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Moving onto renewables

I contributed to a BBC Radio Wales interview on 6 November on the closure of the Murco oil refinery in Pembrokeshire. The research sources that I used are listed below:

The IPCC’s synthesis report suggests renewables will have to grow from their current 30% share to 80% of the power sector by 2050.

Matt McGrath, BBC, 2 November 2014


Growth of Tesla electric cars, and River Simple hydrogen electric at Llandrindod Wells are indicative of emerging markets in non-petrol based cars. River Simple also break the commercial model, with leasing, rather than ownership, being key to development.


More than 800 global investors – including foundations such as the Rockefeller Brothers, religious groups, healthcare organisations, cities and universities – have pledged to withdraw a total of $50bn from fossil fuel investments over the next five years.

Guardian, 22 September 2014


According to reports, [Mark] Carney [Governor of the Bank of England] told a World Bank seminar on integrated reporting on Friday that the “vast majority of reserves are unburnable” if global temperature rises are to be limited to below 2C. Carney issued a stark warning over the lack of long-term thinking by governments and businesses, warning that a so-called “tragedy of horizons” could lead to market failure.

Guardian, 13 October


Scotland’s wind power sector delivered 126% of domestic energy demand in October. In Edinburgh, homes with solar heating and / or PV also produced over 40% of their own energy needs for hot water / electricity

Business Green, 4 November 2014


The price of a solar panel has dropped by more than 90% over the last 25 years, and continues to plummet. In the few places they have actually been deployed at scale, the results are astonishing: there were days this summer when Germany generated 75% of its power from the wind and the sun. 

Bill McKibben, Guardian, 2 November

The new overview (PDF in German) explains that there were 371,400 people employed in the renewables sector in 2013, and we know that this figure is down from 377,800 in 2012 and 381,600 in 2013.

Renewables International, 2014 


Wind, wave and tidal energy directly employ 18,465 people full time. The sector also supports 15,908 indirect jobs, making a total of over 34,300 employees. The number of employees in offshore wind has doubled since 2010. More than 70,000 jobs could be created over the next decade.

Renewables UK, November 2014


This means that there are 10x more jobs in renewables in Germany than UK, 


A call to action:

Naomi Klein: the radical plan that proves there’s a better way will not be an academic exercise but invaluable ammunition in the most critical battle of our time.


Article for University of Wales

The University of Wales are pushing the boundaries, integrating sustainability into all of their teaching, so it was a privilege to be interviewed for the magazine that goes out to their 23000 students. Here it is.


Sustainable Innovation Lab.

35 sustainablility leaders are gathered today in Southampton, hosted by Ordnance Survey.

Notes from speakers and discussions follow:

First up: Ben Ferrari, The Climate Group

Nobody in this space seriously thinks that climate is going stay below 2 degrees. Let’s be honest with each other. The world is going to be different, and how it looks depends on how we innovate and what we do next.

 The business models are so often the missing piece of the jigsaw.

The Climate Group ran an Earth Hack in 2013; one outcome was a platform called marblar; crowd sourcing may have real limitations in terms of outputs, but the energy, excitement and groundswell of conversation that arises may be worth it by itself.

Complex stakeholder and system issues, communication and advocacy will be key.

Climate Group give leaders the information that they need to take bold action. It’s our job to make sure that they are never left exposed.

We've seen rock start CSOs emerge, but we've seen many more sustainability functions be reduced - fewer people, smaller budgets. This isn;t across the board, byt it is happening.

We've seen how sub-national, ambitious climate work in e.g. Sao Paulo, can hold the space for national government to find the evidence of what works. 

In working on LED lighting, it was important to understand real and perceived issues, and the barrier that the 'dream of the fully smart city' presents in finding a reason to delay action. The vision of fully integrated smart systems creates complications and a sense of expense that might not be the case. We're asking 'what's smart enough' - bearing in mind the systems issues of suppliers, customers, citizens that need to be managed. Some of the figures that get banded around obscure the real potential. The way that pilots are procured and designed is key in determining the transferability of learning.

Corporates are putting less effort into selling into cities, and it's too expensive for SMEs, so real innovation and reconnection is needed to make the connections work.

Looking at China, is there a point at which too much government intervention can be a bad thing - is China actually heading towards being an innovative economy, but is it happening now in a way that will truly embed sustainability or just hit targets.

Examples - BT's Net Good goal is to help customers reduce CO2 emissions by at least three times the end to end carbon impact of our business".

Crowd sourcing may be ineffective to date in it's return of real impact, but the energy, excitement and groundswell of awareness that it creates.

It is key that we do sell the climate benefits that come with e.g. better health, reading, safety that might come with using LEDs.

At our workshop in New York next week, we're going to fill our stage with Republicans who understand climate science - the farming unions, the evangelical movement, the unusual suspects - and supply them with robust, pithy information that they can use.

The next couple of years are critical - we absolutely know that we will ahve to make huge changes in the way that we relate to this world.


Welsh First Minister, Carwyn Jones at the Hay Festival 2013

The Sustainability Bill

Hay Festival 2013, Saturday 25 May 2013, 7pm

The Welsh Government’s First Minister discusses how the groundbreaking Sustainability Bill, due to be ratified later this year, will affect both the public and private sectors in Wales. How will the high-level policies filter down to the day-to-day activities such as procurement and infrastructure? He talks to The Telegraph’s Environment Editor, Geoffrey Lean