Right, in amongst all the philosophising about Margaret Thatcher, there was quite a lot going on for the Colbha team in April.
So first things first, still lots going on at London Array which this month became the biggest windfarm in the world when the 175th turbine became operational. This is quite the most amazing project and the fact that it’s now reached this amazing milestone is credit to everyone who has been involved in the project – from the inception of such an ambitious target, through planning, design, engineering, construction and commissioning. There’s just a question of how long it can keep the title of world’s largest wind farm but for the time being, everyone involved in the project throughout its lifetime (myself included) is taking great pride in the achievement.
Associate Alex Beckett has been busy finalising a report on opportunities for renewable energy for the Borough of Poole – he’s promised a blog with more details so watch this space as I will make sure he doesn’t pick up blogging procrastination.
And April ended with me chairing the Women in Cleantech event “Policy: the key to the stability and growth of green industry or the major brake on its development?”. We managed an ad hoc review of Messrs Cameron and Clegg on their third anniversary in government with me pretending to be David Dimbleby. Helpfully for me, Women in Cleantech doesn’t believe in loading the panel with extremists so I had less to contend with than Mr. Dimbleby does and instead, we had amazing insights across a range of sectors and a thorough report card on the Coalition. I’ll leave you to read the report from the night here on the EcoConnect website but the moral of the story was that this Government needed to be bold when it comes to green policy – understand the landscape, talk to those of working in the sector, make fewer policies and do the ones they do well.
It seems the need to “do” something is becoming ever more important too. There are some numbers which seem iconic when it comes to climate science. One of them is the 400ppm figure when it comes to concentration of carbon in the earth’s atmosphere. When I first learnt about climate change this was one of the scary numbers that was on the point of no return for our climate – the one we were told we were trying to avoid hitting. Well, we hit it this week. It seems like such a melancholy milestone – like we need to have an anti-party to mark the occasion. But it was basically not reported in the mainstream press at all.
Sufficient levels of bad news – war, terrorism, economic gloom – seem to make this ultimate bit of doom and gloom rendered unreportable. Terrorism may grab headlines but the impacts of climate change will be significantly scarier for all of us.
It is heartening therefore that we’re currently seeing more enquiries than ever for businesses, councils and communities that want to build their own low carbon economies and promote renewable energy. And when you look at the Ashden finalists announced this week, it’s clear to see just how far and wide the “do-ers” extend – lots of inspiration to be found there.
It may be that the government disappoints us but behind the scenes there are a lot of people quietly getting on with what needs to be done. The 400ppm milestone may have been and gone, but maybe the pessimism that we’re relentlessly heading to 450ppm could yet be proved wrong.