COP27 - A View From My Chair

  • retrotecchie's Avatar
    Level 92
    Hi everyone. Retrotecchie here. Some of you may have seen me posting here and there on the forum, but let me introduce myself for those of you who haven’t bumped into me yet.

    I’m one of the Community volunteers so I’m not employed by E.ON Next, and don’t have any superpowers, but I am part of the wonderful Community and like nothing more than to give whatever advice I can to whoever needs my help. I’m also fond of a good natter and really enjoy anything technical, a funny joke, or a good discussion on the state of the world and the issues of the day.

    The biggest issues for me, and indeed many of us, are energy efficiency, sustainability and climate change.

    So like me, you may have seen or heard a lot in the media in the last couple of weeks about COP27.

    What is COP27?

    This year is the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Even the initials UNFCCC are a bit of a mouthful.

    The burning of fossil fuels and other man-made greenhouse gas emissions are causing measurable effects on global temperatures. This was initially referred to as global warming but as the science advanced, the effects became better understood. Weather patterns are noticeably changing. Droughts in one part of the world are becoming more severe while floods in another become more frequent. Hurricanes and tornados are getting stronger, upper atmosphere air movements more erratic and eventually all these worrying symptoms have been collected into one term we hear about almost every day - Climate Change.

    The UN decided it was time to address matters and so began the annual get-together formally known as (takes a deep breath…) Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

    You’ll be pleased to know that it’s usually shortened to ‘Conference of the Parties’, or COP. This year was the twenty seventh conference, hence COP27.

    From the very first COP to this year’s event, you may have heard of several key ‘milestones’ along the way. The Kyoto Protocol (COP 3, 1997) was designed to cut emissions of greenhouse gasses which is possibly the biggest topic we all know about. The Paris Agreement (COP 21, 2015) is a legally binding international treaty on climate change. Its goal is to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.

    COP26 in Glasgow last year was an attempt to get all the Parties to make hard and fast commitments as to how this was to be achieved and in what timescale and to produce an agreement which all parties could sign off on. The outcome, the Glasgow Climate Pact was possibly less than was hoped for, but in many ways better than could have been expected. Attempts were also made to get the richer nations, or G20 countries, to commit to putting up the ‘big bucks’ to help smaller nations in the developing world to transition faster to greener energy and lower carbon economies. and at the same time put funding into place to help mitigate the effects of damage that has already been caused. We are talking serious money. Money with a lot of zeros. US $100 BILLION a year, every year, ongoing.

    And so to COP 27, a year on from Glasgow. What, so far, are the takeaways from this years Conference?

    In my opinion, not great. It can be argued that geopolitics, the war in Ukraine, the post pandemic recovery, the energy crisis and other factors have all made it harder to ‘keep an eye on the ball’, but you only need to look at the headlines over the last year to see that the ball has been kicked right off the pitch. If the UN Secretary General’s speech is anything to go by, the ball has been nearly kicked out of the stadium.

    Projections of greenhouse gas emissions are rising, not falling. By the end of this century, we’ll be lucky if we keep temperature rises much below 2.4°C at best and possibly even closer to 4°C. That’s not just scary, but catastrophic. Has the money for mitigation and change been forthcoming? Sadly not. As well as the costs of these measures (a hundred billion US dollars, remember?) there is now discussion about costs of reparations added on the top. Flood damage in Pakistan recently which has affected almost a third of the country is going to cost upwards of $30 billion to repair. The costs of wildfire damage in Europe this summer. Even impacts of the heatwaves in the UK.

    It all has a cost and unless we (and that means the whole world) invest in speeding up moving to net zero and get a grip on the state of our planet, in the words of Antonio Guterres, "we are on a highway to climate hell with our foot still on the accelerator."
    Last edited by Beki; 13-12-22 at 11:47.
    Don't shoot me, I'm only the piano player. I DON'T work for or on behalf of EON.Next, but am willing to try and help if I can. Not on mains gas, mobile network or mains drainage. House heated almost entirely by baby dragons.
  • 33 Replies

  • retrotecchie's Avatar
    Level 92
    Am I worried? Yes. Do I lie awake at night worrying about my future? Well, not really. I am, in the words of a fellow Community volunteer, a bit ‘chronologically gifted’. Rather more years behind me than in front of me, to put it another way. I worry not so much for myself but I’m concerned about the world my children will have to cope with, and whether my grandchildren will inherit anything worth a rub. Beyond that, I shudder to think.

    Is it all lost? If we carry on with ‘business as usual’ then it could well be. But mankind’s ‘ingenuity’ got us into this sorry pickle and I firmly believe that the same ingenuity can and will get us out of it again, hopefully before it’s too late. Along with lots of global commitment, cooperation and perhaps a bit of luck too.

    Nations, governments, big business and whole economies need to get their collective act together for us to stand a chance but, looking through the other end of the telescope, even we as individuals, families, small groups and communities can, and will, make a difference. Whether it’s a few energy saving lightbulbs, turning that thermostat down a degree or two, replacing that tatty old banger with a hybrid or BEV, or putting an extra layer of insulation in your attic, collectively we can all play our part in, hopefully, turning the Earth’s thermostat down before it’s too late.

    If you have managed to make it this far, then I thank you for your tenacity. You are exactly the sort of person who feels the need to do something about it, or join in the debate. The fact that you are on this forum at all tells me that you are quite possibly already making a positive change, whether by accident or design. In fact, if you are a customer of E.ON Next, you are already part of a bigger community.

    E.ON Next supplies 100% renewables-backed electricity to homes and small businesses that sign or renew a contract directly with E.ON Next. Electricity backed by 100% renewable sources, E.ON's renewable generation assets, agreements with UK generators and the purchase of renewable electricity certificates.

    I think that’s a fair COP!

    So with no further ado… discuss away. I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions.

  • JoeSoap's Avatar
    Level 91

    One thing’s for sure, in our house we’re consuming a lot less energy since the cost of it went up so that’s helping to reduce fossil fuel usage. When unit costs fall then a hike in taxation on our energy bills would have two benefits… we’d continue consuming less energy and the extra tax could be used towards reparations etc.

    As unpalatable as that sounds, I would be surprised if it’s not already being looked at. There would clearly need to be ongoing help for the least well off and vulnerable of course.
    I'm an Eon Next dual fuel customer with no particular expertise but have some time on my hands that I am using to try and help out a bit.
  • retrotecchie's Avatar
    Level 92
    I'm with you there @JoeSoap. A part of me has sympathy with Insulate Britain. I don't necessarily approve of their methods, or those of Just Stop Oil for that matter. We have some of the worst housing stock in Europe here in the UK, and it's worse in places like Wales and Scotland.

    Just by insulating to a greater extent, we'd all save far more energy in the first place for domestic heating. The trouble is, the more energy prices increase, the more we may think about it, but the less ready cash we have to do anything about it. It's a vicious circle.

    I remember the 90's - I was there. Satellite TV became commonplace, as did cable in several more populous areas, and VCR's were almost ubiquitous. The 27" 'standard' telly in our front rooms became a 34" 'widescreen' with NICAM stereo...bigger tubes, more power consumption, plus the VCR clock consuming a few Watts 24/7. All of a sudden, the TV that used to use 50 or 60 Watts...and you physically turned it off with a mains switch...became a 250W 'always on' power hog. But that was fine. We happily paid for a few kWh more because energy was cheap, no-one counted the carbon and hey, that's just the price of progress.

    If you want 'power hungry', along came plasma TV. Now they could eat the Watts. So we moved into the era of LCD low energy TV's. More expensive, and hugely expensive if you went 'big' but my Toshiba 19" consumes a miserly 15W. Woo we can save some money, and lower our carbon footprints to boot.

    Ah, but that would be a bit too green, wouldn't it? Let's make huge great big Ultra HD TV's with 60" screens, because that will get our power consumption right up again.

    When technology improves our power consumption figures and lowers our energy use, the marketeers just seem to say 'make it bigger' or 'use twice as much tech because it only uses half the power'. And many people fall for that spiel.

    And I could start a whole separate conversation on why my 16 year old 1.9 litre diesel is actually more eco friendly and saves me more money than a Tesla...
    Last edited by retrotecchie; 14-11-22 at 20:56.
  • Bennie_R97's Avatar
    @retrotecchie This is such a great content and hopefully more people will come and share their point of views.

    I do agree with the fact that with everything that has been happening globally climate change is not being at the priority list. I do think as developed countries we do have a higher responsibility in ensuring that the poorer countries can act on a sustainable plan and have the needed infrastructures in order to tackle the adverse weather that they are experienced based on the ethical fact that we have a larger carbon foot print has for so many years compared to other underdeveloped countries.

    Being able to make these changes in repairing homes and the infrastructures within the UK, trying to make sustainable energy more accessible to everyone despite the social-economical background, it will be the first great step towards a net zero future.

    I am a big believer that we need to take action and we should do it exactly for creating a better future for our children and grandchildren.

    I think that maybe Teslas could be a conversation for another time ahah.
  • meldrewreborn's Avatar
    Level 91
    I think that taxing our energy consumption is the way forward.

    We don't like people smoking - so we tax it heavily

    We want to stop people consuming so much sugar - so we tax it.

    confectionary carries VAT whereas raw food doesn't

    We tax road fuels but then stop the increase in fuel duty for the past 11 years - why - because its not that popular a move?

    If we want to encourage the use of electric heat pumps to replace gas boilers the answer is staring us in the face - tax mains gas more heavily, and if necessary reduce the price of electricity. People would adjust their behaviour to meet the new conditions - but long term policies need to be adopted - suckering the public with one policy then abruptly changing isn't fair or reasonable.
    Current Eon Next customer, ex EDF, Zog and Symbio. Don't think dual fuel saves money and don't like smart meters. Chronologically Gifted. If I offend let me know by private message, but I’ll continue to express my opinions nonetheless.
  • retrotecchie's Avatar
    Level 92

    Yes, the government told us all to buy diesels in the 90s because they produced lower carbon dioxide emissions and they discounted diesel. Ten years later...oooh, they produce more PM10 and PM2.5 particulates so let's make diesel fuel more expensive than petrol again.

    Didn't bother me any...I ran my entire fleet between 1999 and 2012 on cooking oil anyway 😎
  • retrotecchie's Avatar
    Level 92
    The latest news from COP27 is that they seem to want to 'water down' the target of no more than 1.5°C warming and are looking to make the target 'well below 2°C'.

    The European delegation are adamant we 'keep one point five alive', so it's stalemate and possible collapse on the cards. To me, 1.5 is 'well below 2', so will semantics or sense prevail?

  • Hedwig's Avatar
    Level 6
    @retrotecchie the US and China produce the most greenhouse gases. Our efforts in the UK make little difference. Global warming happens in the absence of human presence. Look what happened to the poor woolly mammoths. We are just being charged extortionate fees to keep the rich man rich. They want us to pay back all the money we saved during the Covid lockdowns. They don't want the common man accumulating any type of wealth. Many of us will die of cold this winter because we cannot afford these high bills. If I was dying to save the planet, I could cope with that, but I will die due to corporate greed. This is not right.
  • retrotecchie's Avatar
    Level 92
    Global warming is accelerated by man's actions, and the pace of change is only increasing. Sure, the UK accounts for only a couple of percent of emissions, but at the height of the industrial revolution, most of it was ours. The Chinese were still pretty much just growing rice and America was still a wilderness. We are doing our bit precisely because some of the fault was indeed ours, historically.

    Sure, everything has gone up in price, food and fuel especially. I now only cook one or two meals a week and only eat twice a day because a week's shopping for me has gone up by £30 a week and the cost of my diesel to actually get to the shops and back has gone up by 50%. Since the start of the year, my income has halved and my costs have rocketed. I only put my heating on for an hour twice a day rather than have it on for six or seven hours. My partner is disabled and gets her benefits, but they only go so far.

    I've just cut my discretionary spending to almost zero, and that way I manage. So I can't have a beer, or get a takeaway Curry very often, but hey...such is life.

    We do what we need to do to get by. I'm sure the government is giving you £66 a month to help until April? That just about covers my electricity bill. My last oil delivery cost me almost £500 up front and I'm sure I'll need another £500 come April. Where that money will come from, I have no clue, but I'll find it somehow...