Day 5 Blog: COP 22 - Marrakech Update

Friday, November 11, 2016

By Caroline Dunning and Joshua Talib

Friday arrived and I think we’re both feeling that it’s been a long week! Dr Alick B. Muvundika came by the Walker Institute stand. He has just completed his PhD at Lancaster University and works as an applied research scientist in Zambia. As acting as a party delegate at COP22 and a research scientist he offered different opinions that the science we do should directly impact policy, and as scientists we should meet with policy makers, as that is the purpose for which we receive funding.

I then attended a session run at the UK embassy stand in the green zone on ‘Green Energy in the 21st Century: sharing experiences from the UK’. A two minute silence was held to remember the service of our armed forces; a tradition marked by the UK on 11th November at 11am. Tim Pryce from the Carbon Trust was the first speaker, and described the role of the Carbon Trust to accelerate the move to a more sustainable, low carbon economy. Much of their work is in advising organisations on low carbon technologies and assisting with the measurement and certification of carbon footprints. The offshore wind accelerator, part of the work to tackle problems with offshore wind installation was particularly interesting. The second speaker, from Ricardo Energy and Environment, described their work in supporting policy development and assisting 16 countries in developing their INDCs (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions). In accordance with many others at COP, he highlighted the importance of development, and the central role of energy at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Hugh Richmond from Clarke Energy described their technologies that use waste gas to produce both heat and energy. These are small scale plants that can use gas from many different sources. In his talk Hugh described projects that used biogas from fruit pulp in South Africa, as well as flare gas from landfill sites. One such system is installed in the Kings Cross Energy Centre. After the talks Hugh explained that recent legislation requires landfill gas in the UK to be collected and not released; this has the potential to provide 554 MW of energy. While the need for food production needs to be carefully balanced with the rising demand for food, crop rotations can be designed to include biogas production without increasing food prices. The role this can play in balancing the grid was discussed; while many renewable technologies are meteorology dependent and not-controllable, this option provides green energy this is available on-demand. Other speakers included Dr Glen Peters from Western Solar Ltd and a representative from Fuel Economy Solution. It was a fascinating session on alternative green and low carbon options from the UK.

Following this I went and explored the delegation zones, with the highlight definitely being Japan’s model train set! The afternoon was spent at the side event on SDG17, reported on by our UK counterparts and interviews following this.

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