This year’s European Green Capital – Bristol, UK – has pledged to accelerate its already ambitious targets and pursue carbon neutrality by 2050. Mayor George Ferguson made the commitment alongside local political group leaders following the city’s role co-hosting the Cities and Regions Pavilion at the COP21 climate talks in Paris.
Bristol has so far reduced carbon emissions per person by 24% since 2005 and under its most recent climate strategy the mayor committed to future CO2 reductions of 40% by 2020, 50% by 2025, 60% by 2035 and 80% by 2050. Now, inspired by other cities and what is required to deliver the agreement at COP21 he now seeks to update the target to 100% by 2050.
Bristol is a member of the Compact of Mayors, launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Michael R. Bloomberg. It is the world’s largest global collective effort to date by cities to tackle climate change, proactively prepare for its impacts, and regularly track and feedback on progress. Bristol is also a signatory to several climate pledges, including two issued during COP21 – the Paris City Hall Declaration and the ‘Under2’ Memorandum of Understanding.
George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol said: “Cities and regions played a major role at COP21, marking the first time they’ve been included at the event. In recent years whilst nations have talked, cities and regions have acted. We pledged to do all we can to pursue a future where unavoidable climate temperature increases are limited to no more than two degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels. We made this pledge at a time when the outcome of COP was unclear, but now the world’s nations have reached their historic agreement there’s an even better chance of success.
“To succeed requires greater ambition, investment and dedication across all sectors. Bristol is once again taking a lead amongst UK cities. We are saying we shall take on board what has been agreed at COP21, we shall accelerate our ambition and work with partners at home, abroad and across any and all sectors to try and achieve our goals.
“When it comes to climate change we are a politically united city. Also our Green Capital Partnership includes over 850 member organisations, a key element of the city’s success as European Green Capital this year, and crucial to the success of our new carbon zero target date of 2050. Working with them, with our dedicated Energy and Futures services, with our international networks and many others, I am sure we can rise to the challenge.”
Bristol City Council itself is working towards a new 50% reduction target for its own emissions by 2020 after meeting its 40% goal five years early. It has also made large strides in renewable energy. In a few years, it is forecast to produce 1GW of electricity from solar panels. Since 2005, Bristol has reduced energy use by 18%.
Cllr Helen Holland, Leader of the Labour group on Bristol City Council said: “It was a Labour-led Council that first applied to Europe for our city to be European Green Capital, so I am delighted to take part in this pledge to commit Bristol to become a Carbon Free City by 2050. This ambitious commitment will have to be matched by bold actions, but I am sure that everyone – residents, community organisations, business – will all play their part in helping Bristol meet that challenge, joining worldwide efforts to rescue our planet.”
Cllr Mark Weston, Leader of the Conservative group on Bristol City Council said: “My group is supportive of efforts to move to a lower carbon economy as we end energy generation from high carbon fuels such as coal. We need a diverse energy mix including both renewables and nuclear generation. We would urge city planners to look carefully at how we can both reduce energy usage and improve micro generation in the future as we rise to meet the challenges ahead.”
Cllr Ani Stafford-Townsend, Leader of the Green group on Bristol City Council said: “Greens have been campaigning for decades on carbon reduction to avoid devastating climate change. In 2006 Cllr Charlie Bolton used his first motion as councillor to call for more ambitious carbon reduction targets. We welcome the firm commitment for Bristol to lead the way and become carbon neutral by 2050. We have the technology and vision to tackle the greatest challenge of our generation, all we need now is the political will from across the board to make zero carbon Bristol a reality.”
Cllr Gary Hopkins, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Bristol City Council said: “Bristol has for many years been leading the way and should sign up to ambitious targets. Declarations though must be matched by actions. The Liberal Democrats would look to get to grips with our public transport by investing in urban rail and bus services and ensuring the highest environmental standards, we would prioritise sorting out waste and importantly, would prioritise investment into the hydrogen economy.”
A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon
Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.
There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.
1. The Rise Of Smart Windows
When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.
If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.
2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs
If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.
Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.
3. Low-E Windows Taking Over
It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.
They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.
4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges
Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.
The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.
5. Improving Our Current LEDs
Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.
That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.
Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too
Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.
ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244
IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”
IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.
Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.
Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.
Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:
“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.
We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.
There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.
We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”