From Paris to Lime Street – the journey to zero carbon emissions!
In December a historic new global climate agreement was agreed at the United Nations conference on climate change in Paris. The Paris Agreement is certainly to be welcomed but it will not stop climate change on its own. The beginning of a long process, it is definitely a step forward, empowering civil society groups and citizens to hold their elected representatives to account and push their local authorities to do more to transition away from fossil fuels and reduce green-house gas emissions.
The net zero carbon emissions goal is now mainstream global policy, which will filter down to the nations and regions. It’s now a question of when and how, not if, we get there and the likelihood is, as a city in a developed nation, it’s going to have to be before 2050.
All partners, including the business sector will need to play a key role if we are to achieve that target. At the recent Liverpool & Sefton Chamber’s Green Lunch it was heartening to hear how both Jaguar Land Rover and Unilever are supporting renewables on site. We need more organisations, both public and private sector, to be engaged. For example, facilitating and supporting the development of renewable energy. At one level, this might be buying renewable energy that has been generated locally, or on another level it could be allowing community energy companies to use their land or roofs to site renewable energy systems, for example solar panels.
Crucially we also need more innovative partnerships. The recently improved Blackfriars station in London has the world’s largest solar bridge. It has over 400 photovoltaic panels, enough to cover 23 tennis courts, crown the roof and provide up to 50 per cent of the station’s energy, enough to make almost 80,000 cups of tea a day. They will reduce the station’s CO2 emissions by an estimated 511 tonnes per year, equivalent to around 89,000 average car journeys.
Very few buildings have expanses of roof like our stations do, and they are often perfect for installing solar panels – so why can’t all our stations use their roofs in this way?
The bottom line for the UK and us here in the Liverpool city region is that this is a big, game changing deal and in my view we need to grasp the nettle and take control of our own zero carbon destiny and set our own target and timeline. Why shouldn’t we create our own roadmap of how we become a zero carbon city region by 2040!
Ed Gommon, Director
Liverpool Community Renewables Limited