Forget Cop – local climate action can bring more tangible results

Annette Gorst-Unsworth says she invests in community energy groups that are making a difference in her area

Cop28 ended with yet more dashed hopes on fossil fuels, with a watered-down call for countries to move away from them rather than phasing them out (Report, 14 December). I feel ashamed and frustrated that our government doesn’t seem to grasp the urgency of the climate emergency, and we see it repeatedly rowing back on net zero targets and perfectly workable carbon-reduction initiatives.

Thankfully, in spite of the hostility that the government has shown towards renewable energy in the last decade, many communities across the country have banded together to build clean-energy projects in their local area. Community Energy England counts as many as 500 community groups around the UK that have installed solar panels in schools, introduced insulation programmes on their streets and provided free advice to those in fuel poverty.

I strongly support the idea of energy generation being owned by the local community and run in its interests. I see it as a route to tangible progress towards decarbonisation, and more effective than the hot air that we get in conferences.

Brighton has two community energy co-ops: Brighton Energy Co-op and BHESCo. I support them by investing what I can – it’s my way of progressing the net zero agenda locally. If you don’t know much about community energy, I encourage you to take a look at what’s happening near you and to get involved. You will certainly help to achieve more tangible outcomes than the latest Cop.