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Are fossil fuel companies using IEA predictions to talk up demand? | Karl Mathiesen

International Energy Agency projections have consistently failed to track the huge growth of renewables – yet many fossil fuel companies present their figures as fact

International Energy Agency (IEA) projections that show the world will continue its heavy reliance on fossil fuels deep into this century are uncertain and being used to mislead governments and shareholders, according to a new report.

The fossil fuel industry commonly cites modelling by the IEA, an intergovernmental organisation considered to be an authoritative source of information on energy, which finds demand for their products increasing until at least 2040.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Areas near Heathrow suffer more noise despite claims of quieter planes

Huge aircraft such as Airbus A380 creating higher level of disturbance, independent study finds, in blow to campaign for third runway at airport

Low-flying “super-jumbo” passenger planes have increased noise for some communities around Heathrow, an independent study has shown.

Research by PA Consulting, commissioned by Heathrow, confirmed complaints from residents that more planes were being concentrated on a flight path over Twickenham and Teddington, in the London borough of Richmond, with greatest disruption late at night and early in the morning.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Is technology the answer for food security? – live chat

Join experts on this page on Thursday 29 October, 1-2pm GMT to discuss whether technology for farming is a boon or a distraction

In an enormous indoor vegetable farm run by robots, 30,000 heads of lettuce are produced every day. This isn’t a scene from a sci-fi novel but a work in progress. By the summer of 2017, Japanese company Spread hopes to open the world’s first fully automated farm.

More than half of British farmland already uses precision farming techniques including sensor systems, cameras, drones, microphones, virtual field maps, analytics and GPS-guided tractors. These methods improve the efficiency of farm operations, allowing for better targeted fertiliser and agrochemical applications. Farmers using these technologies say they can save them time, energy and money.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Roseacre Wood fracking row: high court gives go-ahead for judicial review

Legal challenge will allege Lancashire county council failed to take into account cumulative effects of seismic monitoring array

Campaigners in one of the UK’s key fracking battlegrounds have been given the green light to bring a judicial review of Lancashire county council’s decision to allow seismic monitoring equipment at proposed drilling sites.

The action relates to the siting of a monitoring array – designed to monitor seismic activity and water quality – which had been proposed as part of an exploration for shale gas by Cuadrilla at a site between Preston and Blackpool.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Circulate on Fridays: future mobility (sorry, no flying cars)

Every Friday, Circulate rounds up a collection of interesting circular economy related stories and articles. In this edition, we’re recommending articles on whether the city of the future exists today, changing mobility and whether 3D printing could keep your Delorean in action.

This week the internet stopped to celebrate 21st October 2015 AKA Back to the Future Day, with widespread disappointment that hoverboards, flying cars, and dehydrated pizzas haven’t yet become commonplace. So if Marty McFly’s version of 2015 wasn’t completely accurate, what can this week’s best articles tell us about the world today, and where it’s heading?

The city of the future?
The city of the future?

Writing on the ‘city of the future’ usually gives designers and futurists a license to go wild, mocking up designs for a future utopia. But Mike Elgan believes that the city of tomorrow exists today, in San Francisco. While it may seem a bold claim, there are reasons to support his central rationale. Mike says that most future visions “assume that urban disorganization is to be solved by central planning. But in reality, the future is getting fragmented, not collectivized”. The argument continues that, “if the sharing economy and on-demand services will organize the city of tomorrow, then the city of tomorrow already exists. It’s called San Francisco.” And, while it may be proved correct, it’s no surprise to learn that the author is from California – it would be interesting to hear if predictions from China, India or Latin America would support the claim.

It’s never all rosy in the world of the sharing economy (especially in San Francisco). This week AirBnB gave themselves a pat on the back for paying $12 million in hotel tax, running a series of adverts that didn’t go down well with city residents. Pushing commentary on the ads themselves to one side, Slate suggested that the company had lost some of its friendly image, the thing that set AirBnB apart from the traditional hotel competition. That may be the case, but what hasn’t been lost is the ability for networks like AirBnB to offer a specialised service and  local knowledge through trusted individuals, and although there are an increasing number of business listings, many hosts are making use of idle capacity by renting on the platform.

What will transport look like in the future? If you live in Oslo, it could be very different. The newly-elected city council have said that private cars will be banned from the city centre by 2019. Bikes, buses, trams are all welcome but that shiny new Tesla? No thanks! The decision has been made based not only on the impacts of air pollution, but also to make Oslo more pedestrian and bike-friendly. It’s a sign that improving urban transport might not be a case of just changing the types of cars we use, but looking at the whole mobility system to identify better solutions.

Another approach would be to build a massive tunnel that fires pods full of people across the country at 760 mph, or at least that’s the dream of attendees at the GloSho15 cleantech conference that took place this week. The Hyperloop transport system proposed by Elon Musk in 2013 is due to be piloted on an in-development test track in California, with transport industry leaders seeing this technology as part of a “profound shift in personal mobility”. On-demand services and intelligent use of assets, facilitated by the internet and mobile technology, also feature heavily in this shift, with Lyft making case for mobilising latent productivity in automobiles.

Image: Futurepedia
Image: Futurepedia

We know what you’re thinking – does all this disruption mean that you’ll be left unable to find a spare part for your favourite classic car? Fear not, as the members of the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs are spending some of their annual conference discussing the potential of advanced manufacturing techniques. With discontinued spares increasingly hard to come by, and low-volume remanufacturing proving costly, enthusiasts are investigating whether 3D printing could be a solution. With today’s scanning and additive manufacturing technologies, your pride and joy could be kept on the road for longer. Crowdfunding could open new doors, with spokesperson Colin Poland hoping that ‘if every car club chucked a few hundred pounds into a 3D printing scheme, we would be able to afford the technology and the staff to print off any part we wanted’.

Want more? Check out the What We’re Reading section, updated daily with the best links from the Circulate Team.

Lead image © Universal

 

The post Circulate on Fridays: future mobility (sorry, no flying cars) appeared first on Circulate.

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Forget Punxsutawney Phil: the woolly worm predicts the winter weather

Avery County, North Carolina couldn’t care less about groundhog day, as residents gather each October to find a fuzzy caterpillar to be their weatherman

I’m standing in line to buy my ticket for the Woolly Worm festival in Banner Elk, North Carolina, and the air smells of cotton candy and roasting meat.

Hordes of people pass by in baseball caps covered with woolly worm pins made of furry pom-pom balls. The man in front of me adjusts the worm-carrying case that is strapped to his wrist like a watch.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Boris Johnson calls for halt to planned solar aid cuts

Mayor of London warns that thousands of jobs are being put at risk, in letter sent to the energy minister on final day of government consultations on the proposals

Boris Johnson has waded into the growing row over the solar industry by calling on the energy minister, Andrea Leadsom, to halt plans to cut subsidies to the industry by 87% from January.

One the last day of a consultation period into the proposed aid reductions, Johnson accused the government of acting with “little or no prior notice”, endangering thousands more solar industry jobs.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Yorkshire dales and Lake District to be extended

Announcement to create largest area of national park land in England welcomed by campaigners after two-year wait for decision

Two of England’s most celebrated national parks, the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District, are being extended, the government has announced.

The Yorkshire Dales national park will expand by almost 24% and the Lake District national park by 3%, creating a large and almost continuous protected area in north-west England.

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Source: Guardian Environment

The ‘Edge’: Is it the Future of Office Buildings?

A garage that recognises your car or bike, opens the gate and guides you to an available parking place or a free electric charger. An app that finds you a free desk based on your schedule and your mood/preference for standing or sitting, sociable or quiet. An app that tweaks the lighting and heating to a precise degree. This is the ‘Edge’, Deloitte’s new Amsterdam office building. It might just be the ‘smartest’ building in Europe and could be the model for “the office of the future”.

The building’s heating, lighting, in fact just about everything, is connected by a huge network of around 40,000 sensors. The architects used Philips products to hook up every light in the building to ethernet cables, so not only can they deliver wi-fi, but every piece of lighting has its own IP address and can sense when space is unoccupied, turning down heat (and light) to conserve energy.

The Edge provides Deloitte with huge amounts of data, ranging from relatively menial things such as how much different toilets are used and when the espresso machine needs refilling, to potentially more economically advantageous data. Since employees no longer need assigned desks, but are assigned space as needed, the office is able to make far more effective use of the area that it does have, while using less energy in the process.

Credit: The Edge (Deloitte)
Credit: The Edge (Deloitte)

In reality, this building represents only an initial foray into a connected office space and the potential for re-imagining workspaces. It shows what might be possible, and in a world where buildings are an expensive investment, and the average office is 30-40% empty, developing ‘smarter’ buildings brings with it some promising economics.

Source: This Frighteningly Smart Office Building Knows Exactly What You Want, When You Want It

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