Governments around the world are waking up to the fact that unless drastic action is taken, the environment in which we all live will change, wreaking havoc on our current way of life.
In the UK, the effects of climate change are beginning to be seen with increased incidence of extreme weather events such as flooding and heatwaves which threaten peoples’ homes and livelihoods.
The term net zero means achieving a balance between the carbon emitted into the atmosphere, and the carbon removed from it. Action is required at all levels to achieve this, from government policy, industry leaders, to communities and the actions of individual consumers.
Taking action on climate change can also benefit individuals and households. For example, an estimated 500,000 rural households live in fuel poverty, many of which live in homes in urgent need of energy efficiency improvements. By focusing support and resources on those who most need it, a just transition to net zero can be achieved.
ACRE members are beginning to see a growing appetite from communities to take action on climate change. In many parts of the country, groups are seeking help with specific projects that have care for the environment in mind, many of which help contribute to contribute net zero.
Specific projects gaining interest include, installing solar panels and electric car charging points in village halls to advice on home insulation.
Some members are already taking coordinated and concerted approach to supporting a just transition to net zero, sometimes in partnership with other organisations locally.
Rural areas have sometimes, mistakenly, been seen as unsustainable due to their isolation and need for people to use cars. But new technologies offer possibilities for new initiatives and more sustainable behaviour change.
During Covid-19 we have seen how this can happen, with more home working, re-discovery of local supply chains and a renewed interest in volunteering and placemaking. By building on this experience, we are engaging other national stakeholders in conversations about how community groups can be supported to work with local employers, landowners and public sector bodies to bring disparate initiatives together and develop community-level net zero strategies.
Through the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, we are also pressing government to provide support to deploy programmes to improve the energy efficiency of homes and alleviate financial pressures made worse by rapidly escalating fuel prices.
ACRE Network Case Study – Kirtlington Village Hall Electric Car Charging, Oxfordshire
Find out how one village hall in Oxfordshire has installed an electric car charging point alongside other energy improvements to contribute to Net Zero.