I’ve swept up the Christmas tree needles, packed the kids off to school and scoffed the last segment of their chocolate orange as soon as their backs were turned. And surprisingly, I find myself quite content to be back at work – I’ve had my fill of lolling by the fire. So here’s a quick note on what I’ll be up to over the coming year.
Community energy is an increasing part of my work. It’s great to see more and more communities taking control of their energy, through investing in renewables and encouraging energy efficiency. But government doesn’t make it easy for them, as I’ve said in previous posts. So I’m continuing my work with Co-operatives UK, to advocate better policy solutions for community energy, so that government can live up to its promise of a “community energy revolution”.
Still on the community energy theme, I’m involved in an interesting piece of work, in collaboration with the Centre for Sustainable Energy, to advise the Northern Ireland government on support for community renewables. I’ve done my bit for Northern Ireland by investing some of my pension in their first co-operatively owned wind project, Drumlin. And I’m advising an independent wind energy developer to design new ways of working with the communities around their wind turbine sites.
Closer to home, I’m helping the Lake District National Park to realise its leadership ambitions on climate change. The Lake District is the first area of the UK to have its own ‘carbon budget’, mirroring the national carbon budget laid down in the Climate Change Act. I’m working with partner organisations across the Lake District to find practical ways to reduce emissions, save money, create jobs and improve the tourism offer in this most beautiful corner of England. (I’m biased but it’s true). Here’s a blog if you want to know more.
And I can’t kick the Green Alliance habit, having been involved with them as a staff member or associate for, gulp, fourteen years now. It’s their fault for being a truly brilliant organisation, always on the frontline of environmental politics and sensible solutions. I’m working with them on their Climate Leadership Programme for MPs, which gives politicians the chance to hone their climate change knowledge and skills.
Finally, I get my science fix through my role as a Council Member of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the funding body for environmental science in the UK. It means I get to learn about amazing things like space weather and ocean currents, and in return I’m helping them to improve the way that they engage with non-academics, including government, businesses and environmental groups.
I’m always happy to hear thoughts and feedback about my work, so please do get in touch. I promise not to eat your chocolate orange.