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    Two months since COP21, where are we now?

    By Robert Lowe, on 21 January 2016

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    In December 2015 immediately following the publication of the COP21 Paris Agreement I wrote a short note on the competing reasons for pessimism and optimism.  What follows expands on that theme. I am going to focus on three things: COP21, the confirmation that 2015 has been the warmest year on the instrumental record, and continued reports that coal consumption in China may have peaked. Read the rest of this entry »

    ‘Is there life after PhD?’ First event from the Energy Demand in Practice seminar series

    By Lisa Iszatt, on 20 January 2016

    Blog by Virginia Gori, Pamela Fennell and Lisa Iszatt

    Energy Demand in Practice is a seminar series focussing on the different roles and opportunities available within the energy demand field. The aim of the seminars is to explore the range of career paths that are available to PhD graduates, providing students with inspiration, advice on matters such as workplace skills that might be required, and networking opportunities. The Energy Demand in Practice team currently consists of Virginia Gori, Pamela Fennell and Lisa Iszatt, who set up this series in collaboration with LoLo management at UCL in response to feedback from students that more information was needed on careers in the field of Energy Demand. The events are primarily aimed at LoLo students but all UCL students are welcome.

    Our first event “Is there life after a PhD?” aimed at exploring the range of possible careers in energy and investigating how to best use the skills acquired in the PhD. Two speakers introduced their ‘life after a PhD’; their career paths and the lessons they have learned along the way. This was followed by a panel session with recent graduates responding to a range of questions from the floor on topics such as internships, day to day tasks, gender equality and how to sell a PhD.

    EDP1 Read the rest of this entry »

    In the aftermath of the Paris COP Agreement – grounds for optimism or pessimism?

    By Robert Lowe, on 16 December 2015

    Pixbay- CC0 Public Domain timmz -eiffel-176935_1920

    In contrast to the failure of the 2009 Copenhagen talks there is clearly more to celebrate with the Paris Climate Deal. The achievement of getting all 195 countries to commit to emission reduction is a diplomatic success, but at the level of concrete commitments, the deal falls well short of what is needed to prevent dangerous Climate Change. So what is my short list of indicators, and what is my overall assessment of prospects for the future?

    A U.S. Presidential position on Climate Change as strong as it is likely to get for a decade.

    An agreement that displays a profound unreality about ends and means, but may nevertheless provide a foundation that future progress can be built upon. A UK government that, having provided political leadership for many years, balks at backing CCS.

    But, a rejuvenated IEA providing a powerful new voice on energy efficiency. Growth in renewables that, if continued, may see global consumption of fossil fuels peak in the mid-to-late 20s.

    A reawakened China led by a political class that, in the aftermath of a century and a half of turmoil, famine and war, probably has a keen awareness of the possible costs of future, climate-induced instability.

    And an agreement on climate backed, for the first time, by Saudi Arabia and other major oil producers.

    It is still, just, to play for.

     

    Photo credit: Pixabay – Public Domain CC0 – timmz

    The ground-breaking Paris Agreement leaves no room for delay in cutting emissions

    By Steve Pye, on 15 December 2015

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    The achievements of the Paris Agreement are significant. The contrast with the failure of Copenhagen in 2009 are captured in the following Guardian headlines: Low targets, goals dropped: Copenhagen ends in failure (19th December 2009) and Paris climate change agreement: the world’s greatest diplomatic success (14th December 2015).

    The greatest achievement has been in getting all 195 countries committing to a strong level of ambition, to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C. This reflects strong recognition of the climate science in these negotiations. Read the rest of this entry »

    The Paris Agreement – second time lucky?

    By Peter Mallaburn, on 14 December 2015

    Paris - CC0 Public Domain - Unsplash

    So the deal is done. And a very curious deal it is too.

    As I said in the first part of this blog, the Paris Agreement is our second attempt at implementing the UNFCCC. The idea was to move away from the top-down mandatory, rich country approach of the Kyoto Protocol to a more bottom-up, voluntary approach with all countries involved.  To their enormous credit, the negotiators have succeeded. Read the rest of this entry »

    Shipping under scrutiny in Paris at COP 21

    By Tristan Smith, on 9 December 2015

    image001Something that has become a bit of a tradition at COP’s is the “Fossil of the day” award, run by the Climate Action Network. This is given to a member state that has caught the judge’s attention by doing something particularly unimpressive. On Day 3, for the first time, instead of being awarded to a country, it was given to shipping and aviation (the UN agencies that represent the sectors: IMO and ICAO), for the general lack of progress in their work to date to tackle their GHG emissions and climate impacts. Read the rest of this entry »

    How a global solar alliance can help developing countries

    By Xavier M L Lemaire, on 7 December 2015

    Throughout COP21 our staff and students will be blogging on climate change and sustainability.

    This blog was previously published as an article for The Conversation on December 4th 2015 

    The International Solar Alliance announced by India at the Paris climate conference invites together 120 countries to support the expansion of solar technologies in the developing world.

    The cost of solar cells has decreased spectacularly over the past four decades, and the trend seems likely to continue. Solar energy has moved from a niche market for providing power in remote places (at the very beginning in 1958 to space satellites) to a mainstream technology which feeds into the national grid.

    SolarGIS-Solar-map-World-map-en

    Most developing countries benefit from high solar radiation. Souce: SolarGIS (c) 2015 GeoModel Solar

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Ratcheting up the ambition level: Implementing deep decarbonisation pathways

    By Steve Pye, on 4 December 2015

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    There is a sense that COP21 provides for greater optimism than previous climate change conferences. And for good reason. Emission reduction pledges have been made by most, and the largest emitters are for the first time meaningfully engaged. Providing an important backdrop to this are the positive signs of an energy systems transition underway, as renewables investment continues to grow as technology costs fall, and the rate of fossil fuel use growth slows. Read the rest of this entry »

    Paris – outside looking in

    By Peter Mallaburn, on 30 November 2015

    Throughout COP21 our staff and students will be blogging on climate change and energy.

    With COP21 upon us I must admit to being a bit of a Framework Convention outsider, which is, perhaps, a bit strange for the editor of Climate Policy Journal. In 1990, as a civil servant I worked, peripherally, on the Berlin Mandate. I was at COP 7 in Marrakech, but at the margins. Some of the 1995 IPCC WG1 report is mine. But mostly I have been outside the COP process looking in. Read the rest of this entry »

    UCL-Energy Director’s thoughts on UCL-Energy/French Embassy/UKERC Event

    By Robert Lowe, on 27 October 2015

    On Tuesday 2IMG_52910 October 2015, UCL Energy Institute, UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources, UKERC and the French Embassy hosted ‘Global Energy, Global Climate’. This was the first in a series of three events organised jointly by UCL Energy Institute and the French Embassy (under the auspices of the long-established relationship between the French Embassy’s Science and Technology Department and UCL’s Grand Challenges programme), to be held termly through the 2015-16 academic year.  Read the rest of this entry »