By Carbon Catcher UK, 30-Apr-2012 20:33:00
Motorsport isn't an area that you would associate with positive environmental development but major player McLaren have earnt an award this month for their efforts towards the Carbon Reduction commitment. They have made some huge CO2 emissions savings of over 1500 tonnes in the last 12 months. McLaren won silver medal in the 2012 Edison Green Award, with VW America topping the award entrants in gold position.
Is much changing in the world of energy reduction? Depending on what newspaper you read, not really. For every one positive article there are two negative ones. Bloomsberg have conducted some research suggesting that the EU could target more aggressive energy reduction by 2020 without creating excessive levels of expenditure. The bottom line in this report was that by spending an extra 7-9 euros per EU head per year the 20% carbon reduction target (2020) could be raised to 30%.
Governments world wide are under pressure to reach tough CO2 emissions reduction targets. Maria van der Hoeven of the IEA slammed the international effort and stated that our addiction to fossil fuels continues to dangerously grow year after year. Her words were strong - check out this quote from the Guardian: ""The current state of affairs is unacceptable precisely because we have a responsibility and a golden opportunity to act. Energy-related CO2 emissions are at historic highs, and under current policies, we estimate that energy use and CO2 emissions would increase by a third by 2020, and almost double by 2050. This would be likely to send global temperatures at least 6C higher within this century."
It feels to me that Europe have a clear understanding of the benefits of influencing climate change and that there are enough examples of it being done efficiently. The challenges will be ongoing but the Bloomsberg analysis has reverberated around the European economy teaching us all that so much more can be done to save our environment for a tiny incremental investment.
By Carbon Catcher UK, 30-Mar-2012 11:36:00
In these times of austerity measures and changes the plight to influence climate change through carbon reduction is becoming increasingly difficult.
In the UK, recent news of investor problems for the proposed Anglesey Wylfa B nuclear puts a dent in the Tory vision of an energy strategy led by nuclear. For organisations such as Greenpeace, this reopens the debate about using green renewable energy as an alternative direction to nuclear. The Anglesey council are desperately keen for new investors to come in and salvage the project due to the huge employment opportunity. The Conservative Party remain resolute in their Nuclear policy. That said the doubts over Hinkley Point and EDF Energy's input which will be concluded towards the back end of 2012 is pivotal in the country's confidence in the government's ability to solve the energy production crisis.
The DECC continued efforts to resuscitate the carbon reduction commitment scheme are now concentrating on taking the bureaucracy out of the carbon credits concept. There is speculation that the DECC will scrap the criticised league table and focus on delivering the new green tax changes in a more simplified manner. In the business world, the danger is that the CRC scheme has already failed and that pressure from the private sector will lead to the government scraping CRC. I was intringued by WSP Environment & Energy Director David Symons’s pragmatic viewpoint, who was quoted as saying: "Instead of tinkering with CRC rules and heralding these as significant changes, the government would do better to really focus on how it can help and encourage businesses to reduce their energy bills."
As my 2 year old son reminded me this morning, in life there is always good news and bad news. Denmark is taking new measures in cutting their carbon emissions with new targets and renewable plans being put in place for the next 8 years. The target is to have reduced CO2 emissions by 34% in the year 2020 when compared to the levels seen in 1990. There is also an energy consumption reduction target of 12% when compared to 2006. The most impressive and encouraging target however is that Denmark intend to create all of their energy from renewable sources (yes. 100% green) by the year 2050. Wind farms in particular are targeted as a key method of electricity generation in the future for Denmark and if they deliver on this plan the impact on Europe’s progress will be very positive indeed.
So there we have it. The bad news and the good news for Carbon Reduction in March 2012.
By Carbon Catcher UK, 22-Feb-2012 14:24:00
Energy efficiency is still hot news in the UK and this month has had much talk about the potential for wave power but there was a much bigger announcement made regarding renewable energy. A £1bn contract was awarded Siemens and Prysmian for a new, innovative sub-sea power cable between Hunterston (Ayrshire) and the Wirral peninsula, near Liverpool.
Announced on the 16th February by ScottishPower, this new link between Scotland & England is the first of its kind and will increase the electricity flow by over 2,000 megawatts (MW). It will be the longest HVDC cable in the world and will pave the way for exciting new renewable energy initiatives to be developed in Scotland that could power 3 million homes. This venture comes at a time where independence is the high profile news with Scotland politically but this energy efficient project is much more interesting and positive!
This project began in 2009 with careful planning leading to this milestone of commencing work on the sub-sea link. Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: “I welcome this major investment in the electricity grid between Scotland and England. Scotland is already a net exporter of electricity, and this link will help us more than double our electricity exports to England from Scotland by 2020.
This underwater link will have a capacity of 2.2 GW - a worldwide first. Despite being a huge piece of business for Siemens and Prysmian, it is clear that the exercise is of great importance to ScottishPower and National Grid as we can see from the 2 respective quotes below:
Ignacio Galán, Chairman of ScottishPower, was quoted as saying: “The HVDC link is a major project in the context of a vital upgrading of the UK electricity grid over the coming years, with the electricity grid between Scotland and England already running close to maximum capacity. The additional capacity from this link will provide a significant boost to renewable energy projects being developed in Scotland in order to bring clean energy to consumers throughout the country and at the same time help meet carbon reduction targets.
"This link will have a vital role of play in meeting both the country's energy needs and helping to address the problem of climate change. We are investing in an innovative solution, using the most advanced technology. As a result, the benefits for consumers and electricity generators in being able to transport power in the most efficient way will be felt for years to come, said National Grid director Nick Winser.
By Carbon Catcher UK, 10-Jan-2012 12:08:00
To mark his 70th birthday, genius physicist Professor Stephen Hawking held a Q & A session on Radio 4. He touched briefly on the future of our planet in relation to global warming, suggesting that within the next 1000 years the planet Earth could be no more due to a disaster ‘such as nuclear war or global warming’. From a press perspective, this carbon reduction related news has been counter balanced by a study into when the next ice age will occur. An article from Nature Geoscience stated that due to rising levels of carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere, the next ice age will occur within 1500 years if C02 levels don’t increase any more. The likelihood sadly is that they will do.
Chinese steelmakers have made the news for the wrong reasons, reportedly declining participation in the global carbon reduction plan proposed by the World Steel Association. However, within the Chinese steel industry there are reports that steel mills have been actively reducing there carbon dioxide outputs at their own pace. The pressure grows on China to improve their carbon reduction efforts and one of the targeted opportunities is increasing the carbon sink. Forest coverage is the area of growth here for China, forest areas will go up by 12.5 million hectares.
With growing awareness that internationally CO2 emissions increased by 5.9%, the hardest part for domestic governments and the U.N is to create a positive perception of carbon reduction schemes. Without this, the major offenders will have the smoke screen to stay behind that threatens their economies.
By Carbon Catcher UK, 16-Dec-2011 16:48:00
When it comes to directing developments in global carbon reduction - are the UN up to the job?
Last month, it crushed me to read the international statistics on carbon reduction. The limelight in December has moved to the UN and the results from the recent 2 week UN summit held in South Africa was quite straight forward. The demonstrations at the Climate Change Conference really summed up where we are internationally with our attempts to slow global warming. Realistically, carbon reduction is going nowhere until we have real buy in from the power economies of China, India and the US.
The European Union have promised to set a new carbon reduction target (potentially exceeding 30%) in early 2012 and Denmark have made it clear that they really want to ramp up the targets. However, all eyes were on China, Brazil and India as huge contributors to world C02 emissions. The new Kyoto driven targets will incorporate all three nations. Inspirational words came from South African icon Archbishop Desmond Tutu said: "We have only one home. This is the only home we have," he said. "For your own sakes, you who are rich, we are inviting you: Come on the side of right."
Information communication technology (ICT) was also highlighted as a threat to carbon reduction targets. As ICT equipment and related services is booming the electricity usage associated with this is the issue. Microsoft and Google have both pushed their energy efficiency efforts quite publicly but this sector will gradually come more into the carbon reduction limelight.
The good news? Well, pressure continues to mount on the vast continents of the world that are churning out high volumes of C02 with no real carbon reduction commitment. Reluctantly, all major international forces will have carbon reduction targets to deliver on and so it does look like progress is being made.
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