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COP26 must make a lasting impression

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We won’t be using this month’s column to remind you that energy prices have skyrocketed for more reasons than the national press can keep up with, but happy to report that over 1,000,000 solar homeowners will be celebrating the fact the savings they make from generating their own energy have increased equally.

Every time energy prices rise, the value of the energy you generate from a solar system increases. On a personal note, back in 2011 when we had our first solar PV system installed on the workshop, it generated 1750kwh a year.

We used to pay 11p/kwh for electricity. That means the value of the electricity made by solar panels was around £200 a year.

As energy costs have increased over the last 10 years, the value of the electricity from the solar system is now around £360/year.

The larger solar system on the house generates around 4200kwh a year. When installed four years ago, the value of the electricity we self generated was around 15.8p/kw so totalled around £660 a year. Today, the same amount of electricity is valued £820 a year due to recent price rises.

This time next month, the world’s media will be on our doorstep as the long anticipated Council of the Parties Meeting or COP26, takes place in Glasgow.

The two-week long event is a gathering of over 200 governments, hundreds of international agencies and many others, who will decide the fate of the planet.

The negative impacts of climate change will only be reversed when the whole world unites behind a cause, and COP26 is the only place this can happen.

World governments missed the opportunity to reset structures that have created the mess that we are in 18 months ago as Covid struck.

We cannot allow them to turn next month into a talking shop with no significant action plan to tackle the greatest fight humanity has ever faced.

We know what causes the extremes in our changing climate and we know we have the solutions. What we are lacking is the will.

The environmental catastrophes we see today are from the making of yesterday’s global thirst for fossil fuels. We ignored the warnings for decades.

The truth is being played out in the bush fires of Siberia where a methane time bomb is ticking away; and in New York that has just been dumped on by a month’s worth of rain in an hour, from a hurricane that started 2,000 miles away.

We have spent 20 years or more in the Middle East securing the last of the oil for what? So we can fill up at £6 a gallon?

More of the extreme weather events will happen, more often until we stop using petrol and diesel to drive, stop burning fossils and stop buying single use plastics that end up in landfill or our rivers and oceans!

People quite rightly do not want incinerators on their doorstep, but I would prefer to turn our waste into energy than bury our heads in the sand. Right here in West Norfolk we see neighbours car sharing; villagers litter picking; turbines in fields and panels on rooftops; electric vehicles with no emissions, and solar farms in fields.

I attend schools and colleges and see first hand how children and young people are being educated. I see the art projects and exhibitions at the UK’s only dedicated gallery dedicated to climate change, the Groundwork Gallery, here in King’s Lynn.

I see the major landmarks lit up with positive climate messages through the work of Collusion and the Drawdown project.

We ARE making a difference. It just needs a little bit of foresight and a will to win from the politicans at COP26 to make it the new age that we all so desperately require from our leaders.

But until we change, how on earth can expect world leaders to change?

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