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    Franco-British bilateral conference on Climate Change Adaptation, Resilience & Risks

    By Sofie Pelsmakers, on 17 July 2015

    by Anna Mavrogianni & Sofie Pelsmakers

    On June 2nd, UCL and the French Embassy in London held talks and workshops for invited ‘millenials’ and UCL postgraduate students discussing future climate change adaptation to focus on how both countries and their capital cities are going to adapt to climate change challenges and how to increase resilience to climate change risks (you can watch here). This was followed by a public debate, hosted by the BBC’s environment correspondent Roger Harrabin. I had to miss the latter as I was attending the RIBA Role Models Project launch as written about here

    DSC08002Doctor Ian Scott and the UCL Grand Challenges team had managed to get several high-profile speakers around the table: ChrisRapley CBE, Professor of Climate Science at UCL who chaired the discussions and workshops; Hervé le Treut, Senior Researcher, French National Centre for Scientific Research, Dynamic Meteorology Laboratory; John (Lord) Krebs FRS, UK Committee on Climate Change Adaptation Subcommittee; Professor Nicolas Beriot, Secretary General, National Observatory of Climate Warming Effects, Ministry of Ecology, Paris; Claire Vetori, Environmental Advisor to Thames Estuary Asset Management 2100 team; Professor Tim Reeder from the UK Environment Agency; Célia Blauel, Deputy Mayor, City of Paris (Environment, Sustainable Development, Water, Climate Plan portfolio); Alex Nickson, Strategy Manager for Climate Change Adaptation and Water, Greater London Authority, Professor Mike Davies, Director of the UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering, Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment. Read the rest of this entry »

    The case for diversity in architecture

    By Sofie Pelsmakers, on 9 July 2015

    wordle 2by Sofie Pelsmakers and Stephen Ware

    On June 2nd, the Royal Institute of British architects (RIBA) launched its Role Models project. Stephen and I are two of its 12 ‘Role Models’ and all our stories highlight the increasing diversity within the architecture profession, hopefully inspiring those like us to join us in the profession. Diversity is after all a good thing: not only does it make sense for a profession to reflect the society it operates within (and designs for), furthermore research has shown that diversity is a good thing: organisational diversity “enhances creativity. It encourages the search for novel information and perspectives, leading to better decision making and problem solving.” Read the rest of this entry »

    Building from the bottom-up: domestic action to drive global deep decarbonisation

    By Steve Pye, on 6 July 2015

    DDPP coverIf we are to deliver a decarbonised global energy system to ensure we sufficiently reduce the risk of dangerous climate change, it is strong action by countries that will be needed. While obvious, much of the analyses that emerges and is reported by the IPCC provides global solutions which are not necessarily grounded in the realities of specific country contexts. The question is what are the necessary actions that are needed to be undertaken by countries? Read the rest of this entry »

    How can the European Commission tackle the growing challenge of energy poverty across EU Member States?

    By Steve Pye, on 24 June 2015

    EU_lights2This piece is based on the recently published report by the INSIGHT_E consortium ‘Energy poverty and vulnerable consumers in the energy sector across the EU: analysis of policies and measures’. The full report can be found on the INSIGHT_E website, www.insightenergy.org Read the rest of this entry »

    ‘Shifting to a low carbon economy: a piece of cake? Jean-Marc Jancovici’s seminar is not to be missed

    By Frederic C Steimer, on 22 June 2015

    co2 and h2o emmissionsJean-Marc Jancovici, one of the most famous energy experts in France, will be giving a seminar on June 29th, on the historical importance of energy!  Industrial revolutions, post-war boom, recessions or crisis: do not miss the opportunity to learn about the central role of energy in the economies of our modern societies! Read the rest of this entry »

    The power of reducing energy consumption is in our hands

    By Catalina Spataru, on 19 June 2015

    Setting a thermostat to cool in the summer.

    Setting a thermostat to cool in the summer.

    According to the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life, there are 5.8 billion religiously affiliated adults and children around the globe, which represents 84% of the 2010 world population of 6.9 billion. From this 32% of the world’s population represent Christians. The demographic study was based on an analysis of more than 2,500 census, surveys and population registers.

    Also, Pew Research Center has published results on % who believe there is solid evidence that Earth is getting warmer  Read the rest of this entry »

    Sunny thoughts from ECEEE’s Summer Study on Energy Efficiently

    By Paula Morgenstern, on 10 June 2015

    View - Conference Site

    View from the conference site

    The 12th ECEEE (European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy) Summer Study on Energy Efficiency took place from the 1-6th of June in the south of France. Three colleagues from UCL-Energy Institute were fortunate enough to be part of this week of presentations, discussions and workshops around energy efficiency. They left with smiles and many new ideas thanks to an event bringing together experts from many different sectors and backgrounds. Everyone’s shared ambition to make energy efficiency a reality (as reflected in the conference slogan “First Fuel Now”) made networking easy and differences in worldviews a conversation starter rather than an obstacle. Okay, maybe the generous supply of French wine the summer study is famous for also contributed here.

    Find out here which new thoughts Gesche Huebner, Mike Fell and Paula Morgenstern have brought back to London from ECEEE:

    Read the rest of this entry »

    The Queen’s Speech: what is next for onshore wind farm subsidies?

    By Andrew ZP Smith, on 8 June 2015

    Wind TurbinesFollowing on from a manifesto commitment to “halt the spread of onshore wind farms”, the incoming Conservative Government has proposed in the Queen’s Speech that new subsidies would not be available to future onshore windfarms. This despite overwhelming public support for onshore wind: the DECC attitude-tracking survey of April 2015 found that just 12% of the public opposed the use of onshore wind, while 64% supported it. Read the rest of this entry »

    Fact checking Elon Musk’s Blue Square: How much solar to power the US?

    By Andrew ZP Smith, on 21 May 2015

    How much power do solar photovoltaic systems produce per unit of land area? And does it matter: is it a constraint in the real world?


    At Elon Musk’s glitzy launch of the Tesla PowerWall and PowerPack batteries, the Tesla CEO showed a map of the US, with a small square in the North-West corner of Texas marked in blue, and said that solar panels over that surface area would be enough to enable US electricity to go carbon-free.

    Here’s a quick fact-check on that claim. Read the rest of this entry »

    The value and importance of POE and BPE – a case study

    By Sofie Pelsmakers, on 23 April 2015


    Carrie Behar presenting the POE/BPE results

    For Green Sky Thinking 2015, ECD architects presented the initial findings of a detailed Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) and Building Performance Evaluation (BPE) of their own offices. The POE was led by Carrie Behar, a doctoral researcher at the Bartlett, UCL Energy Institute, where she also runs the POE module for MSc students. Read the rest of this entry »