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Facebook post 28th May 2016

There is nobody in this country who got rich on their own. Nobody. You built a factory out there - good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn't have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory...

Now look. You built a factory and it turned into something terrific or a great idea - God bless! Keep a hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.

Elizabeth Warren (American academic and politician)

May 2016

British public says renewables offer huge economic benefits - and wants more

New official Government statistics published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) show that the British public believes that renewable energy provides tangible economic benefits - and they want clean energy projects built in their area.

The Public Attitudes Tracking from DECC shows that 70% of people see clear economic benefits to the UK from renewable energy. The survey also showed that 56% would be happy with a large-scale project in their local area.

Hugh McNeal, Chief Executive of renewable energy trade association RenewableUK, said: "It's great that the British public sees how renewable energy is helping to grow the UK economy. Renewables are delivering investment and jobs throughout our country".

These surveys of public attitudes are carried out annually (since 2012). Support for renewable energy has been consistently high since 2012 at around 75-80%. This pattern has continued in 2016 with 81% expressing support for the use of renewables with support lowest amongst those aged 65+ (74%).

Opposition to renewables was very low at 4%, with only 2% strongly opposed.

For 2016 an additional question was asked about people's opinion on three statements about renewable energy. Nearly eight in ten agreed that renewable energy developments should provide direct benefits to the communities in which they are located (77%), whilst seven in ten (70%) agreed that renewable industries and developments provide economic benefits to the UK.

Just over half said they would be happy to have a large scale renewable development in their own area (56%).

The DECC Public Attitudes Tracking survey (wave 17) can be found at www.gov.uk/government/statistics/public-attitudes-tracking-survey-wave-17.

May 2016

Optimistic outlook for clean energy

In his recent and latest Technology, Entertainment, and Design (TED) lecture, Al Gore, founder and chairman of The Climate Reality Project, posed three questions that will determine the future of our planet concerning energy and climate change and showed why we can be optimistic (but not complacent). Here are his three questions and a short summary of his answers.

1. Do we really have to change?

The challenge is that each day, manmade greenhouse gas pollution traps the same amount of heat energy as would be released by 400,000 Hiroshima-class atomic bombs. This trapped heat is warming the oceans and increasing the water vapour and energy in our atmosphere, leading to stronger storms, more extreme floods, increasingly long droughts, and other outcomes.

2. Can we change?

At a global level we've already started to change. Renewable energy is growing exponentially with growth significantly beating expert projections. With the cost of solar energy having come down around 10% every year for the past 30 years, this expansion means the renewable energy transition could very well be the biggest business opportunity in the world right now.

3. Will we change?

This question is up to all nations. In December 2015, 195 countries approved the Paris Agreement on climate change and agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It was a significant breakthrough after decades of failed attempts. Around the world, from China to India to the US, countries are adding more and more capacity in renewable energy (e.g. 69% of new electrical capacity added in the US last year came from renewables). The change is happening - what matters now is the speed of implementing that change.

You can see and hear Al Gore's illustrated speech from this external link (Clean Technica website).

March 2016

What's YOUR carbon footprint?

Ever wondered how big your own personal carbon footprint is? If, perhaps as a new year's resolution for 2016, you want to look at your own carbon footprint and start to look at reducing it, the WWF 'Carbon Footprint Calculator' at http://footprint.wwf.org.uk/ enables you to calculate your personal carbon footprint using the answers you provide to a simple 5 minute questionnaire.

The website calculates your carbon footprint as a result of your lifestyle choices and provides tips and ideas for how you can shrink your footprint.

It doesn't take long and the on screen report gives a simple breakdown of your footprint between what it calls Food, Home, Travel, and Stuff. It even shows how you compare to the UK and world average.

You can give it a go and discover what you can do to shrink your impact at: http://footprint.wwf.org.uk/

January 2016

Other relevant news websites

  • GOV.UK - news announcements from all Government Departments

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For past and current thinking to inspire or help you think differently on a
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Editorial note

The views expressed on this website are not necessarily the views and opinions held by the editor. For further information about 'our south west' including sponsorship policy and archived pages, visit the about OSW page.

Contact details

Managing Editor: Phil Harding*
*(Phil is also Chairman of Saltford Environment Group)

Email: phil@philharding.net - will Search Engine Optimisation and other similar companies please note that this website has all the search engine optimisation and smart phone compatibility that it requires to meet its specific objectives. Please save your time and ours by not contacting us.


1. Management of oursouthwest. From 1999 - 2010 this website was originally managed by Phil Harding whilst a Senior Policy Adviser (climate change, resource efficiency and sustainable development) at the Government Office for the South West (GOSW) in Bristol (UK). GOSW closed in 2011 but this site continues to be managed by Phil Harding on a freelance not-for-profit basis.

2. Archived material. For ease of reference, some of the key pages and papers that were on this website up until 2011/12 are listed on the About OSW page. The British Library holds archived copies of the some of the original content of the www.oursouthwest.com website in its early (and now dated) format from 2008 to 2013 on its website at www.webarchive.org.uk/ukwa/target/9175112/source/alpha.

This website is managed by Phil Harding and supported by Cotswold Energy & Environmental Management Group (on behalf of South West Energy & Environmental Management Groups).

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