Chris Goodall was chair of one of the UK’s leading car charging companies until it was bought by a large utility last year. He has written six books on the energy transition and is an occasional small investor in promising new green technologies, including a new form of wind turbine, a zero carbon laundry service based in Oxford and a smart thermostat company in London.
There were around 75 people at Shaftesbury Town Hall to hear Chris talk about his latest book and his proposals for the UK becoming carbon neutral by 2050. He suggests building a huge over-capacity of wind and solar energy, providing more than enough power for current electricity demand plus electric buses, trucks and cars. The excess would be stored as hydrogen which could fuel our trains, shipping, boilers and heavy industry. The book includes chapters on the need for well insulated homes, a radical reduction in meat-eating, extensive reforestation, and sustainable fashion. Thus very wide-ranging actions were seen to be needed. There was much that Chris said that was encouraging - he provided examples of existing technologies and pilot projects that were reassuring: we can do this! In spite of this Chris said he was not an optimist: the technological route is there but he saw only a slim likelihood of the UK achieving the consensus needed to make the necessary changes.
Chris' talk was informative, stimulating, sometimes provocative, sometimes controversial - he tackled diverse questions and challenges with engaging good humour. Most of us left feeling positive. Those who missed it can, of course, get hold of the book - but it's also worth checking out his website https://www.carboncommentary.com/ where he regularly posts details of technical or business advances that he considers may be of global importance.