UK’s first grid-injected hydrogen pilot

The UK’s first live pilot to inject zero carbon hydrogen into a gas network to heat homes and buildings at Keele University is now fully operational.

 

Hydrogen is a zero carbon gas that when burned produces just heat and water.  The Committee on Climate Change has determined that the use of hydrogen in our energy system is necessary in order to reach Net Zero.  Heating for domestic properties and industry accounts for half of the UK’s energy consumption and one third of its carbon emissions.  If a 20% hydrogen blend was rolled out across the country it could save around six million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions every year, the equivalent of taking 2.5 million cars off the road.

 

HyDeploy is a ground-breaking green energy trial at Keele University that could help Britain cut its carbon emissions and open the door to a low-carbon hydrogen economy.  Backed by Ofgem’s Network Innovation Competition, the £7 million project is led by Cadent in partnership with Northern Gas Networks, Keele University, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Science Division, ITM-Power, and Progressive Energy.

 

From Keele Impact Magazine 2019

Canada ties corporate coronavirus relief to climate action

On 18 May Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a new programme of corporate relief designed to help companies that are struggling during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The new programme will provide bridge loans of up to $60 million and guarantees of up to $80 million for companies earning more than $300 million in annual revenue. Companies that receive the loans, however, have to abide by a set of rules that include restricting executive bonuses and investing in climate action.  More here

Built-in Obsolescence

See this article from The Guardian which talks about built-in obsolescence, especially of digital equipment.  It doesn’t mention this, but I understand that when the first filament light bulbs were invented, it would  have been possible to manufacture them to last indefinitely – but it was decided that that wouldn’t be good for business, and so a limited lifespan for each bulb became the norm.  So ‘built-in obsolescence’ is not a new concept, but shocking nonetheless given the mountains of waste we are creating at a time of shrinking resources.

Good to see the reference to Repair Cafes!

Earth Day April 22 2020

The celebration of ‘Earth Day’ began in the US in 1970 when Gaylord Nelson, a Democrat Senator and governor of Wisconsin,  proposed April 22 as a day for Americans to speak out about the environmental crisis.  See him speaking here.

Since then Earth Day has been observed not only in the US but around the world.  In 2016, the United Nations chose Earth Day as the day when the historic Paris Agreement on climate change was signed into force.

2020 represents the fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day and the theme for this year is climate change.  It is ironic that on the one hand events to mark the day will this year have to be digital because of the coronavirus pandemic (arguably itself a result of our cavalier and exploitative approach to the natural world) while on the other hand environmentalists may be welcoming the fact that the price of American oil has just gone negative for the first time ever.

For more information, and how to get involved, visit the Earth Day website.

Proposal for a Cambridge Great Park to encircle the city

From ‘The Cambridge Independent’, 14 April 2020:

“Campaigners who want to see a new Cambridge Great Park for the city to protect green belt land are asking the public to add their own ideas to the proposals.

Led by retired architect Neil Ruffles, the group has already submitted an outline idea to Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council to be considered as part of their next Local Plan.

Now they want to hear from anyone who has a suggestion about how they could link up local green spaces into one huge green space that is open to the public and what they would want to see in the park………

……….to submit your ideas, email *protected email*.”

See the full article for more details.

Ask the County Council to reduce mowing of verges

The charity Plantlife are urging councils to reduce verge cutting.  They say:

“Roads have fallen quiet as lockdown is observed, as has the drone of many councils’ mowers. Councils are under considerable pressure due to the Coronavirus crisis and many have understandably reduced grass cutting down to essential management to maintain visibility and ensure road safety. There’s hope that reduced cutting frequencies might be a silver lining for verge wild flowers, giving once-familiar flowers, such as white campion, betony, greater knapweed and harebell, the chance to grow, flower and set seed. 

As well allowing precious wild flowers the opportunity to thrive, reducing cutting and adopting a more wildlife-friendly management regime will also help tackle the climate crisis. Over 300 local authorities have now declared a climate emergency, so sustaining reduced cutting regimes will also help councils bring down carbon emissions.”

You can sign a petition to the county council here

What next after coronavirus: conversations about ‘The Flip’

People might remember the 2009 film ‘The Age of Stupid’, an independent film which looked at how we were ignoring the signs of the impending climate crisis.

Franny Armstrong, who directed the film, is now making a series of videos in which leading thinkers discuss how we can ‘flip’ from corona virus to climate safety in just a few years.

In the first of these conversations, hear George Monbiot, Caroline Lucas and Faiza Shaheen discuss what is ‘the flip’, what they would like to see flip, how to make good flips stick, what the dangers are and what happens next. About 45 minutes.