Scotland has the potential to lead the world in smart integrated energy systems, according to a new report. The Carbon Trust said it has outlined a vision for the country to harness its natural resources and technology innovation capabilities. It said developing a fully integrated energy system would help Scotland meet its carbon emissions targets, create jobs and secure an international leadership position in smart grid technology.
A new £25 million green energy centre at St Andrews University will put the institution at the “cutting-edge” of environmentally-friendly technology, according to a Scotland Office minister. The project will create 225 jobs and it is hoped the site at Guardbridge will help regenerate part of north-east Fife, with apprenticeships and opportunities in the construction of the centre. The scheme is part of a drive by St Andrews to become the UK’s first carbon-neutral university. The biomass facility will use only virgin roundwood, locally sourced from forests, and hot water from the plant will be pumped underground to heat and cool laboratories and student residences in St Andrews.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to propose regulations which will be aimed at reducing methane emissions by between 40 and 45% from the oil and gas sector over the next decade. The move is part of a wider strategy in place which is looking to reduce both greenhouse gases as well as combating climate change.
Australia is expected to announce plans to reduce its carbon emissions by at least 26% of 2005 levels by 2030. The move could see the country trail ahead of other regions. Australia is the world’s largest exporter of coal and iron ore and is one of the largest carbon emitters on a per capita basis due to its reliance on coal-fired power plants.
Physically removing carbon from the atmosphere cannot be relied upon to prevent extreme global warming or save the oceans from acidity, scientists have warned. Carbon capture and enhanced natural “sinks” are simply not feasible methods of limiting warming because of the sheer scale of the challenge, according to one study. Another team found that even aggressive carbon dioxide removal (CDR) policies would take centuries and possibly thousands of years to reverse ocean acidification. In both cases, the experts concluded there was no way of dodging the need for substantial cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.
Dozens of environmentally-friendly mayors from around the world are set to sign a Vatican declaration urging their national leaders to approve a “bold climate agreement” to tackle global warming. A total of 60 mayors are attending a two-day climate conference at the Vatican featuring an audience with Pope Francis, whose recent environment encyclical is aimed at keeping up the pressure on world leaders ahead of Paris climate negotiations in December. The final declaration states that “human-induced climate change is a scientific reality and its effective control is a moral imperative for humanity”.
The UK’s first “smart” carbon positive energy house, which can export more power to the grid than it uses, has been constructed, experts said. The low-cost three-bedroom family home, designed by experts led by Cardiff University, integrates technology to reduce energy demand and generate and store renewable energy. The property near Bridgend, Wales, has been built to be highly efficient, with high insulation to reduce air leakage, structural insulated panels, insulated render on the outside and air heating systems that rely on the sun.
A Dutch court ordered the government to cut the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25% by 2020. Activists hope that the groundbreaking ruling will now set a worldwide precedent. The Hague District Court made the ruling in a case brought by a sustainability organisation on behalf of some 900 citizens, claiming that the government has a duty of care to protect its people against looming dangers - including the effects of climate change on this low-lying country.
The University of Edinburgh is taking steps to withdraw its investments in fossil fuel producers, in response to pressure from student groups and activists. Students staged pickets and occupied a building after the university said two weeks ago it would only divest from companies that produce coal and tar sands if they are found not to be investing in technologies that address climate change. But yesterday the university said it is informing “three of the world’s biggest fossil fuel producers” of its intentions to divest from them within the next six months, giving them four weeks to respond.
Wood Group Kenny (WGK) is set to provide technical advisory services for carbon capture storage (CCS) policies in a framework agreement with the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). The four year agreement will see WGK support DECC in ensuring the UK CCS policies are underpinned by robust technical evidence and provide independent advice on the technical understanding of CCS. The company's previous experience in CCS includes the Peterhead Carbon Capture and Storage project being developed by oil major Shell and Southern Energy (SSE).
The Church of England is to sell £12 million of its shares in fossil fuel companies. The Church, announcing a new climate change policy, also said it will no longer make any direct investments in companies that generate more than 10% of their revenue from extracting thermal coal or producing oil from tar sands. Welcoming the new policy Bishop Nick Holtam, the lead Bishop on the environment at the Church of England, said climate change is “the most pressing moral issue in our world”. The new policy will see more engagement between the church’s national investment bodies and the companies in which it holds shares, including fossil fuel producers.
Japan is proposing to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by up to 26% by 2030 amid international efforts to set a new framework for addressing climate change. The final draft of the government target, released today, says Japan will aim to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 26% by 2030 compared to 2013 levels, or 25.4% from 2005 levels. That is below the US target of a 26-28% cut by 2025 from 2005 levels, and the European Union’s target of 40% from 1990 levels.
A Labour government would bring in a legal target to slash carbon emissions from the power sector and improve energy efficiency for five million homes, as it seeks to create a million new “green” jobs. Setting out details of Labour’s “green plan”, shadow energy and climate change secretary Caroline Flint said that “building a more equal society means tackling climate change and protecting nature”. The plan includes a legally binding target to decarbonise electricity supplies by 2030, delivering energy efficiency upgrades to at least five million homes over 10 years and developing a green industrial strategy to create a million new jobs.
A project for a coal-fuelled power station with carbon capture and storage (CSS) technology at Grangemouth has secured £4.2 million from the Scottish and UK governments. The money has been awarded to the Seattle-based Summit Power Group for research and feasibility studies for its proposed Caledonia Clean Energy Project. The 570 MW coal-gasification station would be fitted with CCS technology, which captures emissions from fossil fuel power plants and permanently stores them underground. The scheme’s backers said it was designed to capture 90% of CO2 emissions, which would then be carried along existing on-shore and sub-sea pipelines to be permanently stored 2km beneath the North Sea.
The Scottish Government should consider introducing congestion charging to help meet its climate change targets, according to a report. The paper prepared by the independent Committee on Climate Change (CCC) said stronger policies are needed in areas such as transport, renewable heat, agriculture and forestry if targets are to be met in future. It warned that plans to cut air passenger duty by 50% when it is devolved to Holyrood could lead to increased carbon emissions and called for a re-evaluation of speed limits.
The north-east can become a carbon capture and storage (CCS) “powerhouse” of Europe, benefiting from job creation and other economic rewards as the fledgling industry takes off, seminar delegates will hear today. Chaired by Aberdeen Harbour Board chief executive Colin Parker, the event throws the spotlight on new CCS opportunities facing the region as it battles to overcome a big slump in oil prices. But it will also highlight concerns about the dangers of any sluggish action from Westminster in getting projects off the ground.
The DECC (Department for Energy and Climate Change) has made £2.5million cash pot available to encourage the development of CO2 storage in the North Sea. The money will help companies to identify the next phase of sites under the sea to store C02 emissions from coal and gas power stations as well as heavy industry such as steel and cement factories. The DECC will provide the cash from its Innovation Fund, and it will be delivered by the ETI (Energy Technologies Institute).
Carbon copy investment companies found by a court to have misled clients have been ordered into liquidation. Both Carbon Green Capital and Agora Capital were found by the High Court in London to have made false claims about investment returns. A petition against the companies was presented to the High Court by the Secretary for Business, Innovation and Skills, Vince Cable. The companies were accused of selling carbon credit investments which were misleading, raking in almost £1million in profit. Chris Mayhew, Company Investigations Supervisor, said: “This formally brings to an end the activities of two heartless companies that claimed to pride themselves on the investment returns for clients but who in truth were peddling near worthless carbon credits, which in some instances they even failed to supply, raising approaching £1million from the public”. “Far from the claimed world class investment services dedicated to helping clients, these companies were dedicated only to helping themselves. “I would once more urge investors not to respond to cold calling investment sharks as you stand to gain nothing and risk losing everything. Simply end the call, not your savings. “The Insolvency Service will not allow rogue companies to rip-off vulnerable and honest people and will investigate abuses and close down companies if they are found to be operating or about to operate, against the public interest."
Collaboration by North Sea states will help tackle Europe’s carbon emissions, an international gathering of CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage) emission experts will hear. The SCCS (Scottish Carbon and Capture Storage) annual conference will tell politicians, industry experts and academics that the combined efforts of the industry could see hundreds of years’ worth of Europe’s carbon emissions stored.
A Scottish university has joined the largest carbon capture and storage (CCS) research partnership in the UK. Scientists from the University of Strathclyde will join fellow researchers within the Scottish Carbon Capture & Storage (SCCS) partnership, providing expertise in areas including carbon dioxide transport and environment impact analysis.