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January 2021

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Global Roadmap

The International Energy Agency (IEA) is drawing up the “world’s first” comprehensive roadmap for the global energy sector to reach net zero emissions by 2050, with the organisation keen to have the landmark report ready to aid policymakers well-ahead of the COP26 Climate Summit in November. Announced yesterday, the special report will be titled The World’s Roadmap to Net Zero by 2050 and will set out in detail what is needed from governments, companies, investors, and citizens to fully decarbonise the energy sector at a pace that is consistent with limiting the global average temperature rise to 1.5C, the IEA said.

Business Green 12th Jan 2021 read more »


Land-Use in Scotland

A leading think-tank is calling for a wide-ranging new “national conversation” on the future of land in rural Scotland in the aftermath of Brexit. Reform Scotland said the country was in need of a new “agriculture and land-use road map” after its departure from the European Union and the Common Agricultural Policy. The organisation has urged politicians and policy makers to explore how to rebalance rural economies and create new jobs to “reverse centuries of urbanisation”. Reform Scotland’s discussion paper calls for private landowners to “engage constructively” with a rethink to maximise the potential of rural Scotland through everything from renewable energy, tourism and housing to agriculture and forestry. The report also recommends a “more balanced and environmentally sustainable” use of natural resources, as well as a rethink of state subsidy and state intervention in rural areas, which account for 98 per cent of Scotland’s land mass, but just 7 per cent of the population.

Scotsman 11th Jan 2021 read more »


Cabinet Reshuffle

Number 10 has this evening announced a mini-reshuffle, confirming that Alok Sharma will become the full-time President of the COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow and as such will relinquish his role as Business Secretary. Kwasi Kwarteng has been promoted from his role as Energy and Clean Growth Minister to step into Sharma’s shoes as Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy, while Anne-Marie Trevelyan has been appointed to take on Kwarteng’s Ministerial role and will be tasked with driving forward UK climate and energy policy and co-ordinating the delivery of the Prime Minister’s recently announced 10 Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution. Sharma is said to have impressed colleagues and counterparts from around the world since taking on the role and is understood to have made the case to Number 10 that taking on the Presidency as a full time role would increase the chances of a successful summit and help bolster the UK’s standing as a climate leader.

Business Green 8th Jan 2021 read more »

Boris Johnson has moved his business secretary, Alok Sharma, to work full-time on preparations for the Cop26 climate conference in Glasgow this November, a change urged by environmental experts given the scale of the role. For the past 11 months, Sharma has combined being Cop26 president with his job as business secretary. He will now undertake the Cop role full-time, with Kwasi Kwarteng taking the business brief.

Guardian 8th Jan 2021 read more »

iNews 8th Jan 2021 read more »

Independent 8th Jan 2021 read more »

Boris Johnson has appointed the Conservatives’ first black Secretary of State after Alok Sharma relinquished the role of Business Secretary to focus on hosting this year’s COP26 climate conference. Kwasi Kwarteng, who previously served under Mr Sharma, will now step up to run the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). He had previously been tipped to take over as president of the global climate summit in Glasgow, but Mr Sharma, who has been leading on the preparations since February last year, has been asked to take on the role full-time. Anne-Marie Trevelyan, who lost her place in Cabinet as a result of the Department for International Trade merging with the Foreign Office, has also returned to fill Mr Kwarteng’s former role as minister for business, energy and clean growth.

Telegraph 8th Jan 2021 read more »

Times 9th Jan 2021 read more »

Herald 8th Jan 2021 read more »


Nuclear plus Wind

How would you use a nuclear-wind hybrid plant and maximise its potential? When intermittent wind’s output falls, nuclear can step in to feed the grid. When it’s not doing that it can use its power to run the production of a wide range of commodities: from biofuels, hydrogen, pumped hydro to wastewater purification, desalination, chemical manufacturing and more – including straightforward thermal power for industry. In collaboration with NREL, the Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis (JISEA) has modelled scenarios to identify the conditions under which nuclear-renewable hybrid plants can succeed. The models depend on various price scenarios including electricity, gas and carbon, as well as possible regulations applied to gas and targets for clean energy. The key is to create a tightly coupled nuclear-renewable hybrid system that allows nuclear to be truly flexible. Such hybrids will not only be good for nuclear but open up new markets for renewables like wind and improve grid stability.

Energy Post 6th Dec 2021 read more »


Report: Can the built environment achieve a green recovery?

edie has today (8 January) launched a free report detailing the appetite within the built environment sector to collaborate to overcome the challenges presented by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and to “build back better” by championing the green recovery.

The report is free to download

The report is free to download

As part of edie’s brand-new Mission Possible: Green Recovery campaign – which supports sustainability, energy and CSR professionals on our collective mission to drive a green recovery across all major industries in the UK – this latest series of reports will explore why a green recovery is so important for the respective industries being analysed; what a green recovery actually looks like for businesses large and small within those industries; and how sustainability and energy professionals can drive a green recovery from within.


A key driver of the green recovery for built environment firms is that of collaboration. The built environment sector has a strong history of collaborating to drive low-carbon strategies. Both the WorldGBC and the UK Green Buildings Council (UKGBC) have worked tirelessly to bring construction and built environment firms to the table to discuss ways to decarbonise and improve biodiversity.

This collaborative approach has also evolved in sync with the required need for ambitious climate action. Leading companies within the industry jointly declared a climate emergency in order to set up a new taskforce to coordinate climate action across the built environment. As mentioned in this report, the Climate Group’s RE100, EV100 and SteelZero initiatives have all enabled firms to collaboratively decarbonise.

“This industry re-shaping is bringing about closer longer-term relationships between companies. We are seeing competitors coming together to share development of solutions that create economies of scale,” UK Research and Innovation’s director of the Transforming Construction Challenge, Sam Stacey, said.

The report has been created in assistance with E.ON and uses exclusive results from edie’s green recovery survey of 243 sustainability and energy professionals. This built environment report has also been produced with guidance from in-depth discussions with a steering panel of sustainability experts from some of the world’s most respected construction and built environment firms in the vanguard of sustainability leadership.

This report features the results of that exclusive survey, insight from the steering panel and key boxouts on how collaboration, innovation, net-zero and the COP26 climate conference will shape the confidence of the sector in delivering radical decarbonisation. Importantly, the report highlights how a strong focus on net-zero, technological innovations and a history of collaboration within the sector has created the building blocks to deliver a green recovery moving forward.

Additionally, viewpoints from E.ON and UK Research and Innovation help set the tone as to why businesses can be optimistic when approaching the green recovery through net-zero targets and new business practices.

“During edie’s Green Recovery event for construction, it was great to see positive collaboration between companies and hearing how they have adapted and worked through the pandemic whilst keeping sustainability at the heart of their business. This approach makes me feel optimistic about a green recovery following COVID-19,” Darren Gardner, head of E.ON Drive UK, states in the report.

Click here to download the report.

edie staff


Energy Consumption

This site’s Daily News content is provided by Edinburgh Energy & Environment Consultancy. EEE are experts in policy and analysis on energy and environment issues, particularly nuclear power.

Services include: supplying tailored news services, writing reports and briefings, drafting consultation responses and developing political campaign strategies.

Clients have included Greenpeace, Nuclear Free Local Authorities, WWF Scotland and the UK Government’s Committee on Radioactive Waste Management.


New Nuclear vs Renewables

The International Energy Agency (IEA) concluded in a report last year that global nuclear power development is moving too slowly to allow the world to meet its Sustainable Development Scenarios. In fact, it says the rate of construction is half what it needs to be. In contrast, a new paper from the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU), a research group at the UK’s Brighton University, argues that a nuclear power programme is in conflict with sustainable development goals. Launching the paper, Differences in carbon emissions reduction between countries pursuing renewable electricity versus nuclear power, the SPRU group said that countries with large national nuclear programmes do not tend to show significantly lower carbon emissions. It claims the study shows that nuclear and renewable energy programmes do not tend to co-exist well in low-carbon energy systems because they crowd each other out. System operator National Grid ESO (NGESO) said it had been given an experience of operating with a renewable energy contribution, in percentage terms, that it had not expected for a decade. The problem for NGESO was in maintaining inertia (ie help regulate frequency and voltage to maintain supply stability). In the long term it expects to be able to get most of these services from renewables or fast-acting storage, with the aid of software control and real-time monitoring of system conditions. In the meantime, as it did in the past, it uses the physical momentum in large rotating machinery – the turbine generators in thermal power plant. The nuclear industry will have to do a lot of convincing if it wants to become the low-carbon companion to renewables.

NS Energy 6th Jan 2021 read more »


Report: More farmland must be converted to forests and meadows if UK is to reach net-zero

Land use in the UK must be dramatically transformed by the end of the decade if the UK is to meet its 2050 net-zero target, with space re-allocated from livestock to vegetables, meadows and hedges. This will result in all of us eating less meat and more plant-based foods.

At present, just 2% of agricultural land has been set aside for biodiversity-rich ponds, hedges and meadows

At present, just 2% of agricultural land has been set aside for biodiversity-rich ponds, hedges and meadows

That is according to a major new report from the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission (FFCC), published today (7 January).

Entitled ‘Farming for Change’, the report maps a “no regrets” route for the farming sector to align with the UK’s long-term climate vision in the coming years. Calculations are based on a scenario in which annual emissions from the sector decrease by around 40%, with offsetting used to address the remaining 60%. ‘Insetting’ through the creation of new forests and peatlands in the UK should, in the FFCC’s opinion, be the preferred option.

The FFCC is calling for the use of all synthetic fertilisers and pesticides to be stopped. Ammonium nitrate is the world’s most widely-used synthetic fertilisers and it contributes to climate change in two ways: its production is energy-intensive and relies on fossil fuels at present, and it emits greenhouse gases once applied to crops due to chemical reactions with the soil.

At the same time, the ways in which land is used will need to be changed dramatically – and this will have an impact on our diets.

The report states that the amount of land available for “green and ecological infrastructure” including meadows and hedgerows will need to almost double by 2030. At present, only 2% of agricultural fallow land is being used this way.

A further 7.5% of land or more will need to see its use converted, according to the FFCC, as a minimum. These 1.2 million hectares should be used for woodland or other habitat creations in the main. Space could also be dedicated to increasing public access, improving social sustainability.

In recognition of the impact that animal feed has on land use – and, by extension, biodiversity loss and climate change – globally, the FFCC is calling for the UK to adopt a model in which land is prioritised for food production, then animal food production. Non-food uses like virgin biofuels should be even lower down the list of priorities.

Should land use in the UK’s farming sector change in these ways, the average UK adult will double the proportion of their diet accounted for by vegetables and more than double the proportion accounted for by plant-based proteins. Average servings of meat-based protein will decrease from three per day to one per day.

“This modelling shows how a transition to agroecology, hand in hand with a transition to healthy and sustainable diets, could allow us to restore biodiversity on farmland and spare more land for nature and trees while getting close to net-zero at home and ending the devastating impact of animal feed production in the tropics,” FFCC commissioner Helen Browning said.

Browning, also chief executive of the Soil Association, continued: “This research does not supply all the answers, but it clearly indicates that agroecology should be given serious consideration in the debates on the future of land use for climate, nature and health. It is crucial that farmers, especially those already pioneering agroecological approaches such as organic farming, are given a seat at the table in these policy debates.”

Many of the recommendations in the report align with those of the Climate Change Committee, which published its land-use recommendations for net-zero in early 2020. Land use in the UK is responsible for 12% of national annual emissions and the majority result from agriculture.

Changing policy

The publication of the report comes shortly after the UK and EU agreed a post-Brexit trade deal. Trade in most agri-food products will continue due to the deal, but farmers are not expecting a friction-free transition.

While sanctions and tariffs are off the table, non-tariff costs are likely to push up the price of some products. The UK notably imports up to 80% of all food products sold annually and makes more than £14bn of export sales to the EU every year.

Economic concerns aside, Brexit also has implications for environmental sustainability in the agri-food space. The EU’s Common Agricultural Policy has long been criticised by green groups and, in leaving the bloc, the UK has developed a new Agriculture Bill to replace the framework. The Bill includes measures that will see farmers and land managers rewarded financially for work to improve air and water quality; boost soil health; implement flood mitigation and adaptation measures; improve access to the countryside or bolster animal welfare. It also details plans to delink direct payments for farmers from a requirement to farm the land, as introduced by the EU, by 2028.

But many believe the devil will be in the detail. The ‘Path to Sustainable Farming’ strategy, developed as a mechanism for changing financial support and published in November, was criticised by organisations including the Wildlife Trusts and Wildlife and Countryside Link for being light on specifics.

Sarah George


UK EV registrations up 185% in 2020, despite impact of Covid-19

Despite new car registrations falling to their lowest in nearly 30 years in 2020, the proportion of the market accounted for by electric vehicles (EVs) grew significantly, according to new figures from the automotive industry’s trade body.

Automakers are now planning to launch more EVs than petrol models in the UK market in 2021

Automakers are now planning to launch more EVs than petrol models in the UK market in 2021

Data published today (6 January) by the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reveals that 1.63 million new cars were registered in the UK during 2020, compared with 2.3 million in 2019. The 29% year-on-year decline is the steepest seen since World War 2, according to the body. The last time that just 1.63 million new cars were registered was in 1992.

The EV market, however, was not hit as hard as the market for petrol and diesel models. Of the new cars registered in 2019, just 1.5% were pure electric. The proportion stood at 6.5% in 2020. Similar growth was recorded for plug-in-hybrids. Overall, more than one in ten cars registered was either pure electric or hybrid.

Some 108,200 battery electric vehicles and 66,870 plug-in hybrids were registered during 2020. More than two-thirds of these registrations were for company cars, indicative of the growing movement towards fleet electrification among businesses of all sizes.

Auto Trader’s commercial director Ian Plummer appeared on BBC radio this morning, stating that sales of new EVs and plug-in-hybrids could overtake diesel sales for the first time this year. Like other analysts, he pointed to the ban on new petrol and diesel car sales being brought forward to 2030 and to the public’s wish to lock in the reductions in transport emissions and air pollution recorded during lockdown.

In a statement released alongside the data, the SMMT said that key players in the UK’s automotive industry see EVs are a core part of their plans for recovering from the financial hit of the pandemic. Its members are planning to bring 35 new electric models to the UK market in 2021, marking a record year-on-year increase.

“With the rollout of vaccines and clarity over our new relationship with the EU, we must make 2021 a year of recovery,” SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said. “With manufacturers bringing record numbers of electrified vehicles to market over the coming months, we will work with the government to encourage drivers to make the switch, while promoting investment in our globally-renowned manufacturing base – recharging the market, industry and economy.”

Policy gaps

Nonetheless, the SMTT believes that more must be done to stimulate battery production in the UK in the post-Brexit landscape. Under current investment plans, UK battery factories will collectively have a capacity of 15 GWh by 2023 – enough to produce 250,000 EVs per year. The SMTT wants to see the Government and industry collaborate to bring a further 45 GWh online through to 2030.

The SMTT also stated that stronger policy support will be needed to encourage EV uptake among individual motorists. Specifically, it has posited better financial incentives and more investment in public charging infrastructure, particularly in on-street scenarios.

The 2020 Budget saw the Government announcing a new commitment of ensuring that all EV drivers in the UK are never more than 30 miles away from a publicly accessible fast EV charger. Chancellor Rishi Sunak confirmed a £500m support package for fast charging networks to support progress.

UK businesses and policymakers have faced repeated warnings that the scale of EV adoption has far outpaced the introduction of charging infrastructure in recent times. PwC, for example, has claimed that UK’s EV stock reached 134,000 vehicles in 2017 – a 54% increase on 2016 figures – but that there were only 13,500 charging points to support these vehicles at that time. Chargers have since been installed at retail and community hubs by many large businesses, including KFC, McDonald’s, Marston’s, Lidl, Morrisons, Tesco and Mitchells & Butlers. Progress with on-street charging seems to be slower, with many councils claiming they need more financial support from central government to deliver on their ambitions in this space.

According to Department for Transport data, the UK’s EV charging network and now consists of around 19,500 charge points, 3,500 of which are rapid. 

The great EV switchover 

In related news, Zap-Map has this week published the results of a survey of 2,000 UK motorists, conducted to garner EV-related habits and plans. 

91% of the respondents – who were selected because they already use EVs –  said they would never consider switching back to petrol or diesel. Only 1% said they were definitely keen to switch back.

Zap-Map’s co-founder Melanie Shufflebotham said this finding evidences “the strong and enduring impact of switching to a clean car.”

“The challenge for the automotive industry is to take advantage of the opportunities that EVs present, not only in terms of the rapidly expanding range, but also ensuring that sales staff are knowledgeable enough to present the benefits to their customers,” she added. 

Sarah George


Lenovo to deliver global rollout of customer offset scheme

Computer manufacturer Lenovo has unveiled plans to rollout a carbon offsetting scheme for customer purchases across the globe, following a trial run in the Nordics that saw 26,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide offset.

Lenovo recently set science-based targets to halve emissions from its operations

Lenovo recently set science-based targets to halve emissions from its operations

Lenovo is planning a global rollout of its offsetting programme for new Think-branded products as part of the ongoing CO2 Offset Services initiative.

The programme was first launched as a pilot in the Nordics in February. During the first nine months, customers helped offset 26,000 tonnes of carbon emissions, the equivalent to almost 1,800 European flights.

The company plans to roll the programme out globally this year, for all Europe, Middle East and Africa as well as the Asia Pacific and North America markets.

The offset scheme accounts for emissions produced from the manufacture and shipping of each individual product and up to five years of consumer use. Offsets are delivered through projects overseen by the UN and ClimeCo, which is one of the largest producers of US-based carbon credits.

“What’s unusual is our micro, rather than macro approach here,” Lenovo’s director of EMEA service sales, Thilo Bayerlander, said. “We’ve crunched the numbers and can say with confidence what carbon impact the individual product you buy will have. You can then simply choose to offset this PCF [Product carbon footprint] at the point of purchase.”

“This is actually one of the first times that you can draw a clear line from your individual purchase to the number of metric tonnes then offset. We believe we are the first company in the IT industry to make offsetting tangible for our customers in a way that links cause and effect directly.”

Carbon reductions

The global market for voluntary offsetting has been growing exponentially for more than a decade. Just 8.8 million tonnes of CO2e were covered in 2006 but, by 2017, the figure stood at 62.7 million tonnes. By late 2019, some NGOs and businesses offering carbon credits were reporting a tenfold increase in interest from businesses. However, concerns exist that businesses are overly relying on offsets, rather than promoting carbon reductions.

Lenovo is focusing on long-term decarbonisation. Last year, the company set science-based targets to halve emissions from its operations and reduce value chain impacts by 25% by 2030, with a view to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.

The new targets have been approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) and are aligned to limiting global temperature rise to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, as envisioned by the Paris Agreement.

By 2030, Lenovo will reduce scope 1 and 2 emissions related to operations and including energy purchased for electricity, heat, steam and cooling by 50%. In the same timeframe, value chain emissions – including the use of sold products, purchased goods and services and upstream transportation – will be reduced by 25%.

The company claims the targets will assist with the identification of steps required to become a net-zero emissions business by 2050.

Lenovo’s Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Report details progress against ESG targets to date and confirms that Lenovo has reduced emissions by 92% since 2010, well surpassing a 40% reduction target.

Matt Mace

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