Friday, 4 June 2010

Transitioning to a low-carbon world in 60 seconds

Ashley Primary School - 2009 Ashden Award winner
We have asked some of our past award-winners to share their views on what we need to address for a transition to a low-carbon world – and we’ve given them just 60 seconds to do it in! This week, Richard Dunne, Head teacher of Ashley Primary School gave us some quickfire answers on three hot topics.

Do you think getting cash back from the government for generating your own energy using feed-in tariffs is going to revolutionise the domestic energy landscape?

Feed-in tariffs are a good idea, but currently there is no proper publicity of them to make people aware of them. There needs to be a major education programme about feed-in tariffs and energy. In addition to that, the payback period for feed-in tariffs is still too long and the initial outlay too high to make it a realistic option for most people. More than anything, I am not sure there is enough will amongst the public to take up them up.

Most people in the UK have heard of climate change and the need to act, but are in fact doing very little, what do you think is the biggest thing hindering a change in our behaviour?

I think the biggest thing hindering behaviour change is change itself and the fact that the majority of people still do not want to or don’t think they need to change their lifestyles. We need to incentivise change to the extent that people see it as something they want to do and we must publicise the incentives in ways that engage the wider public again and again and again so that the culture starts to shift. It is happening, but we need to really build the momentum now.

The new government says it will be the ‘greenest government in history’ - quite a bar to set! What would David Cameron have to put first on his agenda to give you faith in the future of sustainable energy in the UK?

The key for David Cameron has to be to reward those who conserve energy and to penalise those who consume too much. We need clear targets for all organisations to meet along the lines of the Carbon Reduction Commitment as there is still too much poor practice. We especially need to address aviation and tax aviation fuel properly. We need to make sustainable energy best practice very, very high profile. Ultimately we need to join up the thinking and have individual carbon allocations so that we are all consciously aware of the impact of our lifestyles on climate change.

More views from past winners to come in the coming weeks...visit our website for more information on their projects.

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