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UK tops G20 in PwC’s 7th annual Low Carbon Economy Index

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PwC’s 7th annual Low Carbon Economy Index (LCEI) tracks the rate that G20 countries are decarbonising their economies. This year PwC also looked at the ambition of their national targets (or Intended Nationally Determined Contributions – INDCs). Are they adequate in terms of delivering the decarbonisation required to limit warming to 2°C?

The report is entitled Conscious Uncoupling as it describes the fall in carbon intensity across the G20 and rise in GDP. In his foreword PwC Partner on Sustainability and Climate Change Leo Johnson says: “For the first year in the seven since the Index began, we have what looks like the uncoupling of growth and emissions; GDP grew by 3.3% in 2014, with energy emissions up by only 0.5%. And the stage is set for national commitments in Paris in December 2015 to drive the rate of decarbonisation even further. The pledges made to date, according to the 2015 LCEI analysis, would drive the decarbonisation rate from now to 2030 up to 3% per year.”

View the report’s video and read the full report here (registration required).

PwC reports ‘good progress’ in 2014: “Countries have made progress in decarbonising their economies since 2000, though emissions continue to rise. The carbon intensity of the global economy has fallen on average by 1.3% each year since 2000, driven by energy efficiency improvements and the shift to less carbon intense service sectors. This is despite the growth of coal in the energy mix from 25% to 30% over that period.

“The 2014 numbers suggest a turning point: carbon intensity fell by 2.7%, the steepest decline on record.

“The largest EU countries showed particularly sharp reductions of over 7%, with the UK topping our Index with a 10.9% fall in carbon intensity – the highest by any country over the last six years. These may be the first signs of uncoupling of emissions from economic growth.

“Despite this, there is still a big gap between current progress and what’s needed to meet the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2°C carbon budget. On the business as usual trajectory of 1.3% (2000-14), the two degree carbon budget will run out in 2036, with projected emissions growth following the IPCC’s four degrees scenario. The annual decarbonisation rate now required to limit warming to 2°C has risen again to its highest ever level, 6.3%.”

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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