Page 1

Issue 6

looking forward to our renewable future

nuclear fusion are the energy secrets of the stars still 50 years away?

plus: Easy Green: News:

Our Top 10 Sexy Green Gadgets Putting the ‘so what?’ into the news and so much more...


Easygreen: Our Top 10 Green Gadgets of the Month (page 8)


Nuclear Fusion: Is it still too far away to rely on? (page 16) page - In The News page 17 6 - Crowdfunding A selectionsources of the more interstingfinance renewable energy As traditional of investment continue to stories from the last few weeks remain scarce, will the movement towards crowd-funding prove to be the perfect solution for clean technology projects?

Plus Views on the News:

A comprehensive round up of this month’s most important news stories and what they mean to us, the general public

welcome BREATHE IN, BREATHE OUT Occasionally things happen that remind us why we publish this magazine, which, we hope, helps make common sense of the science behind our journey to a carbon neutral world. Things like US Republican House Representatives Ed Orcutt’s recent outburst on carbon dioxide emissions in which he suggested that contrary to scientific opinion, the real culprits are cyclists. And that as a punishment for their selfish, earth-warming activities they should be taxed. Orcutt went on to say that he believes bikes are bad for the environment because they cause cyclists to have “an increased heart rate and respiration” which in turn causes them to give off more carbon dioxide than your average sedentary motorist. (Let alone the cumulative effect on global temperatures of all that sweat dripping onto the road). Although to be fair, he did admit to not having done any “emissions analysis” as such. More of a hunch then it would seem. Which would be fine if he was just some cranky old bloke perched on a stool in a cozy diner somewhere ranting his inaccuracies to his long-suffering cronies. But a member of the US House of Representatives? Scary to say the least. As a popular US television show would be apt to ask,, ‘is this man smarter than a 5th grader?’ Fortunately his gross lack of scientific understanding didn’t go unnoticed and after a barrage of emails (mainly from 5th graders perhaps?) he was forced to do a little ‘analysis’ of the facts and eventually retracted his original statement by saying that although he has always recognized that bicycling emits less carbon than cars he did a poor job of indicating that in his original statement. “My point was that by not driving a car, a cyclist was not necessarily having a zero-carbon footprint. In looking back, it was not a point worthy of even mentioning so, again, I apologize.” As my grandmother would have said, “For the love of Mike and all things sacred…” 4

(Images courtesy of Prof DEH))

ABOUT US: 2050 Magazine is all about renewable energy and our journey towards the day when the whole world will have access to cheap, clean, sustainable sources of energy. Something which we think will happen by 2050. As long as we all pull together and do our bit. This is our bit. EDITORIAL: We are very fortunate to have constant access to an incredibly talented pool of people, some of them with decades of experience in the field of sustainability. They tell us things and we write it down and add pretty pictures. Then we send it, all wrapped up in tinsel, to the world at large. That’s it in a nutshell really. DISTRIBUTION: 2050 is a free publication which is distributed around the world through a variety of ‘friend’ networks. We are currently connected to more than 1 million supporters. A number which is growing on a daily basis. Please feel free to pass us on to your own networks if you think they might be interested in keeping in touch with what’s going on in the world of sustainable energy. PUBLISHERS: 2050 Magazine is a joint effort by Planet B Ventures and Legwork and Whispers Publishing. CONTACT: Editorial: Advertising:


OUR TOP 10 GREEN GADGETS 10. Water-Powered Clocks A clock which only requires a little tap water to power your alarm in the morning. By doing something really clever with electrolytic cells and water electrons, this stylish Hammacher and Schlemmer product creates its own electricity supply. One refill lasts about 12 weeks.

9. Efergy Shower Timer and Alarm The average shower takes between 5 and 8 gallons of water from your tank, more if you’re the sort of person who’s apt to wander off with the fairies as soon as the steam starts rising. A wasteful habit you’ll be able to keep a closer eye on with the help of this Effergy timer and alarm thingy. It somehow figures out how much water you’re getting through as it happens and then bleeps you back to consciousness when you’ve used your allocated amount of water.


8. Hiriko Folding Electric Car Not one for the purists perhaps but this rather neat folding car deserves a mention because its just so bloody diddy. And it works! Essentially the Hiriko is a folding two-seat urban electric car being developed by the Hiriko Driving Mobility consortium in the Basque Country. Specs: Weight: 500kg Range: 120km Top Speed: 50kmh Length: 2.5m Price (when they start selling it later this year): 12,500 euros plus battery lease. Brilliant for rubbish parker too. Just drive straight in, no diddling around whatsoever. Bound to be popular with growing number of car sharing communities reckon.

easy-green 7. The Airnergy Wifi Charger A device that harvests all those wifi signals we have pinging around the place these days and converts them into usable electric energy! An odd concept yes, but true by all accounts. It can charge itself while also providing power for cellphones and other gadgets whenever you’re in a wi-fi hotspot. Not quite sure what effect it has on the wi-fi, but we’re prepared to overlook that research for the time being.

6. Power-generating turnstiles An idea that could have come straight out of a George Orwell novel true, but wonderfully simple and somehow appropriate. Conceived by the Viva Design Team of Guangdong University of Technology, the Green Pass turnstile at subway entrances produces electricity whenever someone passes through. The energy is used to power the card readers, coin counters and other electronic services. Neat and simple, if a little ‘mouse in a wheel-ish’. 8

5. Treelights Taiwanese scientists have come up with a way of harmlessly helping ordinary trees retain solar power during the day and re-emit it slowly during the night in the form of fluorescent light. By injecting nanoparticles of gold into plant leaves the scientists were able to affect their chlorophyll production systems, or something of that sort, resulting in the world’s first glowing trees and a possible alternative to expensive street lighting. A bit on the Avatar side of things, but eerily attractive don’t you think?


4. The Solar Camera Strap Photographers are used to lugging equipment around with them, including a heavy camera strap. So why not make that strap with built in solar panels and use them to power all those other gizmos and gadgets? So thought designer Weng Jie, who has done just that.


3. The Spincycle Pedal-Powered Washing Machine When Sheffiled Hallam University graduate Richard Hewitt visited a children’s orphanage in Barundi, he was given the task of washing 30 loads of kids clothes by hand. Something which, as a student, would normally have involved a quick slope down to the local launderette and a bucketful of change for the drier. So doing it all by hand was understandably alien, let alone physically easy. So using the brain he was blessed with and the privilege of a good education, Richard set about inventing a mini-washing machine that could be powered by a simple bicycle. Hence the Spincycle, the fully-functioning end product of his labours. The Spincycle uses a relatively small amount of water compared to a regular washing machine and considerably less again than the amount of water required by hand washing. It also has the advantage of functioning as a micro-business (everyone needs their clothes washed some time) to provide an income to those able to get their hands on one. Or rather, legs.


2. The Life Sack – A Grain Sack That Doubles Up As A Water Purifier Kit Using Solar Water Disinfection Process (SODIS) technology even a simple grain sack can have future. A future, thanks to Korean designers Jung Uk Park, Myeong Hoon Lee, and Dae Youl Lee, as a water purifier. After the grain is removed from the sack a simple water purifying kit is added enabling it to render harmless by ultraviolet zapping the many harmful microorganisms and bacterium found in the water supplies in poorer parts of the world.


1. 3D Printers 3D printers are big, really big. Not literally, but big in the sense of the impact they are going to have on traditional manufacturing methods. Based on what is known as additive manufacturing — the opposite of the current ‘subtractive’ manufacturing methods in which an object is created by whittling away at pieces of a block of material – the object is instead created by building up tiny pieces of it from scratch. “Three-dimensional printing makes it as cheap to create single items as it is to produce thousands and thus undermines economies of scale. It may have as profound an impact on the world as the coming of the factory did…. Just as nobody could have predicted the impact of the steam engine in 1750 — or the printing press in 1450, or the transistor in 1950 — it is impossible to foresee the long-term impact of 3D printing. But the technology is coming, and it is likely to disrupt every field it touches.” (The Economist) And, best of all perhaps, when the printer itself starts to get a bit old, you’ll be able to use it to create its own successor. Let’s just hope they don’t start doing that all by themselves one day. Will Smith might be busy and then what?

nuclear fusion

INTO THE UNKNOWN Is Nuclear Fusion Really The Holy Grail Of Energy?

Right now in the south of France several countries are contributing to the construction of an 18-billion euro experiment to find out if we can produce our power in the same way the sun does. And all the other stars out there for that matter. Power which supporters of the scientific theory argue would come without nuclear waste, no carbon dioxide emissions and no chance of a the sort of nuclear accidents and meltdowns recently witnessed at nuclear fission power plants like Fukishima. That’s ‘fission’ not ‘fusion’, an important distinction. The proposed ‘fusion’ facility, at Caderache, grandly referred to as the International Thermonuclear


Experimental Reactor (ITER), is being funded by the European Union, the United States, China, South Korea, Japan, India and the Russian Federation. Construction is due to be complete by 2020, with the first test reaction planned for later that year. The process of nuclear fusion, so far only mastered for very brief moments in laboratory conditions, involves fusing atoms together at temperatures as high as 150 million degrees centigrade (ten times the heat of the heat of the sun) until they turn into what is known as the 4th stage of matter, or plasma. This super hot plasma gives off huge amounts of energy. At the ITER Project the

plan is to fuse the hydrogen isotope deuterium (obtainable from water) and the lithium derived radioactive isotope tritium, the end result of which should be a helium nucleus, a neutron and oodles and oodles of energy. Or at least that’s how the theory goes. It is hoped that fusion reactors will be able to produce 7 billion kilowatthours of energy per year, a little less than the output of nuclear fission reactors. Achieving the required temperatures for fusion to take place will require large amounts of energy in itself, but scientists at ITER are confident that the energy output will be tenfold the

nuclear fusion input. And more importantly, with only very minimal nuclear waste. The ITER experiment will be the first time nuclear fusion has ever been attempted on a large scale and its supporters are keen to point out that the process behind it differs radically from nuclear fission which requires particles to be separated in a reaction which also produces huge amounts of power, but always with a far higher inherent risk of meltdown and the inevitable problem of longlife nuclear waste. The hydrogen isotopes deuterium and tritium were chosen because they are widely available and because they don’t have a long-term legacy of radioactive waste.

(Images courtesy of ITER)

The main driver behind the quest for successful nuclear fusion is seen by many to be the funding countries’ desire to achieve energy independence as supplies of fossil fuels begin to dry up in the next 20 or 30 years. At current rates, the European Union for example, is expected to import 70% of its energy requirements by 2030. In the shorter term the ITER project is expected to produce thousands of jobs not only in France but also in other partnering countries such as Spain and Japan.


The project is not without its detractors however. Just recently a demonstration organized by a French activist network called ‘Sortir du Nucléaire’ (End Nuclear) in Paris attracted 4,000 protestors and a fair degree of confusing press coverage, in and around the quagmire territory of fusion v fission. Most of the genuine protest seemed to centre not on the possible dangers of the process of fusion itself, but the amount of money being devoted to it. “While entertaining the myth of an ever-abundant energy source in a few decades, ITER is diverting attention from real solutions to energy problems like renewable resources and energy conservation,” said Charlotte Mijeon, of Sortir du Nucléaire.

(Image courtesy of Sortir du Nucléaire)

nuclear fusion

A contention that was countered by ITER’s head of communications Michel Claessens. “The money isn’t actually a huge issue for participating nations, nor is it being taken from sustainable energy research. It’s spread out across 34 countries over ten years of construction. So as far as each state is concerned, it’s a relatively modest sum,” he said. “The overall goal of ITER is to provide a long-term solution to increasing energy shortages,” added Aris Apollonatos of Fusion for Energy, the group overseeing the EU’s participation in ITER. “ITER participants are hoping that the research will be invaluable for the future when carbon and petroleum become scarce. Renewable energy sources like wind


and water may not be enough, but nuclear energy as it is currently creates too much pollution and risk. With fusion, that could change. Fusion, and by consequence ITER, is part of the long-term sustainable energy mix given the fact that it does not emit any carbon dioxide.” The key questions being it would appear: How much of our time, effort and resources should we devote to the development of nuclear fusion? Is it really as safe as they say it is? Should we not be investing all this money in clean energy technology that we already have? Will developing a

reliance on the ‘prospect’ of success with nuclear fusion, which it has to be remembered has never been achieved at scale before, lull us into a false sense of security? Thus diverting us from the real and immediate task of dealing with our transition to a lowcarbon world. “Oh don’t worry dear, they’re bound to crack the nuclear fusion riddle some day soon. Now put on your swimming costume, we’re going to the shops.” Or as somebody put it recently, can putting too much faith in the success of experimental plants like ITER not be likened to a dieter who carries on scoffing chocolate and cakes in the certain knowledge that one day soon scientists will discover a pain-free miracle diet pill?

(Image of sun flares courtesy of NASA)

nuclear fission

TOO HOT TO HANDLE? Fukushima Nuclear Fall Out Still Nowhere Near Being Contained.


The News:

inside the tightly policed exclusion zone inspecting the “It would be reassuring to think damaged infrastructure and that the world’s worst nuclear speaking to the even braver disaster since Chernobyl is men and women tasked with contained, and the Fukushima the job of cleaning up the Daiichi nuclear power plant is in spilled radiation and making the stable shut-down. Unfortunately site safe again. a look inside the Fukushima plant suggests otherwise,” says What he saw was far from the BBC’s Rupert Wingfieldreassuring. Hayes in an extremely worrying report released recently on their “Inside the shattered building website. (building number 4), more than 1,500 spent fuel rods were still sitting inside a cooling world-asia-21737910 pool. They were still highly radioactive and the pool was After becoming only the outside the reactor’s steel and second foreign TV journalist concrete containment vessel, to be allowed to visit the site perched high on the third floor. since the disaster 2 years ago, Wingfield-Hayes, very bravely “A race is now on to get the fuel in our opinion, spent 5 hours rods out. A huge steel structure

nuclear fission

is being erected around building four that will be used to raise the spent fuel out. But that operation will not start until the end of this year, and will then take two more years to complete. If another large earthquake strikes during that time there is real concern the building could collapse.” You sense from the report and the accompanying video that the clean up team are operating in completely unchartered territory and that there is no standard textbook approach to dealing with a nuclear accident of this magnitude. “Reactor number four was only the tip of a radioactive iceberg. Two hundred


meters away I could clearly see the twisted and rusting steel of reactor building number three. Two years after the disaster it was still virtually untouched. The reason was simple. The radiation at reactor three was so high workers could not safely go near it.” “Our bus rushed past without stopping. The Geiger counter reading was over 1,000 micro sieverts an hour. That is

roughly the same as ten chest X-rays every hour, or a full CT scan every ten hours.” SO WHAT? You have to wonder don’t you, exactly how many of these disasters we need to suffer before we finally conclude that their inherent dangers (particularly in an increasingly volatile world) completely outstrip their benefits. Let’s face it, with the

exception of journalists like Wingfield-Hayes, the world still refers to incidents such as Fukushima as ‘accidents’? As if someone’s just dropped a tray of eggs in their local supermarket. “Oh whoops, sorry, looks like I’ve just released a few tons of radioactive waste into the atmosphere. Still, no point crying over spilt milk. Does anyone know how to clear this stuff up?” ‘Cock-ups of near apocalyptic proportions’ would probably be more apt. It’s not as if Fukushima was an isolated incident. The list of near misses is actually worryingly high: Mayak (1957) Windscale (1957) Idaho (1961) Three Mile Island (1979) Chernobyl (1986) Severesk (1993) Tokaimura (1999) Mihama (2003)

Fukushima (2011) Macoule (2011). (Yes, we’ve had another one since Fukushima.) To use an agricultural analogy, we might have the technology to milk the power we need from nuclear power stations, but we really don’t have a clue how to clear up their fæces. Particularly when that fæces comes in the form of a wallspraying outburst of projectile diarrhea. Yet the UK government, for example, is still seemingly determined to

push ahead with plans for new nuclear power stations. (If they can only find somewhere in the country willing to play host.) Perhaps the only real plus from Fukushima is that it was the straw that finally persuaded countries like Japan and Germany to abandon their own nuclear programmes in favour of safe, clean renewable energy. If only the windy old United Kingdom would do the same.

nuclear fission

ONE LAST SHOT UK Government Ready To Give Green Light To New Nuclear Power Station At Hinkley


The News: Planning permission would now be a formality if French firm EDF Energy decides to go ahead with its £14bn plan to build a new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point, Somerset, in the south west of England. It would become the first nuclear power plant to be built in the UK since Sizewell B in 1988, reports the BBC.

electricity bills so EDF wants written guarantees that even if the cost of electricity were to fall in the future, it would still be allowed to charge consumers the higher price. SO WHAT? “Great, another high profit unsustainable short term fix with dangerous waste that no one knows what to do with, but **** it, let our grandchildren deal with it!” (Comment left on BBC website)

The plant would provide the UK with a 7% increase in capacity, enough to power 5 “I reckon the French million homes. are going to try to invade us. That’s why EDF has not yet they did their little committed to “practice” invasion on the project as its us, that’s why they representatives are still have come up with negotiating with UK cunning plans to get us government ministers, to “share” our military the amount it will be with theirs so we get allowed to charge for rid of ours, that’s why its output for the next they plan on improving few decades. our infrastructure. This is all so when they The project would be invade, everything is paid for out of future ready for them. I’m

watching you France.” (Margaret Thatcher. Not really obviously. ‘Howesyourview’, again on the BBC’s comments section.) “The economy needs an injection of verve. More than half the firms that would work on Hinkley would be British. The UK would once again become a centre for nuclear build expertise. RollsRoyce, for example, is likely to be a partner in the building of the reactor. Future projects would come in cheaper and more efficiently delivered, expertise could be exported abroad.” (The Daily Telegraph’s Kamal Ahmed, forgetting for a moment that actually, we sold Rolls Royce to the Germans in 2002. But still, such passion.)

renewable energy

WEDGING THE GAP Renewables Now A Major Contributor To UK Energy, Reports The Renewable Energy Association (REA)

image courtesy of


Renewable electricity up 20% on previous year. The News: 2012 was a strong year for the performance of renewable energy generation, mainly due to new renewable power projects coming on-stream, Government figures reveal [1]. 11.3% of the UK’s electricity last year was generated from renewables overall, and 12.5% in the fourth quarter. Much of this growth is due to new on- and offshore wind farms, in spite of lower than average wind speeds over the year. 2012 was also fairly dry, meaning less output from hydro. Biomass generation increased 17%, largely thanks to Tilbury’s conversion to biomass, and the capacity of solar PV increased 70%, up to 1.7GW. Total UK renewable power capacity now stands at 15.5GW.

SO WHAT? “Renewables now generate more than 10% of our electricity on average. Compared to 2011, generation from onshore and offshore wind increased by 15% and 46% respectively, while solar PV capacity is up 70%. The conversion of Tilbury also shows what a big difference biomass can make, especially at a time when the Government is desperate to bring forward affordable, baseload, low carbon generation. “It is a critical time for industry as the Energy Bill makes its way through Parliament. We look forward to working with Michael Fallon in his new role as Energy Minister, particularly in light of his work on the 2008 Planning and Energy Act, but a change of Ministers at this crucial time further complicates matters.” (Gaynor Hartnell, Chief Executive, REA)

[1]. DECC: ‘Energy Trends and Prices statistical release: 28 March 2013’, 28th March 2013.


LONDON’S BURNING! ‘Fatbergs’ from the depths of the city’s sewers to be turned into power


The News:

130 Gigawatt hours of clean, renewable electricity. Enough to Thames Water in the UK has just power about 40,000 UK homes signed a £200m deal with utility before you ask. company 20C to process the socalled ‘fatbergs’ which currently The facility is due to start clog London’s sewers like bit part operating in 2015 and will not actors in a very bad B movies, use any virgin oils from field or into clean energy. plantation crops. Energy which will then be used to power the sewerage works, homes and buildings in the same vicinity, and a back-up desalination plant.


“This is good for us, the environment, Thames Water and its customers. Our renewable power and heat As part of the deal, 20C will build from waste oils and fats is fully a £70m processing facility at sustainable. When Thames Beckton in east London, and then doesn’t need our output, it will go out into the city collecting be made available to the grid an estimated 30 tonnes of meaning that power will be ‘fat’ waste from fat traps in sourced, generated and used in thousands of restaurants, food London by Londoners.” (Andrew manufacturers, cafes, fast-food Mercer, chief executive of 2OC) outlets, supermarkets and the like, before it is deposited into “This project is a win-win: the sewerage system. renewable power, hedged from the price fluctuations of the nonIt is estimated that clearing up renewable mainstream power unmanaged fat build-ups (the markets, and helping tackle the fatbergs you might have heard ongoing operational problem of people talking about) costs ‘fatbergs’ in sewers.” (Piers Clark, Thames Water £1m every year. commercial director for Thames Water) The Beckton facility will become the world’s biggest fatimage © Stephen Orsillo | fuelled power station producing Dreamstime Stock Photos


ALL COUPLED UP ‘Japan: Driverless Truck Convoys Promise Huge Fuel Savings… Whatever Will They Think Of Next? I saw an interesting story on (an excellent US-based site that reports on trends in sustainable


transport) about how Japanese automobile manufacturers have developed the technology to allow

trucks without drivers to ‘huddle together’ in convoys in order to save on fuel and reduce traffic congestion.

So What?

build special routes just for these closely The writer coupled driverless Christopher DeMorro vehicles, so they can quite rightly couldn’t do the major parts of resist alluding to the their journeys with ‘likely’ dystopian priority over other vision of a world traffic. where machines are allowed to They could even gradually take over maybe think of a jobs previously way of ‘fixing’ all undertaken by the closely coupled humans (but without vehicles to these all the lying around special roads – I on the beach sipping don’t know, I’m pina coladas) and for brainstorming here, our part, we couldn’t but how about a resist adding this pair of metal rails comment: specially made to fit the trucks’ wheels? “Brilliant. What they should do now is And how about electrifying those rails to allow the vehicles to travel faster and more cleanly? You’d probably need maybe one driver at the front of the convoy to keep an eye on things. He should wear a peaked cap so everyone can see him clearly and he should be allowed

a nice loud whistle type thing to warn people that he’s coming through. And let’s just assume he’s got a fairly common name like, say, Jones, Casey Jones perhaps, they could help the branding exercise with a catchy little song about how he’s always on time and when you hear the tooting’ of his whistle people will always know it’s “Casey at the throttle of his…scratching around here but how about…Cannonball Express?” Whatever will they think of next? Wind powered ships?”

carbon capture

AS IF BY MAGIC... Fuel To Be Made From CO2 in The Air The News:

microorganism to produce fuel from CO2 Usually when we look doesn’t exactly clean for fuel sources it’s deep up the air. Rather, it’s under the Earth’s surface. essentially carbon But someday we may neutral because it doesn’t look up for our fuel. add CO2 to the air, just the CO2 that was used to Researchers at the make the fuel. University of Georgia have discovered a way to Right now the process turn the carbon dioxide is in its earlier stages found in our atmosphere meaning it’s not a fuel into industrial products – source you’ll see in mass like fuel and chemicals. quantities anytime soon. But that’s what the By creating a researchers are working microorganism that on next. uses carbon dioxide like plants do – turning (Source: Tyler Falk, water and CO2 into sugars that are used for energy – researchers say SO WHAT? that those sugars can be fermented and turned “What this discovery into ethanol. means is that we can remove plants as the Using this middleman. We can take 32

carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere and turn it into useful products without having to go through the inefficient process of growing plants and extracting sugars from biomass. “This is an important first step that has great promise as an efficient and cost-effective method of producing fuels. In the future we will refine the process and begin testing it on larger scales.” (Michael Adams, coauthor of the study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences, and a professor at the University of Georgia)

energy efficiency

IT’S ALL ABOUT DANCING TO THE SAME TUNE ‘Developing The ‘Internet Of Things’ Could Deliver a 20% Saving In Greenhouse Emissions,’ Says New Report

The big story emerging from the ‘Mobile World Conference’ in Barcelona, is that the development of a new technology that allows machines to talk to each other (inevitably referred to as ‘M2M’ technology) could end up delivering an 18.6% reduction in global greenhouse emissions. The report, entitled ‘Machine-to-Machine Technologies: Unlocking the Potential of a $1 Trillion Industry’, was delivered by The Carbon War Room (a non-governmental organisation founded by Sir Richard Branson, which is far less sinister than it sounds) in conjunction with telecoms giant AT&T. “Machine to machine (M2M) communication – whereby sensors and networks allow all the parts of a physical system to communicate directly with each other – will radically change the way we work, live and travel. M2M will allow us to do more with less, but only if the industry can overcome current market barriers,” the report concludes.

seems to be suggesting is that if we can somehow link all our machines together and get them to routinely chat to each other (hence the attention-grabbing concept of an ‘Internet of Things’) and instill in them a certain degree of ‘intelligence’ as to the way they can most energy-efficiently interact, we should be able to save about a fifth on our current greenhouse emissions by 2020. The sort of savings we really do need to be coming up with soon if we’re going to succeed in restricting global warming to just a 2 degree rise. A restriction which will require us to get our total emissions down to 1990 levels by 2020. Oh, and generate cost savings and new revenue in the region of 10 to 15 trillion dollars over the next 2 decades. “Decoupling economic growth from GHG emissions is a global imperative requiring efforts by governments, businesses and individuals,” the report says.

In a nutshell, what the report “Preventing average global

energy efficiency

temperature increases of more than 2°C will require our GHG emissions to shrink by at least five-seven gigatons (billion metric tons, or Gt) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) – a massive amount, equal to 10-15 per cent of the world’s total annual emissions today. Luckily, we now possess mature technologies that can accomplish this goal, and even surpass it.”

we encounter are run badly and would achieve 30-50% energy reductions using smarter technologies. I have not read the above report but can agree d) transport with the article, in that technologies (potential smart energy controls annual carbon saving and communications by 2020: 1.9 billion deliver a substantial tons). portion of the savings. Using a car analogy, The report concludes due to inadequate that demand for these communication and technologies is on the controls, the average verge of exploding and building is run at 8000 that the market for revs in first gear on the The sectors which machine-to-machine motorway. While to the Carbon War Room technologies will the external observer it expects to provide most expand by 23% a year appears to be working savings by adopting the for the next seven fine, underneath, new technology are: years, translating to a the components are total market value of being over worked and a) energy smart grid $948bn a year by 2020. huge amounts of fuel systems (potential (gas and electricity) annual carbon saving SO WHAT? are being used by 2020: 2 billion tons); unnecessarily.” (John To quote a beautiful Hatton) b) building comment we saw in management systems response to this story Need we say more? that can optimise on heating and cooling (potential annual “Having first hand carbon saving by 2020: experience of 200+ 1.6 billion tons); buildings, we at Alpheon Energy find c) agriculture, with that 80% of those 36

a particular focus on water and fertiliser management (potential annual carbon saving by 2020: 1.6 billion tons);

Š Gokhan Okur | Dreamstime Stock Photos



Well, traces of him...

Western World Should Halve Its Consumption Of Meat, Say Scientists In Wake Of Horsemeat Scandal A United Nations Study has concluded that modern farming practices are destroying the natural world and that people in ‘developed’ continents such as North America and Europe should lead the way by halving their consumption of meat. The scientists say that the recent horsemeat scandal has highlighted our spiraling demand for meat in the last 50 years, which has resulted in the creation of a dangerous


black market in undocumented livestock (such as horses) and an ever-increasing drain on global food resources. Livestock farming diverts huge quantities of grain from human to animal consumption while also requiring vast amounts of environmentally damaging fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides. “The attention this meat scare has drawn [highlights] poor quality

meat. It shows society must think about livestock and food choices much more, for the environment and health,” said Professor Mark Sutton, the report’s lead scientist. The answer according to Sutton is more vegetables on our plates, and less meat. “Eat meat, but less often – make it special. Portion size is key. Many portions are too big, more than you want to eat. Think about a change of culture that says, ‘I like the taste, but

I don’t need so much of it. “Most people don’t notice,” he said, alluding to a recent UN event at which diners were offered a third of the ‘normal’ amount of meat and more vegetables to make up for it. 90% of them reported being just as satisfied with the meal. SO WHAT?

1990 levels in the next 30 years or so. Hence efforts like ‘meat free Monday’ in the US, which isn’t winning many friends among the country’s farmers (and who can blame them?) but is doing a very good job at highlighting the true cost of meat production in terms of our total available resources these days.

Water for example. Agriculture contributes Research has shown about 15% per annum that every hamburger to global greenhouse we eat (when you emissions. Most of this take into account the is methane, which is 23 water needed to grow times more powerful the crops to feed the than carbon dioxide. livestock) requires Most of that comes the same amount of from cow flatulence water as the average and the fertilisers and American will use chemicals required to taking showers in a grow the crops that year. Which either feed them. means Americans need to focus on their Reducing our personal hygiene consumption of habits, or we’re using meat would have an up a frightening immediate effect on amount of McWater global emissions and every time we scoff a the world’s (vague) quarter pounder. consensus to reduce our combined emissions to The bottom line here

of course being that this is one part of the emissions battle everyone can get involved in. It won’t suddenly result in global vegetarianism, but a 50% reduction wouldn’t be a bad target surely? A reduction that would equate to a 7% fall in total global emissions every year. Or, to put a nice big number on it, about 4 gigatons of the stuff. As for the damage this might do to farmers’ chances of making a living, why not compensate them with special grants to install revenuegenerating wind and solar installations on their land combined with a special (and preferably fixed) feed-in tariff. And likewise for bio-fuel generated from agricultural waste. Energy harvesting as part of the normal agricultural mix. Why not?


Issue 6 of  

The sixth issue of 2050magazine. With a special on nuclear fusion, green gadgets and the news.

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