OUR climate is changing and the last few years have provided ample evidence from extreme weather events in America and Asia to changes in our local weather patterns.

The latest United Nations report on climate change makes depressive reading. It argues that we only have a dozen years for global warming to be kept under a maximum increase of 1.5 degrees centigrade beyond which we run increased risks of extreme heat, drought, floods and poverty for billions of people. Many will argue we are already well on our way to this nightmare.

How do we avoid this looming disaster? There is no silver bullet. The key is to drastically cut carbon pollution by 45 per cent by 2030 compared to the current target of 20 per cent, and come down to zero by 2050. This is all achievable if the government and councils inject a sense of urgency. Too often the problem has been kicked into the long grass in the hope that future generations will deal with it. The crisis however is here and now. Reducing carbon pollution requires a combination of activities with changes in land use and technology.

What can we do at the local level? We need to avoid fracking and encourage more renewable energy with at least 60 per cent of our needs met by renewables by 2030. Solar panels and wind farms are good for both our pockets and the environment. All new homes should be built to a zero-carbon standard leading to warmer homes with lower energy bills. Older homes need to be properly insulated.

Test Valley should build these targets into the Local Plan which deals with housing.

On the transport front, we could cut emissions by getting rid of the old diesel buses and trains and replace with electric. These are major sources of pollution and would be healthier for staff and passengers. Andover appears to receive old knackered buses which are retired from other parts of the network and passed down to us.

People need to be encouraged to walk, cycle or use public transport but the necessary infrastructure needs to be there.

Finally, we need to plant more trees. We need to support and encourage groups such as Andover Trees United.

Trees are an excellent form of carbon capture and reducing carbon dioxide.

Who does not like a tree or two?

Luigi Gregori, Charlton Road, Andover.