Chair’s AGM statement 17th July 2023

As I write this in July 2023 the climate and nature emergency is really kicking in with multiple tipping points being breached around the world, wildfires and accelerating temperatures. We have to be honest and accept that 1.5 is not alive, this barrier will soon be breached and we must do all we can to limit further increases whilst adapting and deep adapting for the near future. This is the route to true resilience.

Some projections for 2080:

Mean summer temperature increase by as much as +8 deg warmer in 4 deg warming scenario

Winter rainfall could increase by as much as 40-50% in the same warming scenario1

The UK Government’s own climate advisors are saying that confidence in the UK meeting its future climate budgets have dropped in the past 12 months.

In Somerset, better news. Administrations of both main parties have developed and embraced a Climate and Ecological Strategy which is currently being reviewed following the move to a Unitary council. It is vital that the move to a unitary council does not delay this review which must be prioritised. Somerset CAN will write to the council this week to ask for an update. Climate doesn’t care which political party is in power so de-politicising this action is essential. It is worth remembering that local councils are under no obligation to undertake climate action, staggering as that is considering the emergency we are in.

For Somerset CAN, following the end of funding for the amazing Sonia Kundu and her engagement work we were successful in a partnership bid to continue the Somerset Retrofit Accelerator work looking at a model for long-term domestic retrofits whilst bringing together the main people and organisations doing great work already. Chris Gaskell is leading on this vital topic.

In the fast changing climate emergency world we are in Somerset CAN aims to stay flexible, find ways to network and empower the over 40 local climate groups in the county whilst supporting our local Somerset and Parish Councils as best we can. There are some big, and in theory, quick wins we can help campaign for, a ban on peat extraction being just one. We have done some exciting and innovative adaptation action in Somerset, working with infrastructure and communities. The latest being the Adaptation Toolkit now sent to all parish and towns. But this has really only scratched the surface of what needs to happen, our infrastructure and services are particularly vulnerable.

So here is to a productive, proactive and positive next 12 months in this beautiful county we all love and want to protect.

Steve Mewes


1 –…/climate-change…

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