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Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group call for an end to fossil fuel subsidies

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The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group (CLG) has announced its support for the Friends of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform Communiqué, calling for reform, and ultimately, elimination, of fossil fuel subsidies.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that fossil fuel subsidies amounted to US$510 billion in 2014. This is based on the gap between what consumers pay and the actual cost of supply, but doesn’t consider the environmental and health costs. It is six times more than that allocated to renewable energy and hinders investments in efficiency and renewables.

The Friends of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform, together with France and the United States, launched a Communiqué calling on the international community to increase efforts to phase out subsidies to fossil fuels in light of a global effort to reach an agreement at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference of the Parties (COP 21) in Paris in December.

Sandrine Dixson-Declève, Director of the CLG explains: “Our members, leading businesses from across the world, are being loud and clear, end perverse fossil fuel subsidies now for the benefit of sustainable and low carbon economic development.

“They recognise fossil fuel subsidy reform as an important climate-change mitigation policy with clear economic, social and environmental co-benefits.  The international community should increase efforts to phase-out subsidies to fossil fuels through policy transparency, ambitious reform and targeted support for the poorest.”

At the New York Climate Week breakfast where the announcement was made, New Zealand Climate Change Ambassador, Jo Tyndall, welcomed the leadership of the CLG in signalling businesses’ commitment to this step towards a low-carbon energy future: “Momentum behind the Communiqué is building, as leaders from business and government recognise it as a way to express support for global action that will deliver a significant decrease in emissions.”

Moroccan Minister Hakima El Haite said: “Not only do fossil fuel subsidies put a strain on government coffers but they also don’t help the poorest of society.”

The Communiqué asks stakeholders to support fossil fuel subsidy reform and help economies across the globe deliver sustainable socio-economic and low carbon outcomes. The latest signatory to the Communiqué last week was the Netherlands, who signed at the CLG run Green Growth Summit.

The Communiqué encourages the international community to advance reform through three interrelated principles: increased transparency around fossil fuel subsidies, greater ambition in the scope of reform and the provision of targeted support for the poorest.

The breakfast, co-hosted by the CLG with the Governments of New Zealand, Norway and Finland, brought together governments and business leaders to discuss joint action on reform.  Tone Skogen, Norway’s Secretary of State, hailed the call for joint action and stressed: “Partnerships must play a role to catalyse the move towards sustainable energy and push more companies to step forward and act!”

The Communiqué will be presented with more signatories at COP21 in Paris, in December 2015, to support efforts to reach a new global climate agreement. By endorsing the Communiqué, countries will gain an important opportunity to publicly support FFSR as part of their national trajectory towards a more sustainable and low-carbon economy.

Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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energy efficient homes

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

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Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

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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.”

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