Study finds biomethane-fuelled cars are the most environmentally-friendly option

Study finds biomethane-fuelled cars are the most environmentally-friendly option

Study finds biomethane-fuelled cars are the most environmentally-friendly option

A recent study has revealed biomethane-fuelled cars are the best transportation option to preserve air quality. The research, conducted by IFP Energies Nouvelles in France, reveals that light vehicles running on biomethane are more environmentally-friendly than other technologies.

The study compares the carbon footprint of the lifecycle of compressed natural gas (CNG) and biomethane vehicles to that of diesel, gasoline and electric vehicles.

According to the European Biogas Association (EBA), this research pre-empts the intention of the European Commission to evaluate ‘the possibility of developing a common Union method for the evaluation of CO2 emissions throughout the lifecycle of these vehicles” in 2023.

Currently, the EU has agreed to reduce average CO2 emissions from new cars by 15% in 2025 and 37.5% in 2030. While these standards measure emissions produced by car usage (tank-to-wheel), they do not consider the full carbon footprint of the vehicles (well-to-wheel). The EBA claims this becomes ‘very relevant’ when comparing emissions from different types of low-carbon vehicles. For example, electric vehicles would be carbon neutral from a tank-to-wheel perspective, but the results differ with well-to-wheel.

A key takeaway from the study is that further biomethane upscaling is needed. The current capacity in France can only supply 100,000-150,000 vehicles. The study recommends a mix of green natural gas (known as bioGNV in France) and biomethane (60%-40%) up to 2030, which could power vehicles with a climate impact equivalent to that of an electric car.

Susanna Pflüger, secretary-general of the EBA, said: “The EEA and many other organisations are highlighting the urgency to decrease CO2 emissions from the transport sector. We have a responsibility towards the environment and our society, and we need to consider every option to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

“Renewable gas, together with various other renewable sources and low-carbon technologies, must all be part of the solution. The development and upscaling of these technologies will need a holistic, technology-neutral and long-term legislative framework to make this development possible.”

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RBS urged to end financing of the coal, oil and gas sectors

RBS urged to end financing of the coal, oil and gas sectors

RBS urged to end financing of the coal, oil and gas sectors

THE ROYAL Bank of Scotland has been urged by over 30 third sector groups to be a ‘climate change leader’ by formally closing the door on the financing of the coal, oil and gas sectors.

The groups from around the world, and include environmental organisations such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth as well as Christian Aid have sent an open letter to Alison Rose, the newly appointed chief executive laying out the case for her to take the radical action.

The groups say an analysis shows that the taxpayer-supported bank’s financing of fossil fuel companies is now “negligible”, putting it in a “prime position to show real climate leadership” by definitively ending its support for the coal, oil and gas sector.
In August, RBS said it would stop financing coal-fired power plants or coal mines under a sustainability policy designed to help to tackle climate change.

Projects to drill for oil in the Arctic and mining oil sands, two of the most environmentally contentious forms of oil production, also will be barred, RBS said.

It also said it would tighten up restrictions on lending to companies and would not provide finance to those that got more than 40 per cent of their revenues from thermal coal mining or coal-fired power plants, down from 65 per cent previously.

But the groups say that RBS’s policy restrictions do not close off the possibility of future support for new conventional oil and gas projects or for all coal companies seeking to expand their activities.

Greig Aitken, Climate campaigner at BankTrack, said: “RBS fossil fuel lending might be close to nothing in practice, but if this is not translated into necessary policy changes, the bank is keeping its doors open to potential new fossil fuel finance.

“As the climate crisis intensifies, and with growing global consensus that fossil fuel expansion has to end urgently, we’re hopeful that new CEO Alison Rose will see the business and sustainability case for ending the bank’s fossil fuel financing, and thereby position RBS as the climate leader in the banking sector.”

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Net-zero not possible without circular economy

Net-zero not possible without circular economy

Net-zero not possible without circular economy, Ellen MacArthur Foundation finds

Focusing on decarbonising the energy sector alone will not put the world within touching distance of a net-zero carbon economy, according to a new report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation which claims that the transition to a circular economy is also vital.

The report suggests that adopting a circular economy framework across certain production areas would achieve emissions reductions totalling 9.3bn tonnes
The Completing the Picture: How the Circular Economy tackles Climate Change report, published by the Foundation (EMF), in collaboration with Material Economics, found that moving to renewables across the globe will only address 55% of greenhouse gas emissions. To tackle the remaining 45%, the paper notes that transitioning to close-loop value chains, diet shift, emerging innovations and carbon capture and storage are all required.

The report examined the role of the circular economy in tackling overlooked emissions, namely in the production of steel, plastic, aluminium, cement and food. According to the report, keeping products and materials in use can reduce emissions per sector by up to 40%. In the food system, regenerative farming and designing out waste can reduce emissions as part of a circular economy by 49%.

Overall, the report suggests that adopting a circular economy framework across those production areas would achieve emissions reductions totalling 9.3bn tonnes – equivalent to eliminating current emissions from all forms of transport globally.

“Switching to renewable energy plays a vital role in addressing climate change, but this alone will not be enough. In order to achieve targets on climate, it is critical that we transform how we design, make, and use products, and food. Completing the picture through a transition to a circular economy can enable us to meet the needs of a growing global population, while creating a prosperous and resilient economy that can run in the long term,” said Dame Ellen MacArthur, founder of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

“This paper shows that transitioning to a circular economy is not only an opportunity to tackle emissions across sectors, but to design an economy that is restorative and regenerative, creating benefits for society, businesses, and the environment.”
Closed-loop, net-zero

The EMF hopes that the report provides a clear message for other industries that traditionally operate within a linear economy of take, make and dispose, such as fashion, electronics and packaging.

The report references the need to reach net-zero by 2050, as outlined in the IPCC Special Report document. That report warns that the world is already 1C warmer than pre-industrial levels, and that an increase to 2C would significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people. The report predicts that if the world can become carbon-neutral by 2047, we will have a 66% chance of meeting the most ambitious end of the Paris Agreement pledge.

Commenting on the report, Christiana Figueres, former Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and Founding Partner, Global Optimism said: “Carbon constraints actually represent huge ingenuity opportunities. That is true for every company, for every city and any country.

“That is the direction in which we need to move, and this report offers compelling figures to give confidence in our ability to optimize decarbonisation and economic development in mutual support of each other.”

The findings of the EMF report build on the suggestions of a report released at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos in January, which outlined the urgent need for nations to “wake up to the potential” of the circular economy in order to push the world towards the Paris Agreement’s more ambitious pathway.

The Circularity Gap Report 2019, released by non-profit Circle Economy, which consists of a member community of businesses including Arup, ING and VF Corp. The report notes that most governments are failing to consider circular economy policies in order to limit global warming to 1.5C.

The report notes that just 9% of the global economy is considered circular, meaning that less than 10% of the 92.8 billion tonnes of material extracted for use is reused annually. With global material use more than tripling since the 1970s – and set to double again by 2050 – Circle Economy is advising governments to rethink approaches to resource use in select sectors.

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Contracts to Support Zero-Carbon Ambitions for Milton Keynes Council

Contracts to Support Zero-Carbon Ambitions for Milton Keynes Council

ENGIE Secures Major Contracts to Support Zero-Carbon Ambitions for Milton Keynes Council

Leading energy and services Group, ENGIE, has been announced as the preferred bidder for two new significant contracts with Milton Keynes Council.
ENGIE has been appointed by the Council to deliver a range of innovative energy improvements and carbon reduction initiatives to the Council’s land and built assets through the national Re:fit Energy Performance Contract framework. The Re:fit framework, co-owned and managed by Local Partnerships and the Greater London Authority (GLA) allows public sector bodies to achieve guaranteed financial benefits through energy efficiency and generation projects.

ENGIE will initially assess a number of Council buildings and thereafter deliver energy-saving projects under an Energy Performance Guarantee. The first phase of the Re:fit project is expected to attract an initial capital investment, addressing authority owned sheltered housing and other buildings.

It is expected that further phases of the project could attract further investment in excess of £50m, likely involving large scale renewable energy and storage projects, directly linked to the delivery of the Council’s strategic development plans.

ENGIE has also been appointed to provide facilities management services in a 7+3 year contract. Procured through the ESPO public sector owned professional buying framework, ENGIE will deliver a portfolio of building maintenance, cleaning, security and helpdesk services.

Sam Hockman, Divisional Chief Operating Officer at ENGIE said: “As a business, we are deeply committed to making the journey to zero carbon happen. It is great to partner with a customer like Milton Keynes Council, who share the vision of a post-carbon society. We cannot wait to provide our energy and asset management expertise in support of the Council’s ambitions.”

Milton Keynes Council has previously announced ambitions to be carbon neutral by 2030 and carbon negative by 2050, which the contracts with ENGIE will help to achieve.

Council Leader Pete Marland is clear on the commitments, saying “We want MK to be the world’s first post-carbon city, and how we manage our own assets is an important step towards this goal. ENGIE demonstrated a clear understanding of our ambitious targets for carbon reduction and the same commitment to delivering a significant impact through their work.”

ENGIE has long term experience in successfully providing both facilities management and energy efficiency services to a wide range of public sector establishments and is due to begin works on both Milton Keynes contracts later this year.

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Whistl trialing the first electric Renault Trucks Master ZE

Whistl trialing the first electric Renault Trucks Master ZE

Whistl trialling the first electric Renault Trucks Master ZE to be licensed on UK roads

Delivery management company Whistl has announced that it is trialling the first electric Renault Trucks Master ZE to be licensed on UK roads.

The all-electric 3.1 tonne van has a range of around 100 miles (160km) and is being trialled in Belfast, Northern Ireland, by Whistl on day-to-day operations, collecting business mail and parcels.

Working with Renault, Whistl is looking at ways of reducing emissions across its 400 strong fleet of vans and HGVs and is keen to embrace new technology to enable it to reach its goal of a sustainable transport strategy.

Phil Brown, depot manager at Belfast, said, “The vehicle is a revelation and the drivers love it. It is quiet yet the acceleration is immediate and driving it is no different from a normal van. The emissions are zero and the anticipated cost of running it are so much lower than traditional diesel.”

Baz Barrett, Whistl’s national fleet and compliance manager, added, “It is vital that we as a business continue to look at new technologies and adapt our fleet in this way. We already have an excellent relationship with BRS/Renault Trucks and so when we knew this 100% electric vehicle was coming to market, we wanted to see how we could integrate it into our fleet in core urban areas. From the feedback so far, it works really well and there is great scope to introduce it into our fleet now to enable us to reduce our carbon and NOx footprint.”

Graham Neagus, head of LCV on behalf of BRS and Renault, said, “Renault Trucks and BRS are delighted to be working with Whistl to help them enter the world of electromobility with the new Renault Trucks Master ZE.

“This vehicle is available in a wide range of styles, is ideal for parcel deliveries carrying over 1,000kg [2,200 lb] payload, and is able to cover 100 miles [160km] per charge – and all with zero emissions.

“Our clients in cities across Europe are placing orders now for the Master ZE, which is one of three full-electric products from Renault Trucks, including both 16 and 26 tonne rigid HGVs.”

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The Conservatives have proved that the economy can benefit from going green

The Conservatives have proved that the economy can benefit from going green

The Conservatives have proved that the economy can benefit from going green

A Conference is always an exhausting experience! But it’s also great fun – my mum has always come with me, ever since I was a new candidate for the party, and in recent years, my sister, husband, eldest son and many of his friends all come along too, which gives us a great chance to catch up and for me to spend time with the many young Conservatives.

This year’s conference has a particular resonance for me, as I have a great opportunity to put forward my priorities as the new business secretary. I was delighted to be offered the role in the summer – after 25 years in the City, becoming the Government’s lead minister supporting our country’s thriving and innovative economy is a great privilege, and my previous experiences as environment secretary and energy minister impressed upon me the urgent need to address climate change.

The latter brings me straight in to one of my three priorities for this role: net zero. I’m proud that we have committed to end our contribution to global warming entirely and to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. We have gone further and faster than any other G7 country in doing so, and being nominated by our UN Group to host the crucial COP26 talks next year is an endorsement of our leadership so far.

But there is more to do, and an abundance of opportunities when it comes to addressing climate change. The Conservatives have proved that the economy can benefit from going green – we’ve nearly halved emissions since 1990, while growing the economy by more than two-thirds.

There are opportunities both economically and environmentally in new nuclear, in carbon capture usage and storage, and in decarbonising our transport system. In the future, we could earn up to £170bn a year from exporting low carbon innovation, and by 2030 a third of our electricity will be generated by the offshore wind sector. I visited such a wind farm in Aberdeen recently, and was very impressed that just one turn of one wind turbine could power the average UK home for 24 hours.

In fact, our renewables sector is a true British success story, which will continue to thrive after we leave the EU. Over the last five years, investment in renewables has more than doubled, while the low carbon sector grew four times faster than the wider economy.

And that brings me on to another ambition: seizing the fantastic opportunities that await us when we leave the EU and become a more global-facing, free-trading nation. The UK has long been recognised as a science superpower – but we want to remain world-leading in new and emerging economic opportunities.

I want to build on our world-leading position by driving up productivity to create even more jobs, growth and opportunity across all four corners of the UK.

That’s why our modern Industrial Strategy leads with grand challenges in areas such as space, artificial intelligence and healthcare. We are working to support healthy ageing, with the aim of giving every one of us an extra five years of healthy, independent life by 2025.

To this end, we’ve recently announced £133m of investment on life-changing treatments and gene-based therapies for conditions including arthritis, cancer and dementia.

We’ve also announced our creation of a £200m project to examine and sequence the genetic code of 500,000 volunteers at the UK Biobank – one of the world’s most ambitious gene sequencing programmes ever. This genetic research will result in faster prevention, identification and treatment of some of the world’s most terrible diseases such as cancer, dementia and Parkinson’s.

This Conservative Government is also taking advantage of the opportunities provided by electric vehicles – which is why we recently announced £400m to develop rapid charging infrastructure points for electric vehicles, together with the Department for Transport.

Finally, a key ambition for me in this new job is that I want to make Britain the best place in the world to work and to live: ensuring that businesses are treating their workers fairly. I want to ensure that parents are enabled to spend time with their young children; to stop employers discriminating against their employees; and to put legislation in place to make it crystal clear to employees what their rights are.

We’ve already made steps to this end, too. In the Spending Review, the chancellor announced additional budget to enforce the minimum wage and proactively protect those most vulnerable of being underpaid. Our Good Work Plan offers the biggest upgrade in workers’ rights for a generation – including new rights for workers to receive a payslip and further protections for employees against exploitative or negligent employers.

Being business secretary provides me with the opportunity to, together with an amazing team, realise some of these ambitions and benefit the country in doing so.

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