December 2017 news round-up

Britain to host 2018 global zero emission vehicle summit

Prime Minister Theresa May has announced that the UK will host a global zero emission vehicle summit next autumn, ‘cementing the UK’s position as a world leader in the market’.

Prime Minister Theresa May has announced that the UK will host a zero emission vehicle summit in autumn 2018

Mrs May announced the zero emission vehicle event at the One Planet Summit in Paris last week (12 December), where she also pledged funding from the UK to tackle climate change in developing countries.

According to 10 Downing Street, the event will bring together industry leaders and sector representatives from around the world to further the development of the low emission and electric car market.

The Prime Minister said: “Tackling climate change and mitigating its effects for the world’s poorest are among the most critical challenges that we face. That is why I am joining other world leaders in Paris today for the One Planet Summit and committing to stand firmly with those on the front line of extreme weather and rising sea levels.

“And by redoubling our efforts to phase out coal, as well as build on our world leading electric car production, we are showing we can cut emissions in a way that supports economic growth.”

Call for investment in Middle East and Africa

Air quality experts from the University of Surrey are calling on private businesses to help the Middle East and North African (MENA) region reduce harmful emissions after conducting a comprehensive review on air pollution.

The advice comes after their study was published in the Atmospheric Environment journal last week. The study, conducted by researchers from the Global Centre for Clean Air Research (GCARE) at the University of Surrey, suggested private businesses are more likely to succeed at implementing initiatives that reduce pollution than government agencies in the region.

The report highlights examples of businesses that are now using technologies that contribute to the reduction of pollution – from the oil and gas sector that employ carbon capture and storage technologies, to lead smelting companies who moved their factories out of populated areas in Cairo to reduce the impact on people.

The team from Surrey also recommend that that MENA countries shift financial focus from the subsidised, fossil fuel-intensive energy sector to improving public transport infrastructure to include greener solutions.

Professor Prashant Kumar, Founding Director of the GCARE at the University of Surrey, said: “Emissions in the Middle East and North Africa are responsible for 4.5 per cent of global greenhouse emissions and the effects of climate change are already being felt within the area. Not to mention, the existence of densely populated cities on coastal areas that would directly suffer from sea level rise – a direct impact of climate change.

“Our review has shown that private businesses in the MENA region have been successful in leading initiatives that reduce emissions – for example, SaudiAramco is successfully supporting national emission monitoring in Saudi Arabia. It would be a good initiative to encourage companies to lead such emission reduction efforts in the future.”

Heathrow takes in 50th electric vehicle

Heathrow has taken delivery of the 50th electric vehicle to its fleet, in what the airport has described as a ‘milestone’ in its shift towards lowering emissions from its operations.

Heathrow has taken its 50th electric vehicle into its fleet

The 50 electric vehicles reduce the airport’s fleet emissions by 165 tonnes CO2/year, equivalent to the amount of energy used by 18 homes annually, it has claimed.

Heathrow has spent over £4 million in charging infrastructure, with a total of more than £5 million committed to be spent by the end of 2018. Heathrow is also actively working in collaboration with TfL to install seven rapid charging points for black cabs before the end of 2017.

John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow chief executive, said: “Our sustainability strategy, Heathrow 2.0, and global commitments like EV100 tie Heathrow to some ambitious but realistic targets to clean up our fleet and speed up the take-up of electric technology across our airport.

“Since our pledge to switch to electric cars and vans in 2015 we have made tremendous progress towards improving air quality in our city, but we are committed to go further yet.”