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Environment

Research identifies UK issues with climate change abroad

Recent research carried out by PriceWaterhouseCoopers – as part of the government’s National Adaptation Programme – looked at the possible impact of climate change overseas on UK trade and investment, food, health and well-being, energy, and foreign policy. The report found that climate change overseas could have greater impact on the UK climate change at home. The findings are based on a “medium emissions scenario consistent with 2°C warming”.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 14:34

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Retrofit experts line up for regional conference programme

Birmingham Energy Savers logo for Your Expert Witness storyA series of one-day conferences around the country will showcase the opportunities presented by the process of retrofit. The Retrofit Roadshows will take place in Liverpool and Birmingham in July, Newcastle and Cardiff in September and London in November.

Retrofit has become a big issue with the launch of The Green Deal and the roll out of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO). Applying low-carbon technology to existing buildings will revolutionise the opportunities for linking energy saving with economies.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 May 2013 17:16

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Expert commentators condemn EU emissions trading vote

Picture of the inside of the European Parliament building for Your Expert Witness storyA leading transatlantic think tank became the latest to issue a report warning of crisis in the European carbon reduction programme as a result of the vote in the Parliament to reject reform of the Emissions Trading System (ETS).

Thomas Legge, a senior figure in the Brussels office of the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMFUS) wrote in a blog; “Europe’s reputation as a leader in climate change policy took another beating this month when the European Parliament rejected, by 334 votes to 315, a proposal to reform the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS). The vote leaves Europe’s carbon-trading market — the world’s largest — at risk of collapse and threatens to fragment and complicate efforts to tackle climate change on both sides of the Atlantic.”

He pointed to the dramatic fall in the price of carbon in the wake of the credit crunch.

“Allowances (equivalent to one ton of carbon dioxide) traded at an average of over €20 during the whole of 2008. But the recession since 2008 and subsequent drop in industrial output in Europe resulted in a huge oversupply, and the price fell to around €5,” said Legge.

The article followed a claim by a British LibDem MEP that an increase in coal use in the EU for the first time in many years was because of the low price of carbon.

Fiona Hall MEP wrote in the online newsletter Public Service Europe: “The ETS is the largest carbon trading scheme in the world and is designed to drive down emissions from the power sector and heavy industry on an annual basis to achieve Europe's 20% GHG reduction target by 2020. Setting a carbon price was also meant to promote low carbon investments and drive innovation into green technology.

“Yet, the current EU carbon price is almost 10 times lower than was expected when the ETS was agreed in 2008 – due to the large oversupply of emission allowances in the wake of the economic crisis.”

Thomas Legge pointed out that the Parliament vote will not destroy EU climate policy, but demonstrated that a new approach was needed.

“The failure of top-down global attempts to address climate change had given way to national or regional programs such as the EU ETS, whose individual successes could have generated imitations elsewhere,” he wrote.” The European Union has just begun a process to define new targets for reducing its emissions by 2030. Having failed so far to rescue the EU ETS, Europe’s political leaders need to rediscover some of their old ambition if the continent is to repair its reputation as an environmental leader.”

Last Updated on Friday, 10 May 2013 16:17

Support sought for environmental good practice guide for interiors

ciria logo for your Expert Witness storyThe Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA) is seeking support from industry experts for a project to develop an environmental good practice guide for the interiors sector. The guide will “…reflect current best practice and legislation to ensure effective design and delivery of good practice on site”.

According to CIRIA, construction activity inevitably has an impact on the wider environment. Good environmental practice enables that impact, which includes transport, noise, pollution and the indirect impact of product selection, to be managed positively.

The construction industry is responsible for high levels of waste – around 10% of all raw materials on many sites end up as waste – and there is increasing pressure from regulators, environmental groups, other businesses and residents to ensure that the construction industry’s activities reduce its impact on the environment.

Last Updated on Thursday, 18 April 2013 17:22

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New opera highlights the plight of the bumblebee

Detail from Silence of the Bees promo material for Your Expert witness storyExperts from the School of Biological Sciences at Royal Holloway, London, have teamed up with musicians and artists at the departments of music and English to produce a new opera that explores the dangerous decline in bumblebee populations in the UK. The Silence of the Bees: A Science Opera will receive its world première at the university on 17 March and will launch the Royal Holloway Science Festival.

The main inspiration was the work of Dr Mark Brown, who has carried out research into the decline of bees and worked to protect endangered species and reintroduce extinct types back to the UK.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 March 2013 14:11

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