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Oxford graduates ‘give back’ degree to protest over fossil fuels investment

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Almost 70 Oxford alumni have symbolically handed back their degrees to criticise the university’s weak policy on fossil fuels investment – which excludes only direct investment in oil sands and coal but fails to address other money invested in unsustainable sources of energy.

Oxford University announced last week it would maintain its position of not having direct investment in high-risk oil sands and coal; it also pledged to follow environmental and social criteria for its investment.

However, many have noted this policy does not go far enough, since it doesn’t rule out investment in all dirty energy sources. As a protest against the decision, some Oxford graduates have symbolically handed back their degrees on Saturday, calling for the school to take serious action against climate change.

Miriam Wilson, Fossil Free Campaign coordinator at People & Planet, said, Oxford alumni are handing back their degrees because they don’t want to be associated with a university which is funding climate change through its investments. Whilst we welcome the fact that the university has ruled out direct investments in coal and tar sands, we call on the university to go further, and fully divest from climate-wrecking fossil fuels.”

Among those giving the degree back were Oxfordshire councillors for the Green Party David Thomas, Ruthi Brandt and Sam Hollick – as well as journalist George Monbiot and founder of Solarcentury Jeremy Legget.

Martin Evans, who handed back his degree in Engineering, explained, “My degree was how I learned about climate change, how energy works, how solar panels and wind turbines work, and how I came to work in renewable energy. We’re asking the university to do the simple thing of following what it teaches, but it isn’t practising what it preaches. The university has to keep its promises on transparency as well as divest”.

The fossil-free movement is gaining popularity among universities, local authorities and religious institutions. However, some institutions are clashing with students and campaigners over the decision to divest. Edinburgh University recently refused to ditch dirty energy shares, causing protests among students and campaigners.

Photo: aprilbell via freeimages

 

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Further reading:

Oxford University pledges to stay away from oil and coal investments

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine divests from coal companies

British Medical Association divests from fossil fuels over fears for human health

Report: fossil fuel investments ‘incompatible’ with health sector’s responsibility

Edinburgh University ‘refuses’ to divest from fossil fuels

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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