Event Report: Carbon Coop AGM #manchester #climate “people powered not fossil fuelled”

At the wonderful Madlab on Monday, 25 members of co-operative people (and one journo) gathered for an Annual General Meeting with a few differences.
carboncoopIt was the first AGM for Carbon Coop. Who they, what it? Well, Carbon Coop is “the first of its kind, a new way for householders to take practical and significant action on climate change and reclaim control of their energy, homes, warmth and power.” It’s a very good idea, and the early implementation has been as good as you could reasonably hope for (see disclaimer).

Phil Korbel (Manchester Carbon Literacy Project, Stakeholder Steering Group, attender of opening-of-envelopes) chaired. After a very scathing (but admittedly accurate) barb about the quality of MCFly jokes he then… did something that happens All Too Rarely.

“Get up” he told everyone “And go and talk to someone you don’t know, and find out who they are and why they came.” Everyone did it and the people power in the room sky-rocketed, with not a single gram of fossil fuel burnt. So far so good. He then asked people to introduce the other person. That was a risk – it could have all dragged on. But inside of ten minutes everyone had been introduced, and some surprising and useful information came up. It wouldn’t have worked in a bigger meeting, but compères should take note, and adapt it accordingly.

There were some presentations about what the Coop has been doing (solar panels on Unicorn Grocery‘s roof, Community Champions scheme, Local Energy Action Fund etc.), on the technical side (according to Carbon Coop its assessments are based on the longer-term/what the science demands rather than the “how quickly will this action pay for itself” approach of the government.) The calculations are tricky for each house, and windows are a real pain.

There was a plug for “build your own energy meters” – these will be happening on the last Thursday of the month (starting 20th April) at Madlab. Foot-soldiers, or rather, solders, needed. Finally there was a presentation about the different kinds of retrofits and assessments that the Coop has done beyond Greater Manchester.

Before the formal bit of the AGM there was a plug for volunteers. If you want to get involved then email them at jonathan@carbon.coop. MCFly slipped out to the pub for a swift strategic half while a decision not to have the accounts audited until it’s appropriate was debated/agreed, and came back in time to hoover up some fruit and coffee. Elections to the board were held in the meantime. Drum roll please for –

Jonathan Atkinson, Paul Bower, Lorenza Cassini, Charlie Baker, Sarah Hughes (secretary), Michael Hemingway, Phil Korbel

Marc Hudson

Disclaimer: Carbon Coop did an energy audit on my house. And I have gotten drunk with some of these people. May again. Oh, and they supplied the photo too.

About manchesterclimatemonthly

Was print format from 2012 to 13. Now web only. All things climate and resilience in (Greater) Manchester.
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5 Responses to Event Report: Carbon Coop AGM #manchester #climate “people powered not fossil fuelled”

  1. I think these people miss the whole point of smart-meters, that is to enable renewables to work efficiently within a smart, self-healing grid. Also, they are not the first Carbon Co-op in the UK, Carbon 60 being one of many: http://www.cse.org.uk/projects/view/1111. Unfortunately, the group is made up of the usual suspects, all with connections with the council.

  2. gille liath says:

    May again already? Must’ve missed April. 😉
    Hey guys, where’s the budget reaction? Incentives for fracking, cancelling fuel duty rises – is this the way scarce public money should be spent in a time of austerity? Can this govt not conceive of any way to stimulate the economy, except building over what countryside we have left?

  3. Jonathan Atkinson says:

    Hi Patrick,

    It’s a shame you weren’t there, it would have been good to have chatted and we could have explained things such as how the open energy monitors we’ve been contributing to the development of are radically different to smart-meters, or you could read this article we wrote for New Internationalist: http://newint.org/features/web-exclusive/2012/12/14/open-energy-monitors-manchester/ and we could have talked about some of the future applications, such as smart grids.

    You could also have seen from looking around the room that our approach is reaching beyond the ‘usual suspects’ and, informed by the likes of Kevin Anderson at Tyndall, we’re engaging in a healthy debate around whether to prioritise tackling poorer households suffering fuel poverty or richer households who contribute more carbon to the atmosphere or, more likely, both.

    We could have also explained that Carbon 60 is a housing co-op (a primary co-op) reducing its carbon emissions whereas we are a co-operative of householders working to reduce our carbon emissions (a secondary co-op) – which are too quite different things.

    I’m not sure about the ‘council connections’ bit, we’ve received council funding and work with the council, like the majority of environmental groups in the city. We don’t have any councillors on our board. We don’t meet in Council offices. Some of us vote. Maybe you’d like to elaborate our ‘connections’?

    Also, I’m totally happy to meet up and discuss any of the above or show you the work we’re involved in.

    – Carbon Co-op board member

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