This week, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) published its highly anticipated recommendations detailing how the UK economy could reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest. But what policies will need to be changed to ensure that we get there? While the shift to clean energy is now well underway in the electricity sector, heat has proven harder to abate. Heating and hot water account for around 15% of the UK’s overall carbon footprint, with the nation currently off-track to meet a key target of ensuring 12% of heat is generated using renewables by 2020. The Government has previously run a number of clean heat initiatives, including a £320m package of grants and loans for businesses, hospitals, schools and local authorities with a heat network of two or more buildings and an Energy Systems Catapult centre to assist small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) with decarbonising their heat systems. But CCC’s recommendations state that “serious plans” for new legislative frameworks and financial incentives for low-carbon heat will now need to be developed. Transport it widely viewed as the Achilles heel of the UK’s decarbonisation. It overtook the power industry as the most carbon-intense sector in 2016, and saw its emissions rise by 2% last year, with the main source of emissions deriving from the use of petrol and diesel, as overall emissions fell for the sixth consecutive year.
Edie 3rd May 2019 read more »
Lifestyles in rich countries must change and consumption of goods and services must stop increasing if the world is to halt the rapid loss in wildlife that threatens a million species with extinction, according to a major UN report. It calls on governments around the world, but particularly those in wealthy nations, to embrace “visions of a good quality of life that do not entail ever-increasing material consumption”. Published today, the report by 455 scientists from 50 countries warns that “nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history”.
Times 7th May 2019 read more »
Following school strikes, Extinction Rebellion protests, the UK parliament’s declaration of a climate emergency and Green New Deal debates in the US and Spain, the authors hope the 1,800-page assessment of biodiversity will push the nature crisis into the global spotlight in the same way climate breakdown has surged up the political agenda since the 1.5C report last year by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Guardian 6th May 2019 read more »
Slashing forests for farming, emptying seas for food and heating up the atmosphere for production, for decades humans have been reaping the Earth’s resources with little regard for the future consequences, say scientists. Those consequences have now been laid bare in the most comprehensive and damning report into the planet’s health, by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). Compiled by 450 leading experts from 50 countries, the report details the devastating effects human-kind has had on the planet. Scottish wildlife and conservation charities have now called for more urgency to address the issue and for Scotland to be in the “vanguard” of global efforts.
Herald 7th May 2019 read more »
Independent 6th May 2019 read more »
FT 7th May 2019 read more »
The British government has commissioned Sir Partha Dasgupta, a professor at Cambridge University, to write a report on the economic case for biodiversity as policymakers across the planet are urged to step up efforts to reverse the alarming decline of the natural world. The study is due to be published before next year’s UN biodiversity summit in Beijing, which will set global targets for the following decades. It will calculate the benefits provided by vibrant ecosystems, such as forests and oceans that absorb carbon, mangrove swamps that buffer coastlines against storms, and insects colonies that pollinate crops. It will also reveal the costs of neglect.
Guardian 6th May 2019 read more »