Technological advances combined with tough emissions targets are bringing the end of petrol and diesel traffic into view
The prospect of a cleaner motor vehicle fleet is drawing closer. In November, the UK government announced that a ban on new petrol and diesel car sales would be brought forward to 2030. Advances in battery technology mean the tipping point at which electric vehicles become cheaper than other types, without subsidies, could come within five years. Fast-charging electric car batteries are on the horizon, with five-minute “fill up” times in sight.
This is good news for the climate, with transport emissions one of the biggest obstacles to meeting reductions targets, nationally and globally. Also welcome for the UK is the announcement by Nissan that in future it will source 62 kilowatt-hour batteries for its popular Leaf model from the factory next door to its Sunderland car plant, instead of importing them from the US.
The concerted global response to the pandemic could be replicated for the fight against the climate crisis
In a world rife with disputes and divisions, there will be one emotion likely to unite most people at the stroke of midnight on 31 December: sheer relief that 2020 is finally over.
There’s no risk of overstating it: this past year has pushed our world right to the edge. A single virus leaping from animals to humans was enough to kill 1.6 million people, bring major economies to their knees, and cause untold anguish and suffering all over the world.
Home owners can get help from government schemes but but do they really cut costs?
When Graham Davidson and his wife, Pauline, retired to a bungalow in Norfolk three years ago they ripped out the old boiler and replaced it with an air source heat pump at a cost of £10,000. But this pricey replacement has turned into a moneyspinner for the Davidsons – and millions of British households are likely to follow suit in what is expected to be a revolution in home heating.
Davidson, 68, who used to work in the car electronics business, says it was financial gain rather than saving the planet that was at the forefront of his decision. But dumping the gas boiler has probably cut his household carbon emissions by more than half.
17m tonnes of carbon dioxide to be stored beneath the North Sea every year
After decades spent extracting fossil fuels from the UK’s North Sea, a consortium of oil companies is preparing to pump Britain’s greenhouse gas emissions back beneath the seabed to help meet the government’s climate ambitions.
BP has set out plans to lead an alliance of energy companies in siphoning off the carbon dioxide from factory flues under new plans in which almost half the UK’s industrial emissions will be stored beneath the North Sea from 2026.
Experts look to technologies that inject factories’ carbon dioxide deep underground
Technology that can keep carbon dioxide emissions from entering the atmosphere and stoking global heating will be essential to tackle the growing climate crisis, experts say. But how does it work, and why will it make a difference in fighting climate breakdown?
Cheshire-based facility will be world’s first to use bacteria-based recycling processes
The UK is to get its first commercial refinery for extracting precious metals from electronic waste, which will also be the world’s first to use bacteria rather than cyanide-based processes.
A New Zealand startup, Mint Innovation, plans to open the facility within 12 months in Cheshire, in the north of England, after delays caused by the Covid-19 crisis.
System of overhead cables and adapted lorries could pay for itself within 15 years
The UK could eliminate the majority of the carbon dioxide emissions from road freight by installing overhead charging cables for electric lorries on “e-highways” across the country, a report by government-funded academics suggests.
The plan for a so-called electric road system would cost £19.3bn and put all but the most remote parts of the UK within reach of the trucks by the late 2030s, with the potential for the investment to pay for itself within 15 years, according to the report by the Centre for Sustainable Road Freight. The centre is backed by government research grants and industry partners including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and John Lewis.
Influential committees call for bold investments to recover and grow in ‘cleaner and greener way’
MPs have joined growing calls from business leaders and environmentalists for the government to use its post-coronavirus economic recovery plan to accelerate investments aimed at tackling the climate crisis.
The chairs of two influential cross-party select committees have warned the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, that time is running out to “avert an even greater future global crisis caused by climate change”.
There is no easy route to a greener global economy. But since coronavirus hit, politics and business are thinking again
Timing matters. Early 2020 saw an economic collapse the likes of which have not been seen in living memory. Growth has collapsed, unemployment has soared, poverty has increased.
Yet in different circumstances the past few months would have been dominated by calls for countries to do more to cut carbon emissions. As 2019 drew to an end, everybody from the managing director of the International Monetary Fund to the governor of the Bank of England was warning of the threat of global heating.
António Guterres calls for coronavirus aid to be directed at firms with green credentials
Governments should not use taxpayer cash to rescue fossil fuel companies and carbon-intensive industries, but should devote economic rescue packages for the coronavirus crisis to businesses that cut greenhouse gas emissions and create green jobs, the UN secretary general has urged.
“Where taxpayers’ money is used to rescue businesses, it must be creating green jobs and sustainable and inclusive growth,” said António Guterres, speaking at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue, a virtual meeting of more than 30 governments on the climate crisis, which concluded on Tuesday. “It must not be bailing out outdated, polluting, carbon-intensive industries.”