Climate taskforce to deliver carbon plan appointed

Young person holding up sign saying 'there is no Planet B' Photo by Bob Blob on Unsplash

Posted on: 28 August 2019

A top team of environmental experts, community representatives and business leaders has been assembled to deliver Devon’s Carbon Plan, the county’s roadmap to carbon neutrality.

The formation of the new Net-Zero Task Force follows the latest meeting of the Devon Climate Emergency Response Group (DCERG), made up of the chief officers of more than 25 public, private and voluntary sector organisations.

And following Devon County Council pledging £250,000 to help deliver the plan the authority is advertising for a Climate Emergency Project Manager, to coordinate and manage the Devon-wide response to the declaration of climate emergencies by various local authorities and organisations across the county.

The Net-Zero Task Force will be chaired by Professor Patrick Devine-Wright of the University of Exeter, an environmental social scientist.

He specialises in researching issues of social acceptance and community engagement with sustainable energy transitions and is a non-Executive Director of Exeter Community Energy.

Professor Devine-Wright is a Lead Author for the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, currently contributing to the 6th Assessment Report due for publication in 2021.

The Task Force is comprised of 12 core members with interests in environment, business, academia and health. They will use their knowledge, experience and contacts to ensure the resources available are focussed on the most appropriate decarbonisation issues and can identify the best opportunities to engage with communities effectively. They will be supported by advisory members.

Professor Devine-Wright said: “Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing Professor Devine-Wright humanity – both locally here in Devon and globally. But it also brings significant opportunities to increase wellbeing and sustainability if we come together to face that challenge head on. I am calling on everyone to get involved in producing this plan, whatever your age or background, and wherever you live in the county. Through the Citizens Assembly, Expert Hearings and the Public Consultation, there will be lots of ways to get involved.”

Dr Phil Norrey, the Chairman of the DCERG and Chief Executive of Devon County Dr Phil Norrey, Chief Executive of Devon County CouncilCouncil said: “I want to thank Professor Devine-Wright and each member of the Net-Zero Taskforce for agreeing to help deliver the Devon Carbon Plan. Each member has been chosen for their experience and knowledge, together providing a balanced mix of specialisms and backgrounds.
“Each are specialists in their respective fields and as a result people can feel assured that the process of developing the Devon Carbon Plan in response to the climate emergency will be as impartial and objective as possible.”

For more information on the DCERG go to DCC’s Energy and Climate webpage here.  

A full list and short biographies of each member and further details are available on the Devon Climate Emergency  Net-Zero Task Force webpages.

To apply for the Climate Emergency Project Manager role go to Devon County Council’s website by clicking here.

21 comments on “Climate taskforce to deliver carbon plan appointed

  1. Matthew Charlton-Anne says:

    I have built an eco home (Huf Haus) and wanted to install a 6kWh wind turbine.I had the backing of the parish, and parish council. Tacit backing of Mid Devon District Council, but was refused because of a ridiculous Ministerial Statement of 2015. This was purely as a vote winner and has banned all developments for wind on land, regardless of size. I am in a good spot for wind energy, we have Denbrooke wind farm 8 miles away, and 3 other much smaller turbines in our locality. This would have been an installation entirely at my own risk, with no rewards from government funds, and limited availability to export surplus to the grid. That was fine, because we purchased to install outside the house an electrical car charging point, and internally, an 8kWh battery pack. We hoped to be as self sufficient for power as possible, but this will not now happen, unless someone in authority can get some amendments made to the Ministerial Statement. For instance, you can install “hobby” wind turbines, which will charge a small battery pack, but would be unlikely to boil a kettle, all under Permitted Development Rights (PD). However, for the slightly larger units of 6kWh (NOT the 300ft tall monsters) you can’t, simply because the PD criteria are too small, particularly the blade swept area. In a nutshell, there is currently not a single wind turbine manufacturer globally, who can meet the PD criteria. This is very sad, particularly as the manufacturers have worked tirelessly to create compact working units.
    Can anyone help me out I wonder? I have the funds available to purchase the equipment, I just need official assistance!

    • david.beasley says:

      Dear Matthew, thanks for your message. Issues such as this are the kind of things the carbon task force will look at. I’ll forward this on to out environmental team and see if they can help

    • jonathan d rose says:

      This is why we should get rid of all party politics as they are more interested in party politics rather than saving our planet, I can see riots again as in the 80’s( then it was 3 things including unfair poll tax/council tax. brexit and the lack of anyone in government with any sincere mandate to get us out of Europe, because it was chosen by the people ( i voted remain and now am a firm leaver due to europes blockage of the will of the people.

  2. Belinda Mattingly says:

    This is a great opportunity to start to examine ways in which we might help to reduce the risk to our planet. Please don’t turn it into a platform for blame etc. It’s too late for that. We need qualified people from all relevant areas to come on board. Bickering will not encourage them.

  3. Gary Milla says:

    What we’re all these people doing before, say 3 years ago??
    Why has it taken XR and our young children
    to march in the street for these people to wake up and form a task force. They should!! and we the general public have known about climate change for a number of years. They,,,, these people are employed with our taxs to make the right decisions and look after us. I am now very very scared. Not for me, but for my daughter and her two young children and all the young people in the world.
    Talk talk talk. Just like Dr k Crawford said we need engineers not academics.
    This climate journey, will be all the horra films in one big blockbuster. This time Tom
    Cruze ain’t gona save us.

    • david.beasley says:

      Hi Gary, thanks for taking the time to comment. I think its important to point out that every member of the task force is doing it on a voluntary basis – they are not getting paid and have been chosen because of their expertise in a particular field.

  4. Chris Chapman says:

    It’s a small, but heartening move in the right direction.

  5. Dr K Crawford says:

    This Group has the makings of a quango, it seems full of academics. Where are the engineers? It’s no use talking we need to be doing!

    Devon has some of the highest fuel poverty figures in the UK, yet many of the academic solutions are working against fuel poverty, the current legislation on moisture content in logs is raising the cost by at least 10%, many rural homes depend on wood, but we can no longer season logs ourselves.

    Devon’s waste should be treated as a resource, why are we sending plastic waste to be recycled when we have plastic recyclers in Devon? Each load of waste has a 500 mile round trip, (Manchester) and this generates half a tonne of CO2 per load.

    West Devon alone could support 2 Anaerobic Digesters and 4 Pyrolysers which would produce 4-5000 KWH of useful cheap energy.

    We need changes to planning policy particularly in the National Parks that supports community energy rather than opposes it.

  6. jonathan d rose says:

    I have campaigned for 40 years, on this issue, warning of way we treat our planet, as a scientist, I also look at other effects, like the rise in statistics of mental health, and disabled problems in humans in past 80 years, since we first started using plastics, and pesticides, as well as hormones in our farm animals. I fully support this group, and as a local councillor will endeavour, to help as much as I can, to combat our climate emergency,

  7. Paul Whiteley says:

    I welcome this appointment and hope we can do some real good.
    Interestingly when I rang Devon CC switchboard today on an Extinction Rebellion Matter. The operator had not heard of XR or climate change! So there is some way to go to educate the public and council workers!

  8. Gill Gale says:

    Thank you Professor Devine-Wright for aiming to get everyone involved. We will need everyone’s genius, including those who might be a bit reluctant.

  9. Ana Hendy says:

    Brian – please excuse me but before I take your comment seriously (when the overwhelming majority of climate scientists would take issue with it) please tell me what your climate science qualifications are and also quote the source of the Nasa data quoted (a link will do) as, if you are an academic, you surely must know that you cannot make statements of fact without data to back it up. Thank you.

  10. Ella Young says:

    I very much agree with these comments by Sir Ian Boyd, and believe public education, legislation and tax incentives are part of the pathway:
    Sir Ian Boyd said polluting activities should incur more tax. He believes the Treasury should reform taxation policy to reward people with low-carbon lifestyles and nudge heavy consumers into more frugal patterns of behaviour.
    It was vital, he said, for the changes to be fair to all parts of society.
    He also believes Net Zero won’t happen unless the government creates a Net Zero ministry to vet the policies of all government departments in the way the Brexit ministry vets Brexit-related decisions.
    Emissions won’t be reduced to Net Zero while ministers are fixed on economic growth measured by GDP, instead of other measures such as environmental security and a relatively stable climate, he argued.
    Sir Ian, who leaves Defra on Thursday after six years in post, said: “The way we live our lives is generally not good for the environment.We like to consume things, but the more we consume the more we absorb the resources of the planet.That means we have to grow those resources or we have to mine them – and in doing that we generate waste. And consumption is going up all the time.
    (There’s) a conundrum – how do we shift ourselves from consuming? We need to do more about learning to live sustainably. We talk about sustainability but we don’t really know what it means.
    We need to make major technological advances in the way we use and reuse materials but we (also) need to reduce demand overall – and that means we need to change our behaviours and change our lifestyles.
    We certainly won’t be able to travel so much as we have in the past, so we have to get used to using modern communications methods. Moving material round the planet will be more difficult so we’ll have to do more with 3D printing; that sort of thing.
    It will very rarely come down to a direct message like ‘sorry, you can’t buy that but you can buy this’. But there will be stronger messages within the (tax) system that make one thing more attractive than the other.”
    He said UK government strategies were in place on air, environment, resources, waste, marine, and food. “[Ministers] need to be persuasive.”
    Asked if he was optimistic about the future of the planet, he said: “We have the intelligence to do it; we have the potential to develop the technologies to do it… I’m doubtful that we have the governance structures to make it happen at the speed it needs to happen at.”

    • Gill Gale says:

      One way to consume less is to borrow and hire instead of owning things. If the manufacturer has responsibility for a product through its’ life, including recycling, it will be better built, mendable and the parts reusable to make new products. Many companies would gladly do this if the right laws and incentives are in place.

    • D Wilkins says:

      Thank you Ella Young for making things so crystal clear. We urgently need to learn how to tread lightly on the planet, consume less, and that includes e.g governments, manufacturers, house builders as well as all individuals. Initiatives like this are a good start.

  11. Chris says:

    £250,000 sounds like a fraction of what is really needed to me.

  12. brian lee says:

    The Climate hasn’t changed, Nasa said it’s been cooling since 2009.
    If you look at raw data we are on the line we’ve been on for centuries, no unusual heat, flood or Hurricanes and no increases in their occurrence, quite the opposite is the fact.
    Currently we are in a low Sunspot period, our shields are also low and a Coronal hole is facing us. An increase in Solar winds will affect the weather by exciting particles and building clouds.
    We are expected to take Model projections as Gospel, when not one has ever been anywhere near accurate.
    If the creator has made our breath a Toxin, millions upon millions have misunderstood the message totally for Centuries.

    • david.beasley says:

      Brian, thanks for taking the time to post a message. You’re quite right that there have been short periods of global cooling, however these are set against a longer-term trend of warming. The warmest 21 years on record have been within the last 23 years. You can read more about how the climate has changed in the UK and southwest England in Devon County Council’s 2018 Climate Change Strategy. https://www.devon.gov.uk/energyandclimatechange/strategy/climate-change-strategy

    • Stevie Ranson says:

      Come on Brian, really? This issue is settled, it’s what we now do about it that’s the pressing issue. It’s a shame and shambles that the older generations have knowingly trashed the planet, along with taking the best secure jobs, the best pensions, and took all the housing. Oh and now expect everything for free when they’re retired, living far longer than they probably paid for in pension costs. I think they’ll go down in history as the most selfish generations.

      There is no planet B.

    • Paul Whiteley says:

      There have been short periods of cooling in the past but they have largely been local, like our own mini ice age in the middle ages and the 19th century but they have been local not global effects. The eruption of krakatoa was the last time that the planet cooled globally and swiftly recovered.
      I heard a denier argument that more snow is falling on antartica than ever before.. True but as Antartica is officially classed as a desert then excess snow which can only form in atmospheric regions of liquid water in one of the coldest places on earth is surely a cause for concern but as usual people who do not understand the science jump on this counter intuitive evidence.

  13. Philip says:

    As usual with the UK, we are following rather than leading, talking rather than doing, when other countries are doing things NOW to try and halt this phenomenon. To talk of something being done by 2021 is too late, far, far too late.

    We have heard nothing from this hapless “Government” about preserving water, about a tree-planting initiative, and so on and on and on and…. we still go along saying how wonderful we are, when in fact we lag behind African nations by miles. We need a strong leader to get things going NOW, and the only person who I have seen who might fit the bill, is Rory Stewart, or perhaps invite Mark Rutte from the Netherlands to take control of this country as they did some 220 years ago..

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