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Carbon Emissions

Cleaning up air quality in construction

As a big focus of the Environment Act 2021, the longstanding fight for clean air is being strengthened by a raft of new targets and legislation. Alex Minett, Head of Product and Markets at CHAS, outlines what businesses need to be aware of.

There’s little argument that good quality air is key to protecting our health. In 2020, a landmark ruling by a London coroner cited air pollution as a significant factor in the death of a nine-year-old girl with asthma, while the World Health Organisation (WHO) has provided evidence of links between air pollution exposure and multiple illnesses and diseases. Yet, it’s not just our health driving the change for cleaner air. The impact on the environment and the push for energy independence play a part in the air quality agenda. 

With work well underway to develop legally binding air quality targets, businesses and their supply chains must ensure they are informed and ready to adapt to stay compliant.


O'Donovan Waste launches Net-Zero Pledge

O'Donovan Waste is proud to announce its pledge to help tackle the climate emergency by setting out its ambitious aspirations to achieve Net Zero carbon emissions by 2035. Multiaward winning O'Donovan is a dynamic leader in the construction, demolition and waste sectors with a proven track record for placing greener initiatives and environmental performance at the forefront of their priorities and vision for the business. The family business has already invested heavily in sustainable buildings and state-of-the-art processing facilities and equipment, ensuring 100% of all waste processed is re-used, recycled and ultimately diverted from landfill.


Biochar production policy requires radical update to fulfil net zero potential

Leading carbon dioxide removal (CDR) specialists are calling for a radical update on UK biochar policy to help ensure net zero targets can be met.

The plea was made by the Future Forest Company following its participation at an AIMday® (Academic Industry Meeting day) event hosted by Edinburgh Innovations, the University of Edinburgh’s commercialisation service, which links academia with industry.

Biomass contains carbon dioxide absorbed from the atmosphere through photosynthesis. Turning biomass into biochar, by heating it in the absence of oxygen, prevents it breaking down so that carbon can be usefully stored in the soil for hundreds or thousands of years. Current regulation permits biochar to be produced from biomass such as agricultural and forest wastes.


OTT HydroMet invests in UK growth

As the world is seeking new ways to fight climate change and develop mitigation strategies for severe weather, OTT HydroMet’s UK business has invested in two new positions to help meet that need.

“Our technologies and data management solutions enable customers to monitor water resources and weather more effectively than ever before,” explains OTT HydroMet’s Robin Guy. “This means that we can play a role in not just monitoring the changing climate, but also helping to create severe weather warning systems that issue timely alerts to protect life and property. We have therefore recruited two new highly qualified and experienced business development managers that will offer customers the highest levels of support as they plan their monitoring and rapid response capability.”


20,000 UK Citizens now certified as Carbon Literate

As extreme weather events driven by climate change become increasingly severe, and their economic impacts increasingly obvious, the UK approaches its leadership and hosting of the COP26 United Nations climate change negotiations in Glasgow beginning on November 1st. 2021.

Our Government, employers, educators and civil society are all grappling as to how to engage people and organisations in delivering meaningful carbon reduction and action on climate change quickly and at scale. In very positive news therefore, The Carbon Literacy Project has today announced that more than 20,000 UK citizens have now been formally assessed and certified as Carbon Literate, and as a consequence, pledged and taken well over 40,000 actions to directly address climate change and immediately reduce UK carbon emissions.


UK boards ignore climate change

Almost half of UK boards (46%) spent zero hours discussing climate change this year, and they are the least likely of all of the countries and regions studied in a new report to feel responsible for their impact on the climate - with almost a third (32%) feeling little or no responsibility.

At a global level, fewer boards are ignoring climate change in comparison to last year, with those board members spending zero hours discussing this issue in the boardroom falling to 40% from 55%. In the UK, the zero hours figure has reduced from almost two thirds of boards in 2018 (61%) to 46% in 2019, but the report says that progress is too slow. 


New technology enables biogas plant optimisation

Governments around the world are seeking to lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the fight against climate change, to reduce waste to landfill, and to increase their utilisation of renewable energy in compliance with international agreements. Consequently, in many countries, subsidies have been made available to encourage the growth of the biogas sector.

According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) a third of global power capacity is now based on renewable energy, and nearly two-thirds of all new power generation capacity added in 2018 was from renewables. Much of the recent growth was provided by solar and wind energy, but global bioenergy capacity has roughly trebled in the last 10 years.


Where is Rural Development and LEADER? – Director’s response to the Draft Agriculture Bill

There has been a great deal of comment on the recently published draft Agriculture Bill, which seeks to set out how the government will support farming after Brexit. CCRI Director, Professor Janet Dwyer has just completed her detailed reading of the Bill and has the following observations:

“Is Defra becoming DEF? – the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, via the powers enabled in this draft bill, looks set to lose its future engagement with Rural Affairs.


University of Gloucestershire researchers explore the resilience of UK arable farming

Amidst the uncertainty of what the future holds for UK farming post-Brexit and what the new British agricultural policy will look like, achieving resilience of the agricultural sector will be an important goal.

Researchers from the University of Gloucestershire’s Countryside and Community Research Institute (CCRI) are working with a team of European scientists to develop a novel resilience-enabling framework that can support policy makers and the farming sector to enhance the sustainability and resilience of farms and farming systems.


EBRI Master Class Course: ‘Value from Waste’

Is your business seeking new market opportunities? EBRI’s Master Class Course provides exclusive content for entrepreneurs and business leaders covering the technical and commercial fundamentals of bioenergy. Companies looking to develop new products and services can benefit from attending this event, as can those who are simply looking for a better understanding of the bioenergy market.

Earlier this year, EBRI kicked-off its new series of the Course which has been highly acclaimed by the local business community: 90% of attendees have rated it ‘Excellent’ or ‘Very Good’. To hear more feedback watch their short video and business reviews.


University of Gloucestershire researchers supporting poverty alleviation

The University of Gloucestershire has been working with researchers from South Africa and Egypt to develop understanding of how new research methods to evaluate ecosystem services can help secure water and food security and therefore support poverty alleviation.

University researchers, Drs Julie Ingram and Kenny Lynch, won funding from the British Council to lead a 3-day workshop in Stellenbosch, South Africa, to equip early career researchers from the UK, Egypt and South Africa with tools for evaluating ecosystem services, which are crucial for our food and water security. Over 30 participants from Egypt, South Africa and UK took part in the workshop, which included visits to locations where the link between ecosystem services and food and water security is being actively researched.

Human impact on ecosystems, such as over-exploitation of water resources and land degradation, threatens our biodiversity and the ability to support human well-being depends largely on how the ecosystems are managed. This is the same whether in Gloucestershire or in Africa, although the consequences for poorer populations in developing countries are far more serious.


New video on Greenhouse Gas soil monitoring

In response to the demand for a better understanding of climate change, Gasmet Technologies and researchers from the University of Helsinki have created a video to demonstrate the speed and simplicity with which Greenhouse Gas (GHG) measurements can be taken in the field.


CO2 Modeller brings climate change and emissions targets within touching distance

Scientists and computer engineers at the University of Southampton have developed an interactive climate app - CO2 Modeller – which can fit in your pocket and help you to gauge the future effects of carbon emissions around key sensitivities of the Earth’s climate.

The new app, CO2 Modeller, provides an interactive tool to allow anyone - from members of the public to policy makers - to explore for themselves the implications of delaying emission reductions on their tablet or smartphone.


A Story of a Greener Future – Scotland sends a message to the World Climate Change Summit

In the first consultation of its kind, the Scottish International Storytelling Festival is gathering stories, songs and dances from festival audiences in order to provide an artistic response around the theme of the ‘Tree of Life’ to what some are calling the most important event of this century – COP21 UN climate change negotiations in Paris (30th November – 11th December).


Sempergreen® acts on high mortality rate bees and butterflies

In recent years, the global bee and butterfly populations have deteriorated at an alarming rate. One of the reasons for this is the increasing absence of nectar and pollen. Bees and butterflies play a vital role in food production and biodiversity, and more than 80% of all plants eaten by human beings all over the world depend on pollination by bees for their survival. These developments were enough reason for Sempergreen® to take action, which led to the development of the Bees & Butterflies blanket.


Major food producers missing biggest opportunity to unearth climate risks

altMany of the world’s biggest food, beverage and tobacco brands are missing their biggest opportunity to mitigate climate risks, shows new analysis by global non-profit CDP, formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project.


Marine travellers best able to adapt to warming waters

Marine species that already roam far and wide throughout our oceans are extending their territories further and faster in response to climate change, according to new research involving the University of Southampton and an international team of biodiversity experts.

The study found that while species that have large ranges are able to make their way to cooler waters, small-ranging species are in increased jeopardy as our planet’s oceans continue to warm.


New report urges joined-up responses to climate change security threats

altGlobal peacebuilding charity International Alert has marked the UK launch of a G7-commissioned report on the impact of climate change on fragile states with a high-level event at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London.

The report, called A New Climate for Peace: Taking Action on Climate and Fragility Risks, was co-authored by Alert as part of an international consortium of Berlin-based think tank adelphi, the European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS), and the Wilson Center in Washington DC.


Cabinet secretary recognises successful results for borders Climate Change Focus Farm

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment Richard Lochhead paid a visit to Robert and Jac Neill of Upper Nisbet Farm in near Jedburgh. He was there to thank them for their participation on the Scottish Government’s Farming for a Better Climate (FFBC) initiative, which saw the Neills reduce their business’ carbon footprint by an impressive 19% and achieve savings of just over £19,000 between 2011 and 2014.


The Fifth Carbon Budget - Call for Evidence

altThe Committee on Climate Change is running a Call for Evidence to inform its advice on the fifth carbon budget (2028-2032) and its annual ‘state of the nation’ progress report, due respectively by the end of the year and in June.


Newly discovered algal species helps corals survive in the hottest reefs on the planet

altA new species of algae has been discovered in reef corals of the Persian (Arabian) Gulf where it helps corals to survive seawater temperatures of up to 36 degrees Celsius - temperatures that would kill corals elsewhere.

Researchers from the University of Southampton and the New York University Abu Dhabi identified the symbiotic algae in corals from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, the world’s warmest coral reef habitat.