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2015 World Forum On Natural Capital Sends Clear Message To Paris Climate Talks

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Business leaders, policy makers, environmental experts and academics from around the globe will gather in Edinburgh today for the second World Forum on Natural Capital.

During the course of the two-day event, delegates will be invited to sign a letter urging world leaders attending the UN Climate Conference in Paris (7-8th December) to acknowledge and address the fact that climate change cannot be tackled without halting the rapid erosion and loss of natural capital.

Signatories of the letter will include Sir Richard Branson, who will be taking part in the World Forum through a live link to a special Young Leaders’ Session exploring questions about future leadership, along with a host of senior figures from business and environmental organisations involved in the event.

The First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, will open the World Forum and deliver the keynote address to over 500 delegates attending from 45 countries.

Natural capital is a term that refers to the world’s stocks of natural assets which include geology, soil, air, water and all living things. While non-renewable natural resources, such as fossil fuels, minerals and metals, are already partially accounted for in national accounts and on corporate balance sheets, renewable natural resources are not. It’s from natural capital that humans derive a wide range of services, often called ecosystem services, which make human life possible. Unfortunately, natural capital is rapidly being depleted, but as this isn’t showing up on traditional balance sheets its value often remains invisible.

Chief Executive of the Scottish Wildlife Trust and Co-Founder of the World Forum on Natural Capital, Jonny Hughes, said:  “The World Forum on Natural Capital will dispel the myth that a vibrant economy and a healthy environment are somehow incompatible. The assets contained within the natural world – our ‘natural capital’ – are the very foundation of our economic wealth. When we erode our soils, pollute our waters, cause species extinctions and change our atmosphere with greenhouse gases, we directly threaten our economic prosperity. We need to start thinking of nature as the solution to global challenges such as climate change, extreme weather events, pollution and novel diseases. For this we need a new type of economics.

“I’m delighted that so many inspirational thinkers will be gathering in Edinburgh to tackle some of the most pressing problems facing the world. Together we are sending a very clear message to the leaders taking part in the UN Climate Conference in Paris: the climate crisis cannot be solved without halting the rapid erosion and loss of natural capital.”

Inger Andersen, IUCN Director General commented: “Natural capital is the backbone of our survival. It’s time to recognise its importance because how we safeguard and use nature today will define our future.”

The theme for the two-day event is ‘Solutions for a changing world’, a key focus of which will be helping business and sustainability leaders identify the economic importance of protecting and restoring our natural environment. The programme has been conceived to drive discussion with financial institutions, businesses and policy makers about how and why they should be making a long term investment in natural capital.

During the course of the event, delegates will be challenged on thought-provoking topics such as disaster risk reduction, emerging financial products and using familiar tools to manage new risks. An increasing number of governments, businesses and financial institutions across the globe are recognising humanity’s reliance on natural capital and the urgency of accounting for the impact we have on it. This is leading to improved management of emerging risks, greater innovation and new solutions to help tackle major economic and environmental challenges, including resource scarcity, biodiversity loss and climate change.

The letter that will be sent from those attending the World Forum on Natural Capital to the global leaders taking part in the UN Climate Conference in Paris is available on the World Forum blog, and is outlined further below.

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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