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Conference promoted the need for partnerships to reduce carbon emissions and improve public health.

There is a virtual filing cabinet overflowing with the host of varied and daunting challenges posed by climate change. In each drawer is an important, commendable agenda: the crisis of oceanic plastic pollution; the health risk of particulates; the need to accelerate the supply of electric vehicle charging points.

Sometimes, though, a step back from the multiplicity of demands regarding tackling the zero carbon economy – and viewing the wider picture is informative and constructive.

Low Carbon Britain, a partner in The Herald’s Climate for Change campaign, did this at its annual London conference earlier this month taking up the theme: ‘Developing a Smart, Resilient Digital Society’.

A main focus of the event was how the public sector, as well as cities, towns and villages can reduce their carbon emissions – with the emphasis on partnerships in addressing those challenges.

“Meeting future carbon budgets and the UK’s 2050 target to reduce emissions by at least 89% of 1990 levels will require reducing domestic emissions by at least 3% per year. This will require current progress to be supplemented by more challenging measures,” said Lee Etchells of event organiser 3ppp.

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Richard Dowling, Chief Economist and Head of Government Affairs at The Faraday Grid

Chairing the event was Richard Dowling, Chief Economist and Head of Government Affairs, the Faraday Grid, who highlighted the grid as a platform for the energy ecosystem. While it has improved the quality of life for billions of people around the world, he said, it is incompatible with today’s economic and environmental aspirations.

We need, he added, to reimagine the electricity grid as an enabler for a low carbon future that is compatible with economic growth. “The Faraday Grid seeks to resolve the energy trilemma through a system of decentralised control that puts the grid at the centre of our energy system and lowers the cost of clean energy for everyone”.

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Chris Stark, Chief Executive of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) and one of the keynote speakers pointed, after 10 years since the Climate Change Act 2008, to “the next stage: Net Zero” and while highlighting a policy gap in the UK and the risks to delivery of policies to meet carbon budgets believed there remained plenty of scope through the parliamentary route for the Climate Change Act and the carbon budgets to be enforced properly, and that UK policy-making has seen impressive achievements.

Though with some caveats: “if we could bring the same kind of strategic focus and ambition to the transport and agriculture sectors and to buildings then I think we can be more optimistic about where we’re headed with this.”

The Committee on Climate Change’s four key messages to government were, he said:

  • Support the simple, low-cost options
  • Commit to effective regulation and strict enforcement
  • End the chopping and changing of policy
  • Act now to keep long-term options open

Antonia Jennings, Policy and Public Affairs Manager for the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change confronted the air quality crisis. Air pollution, she stressed, is a national health emergency, requiring an ambitious and urgent policy response. Estimates of the mortality burden of air pollution in the UK are truly alarming – as high as 40,000 deaths a year – while by 2035 the associated health and social care costs have been estimated to reach up to £18.6 billion.

Action to reduce this – such as cycling and walking instead of using a car – could unlock enormous health benefits for millions of people, creating in turn, cleaner, safer, more liveable cities.
Her presentation outlined the main points in the Alliance’s latest report, which sets out a programme to improve air quality, combat climate change

Overall, the message was one that Chris Stark has consistently highlighted: that one of the issues in climate change is that we often understate some of its risks to the climate and the economy.


“We also understate the benefits of what comes when you address climate change,” he said.

HeraldScotland:

The Herald’s Climate for Change initiative supports efforts being made by the Scottish Government with key organisations and campaign partners. Throughout the year we will provide a forum in The Herald newspaper, online at herald.scotland.com and in Business HQ magazine, covering news and significant developments in this increasingly crucial area.

If you are interested in contributing editorially or interested in becoming a Climate for Change
partner, please contact Stephen McTaggart on 0141 302 6137 or email stephen.mctaggart@heraldandtimes.co.uk

In association with . . .


THE SCOTTISH ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION AGENCY (SEPA)
A non-departmental public body of the Scottish Government oversees environmental regulation, monitors and reports on the state of the environment, raises awareness of environmental issues, and resolves environmental harms

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ZERO WASTE SCOTLAND
A publicly-funded organisation working towards a society where resources are valued and nothing is wasted. It attempts to influence and enable change by gathering evidence, supporting positive projects and providing technical advice and training.

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LOW CARBON SCOTLAND
Organiser of conferences and events aimed at addressing the current carbon reduction position, enabling those leading and driving policies and proposals to share their vision, and highlighting Scotland as the best place in which to invest in low-carbon businesses.

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NEWTON PROPERTY MANAGEMENT
A Scottish Property Factor with nationwide coverage. Newton have ambitious plans to help future proof their customers’ properties, making them greener, cleaner and more energy efficient resulting in significant savings in running costs

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