Frome Town Hall: Citizens Climate Panel calls to ‘do it all’
On 12 Nov 2019, Frome Town Council hosted a ‘Climate Panel’ event at the town hall, where people discussed how the town might reach net carbon zero by 2030.
The event was part of a series where local people were invited to discuss practical actions to address the climate crisis.
Frome Town Council’s resilience officer, Anna Francis, introduced the format.
First, four local ‘experts’ spoke for a few minutes each about the context.
The climate crisis is real, and we can consider how to respond. For this session, the idea was to look at reducing energy use, and generating clean energy.
We looked at the environmental impact of the average citizen in Frome.
About 4 tonnes of carbon per year is estimated by ‘Scatter’ methodology, but the ‘Small World’ estimate of 13 tonnes per person per year was said to be more realistic.
On that basis, we need about 80% of the houses in town to have solar panels, or to construct 8 wind turbines, to theoretically generate enough carbon neutral energy for the 13 tonnes of energy requirement of the average person in Frome each year.
Of course, it’s not that simple, as during still nights, we’ll need energy available to stay warm and keep the lights on. About 80% of the homes we’ll be living in in 2050 have already been built, pointed out Philip Morris, an expert in insulation and energy efficiency, and so it seems really important to look at how to retrofit environmental improvements to our existing homes.
After hearing a few facts and figures, everyone was invited to join one of the ‘tables’ where particular topics where discussed.
We were asked to imagine being in Frome in 2030, when the town had become ‘net zero,’ and talk about how we could have got here…
Well, after about two micro-seconds of British reticence, everyone got talking.
Renewable energy sources, ground and air source heat source pumps, micro generation, hydro electricity, better insulated homes, more efficient grid systems, incentives for environmentally responsible development and disincentives for bad behaviour all came up as useful tools to reach net zero.
And, reassuringly, the call from the floor was “we could do it all” and it seems that plans are afoot to make a start.
Suggestions to put more solar panels up are already underway, and developing a microgrid is looking wonderfully plausible.
Perhaps something wonderful will happen?
There are two more of these Frome Town Council ‘Climate Panels’ planned for November.
These gatherings at the town hall are free and open to all, and are a forum to discuss, consider and inform how the town council can respond to the climate crisis.
The meetings will inform the town’s official response to the climate emergency, and aim to set out a way forward to reach the target of net zero by 2030.
Come along and join the conversation!