own areas of direct control (eg parks and buildings) and use its wider influence to encourage progress where it only has partial control (eg TfL). It will look for best practice and expertise locally, nationally and globally, and will call expert witnesses to create the strongest possible agenda for change.

Hammersmith & Fulham has already made huge strides towards becoming the greenest borough in Britain including a whole range of policies which:

  • improve air quality
  • promote biodiversity
  • reduce traffic congestion and pollution
  • make our streets cleaner and greener
  • work with our community to put environmental concerns at the heart of all we do.

 

If you would like to contribute to the Commission’s work please attend the meeting at Th Lyric on 25 February 2020 at 7.00pm