ZCB Newsletter May 2012
Hello and welcome to what may be the last ZCB Newsletter for a while as the communications phase of the ZCB2030 report comes to a close and the ZCB team hunkers down into a new research phase. Once we are up and running we will let you know how things are going again.
Meanwhile here are a few snippets of ZCB team news and an assortment of mostly positive articles from across institutions and the press on our progress towards a zero carbon world.
Zero Carbon Britain is about to go into a new research phase in which we hope to improve on our previous report with up-to-date research and using an open-source energy evaluation system. This will allow others to test our conclusions and try their own energy mix against it.
The broad interest in our Land Use chapter has meant funding for further research in this area. If your interests lie in either of these areas, please have a look at CAT’s vacancies page.
Zero Carbon Britain Day – July 21st. Following up on last year’s success in which groups from around the country demonstrated with watery themes under the slogan ‘Zero Carbon Britain before we drown’, the Campaign Against Climate Change is once again organising a ZeroCarbonBritain day, this year’s slogan being ‘Race to Zero’. What are you going to do?
Finally, why not join the push for a Zero Carbon Britain yourself and gain new skills at CAT? CAT has a wide variety of innovative and relevant Short Courses, aiming to train individuals in the skills and knowledge they will need in the transition to a zero-carbon future. From Solar Thermal Systems to Sustainable Economics and Eco Building technologies, there is a wide diversity of courses for all disciplines and interests. Supporting the objectives of zerocarbonbritain2030, CAT Short Courses enable individuals to make positive changes whilst enhancing their individual skill-set and introducing them to a network of like-minded individuals. Short Courses coming up this summer include:
A full programme is available on our website www.cat.org.uk/shortcourses
Some good news! The UK’s emissions fell by 7% from 2010 to 2011, however, they rose 3.5% between 2009 and 2010 so we have an actual fall of 3.5% from 2009, which is still a lot. This is largely down to warmer weather (remember the two-week cold snap in December 2010?) but also due to renewables making up a record 9.5% of electricity in 2011.
The Committee on Climate Change have finally seen fit to recommend the inclusion of international aviation and shipping in our emissions counting. Since the passing of the climate change Act of 2008, campaigners have repeatedly said that these should be included (see last ZCB Newsletter), particularly as the UK has ‘outsourced’ most of its emissions to countries with cheap labour, like China. Let’s just hope that the Greenest government ever chooses once again to take the esteemed CCC’s advice, include these emissions in the UK’s emissions accounting and rid us of this hypocritical anomaly in the push to prevent dangerous levels of climate change.
We need to curb our methane emissions as well as our carbon emissions. Peter Cox thinks this may be a low-hanging fruit.
However, one thing is our own methane emissions but quite another is the amount of methane stored under the permafrost and the ocean floor. Just how imminent is its release?
Increased use of biomass could actually increase emissions according to scientists, NGOs and EU officials.
March was the hottest on record for the US and with temperatures at 3-4°C warmer than usual, it was the third warmest on record for the UK and this was exacerbated by us only receiving 40% of our usual March rainfall: hence the drought.
As you probably noticed, April was also the wettest on record for the UK since records began in 1766, according to the Met Office but somehow this hasn't helped the drought position.
The Built Environment
Scotland has just started its Universal Home Insulation Scheme (UHIS) whereby all homes will get free loft and cavity wall insulation.
John Connaughton, soon to be Professor of Sustainable Construction at Reading University, gives a checklist of what can be done to decarbonise commercial buildings in this podcast
Are games like ‘Energy Battle’ the best way of getting people to reduce their energy consumption?
A new PwC report shows that smart grids are expected to be in place by 2030, allowing this aspect of ZCB2030 to help reduce our energy use.
Interested in trying out an electric car? Why not head down to Millbrook in September? Electric transport will be playing a larger and larger role in our lowering carbon future.
A CENEX vehicles paper shows how the uptake of electric vehicles could benefit commercial companies.
B&Q are planning to invest in more forests so as to profit from the Green Deal.
Neil Kermode. MD of the European Marine Energy Centre, has very kindly written ZCB two opinion pieces, one on the government’s new marine energy parks and another explaining the various funds now available to marine renewables in addition to their presently benefitting for 5 ROCs (Renewable Energy Certificates).
Ed Davey to hold talks with US and sign agreement on the development of offshore wind turbines. As ZCB2030 relies heavily on offshore wind, this is a significant step toward realising the goal of a future zero carbon Britain.
Have some land and wondering what renewable energy technology it might be worth employing on it? Look no further for a brief explanation of the problems, potential and pitfalls of RE on your own land.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change steps up the Renewable Heat Incentive
Scotland is racing ahead of Wales in its ambitions for renewables, in fact it produced 13,750 GWh of power from renewables in 2011, or 35% of its consumption and it’s not stopping there, with another 370MW wind farm on Shetland just passing planning.
NPower RWE and EON have pulled out of their nuclear projects, including Wylfa B in Wales. But will they continue to invest in renewables in their stead or will this be an environmental disaster as in Germany and Italy?
DECC commissions report into the savings that could be made by linking up offshore wind farms.
A brief video by Action4Renewables about UK wind turbine manufacturing.
Japan is considering making solar panels obligatory on every house.
Policy and Economics
The UK is finally auctioning 7% of its EU ETS allowances (rather than giving them all away) and has chosen a company called ICE Futures Europe to conduct the auctions.
Waste and recycling could provide 84,000 jobs by 2020 and 15% of our electricity needs.
And on the down side, fracking in the UK has been given the go-ahead by government. This is the same process that has caused tremors in Blackpool and poisoned the water table in several areas of the United States. Do we really need this in Britain?
Do keep your eyes on this page for any further progress on the new Zero Carbon Britain.
The ZCB Team