Compiled by Colin English and Stephen Godsall
The effects of a warming planet are becoming ever more frequent. Seldom a week passes without more news of record high temperatures, severe storms, massive forest fires, melting polar ice and collapsing glaciers. Climate change is now an accepted fact and the consensus view of scientists is that the world has only this decade to implement significant mitigation to avoid tipping points which will result in catastrophic and irreversible damage to our planet. Many campaigners remain optimistic that the necessary changes can be made, but this involves action from everyone: from individuals up to the largest governments and every administration in between.
Against this backdrop Dorset Council has been developing its strategy to ensure that Dorset plays it part and this is available on its website. It sets a commendable goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2040, which is better than the national target of 2050; however, there is no commitment to ensure that significant changes will be implemented by the end of the decade. Indeed the first three years are devoted to developing policies with very little actions likely to start to show benefits before the end of the decade.
The major change required in the strategy is the replacement of fossil fuels with renewable energy, but a major source of renewable energy is completely overlooked. Modern Energy from Waste plants operate with very low carbon emissions and generate electricity, significantly reduce landfill, and the waste heat can be used in other industrial processes. To achieve the goal set by Dorset Council it needs to be ambitious, imaginative and not simply opt for easy options.