Manchester Climate Monthly asked several different groups about the challenges and lessons of 2012 and the goals for 2013. We published a small portion of the answers in the centre-spread of the January issue (which you can see here). Over the coming weeks we will publish the full answers provided by different groups… First off, the Tyndall Centre Manchester.
1) What were the big successes of 2012?
The Tyndall Centre continues to push hard to ensure decisions on climate change made by policy makers, business leaders and wider civil society are informed by candid, independent and objective science and analysis. Our highlights from 2012 include:
- detailed and ongoing work assessing the system-level carbon and sustainability implications of bioenergy with £3.5M of funding secured for the SUPERGEN Bioenergy Hub
- a series of publications summarising research on emissions from shipping and options for radical and urgently reducing the sectors emissions
- novel research detailing the opportunities for new-nuclear build to include district heating as a means for reducing gas combustion (and emissions) from domestic heating
- discussing our shale gas research at a UK select committee, twice at the European Parliament, with the International Energy Agency and Shell, amongst others
2) What were the big lessons learnt?
- UK car emissions are a relatively easy hit compared with many other sectors, yet the Dept for Transport is planning for only minor reductions over the coming decade, despite the ready availability of low-carbon technologies and policies to change car use.
- Global shipping emissions are set to rise four fold compared with 1990 – yet the sector repeatedly describes this dramatic increase as a reduction, misleading policy makers and others
- Shale gas is a high carbon energy option and has no part to play as a transition fuel if the UK, and other developed nations, are not to renege on their international climate change commitments
3) What we can expect from your organisation in 2013?
- The first results from a four year project exploring the extra strain that both climate change impacts and policies to reduce emissions will place on the electricity grid
- Increased interdisciplinary research with other parts of Manchester University including working with planners to identify key issues within electric cities and chemists on the impact of atmospheric emissions of methane
- Greater emphasis on the sheer scale of the discrepancy between UK and global commitments on climate change and the reality of the policies being put in place
- A major international conference in Dec 2013 at the Royal Society (London) – exploring the potential for rapid and urgent reductions in energy consumption – i.e. step-change reductions of around 50% to 70% within a decade
4) How will you know that 2013 has been a success and the lessons of 2012 have been implemented?
We work towards two key outcomes:
a) excellence in research judged by our peers across the international academic community,
b) research that has impact on public discourse and policy (and provides cutting edge basis for lectures).
The first, we will find out about from reviews like the Research Evaluation Framework and the citation of our work – we hope to punch above our weight in contributing to the science base. On the second, and at a personal rather than academic level, I think we would be most rewarded by observing strong signs of a U-turn in current emissions trends, globally and for the UK, and to feel like our arguments are gaining traction.
(Thanks to John Broderick and Kevin Anderson for these answers.)