The IPCC report was last week’s big news
Last Monday (9 August) saw the publication of long-expected report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change. The IPCC press release on ‘Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’ (to give it its proper name) with The Summary for Policymakers of the Working Group I contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) as well as additional materials and information is now available.
The report projects that in the coming decades climate changes will increase in all regions. For 1.5°C of global warming, there will be increasing heat waves, longer warm seasons and shorter cold seasons. At 2°C of global warming, heat extremes would more often reach critical tolerance thresholds for agriculture and health, the report shows. But it is not just about temperature. Climate change is bringing multiple different changes in different regions – which will all increase with further warming. These include changes to wetness and dryness, to winds, snow and ice, coastal areas and oceans.
- Climate change is intensifying the water cycle. This brings more intense rainfall and associated flooding, as well as more intense drought in many regions.
- Climate change is affecting rainfall patterns. In high latitudes, precipitation is likely to increase, while it is projected to decrease over large parts of the subtropics. Changes to monsoon precipitation are expected, which will vary by region.
- Coastal areas will see continued sea level rise throughout the 21st century, contributing to more frequent and severe coastal flooding in low-lying areas and coastal erosion. Extreme sea level events that previously occurred once in 100 years could happen every year by the end of this century.
- Further warming will amplify permafrost thawing, and the loss of seasonal snow cover, melting of glaciers and ice sheets, and loss of summer Arctic sea ice.
- Changes to the ocean, including warming, more frequent marine heatwaves, ocean acidification, and reduced oxygen levels have been clearly linked to human influence. These changes affect both ocean ecosystems and the people that rely on them, and they will continue throughout at least the rest of this century.
- For cities, some aspects of climate change may be amplified, including heat (since urban areas are usually warmer than their surroundings), flooding from heavy precipitation events and sea level rise in coastal cities.
For the first time, the Sixth Assessment Report provides a more detailed regional assessment of climate change, including a focus on useful information that can inform risk assessment, adaptation, and other decision-making, and a new framework that helps translate physical changes in the climate – heat, cold, rain, drought, snow, wind, coastal flooding and more – into what they mean for society and ecosystems.
Looking back at the week, Robin McKie, writes a splendid thought-provoking article in yesterday’s ‘The Observer’ with the headline ‘It’s now or never: Scientists warn time of reckoning has come for the planet’. It is well worth reading and calls out for a national plan, a ‘society-wide vision’, policies in place throughout society; or a new planning act that ensures all local authorities have to take climate change into account every time they make a planning decision. It draws on quotes from Prof Tim Palmer of Oxford University; Prof Dave Reay, executive director of Edinburgh University’s Climate Change Institute; Prof Corinne Le Quéré of the University of East Anglia; Prof Jonathan Bamber of Bristol University; Keith Shine of Reading University; Lord Deben, chair of the UK’s Climate Change Committee; Prof Rowan Sutton of Reading University’s National Centre for Atmospheric Science; Nick Starkey, director of policy at the Royal Academy of Engineering; and Joeri Rogelj, direct of research at the Grantham Institute, Imperial College London.
Prof Martin Siegert of Imperial College London reflects the thoughts of many (over 9,000 attended the virtual press launch) by saying:
“The climate story was all over the front pages on Tuesday but by Friday, three days later, it was hardly mentioned,” added Prof Martin Siegert of Imperial College, London. “Yet this is the most important thing that humanity needs to do in the next 30 years. It is going to change our lives, it is going to change the way we regard ourselves on the planet. And if we don’t, we are going to stoke up huge problems for our children. But after three days we seemed to be forgotten despite the fact this is something that needs decades of consistent, persistent work.”
Speed and scale and public ‘buy-in’ are all needed
Later in the week, The Guardian wrote about a leak from the third part of the IPCC report which is not scheduled to be released before next March.
This explained: “Global greenhouse gas emissions must peak in the next four years, coal and gas-fired power plants must close in the next decade and lifestyle and behavioural changes will be needed to avoid climate breakdown.”
A small group of scientists decided to leak the draft via the Spanish branch of Scientist Rebellion, an offshoot of the Extinction Rebellion movement. It was first published by the journalist Juan Bordera in the Spanish online magazine CTXT.
Investment in the Humber region
Congratulations to All-Energy exhibitor, Siemens Gamesa who (again on 9 August) announced they will expand their successful offshore blade factory in Hull, England by 41,600 square meters, more than doubling the size of the manufacturing facilities. The expansion represents an investment of £186 million and is planned to be completed in 2023.
Manufacturing of next-generation offshore wind turbine blades will be enabled at the largest offshore wind manufacturing facility in the UK. It will grow to 77,600 square meters and add 200 additional direct jobs to the approximately 1,000 person-workforce already in place.
That was not the only good news about the Humber region that day. GRI Renewable Industries, a Spanish manufacturer of wind towers and industrial wind components for major Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and developers in the wind energy market, will supply initially 100 offshore towers/year (equivalent to 100,000 tons of steel) from a factory to be built at the Able Marine Energy Park (AMEP), North Lincolnshire, on the east coast of UK. This site is expected to become the largest and most relevant marshalling port for offshore wind in the UK.
The total investment will reach around €100 million, and this project will create over 300 direct jobs and contribute to meet the government´s 2030 sustainable goals.
UK low carbon economy worth more than £200bn
The UK’s Low Carbon and Environmental Goods and Services (LCEGS) sector was worth £205.7bn to the UK’s economy in 2020/21, as indicated by the value of sales in the sector reveals a report from KMatrix. These sales were generated by over 75,700 businesses that employed over 1.2 million people in the sector in 2020/21.
The Low Carbon and Environmental Goods and Services sector in the UK grew year on year from 2007/08 to 2019/20, before contracting during 2020/21. In 2018/19 total sales in the sector were worth £210.5bn, they grew to £226.1bn in 2019/20 and shrank to £205.7.3bn in 2020/21. The sector in the UK grew by 7.4% during the financial year 2018/19 to 2019/20 and contracted by -9.0% during 2019/20 to 2020/21.
The report was published in May but it was an article in The Guardian some three months later.that made it jump out at us.
EMEC’S VIP visitor list e-x-p-a-n-d-s
Recent visitors to EMEC – the European Marine Energy Centre – including Prime Minister Boris Johnson; then Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were there to marvel at Orbital Marine Power’s O2; last week the UK’s Minister for Energy, Clean Growth and Climate Change, Anne-Marie Trevelyan and David Duguid MP, UK Government Minister for Scotland saw both the O2 and Magallanes Renovables tidal turbines in action; and held meetings with discussion centring on the marine energy sector and the UK’s potential contributing to green recovery and net zero targets.
Good news for STEM
Dogger Bank plans to invest about £1 million to put STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects) at the heart of 142 schools in the East Riding of Yorkshire and north-east England, which could support more than 25,000 young people.
The fourth Contracts for Difference (CfD) round is to open on 13 December, it has been confirmed by BEIS. The round is then to close on 14 January 2022.
Did you know?
A new study by intelligent home climate management company tado° has found that UK homes gain heat significantly faster than European neighbours on hot summer days. The study, conducted in over 60,000 UK homes in the summer of 2021, found that a UK home with an indoor temperature of 20°C and an outside temperature of 30°C in sunny weather gains on average 5°C after three hours. Compared with some Western European neighbours such as Germany and Italy, UK homes are gaining heat more than twice as fast.
Whereas southern English homes heat up on average by 4.7°C after three hours, Scottish home temperatures rise by 5.6°C in the same conditions.
The first vessel to be installed with a CO2 capture plant to lower GHG emissions from its propulsion plant is a Japanese coal carrier, the Corona Utility, operated by Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd. (K Line) for Tohoku Electric Power Co. Inc.
While there’s some irony in using a carbon capture plant to deal with vessel emissions from a ship carrying coal, it should be noted that Tohoku Electric is making major efforts to lessen its reliance on coal and to produce more of its power from renewables.