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Pembrokeshire South East Energy Group

How Green is our Wales?

25th July 2014

Amroth storm damage, February 2014

Storm damage in Amroth, February 2014

How Green is our Wales?

          Rhodri Asby, the Welsh Government's Deputy Director Climate Change and Natural Resources Policy, started his talk to Pembrokeshire South East Energy Group by asking a number of questions. One was 'What percentage of people in Wales are very or fairly concerned about Climate Change?' and the answer was a resounding 88% - the highest in the UK. Another asked 'Which three counties will add the most solar capacity in 2014?' and the answer was USA, China and Japan.

          The impacts of climate change will be seen on temperatures with increases in mean winter temperatures of 2oC and 2.5oC in summer in the 2050s. Rainfall will be increasing in winter by 14% and decreasing in summer by 17% although ironically it will lead to heavier, more intense rainfalls and greater local flooding. Relative sea level rise could range from 31cm to 43cm by the 2080s. Food production is already being affected by climate change around the globe.

          The economical cost of delaying acting on Climate Change will be greater the longer it not addressed. Emissions from fossil fuels need to peak within the next 10 years in order to restrict the rise in temperature to 2oC by 2050 to avoid a 'tipping point', although the climate will still go on changing for many years after.

          Wales has put sustainability at the heart of its policy when dealing with all areas of economic, social and environmental development with a commitment 'to create a sustainable, low carbon economy for Wales'. It looks to using resources efficiently, green growth, enhancing resilience and diversity and tackling poverty. The Eco-Schools Wales programme includes over 90% of schools representing over 430,00 pupils in Wales. The programme is student-led and involves young people learning about climate change through other topics. Currently 74% of existing social housing in Wales have energy efficiency ratings of D (projected to be 100% by 2020), reduction of CO2 from Government buildings of 15% and over 41,000 people employed in the green economy.

          The target set to reduce overall emissions by 40% by 2020 is a very tough one but has already achieved positive results. A graph showing the current levels clearly indicated increased emissions due to the cold winter of 2012/13.

          There is also the need to prepare for a changing climate. These include the business sectors, health boards, local government. Other areas to be addressed include flood risks, transport, farming and the general population.

          Questions and discussion took place throughout the talk. Members felt it was most encouraging to hear that the Welsh Government is addressing the issue of Climate Change in such a positive way with the politicians who represent us being fully aware of the implications and consequences of this most important topic.

          Neil Sefton (chair) thanked Rhodri for his extremely interesting and thought provoking talk.


Letters in response

Certainly not true


          I note from your report in last Week's Observer headed 'How Green is our Wales?' that Mr. Rhodri Asby, representing the Welsh Assembly Government, has issued dire warnings of what will happen in the years ahead because of climate change and supports his forecasts with such precise figures concerning temperatures and dates that suggest he believes that 'Climate Science' is on a par with the established sciences such as Chemistry and Physics. This, in my opinion, is certainly not true.

          As a research metallurgist (now long since retired), may I offer an example to illustrate this point.

          If a steel making specialist is given the chemical analysis of a steel, he can then state, within fairly close tolerance limits what the mechanical properties of the steel will be (e.g. tensile strength, elongation, impact resistance, etc.) and, if necessary, what heat treatment will be required to attain these properties because this is the information that engineers can rely on when designing bridges, lifting equipment and any structure which contains steel components.

          Contrast this with the forecasts of the 'climate scientists' who, even with the assistance of the most up-to-date weather tracking satellites, cannot tell us, with any certainty, what the weather will be in six months time, yet blithely pontificate what might happen in 50 years time - or just as likely will not happen - because Mother Nature does not recognise computer models.

Clifford Hall

Janet's reply, Tenby Observer, 8th August 2014

          Dear Sir,

          A level of 2C rise in global temperatures will have many consequences – of which Rhodri Asby, at the July meeting to PSEEG - gave just a few. The range of scientists involved in climate change research include many areas. Glaciologists, oceanographers, meteorologists, hydrologists, marine biologists, environmentalists as well as climatologists. All these will have studied for at least 3 years (for an initial degree) then may have continued for a further 1 or 2 years (for a Masters degree) and then chosen to study for a further 3 years (for a Doctorate). These qualifications and the work the people do cannot be writen off as worthless.

          As Dame Julia Slingo – Chief Scientist at the Met Office - said of the record breaking rainfall this winter ‘The air that enters this storm system comes from that part of the Atlantic where it is obviously going to be warmer and carrying more moisture. This is just basic physics'.

          Also data is coming in all the time to reinforce predictions made previously. Only this weekend the fragility of coral reefs has been highlighted. Also changes are occurring to the types of fish species around the British Isles as cod, haddock and others have migrated further north due to an increase of 1.6C in water temperature since 1980. If anything global warming is happening quicker than predicted.

          I know that the topic of climate change can be daunting but it is heartening to see that in a poll taken in mid February which asked 'Do you think the weather that caused the recent flooding was or was not a result of climate change?' a higher percent voted yes than no. Voters under 40 sided strongly with the climate change view whilst those over 40 are more evenly divided. It is the future of their world which is being affected by the decisions being made now.

Janet Roberts
Secretary, Pembrokeshire South East Energy Group

Janet's letter to the Pembrokeshire Herald, 1st August 2014
(in response to 1 letter and 1 article in the previous week's edition)

          Dear Sir,

          Man-made climate change is a very real and pressing issue as clearly set out in by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in their 2013 report. This was compiled by thousands of scientists from readings and data taken around the world from the depths of the ocean to the upper levels of the atmosphere. It is endorsed by 97% of the scientists working across many and various specific areas.

          We all need electricity and expect the lights to go on when we press the switch. As burning fossil fuels leads to the increase on CO2 (and other gases) in the atmosphere we must look to renewable sources. Wind turbines are a part of the mix towards achieving this – in many European countries they are proving a vital resource (eg Germany).

          As regards reliability of supply the National Grid is on record as saying that it can deal with this. Coal gas and nuclear also have outages or down time – some planned and some not – which require spare capacity. These remove much larger MWs at any one time.

          Wind turbines are funded, installed and paid for by individuals, companies or community groups. The decision to place the cost of the electricity generated onto the consumers bill is one made by the government. Somehow it appears that some of the costs involved in fracking will be seen as ‘tax breaks’ and therefore can be set against the tax we pay.

          All land has a value. If a planning application for any development is granted the value of that land goes up. The amounts agreed for a wind turbine for leasing the land will depend upon the negotiations between the parties involved and in no way affects the price paid per kWh. The price for onshore wind is set by the government and currently is very close to that paid for gas. As the price of gas increases it will outstrip that for wind. Fracking according to Deutsche Bank will not reduce the price of gas.

          Over the 25 years a wind turbine is in operation they are only paid for the amount of electricity generated. When the turbines are taken down – again paid for by the owner – the concrete raft can be covered by top soil and returned to farming use. When nuclear power plants become obsolete it is the taxpayer who picks up the huge decommissioning bill – currently predicted to be in excess of £80billion.

          Over 70% of people in a recent poll said they would be happy to have a wind farm built in their local area. It is very encouraging to know that as renewable energy generation takes on an increasing role it is the younger age groups who are more committed to this idea.

Janet Roberts
Secretary, Pembrokeshire South East Energy Group

Past Articles
27th June 2014Ty Solar at Rhosygilwen: A visit by members and friends of PSEEG
23rd May 2014Global Warming & Climate Change: A talk by Janet Roberts, secretary, PSEEG
28th March 2014The Swansea Bay Tidal Energy Lagoon: A talk by Owain Morris, Tidal Lagoon (Swansea Bay) plc
24th January 2014P.C.N.P. supports Sustainable Development: A talk by Emma Taylor, SDF Administrator
29th November 2013To Frack or Not to Frack: A talk by John Childs from Safe Energy Wales
11th October 2013Quiet Revolution at Pembroke Dock: A visit with Marten Lewis to the Quiet Revolution factory
27th September 2013Keeping the lights and heating on: A talk by Graham Goodeve
28th June 2013Pembroke 21C Community Association: A talk by Elizabeth Gossage, Pembroke 21C Development Officer
24th May 2013Life beneath the waves; the beauties and the beasts: A talk by Blaise Bullimore, European Marine Site Officer
29th March 2013The National Trust in Wales - Energy Neutral by 2015: A talk by Paul Southall, NT Environment Advisor
1st March 2013Climate Change and a Sustainable Future: A talk by Peter Davies, Sustainable Futures Commissioner for Wales
25th January 2013Waste Not Want Not: A talk by Hywel Gibbs, Pembrokeshire County Council Waste Awareness Officer
30th November 2012Array of Hope: A talk by Paul Carter & Kim Daye from RWE Renewables on The Atlantic Array
26th October 2012The Green Deal: A talk by William Silverstone of Silverstone Green Energy
28th September 2012A Fair Wind?: A talk by Steve Hack of Seren Energy on PSEEG's renewable energy project
14th September 2012Not a Waste of Time: a visit to Withyhedges Landfill and recycling centre
29th June 2012The Need for a More Sustainable Future: A talk by Geraldine Leach of Transition Narberth
1st June 2012Know your Flood Risk: A talk by Andy Irving, Flood Risk Management Team Leader
11th May 2012The Power of the Sun: A visit to the Solar Farm at Rhosygilwen
23rd March 2012Planting Green Thoughts: A talk by Jo Horsley, Environment Wales Development Officer
24th February 2012The Atlantic Array offshore wind farm: A talk by Robert Thornhill, Development Manager
2nd December 2011Pathfinder Progress: A talk by Peter Willis from the Welsh Government's Pathfinder Programme
4th November 2011The DeltaStream project: A talk by Chris Williams, Development Director of Tidal Energy Ltd.
30th September 2011How Green is my Valley?: A talk by Grenville Ham, Manager of The Green Valleys Project
23rd September 2011PSEEG's visit to Carew Mill with Marten Lewis of the Darwin Centre
5th August 2011The Manner of the Message: A talk by Neil Sefton on communication skills
24th June 2011The Work of the Darwin Centre: A talk by Marten Lewis, manager of the Darwin Centre
27th May 2011Electric Cars – The Road Ahead?: The talk by John Lilly of Dragon Electric Vehicles
13th May 2011Are electric cars the way forward?: A talk by John Lilly of Dragon Electric Vehicles
22nd April 2011Sustainability in Action: A visit to the Science & Technology Park (Technium) in Pembroke Dock
1st April 2011A Revolution in Wind Energy?: A talk by Vaughan Griffiths from Quietrevolution, Pembroke Dock
25th February 2011Preparing for Floods: A talk by Richard Wickes of the Environment Agency
14th January 2011The Way Forward for Wind?: A talk by Steve Hack of Seren Energy
12th November 2010How Green is your Castle?: The National Trust & Global Warming
15th October 2010Challenge of the Rising Sea: The effects on the Pembrokeshire coastline
10th August 2010The beautiful Welsh coastline: Response to possible rising sea levels
18th June 2010Visit to Costain at Canaston Bridge: Not Costing the Earth
16th April 2010Feed in Tariffs: Power to the People
12th March 2010Heat Pumps & Photo Voltaic Panels: Prepare for the Goodlife
12th February 2010Parliamentary Candiates at Green Question Time in Saundersfoot
15th January 2010Weather & Climate: A Question of Energy
4th December 2009Sustainable Community Ventures: Regeneration in Pembrokeshire
13th November 2009Community Initiatives: Sustainable Wales leads by example
16th October 2009Climate Change Challenge for Candidates & Micro-generation with wind turbines
2nd October 2009A Visit to Castle Pill Wind Farm: Quiet blows the wind
11th September 2009Renewable Sustainable Energy: An Energy Survey for South East Pembrokeshire
10th July 2009A talk by Lorraine Dallmeier of Infinergy: Wind Power - Pembrokeshire's Potential
12th June 2009St. Oswald's, Jeffreyston - Pembrokeshire's Beacon of Sustainability
24th April 2009Solar Panels: Three Cheers for Sunny Pembrokeshire
13th March 2009Ashton Hayes Community Energy Reduction & Hot Water From the Sun
13th February 2009Could Pembrokeshire go carbon neutral?
14th November 2008Environment Wales to provide 'Start-Up' Funding for PSEEG
17th October 2008PSEEG to become a Registered Charity

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