Low-carbon Energy research

Response to an enquiry arising from the BBC “Start The Week” programme on 28 Dec 2009

On 28 Dec 2009, someone wrote to me

“Firstly I assume that you are the John Shepherd who featured on Start the Week today, 28th December ’09.

In it you mentioned that there are numerous worthy research programmes looking into methods of mitigating climate change, but that these are mostly underfunded.

Would it be possible to publicise a list of these, with a short description of what they are doing and what they hope to achieve, plus some contact details etc.? This might enable concerned citizens and the growing number of groups dedicated to this issue – and who now see that politics is probably unable to address the problem of climate change adequately – to consider fundraising for such programmes.

There are many organisations supported by voluntary public donation – but it is a prerequisite that donors must be convinced of a cause’s worth. I sense that tackling climate change is a cause to which many people who currently feel helpless might gladly contribut

I am a member of ‘Sustainable Frome’ which is only one of a number of local groups resolved to helping to tackle climate change. Were a list of appropriate research projects to be forthcoming I would be happy to publicise it around our group and around other groups with which we have contacts.”

To which I replied…

Yes, I am that person. The ideas I was referring to are summarised in another Royal Society report, on the Low Carbon Future, which you can get at

http://royalsociety.org/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=5453

PDFs of the slides of most of the presentations to the meeting are also available at:

http://royalsociety.org/Towards-a-low-carbon-future/

Unfortunately this sort of research is very expensive: you’d be looking for hundreds of millions p.a., which is an awful lot of fundraising… As the chair of our local action group (Hyde & District Climate Change Forum) I think we can be more effective at the bottom up stuff (encouraging people to conserve energy). We are affiliated to the New Forest Transitions Movement which does a lot of good things: are you part of that?

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