This year is set to become the hottest year ever recorded according to measurements by NASA in the USA. You would not think so given the summer we have experienced here in the North of England.

However, the NASA measurements are the average over the whole Earth, so even if it has been pretty cool here this summer, elsewhere on the Earth the conditions are hotter than ever so that the average is higher. In contrast, last year (2014) was the hottest year ever recorded in England as measured by the Central England Temperature record. This is the longest temperature record in existence going back to 1659. It was initially compiled by Gordon Manley who founded the Department of Environmental Science at Lancaster University. It is almost universally accepted among experts on the climate that records of this sort will continue to be broken as a consequence of our continued burning of fossil fuels. This is contrary to what you may read in some areas of the press or from non-experts who simply do not want to believe it.

The Cumbria Network of U3A has a conference on the 9thOctober in Rheged which will give members the opportunity to hear up to date information from leading experts about how we can continue to meet our future energy needs without such strong reliance on the burning of fossil fuels. The ultimate aim of the conference is to enable members to make informed decisions about how they use energy. As well as talks from the experts there will be opportunities to discuss our energy needs with them in question and answer sessions. We look forward to learning more about how we can decrease our dependence on fossil fuels as we proceed to a low carbon economy.

KesMail, October 2015

(Editor's note: this article was submitted for publication in Mid-September, before the fine, sunny and warm weather at the end of September and beginning of October!)