In past centuries, home heating and cooking in the British Isles involved the burning of wood, mainly in open hearths. The Romans developed underfloor heating using hot air (the ‘hypocaust’) but this still relied on wood combustion. The first wood-burning stove was patented in Strasbourg in 1557, but by the industrial revolution urban houses were typically heated with coal. By the mid Twentieth century oil, gas and electricity had become the fuel of choice largely due to the introduction of the Clean Air act, which curtailed the use of household ‘dirty’ coal, but open fires and stoves remained popular where they could be accommodated, especially in rural areas.
In recent years, ‘aspirational lifestyle’ marketing by stove manufacturers (and TV shows like Grand Designs), along with the availability of new biomass-based fuels (pellets and briquettes), have been driving a resurgence – with some even suggesting that because wood is technically a renewable energy source, woodfuel is a clean and green way to heat your home. But is it? And what are the other implications?
After the heavy rains and flood damage of last winter, the need to protect communities from flooding has never been more important. Natural Flood Management – using the natural capacity of rivers, wetlands and woodlands to reduce downstream flood risk – has become a buzzword. But there are still major gaps in our understanding of how the natural world can be harnessed to help reduce flooding.
The University of Leeds, with support from UBoC, is taking a leading role in the effort to better understand the potential of Natural Flood Management. The University hosts water@leeds – one of the largest interdisciplinary centres for water research in any university in the world – making it the ideal location to lead research efforts.
UBoC’s Ed Butt and Dom Spracklen have published a paper in Nature.com’s Scientific Reports: “Population exposure to hazardous air quality due to the 2015 fires in Equatorial Asia” – with researchers from Newcastle UK, Boulder Colorado USA, Singapore, Bloomington USA and Riau Province Indonesia.
The full authorship is P. Crippa, S. Castruccio, S. Archer-Nicholls, G. B. Lebron, M. Kuwata, A. Thota, S. Sumin, E. Butt, C. Wiedinmyer & D. V. Spracklen. (See here for individual links) http://www.nature.com/articles/srep37074
(Co-Authors: Catherine Scott, University of Leeds; Stephen Arnold, University of Leeds; Sarah Monks, University of Colorado and NOAA; Pauli Paasonen, University of Helsinki; Ari Asmi, University of Helsinki)
Last week was a big week for climate policy. Last Tuesday the countries of the EU ratified the Paris agreement, taking it past the threshold required to make it legally binding – which will happen as soon as the 4th of November.
Following a chance meeting between UBoC’s Tom Bliss and Samuel Grant Packaging’s Martin Harris at the recent Manufactured Yorkshire trade fair, the two organisations are delighted to announce a new collaboration which represents great news for both Samuel Grant Packaging’s customers and projects supported by UBoC.
The Samuel Grant Group is based in Leeds, where it was formed in 1891 by the great grandfather of current Directors Andrew and Matthew Grant. Today’s team is fully committed to helping companies reduce packaging waste and associated environmental footprints.
The news that the USA and China have ratified the Paris Agreement is probably the best we’ve heard here at UBoC since 195 countries adopted it by consensus at the Parc des Expositions on the 12th of December last year. (See Piers’ blog at the time).
The totaliser now shows that 180 have since signed, and 26 have formally ratified. And while 26 out of 195 may seem paltry, because China (20.09%) and USA (17.89%) are the world’s two largest emitters, (the third would actually be food waste, but that’s another story) these 26 represent 39% of global emissions; a fair step towards the ‘double threshold’, which requires both 55% of emissions and 55 countries to be committed before L’Accord de Paris finally becomes legally and globally binding.
However, apart from these two giants, most of the other ratifiers are tiny, with the vast majority at imminent risk from rising sea levels or other climate dangers: The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cameroon, Cook Islands, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Fiji, Grenada, Guyana, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Nauru, Norway, Palau, Palestine, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Somalia and Tuvalu – few score above one percent, and most fall well below. Continue reading Paris – When will the UK ratify?→
United Bank of Carbon is a not-for-profit collaboration between businesses and environmental scientists, which protects and restores forests and other greenery, through environmentally and socially-responsible partnerships with local communities. We undertake research, support forest and woodland projects in the UK and the tropics that deliver CSR/PR benefits, provide carbon reduction consultancy, and arrange offsetting for unavoidable carbon emissions