Category Archives: Low carbon future

How to get from a cottage industry to a million heat pumps a year

This post is by Jan Rosenow, director of European programmes at the Regulatory Assistance Project, Pedro Guertler, programme leader at E3G, and Richard Lowes, research fellow at Exeter University.

The UK has made incredible strides in decarbonising its power system beyond what many thought was possible. Carbon emissions were at a record low over the recent Easter weekend. While heat pumps have been seen as a strategically important sustainable heat technology for years, the rapid progress in the power sector offers an urgent opportunity to decarbonise heating whilst supporting the integration of renewables.

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Is the promise of waste based aviation fuel sending us down a blind alley?

This post is by Cait Hewitt, deputy director of the Aviation Environment Federation.

Scientists in America have found a way to massively reduce emissions from flying by using a new fuel made from waste, a BBC news headlines announced on 15 March. It sounded like the kind of scientific breakthrough that almost everyone would want to see: tackling waste and reducing emissions while allowing people to carry on flying. In fact, the story went on to report, the new fuel can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 165 per cent suggesting that one way to lower emissions would be to fly more.

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A tale of two developments: why new planning reforms threaten to entrench unsustainable lifestyles

This post is by Steve Chambers, sustainable transport campaigner at Transport for New Homes.

In 2018, Transport for New Homes produced an initial report that revealed the deep flaws in the planning system which leave new housing developments with inadequate walking, cycling and public transport connections to surrounding areas. With limited facilities locally, residents are, for the most part, forced into car dependency.

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We need a UK law to stop companies profiting from destruction and abuse

This post is by Tom Wills, project manager – corporate accountability and trade at the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre.

Last month, the European Union took a major step towards passing a new law to stop businesses from abusing human rights and destroying the environment around the world. The EU’s proposed ‘corporate due diligence’ law would help to tackle the widespread abuse of workers and the environment in the supply chains of European companies. This progress in Europe accentuates the failure of the UK government to take similar action.

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Changing the way we do deliveries will be good for cities, businesses and people

This post is by Angela Hultberg, head of sustainable mobility at IKEA Retail (Ingka Group)

E-commerce is soaring. It already was pre-pandemic, and during 2020 it has risen to entirely new levels. Online shopping has the potential to be the more sustainable choice, avoiding emissions from going to the store, or even several stores. But is that potential realised today?

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Our lungs need clean air zones

This post is by Zak Bond, policy and public affairs officer at Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation

Last year for the first time in the world, a coroner listed air pollution as a cause of death on a death certificate. Nine year old Ella Kissi-Debrah had asthma and lived by London’s traffic filled south circular road, and this was a key factor in the coroner’s ruling. Ella’s story has brought into sharp relief the devastating impact air pollution can have on our lives more powerfully than any statistic.

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A year on: is the government keeping its promise to radically shift the way we travel?

It’s been a year since the Department for Transport (DfT) published its transport policy paper. This set out the context for the government’s challenge to decarbonise the UK’s largest emitting sector, ahead of launching its Transport Decarbonisation Plan. At that time, many were pleasantly surprised (including Green Alliance) at the change in tone from a department that has traditionally been a climate laggard, and many hoped the promised plan would mark a pivotal moment.

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We still don’t know enough about new heat technologies to decide the best way forward

This post is by Dr Robert Sansom, independent consultant and member of the IET’s Energy Policy Panel.

Recently, Professor Cebon wrote on this blog that pursuing the hydrogen economy would be a mistake. I am neither an advocate of hydrogen nor am I associated with the oil and gas industry, but I was the lead author of a report, produced by the IET in 2019, which focused on the engineering questions that need to be addressed if the UK is to transition to hydrogen.  There are also major questions around the electrification of heat. Until these questions are dealt with, I do not believe anyone can say that one technology is better than another.

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Why isn’t there a wind turbine emoji?

This post is by Dr Alice Bell, co-director of the climate charity Possible.

Chatter about emoji might seem frivolous. But whether it’s a drop of blood symbol helping to lift the taboo around periods or adding emotional context to conversations that have moved online during lockdown, emoji play a crucial role in modern culture. Like gifs, memes and other cultural references, emoji are part of how we talk to each other today. As such, it only seems sensible that the ever growing emoji vocabulary should include symbols relating to climate change. There’s an oil drum, a gas pump and a power station, so why nothing relating to green tech?

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