Tony Hartwell

Mr Tony Hartwell

Knowledge Tansfer Manager

Knowledge Transfer Network

Blogs

Indonesia presses UK to take back 'contaminated' scrap

On 16th March 2012 BBC News reported on a contaminated scrap shipment from the UK to Indonesia: -

'Indonesia has asked the UK to take back 1,800 tonnes of suspected contaminated waste, the Environment Agency has revealed.

In January inspectors in Jakarta found 89 waste containers exported from the UK as "scrap metal" appeared to contain liquid and other illegal mixed waste.

The Environment Agency said it had begun an investigation and was working closely with Indonesian authorities.....'

DOE Pursues SunShot Initiative to Achieve Cost Competitive Solar Energy by 2020

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced additional details of the Department of Energy's "SunShot" initiative to reduce the total costs of photovoltaic solar energy systems by about 75 percent so that they are cost competitive at large scale with other forms of energy without subsidies before the end of the decade. By reducing the cost for utility scale installations by about 75 percent to roughly $1 a watt - which would correspond to roughly 6 cents per kilowatt-hour - solar energy systems could be broadly deployed across the country.

This will increase American economic competitiveness and help the U.S. regain leadership in the global market for solar photovoltaics. As part of the SunShot initiative, Secretary Chu announced today that the Department of Energy is awarding $27 million in projects to support the development, commercialization, and manufacturing of advanced solar energy technologies.

"America is in a world race to produce cost-effective, quality photovoltaics. The SunShot initiative will spur American innovations to reduce the costs of solar energy and re-establish U.S. global leadership in this growing industry," said Secretary Chu. "These efforts will boost our economic competitiveness, rebuild our manufacturing industry and help reach the President's goal of doubling our clean energy in the next 25 years."

Prince Charles: Climate sceptics gamble with the future

A BBC News article reports on a speech by Prince Charles: -

 

The Prince of Wales has hit out at climate change sceptics for what he calls the "corrosive" impact they have on public opinion.

The prince was speaking to an audience of MEPs and other policymakers at a conference in Brussels.

He warned against the pursuit of growth at the expense of the environment.

And the Prince said environmentalists should sell the benefits of sustainable living rather than just telling people what to give up.

In his speech, Prince Charles set out to illustrate how problems with the environment led directly to economic difficulties.

And he attacked climate change sceptics who he said were denying a vast body of evidence.

More details are available on Prince Charles' website

Science Under Attack - BBC2 TV Programme - Horizon - Monday 24th January

'Nobel Prize winner Sir Paul Nurse examines why science appears to be under attack, and why public trust in key scientific theories has been eroded - from the theory that man-made climate change is warming our planet, to the safety of GM food, or that HIV causes AIDS.

He interviews scientists and campaigners from both sides of the climate change debate, and travels to New York to meet Tony, who has HIV but doesn't believe that that the virus is responsible for AIDS.

This is a passionate defence of the importance of scientific evidence and the power of experiment, and a look at what scientists themselves need to do to earn trust in controversial areas of science in the 21st century.'

Horizon

David Cameron praises new climate change deal

BBC News reports that: -

 

'David Cameron has praised a new UN deal to curb climate change as a "very significant step forward".

The prime minister said it renewed the international community's determination to tackle carbon emissions through multilateral action.

The agreement, reached in Mexico, includes a fund to help developing countries and a recognition that deeper cuts in carbon emissions are needed.'

An animated journey through the Earth's climate history

 

The BBC website has an animated and text version of the Earth's Climate History.

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Hydrogen bus launched on London tourist route

An article in the Guardian on Friday December 10th, 2010 reports that: -

'The UK's first permanent hydrogen bus will be launched on a popular tourist route in London today. Seven more hydrogen buses will be added to the RV1 route – which takes in Covent Garden, the Tower of London and the South Bank – by mid-2011.

The initiative, which follows a trial of three hydrogen buses in the capital between 2003 and 2007, has been described as a "stepping stone" to rolling out the technology across the country. The launch will also coincide with the opening of the UK's largest hydrogen refuelling station in Leyton, east London.

The new bus, which was designed specially for London, will begin carrying passengers tomorrow. It produces water vapour from its tailpipe and can operate for more than 18 hours without needing to refuel........'

Mitsubishi to invest £100 million in Scottish green energy centre

First Minister Alex Salmond today welcomed plans by Mitsubishi Power Systems Europe Ltd (MPSE) to invest up to £100 million in an engineering facility to carry our research and development into offshore wind turbine technology.

MPSE will create a Centre for Advanced Technology in Edinburgh to pioneer ‘game changing’ green energy technologies towards mass production and will also acquire Edinburgh firm Artemis intelligent Power (AIP). The acquisition of AIP will safeguard 25 jobs and create 30 high-value engineering posts at the Scottish technology firm.

Over the next five years, MPSE expects to create up to 200 jobs at the new Centre and at AIP. If the technology is successful, this could lead to the creation of a major offshore wind turbine manufacturing site in Scotland.   

For furtehr details visit the Scottish Enterprise website.

Scottish Development International reports that MHI have also aquired the Edinburgh based business, Artemis Intelligent Power.

Artemis have developed a new system for hydraulic power technology and have received R&D support from both DECC and the Carbon Trust.

 

Shipping to steer cleaner carbon course

Richard Black, Environmental Correspondent for BBC news reports that:-

'Ships could be charged different fees to dock depending on how much carbon they emit, according to ideas being discussed at the UN climate summit.

The government of Papua New Guinea is considering the plan, and is hoping other nations may become involved.

The Carbon War Room, co-founded by Sir Richard Branson, has launched an online tool grading 60,000 commercial vessels according to their emissions.

Shipping contributes about 1Gt of CO2 each year, more than the entire UK.'

 

Here is the link to the Carwww.carbonwarroom.com/bon War Room

Energy House journal

'Researchers from the University of Salford are constructing an "energy house" - a terrace-style home, thought to be the first of its kind in Europe.

The house is being built inside a three-storey laboratory, which will allow a team of researchers to control heat, light and humidity levels.

The team are writing a regular journal for the BBC News website, charting the progress and experiments in the unique development'

For more information visit theBBC news website.

Aviation industry 'ditches' hydrogen

The BBC's Science & Technology reporter Michael Fitzpatrick reports on developments in aviation fuels: -

 

'It took just 32 seconds to extinguish faith in the airship and the hydrogen that once buoyed the Hindenburg, which erupted in a fatal inferno 73 years ago.

Now hydrogen is being dropped again by the aviation industry.

But this time the promised "green" fuel for powering flights of the future has been quietly shelved in favour of biofuels and more fossil fuel-sipping aviation.

And while hydrogen as a potential "greener" fuel for foreseeable flights gets dumped worldwide, airlines and aircraft manufacturers are also jettisoning their once radical ideas for such hydrogen-burning, sci-fi-like, cryoplanes.

Should we be concerned? The aviation industry clearly is. Because whatever fuel becomes the de-facto power for all tomorrow's flights the future of the passenger jet as we know it is doomed......'

Canada senate kills climate bill ahead of UN summit

A BBC News article reports on a decision by the Canadian senate: -

 

'Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative government has defeated a climate change bill calling for cuts in CO2 emissions.

Conservatives killed the motion backed by opposition parties 13 days before a UN climate change summit is held in Cancun.

The bill called for a reduction of greenhouse gases in the country by 25% from 1990 levels.

Canada's House of Commons originally passed the legislation last year.

It was then reintroduced in May and passed again, before being struck down by the Conservative-led Senate late on Tuesday.'

Green Investment Bank

In September 2010 the Aldersgate Group issued a report that endorses plans to establish a 'Green' investment bank to finance low-carbon growth: -

“The UK is facing a time of considerable economic stress. Restoring growth and re-balancing the economy are urgent priorities. Focusing our recovery effort on low carbon growth can re-power the economy, increase our energy security and help tackle climate change. 

 

 

 

 

Rapidly accelerating investment in low carbon and environmental technologies will also increase the competitiveness of Britain’s businesses in the global market, protect consumers from fossil fuel price shocks and stimulate growth, especially in the regions. But fulfilling this low carbon vision for Britain will require financial as well as technological innovation.

For this reason we fully support the Government’s commitment to set up a Green Investment Bank. This crucial institution can help tackle the significant investment barriers standing in the way of delivering this vital investment in our future. By directly reducing the risks to investors the cost of the energy transition will be significantly reduced for taxpayers and consumers.”

State of the World Population UNFPA - 2010

 

Ten years ago, the United Nations Security Council passed a landmark resolution calling on governments to protect women from rape during war time and to tap the power of women to keep the peace and rebuild societies once the fighting has stopped.

Has the resolution made any difference in the struggle against gender-based violence? Are women in war-torn countries faring any better today than they were a decade ago? Do women finally have a place at the table in peace negotiations and in reconstruction?

The State of World Population 2010 will show what has been accomplished in places affected by ongoing conflicts or by military occupation. It will also show the special challenges of countries that have endured both political instability and natural disaster.

www.unfpa.org/swp/

One Planet, Mining, Energy Subsidies and Population

The BBC Radio rogramme ONE PLANET reviews topics that relate to how humans interact with the planet.  In recent programmes the following topics have been explored: -

Energy subsidies,

Green Taxes,

Biodiversity,

Population debate,

Mining & Hungarian sludge

These programmes can be accessed through the programme website: -

http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/science/2009/03/000000_one_planet.shtml

Europe leads the world in carbon awareness but more action is needed to achieve required emissions cuts

The Carbon Disclosure Project has created a system for busienesses to report their carbon emissions. This is a global programme that reports regionally and by sector.  Here is part of the introduction from the European 2010 report.

 "The Carbon Disclosure Project(CDP) is an independent not-for-profit organisation holding the largest database of primary corporate climate change information in the world. CDPw as launched in 2000 to accelerate solutions to climate change by putting relevant information at the heart of business, policy and investment decisions. CDP furthersprogramme  this mission by harnessing the collective power of corporations, investors and political leaders to accelerate unified action on climate change. In 2009, 2,500 organisations in some 60 countries around the world measured and disclosed their greenhouse gas emissions and climate change strategies through CDP, in order to set reduction targets and make performance improvements.

In 2010, even more companies than ever before are reporting through CDP and managing their emissions. This data is made available for use by a wide audience including institutional investors, corporations, policymakers and their advisors, public sector organisations, government bodies, academics and the public.Climate change is not a problem that exists within national boundaries. This is why CDP harmonises climate change data from organisations around the world and develops international carbon reporting standards. CDP operates the only global climate change reporting system on behalf of 534 institutional investors (holding US$64 trillion in assets under management) and some 60 purchasing organisations, such as Dell, EADS, PepsiCo and Walmart."

 

  

Businesses concerned by water use

BBC News Environmental correspondent, Roger Harrabin, reports on the concerns expressed by business in a report prepared by ERM: -

"Future water shortages are a growing concern for business, according to a global survey published today.

The research shows that more than half of the 147 firms responding expect problems with water in the next 1-5 years.

It says 60% of firms have already set performance targets on the way they use water.

The report predicts that the issue will get much worse as the world demand for water is projected to soar over the next few decades.

The UK's chief scientist John Beddington has warned that water scarcity will form part of a perfect storm of environmental problems."

 

The ERM report can be accesssed at the Carbon Disclosure Project website.

Rare earth: The New Great Game

 

Rare Earth Metals are currently in the news because of the perception that China might use their dominance of the existing supply chain to 'monopolise' access to these important elements.  This is not a new concern, a BBC Newsnight reporter included an article outlining the backgroun to "Rare Earth" issues in his blog in 2009. Anyone interested in these exotic minerals would find this article informative and interesting bakground.

Climate Change Financing - UN Report Issued

The UN's high level advisory group - including eminent representatives from the UK (Chris Huhn and Nicholas Stern) and leading international figures including the President of Norway, Managing Director of the World Bank, George Soros and many others) has published its report (Climate Change Financing) on how funding can be raised to create a more climate resiliant economy and mobilise adequate funds toaddress the needs of developing counties by 2020. Here is an extract from te introduction: -

"As concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere continue to grow to ever more worrying levels, and adaptation becomes more and more challenging, action on climate change is urgent. Climate finance is key to that action, but will make a fundamental difference only if linked to a wider programme of measures agreed

among nations. These measures are the foundation for the transformation of our economies and for a climate -resilient future.

At the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in 2009, political leaders emphasized their strong political will to urgently combat climate change in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. Scaled-up, new and additional, predictable and adequate funding, as well as improved access , shall be provided to developing countries, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the United Nations Framework

Convention on Climate Change. In the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation, developed countries committed themselves to a goal of jointly mobilizing US$100 billion a year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries.

The Secretary-General of the United Nations established the High-level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing in February 2010. Following its terms of reference, the Advisory Group worked around the goal of mobilizing US$100 billion per year by 2020.

The Advisory Group concluded that it is challenging but feasible to meet that goal.

Funding will need to come from a wide variety of sources, public and private, bilateral and multilateral, including alternative sources of finance, the scaling up of existing sources and increased private flows. Grants and highly concessional loans are crucial for adaptation in the most vulnerable developing countries, such as the least developed countries, small island developing States and Africa."

Nuclear waste storage problem must be addressed: EU

 

An article on BBC Europe News reports that: -

"Europe needs to identify sites for long-term storage of nuclear waste, with deep burial underground the best option, the European Commission says.

A draft EU directive presented on Wednesday calls for national plans to be drawn up in the next few years, as the EU still has no final storage sites for nuclear waste.

Exports of nuclear waste beyond the EU for long-term disposal will be banned.

Existing storage sites can be used for 100 years at most, the Commission says.

High-level waste from nuclear power plants can take up to a million years to decay.

Finland plans to have a long-term waste repository operational in 2020, Sweden in 2023 and France in 2025."

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