Best dressed on the COP Carpet

I know this is a blog about sustainable technologies and practical solutions and that many readers are more interested in boiler rooms than boiler suits, but I’ve got Keith’s log-in details (mwahahaha) and am hijacking the blog to bring you a little bit of fashion. I’ve hit the COP carpet and bring you a selection of the best dressed from the 22nd UN conference on climate change.

This isn’t just an excuse to take photos of clothes (promise!) it’s an attempt to convey the diversity and range of everyone here and give you a sense of the scale of collaboration. There are 25,000 people in total, around 200 nations represented in the negotiations and many more communities partaking in side events; I will probably never get the opportunity to be surrounded by so many different languages, identities and cultures again in my life. It’s extraordinary. As they say, ‘a picture speaks a thousand words’. So without further adieu……

Two women from Mauritania. Syeda Mint Khayarhoum (on the left) has set up a sustainable energy charity in the country.

Two women from Mauritania. Syeda Mint Khayarhoum (on the left) has set up a sustainable energy charity there.

Nicola Tollin from Italy, I interrupted whilst he was on his way to the negotiating rooms.....oops!

Nicola Tollin from Italy and Director of RESURBE (International Program on Urban Resilience), I interrupted whilst he was on his way to the negotiating rooms…..oops!

Didn't get this woman's name either, but she wanted to go against the sign because her skirt had just come undone and was falling down!

Didn’t get this woman’s name, but she wanted to lean against the sign because her skirt had just come undone and was falling down!

Nordine from Morocco who made all the sculptures that are in the village (made from scrap metal). He broke his foot whilst creating the works of art

Nordine from Morocco who made all the sculptures that are in the village (made from scrap metal). He broke his foot last month

Head of the Environmental Protection Agency in Liberia and her chaperone (didn't know this when I started talking to them!)

Head of the Environmental Protection Agency in Liberia and her chaperone

A Berber woman in traditional dress from South West Morocco.

A Berber woman in traditional dress from South West Morocco.

These two are from the Government of Bhutan and self confessed 'COP veterans'

These two are from the Government of Bhutan and self confessed COP veterans

This is Maurice, from an Amazonian tribe in Brasil.

This is Maurice from an Amazonian tribe in Brasil.

 

A climate change activist from Guatemala, she has set up her own network for indigenous women who are trying to protect their land from development.

A climate change activist from Guatemala, she has set up her own network for indigenous women who are trying to protect their land from development.

Mohammed Alsinaidi from Oman and the focal point action for UNFCCC

Mohammed Alsinaidi from Oman and the focal point action for UNFCCC

I didn't get this guys' name as he was rushing off to a meeting, but he insisted I got in the photo too!

I didn’t get this guys’ name as he was rushing off to a meeting, but he insisted I got in the photo too!

 

These three from Senegal have got to be the sassiest of them all.

These three from Senegal have got to be the sassiest of them all.

I could have posted 100 more, there more I looked the more I realized how different everyone was, and everyone has their own story to tell. SO inspiring.

And boy do I wish I could get away with some of these outfits in the office.

 


 

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We have made over five million

Five million Kilowatt hours that is on our Snowdon hydro. Just a quick blog.  Or five Gigawatts if you speak big numbers. That’s the equivalent of a lot of renewable energy in two and a bit years!

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its been a weird year. this holley has now not been without fruit for well over a year. Change is happening. look up how you boil a frog so that a frog does not react and then think of the world we live in!

Its been a weird year. This Holley has now not been without fruit for well over a year. Change is happening. Look up how you boil a frog so that a frog does not react and then think of the world we live in! – The premise is that if a frog is put suddenly into boiling water, it will jump out, but if it is put in cold water which is then brought to a boil slowly, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death. The story is often used as a metaphor for the inability or unwillingness of people to react to or be aware of threats that rise gradually.

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PS hydro flat-out and river is full. Enough water for all!

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Getting off oil… down to the knitty gritty. Ground source heat pumps in some farms (with moles)

Beudy Gwyn in the Ysbyty Ifan estate is the latest building to undergo a green overhaul.

Beudy Gwyn farm in the Ysbyty Ifan estate is the latest building to undergo a green overhaul to make it fit for the future

The NT in Wales are in the final stretch in terms of getting off oil on its heating in its in-hand buildings across Wales but we still have with a couple of years to go (as ever this is another blog) But in Snowdonia the team at the property are taking the lessons from our holiday cottage heating research and applying them to some our farms and overhauling them in a very green way. Yesterday I was with Emyr Hall the building surveyor for the NT having a nose at one of the works in progress. Namely the overhaul to re-let of a small 30 acre farm overlooking the estate. Lots of normal things going on which included new LED lighting all over the farm and generally getting the empty property ready but also a new heating system with this being a 17kw NIBE ground source heat pump.

Triple radiators are not as small as one might think. design design and some design

Triple radiators are not as small as one might think. Design design and some design

The cottage needed a new radiator system and so this was sized to take the lower temp of a heat pump. Our first for the NT was the installation of the heat collector in nearby field. But this was not our normal coil buried 1.7m meters down but a mole ploughed collector which was ploughed in 600mm deep and at just under 700m meters in length which  was achieved in 2 days. This drastically reduced the installation cost (mole ploughing is roughly half the price of a buried coil which is roughly half the price of a borehole system) yes you need more surface area based on the shallowness of the collector but the efficiency is still there. The speed of the install which was roughly 2 days for the plumbing and 2 days for the plough reduced the capital cost significantly (but you do need a field close by!) Emyr has quite a few more heat pump systems in the pipeline as it were. (ps based on the previous HFC blog NIBIE are one of those companies with an eye to the future with an easily replaced / slotted out compressor for a non HFC future)

kitchen getting ready resplendent with its new heat pump

The kitchen getting ready and resplendent with its new heat pump

Nice simple controls which are enabled for wifi and remote control and diagnostics.

Nice simple controls which are enabled for wifi and remote control and diagnostics.

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China, Trump and Paris – fresh off the press

I’ve just spent the last few hours at press conferences in the Chinese and USA pavilions at COP22 and thought I’d do a quick blog update as they were both pretty insightful. Since the outcome of the USA election last week and given the things Trump has been saying with regards to climate change and the Paris Agreement (essentially that he thinks climate change is ‘unbelievable’ and will remove USA from the list of signatories), both conferences were packed out as everyone was wanting to know, ‘what next’ for the two largest economies.

Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin takes questions

Vice Foreign Minister of China Liu Zhenmin takes questions

Kind of like at Glastonbury where you stumble upon the best music by mistake, so I did with this press conference with Vice Foreign Minister of China, Liu Zhenmin. Over the last year China has become one of the leading players in tackling climate change with billions of $ invested in renewable energy and there’s a lot of talk here about them being the new leading players in climate talks. The questions put to Liu Zhenmin were broadly around China’s own ongoing commitment towards the Paris Agreement, how their relationship with USA will change and the potential of China and the EU developing stronger relationships in light of Brexit and Trump.

so much media everywhere!

so much media everywhere!

Reassuringly Liu Zhenmin was clear in stating that China would remain committed to achieving the targets made in Paris and ‘hoped that USA would also make the right decisions’, but stressed the world will need to wait a few more months to see how USA will act. He also said that China would continue to co-operate with USA in spite of what moves Trump makes. On the EU he recognised the role it has played in pushing forward climate change targets but made no promises on whether they would work more closely together in the case of USA doing a U-turn on Paris.

I watched John Kerry in the overflow car-park (USA pavilion). Geoff, Cathy and Oliver were lucky enough to see his speech in the flesh. More on this on Oliver's blog going up on INTO website this eve.

I watched John Kerry in the overflow car-park (USA pavilion). Geoff, Cathy and Oliver were lucky enough to see his speech in the flesh. More on this on Oliver’s blog going up on INTO website this eve.

And then over to the USA pavilion to get their take on it all and to watch secretary of State John Kerry give his speech (I confess, I also stumbled upon this, I was actually en route to another event…again, just like Glasto!). This was packed out again with everyone tapping away on laptops and phones in order to get the secretary’s messages out to the rest of the world as fast as possible.

The speech was captivating and full of loads of information (2.25 billion people displaced by natural disasters, and did you know that every year enough water melts off the ice cap in Greenland that can provide water for New York city for two decades?!). But most importantly John Kerry stated that USA would not back out of the deals made in Paris last year and in an effort to reassure said that promises made on the campaign trail (he never mentioned Trump’s name) often pan out very differently once in office. He also suggested that for many other important and influential stakeholders – military leaders, intelligence unit and national security climate change is not a partisan issue. He was also very clear in saying that the market will dictate our future, not government.

Reading between the lines of both events it seems that China will work with USA regardless of their commitment to tackling climate change, but will also continue to take a leading role themselves in present and future COPs. And for USA – there are too many important people for Trump to keep on side before he can simply remove USA from the list of signatories (fingers crossed!!!!).

I couldn't help myself!! A selfie with Segolene Royal - what a woman!

I couldn’t help myself!! A selfie with Segolene Royal – what a woman!

 

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Getting into the swing of it at COP22

Posted by Chloe Hampson, Manager of Fit for the Future Network:

Day two and I’m definitely getting into the COP groove and under the skin of what it’s all about . The initial shock has subsided slightly, but I do still feel like there’s such an enormous amount going on here that I’m just flicking through TV channels. It’s a bit like a Russian doll – fascinating talks within talks within talks. Not so good if you suffer from #FOMO, which I do.

I don't know who you are, but you're being interviewed and it's really exciting

I don’t know who you are, but you look important.

The day has had a real air of excitement to it as it was the official ‘opening’ of COP22 which meant all the big wigs came into town. There were people being interviewed and filmed all over the conference and security guards constantly pushing me aside to make way for VIPs. The King of Morocco hosted a lunch for ‘only’ 1,500 delegates and I unfortunately missed Francois Hollande by a whisker as he did a walk round the Green Pavilion (or perhaps not unfortunate as I probably wouldn’t have played it cool, I love a celeb).

The role of energy efficiency and sustainable building products in smart cities

The role of energy efficiency and sustainable building products in smart cities

Today has also included some really fantastic talks. Somehow I managed to wangle my way into the Low Emission Solutions conference which was meant to be just for regional and local leaders and was invite only. The panel I watched were discussing sustainable building products and each putting the case forward for why their product (cement, wood, plastic, clay) were the best products to build with and how policy and bureaucracy needs to speed up in accordance with the rate of innovation. The ‘plastic guy’ had developed a solution which took rubbish out of the ocean and turned it into a building product used in places in need of temporary or medium-term housing – such as refugee camps and disaster zones. This was my first moment of the day when I realised how blinkered I am with regards to climate change and work within such a small bubble in the UK.

The British Ambassador for Morocco introduces Oliver at today's INTO event

The British Ambassador for Morocco introduces Oliver at today’s INTO event

Over to the British Embassy this afternoon to speak at INTO’s side event ‘Climate change: what it means for natural and cultural heritage and the cultures of the world’. I gave the UK’s point of view (NT case studies plus examples from Fit for the Future Network members) but yet another moment when I realise how much larger the issue is than I have considered before. As well as an overview from OIiver Maurice, director of INTO, the other speakers spoke about the impact climate change is having on their island communities – Cayman Islands is an average of 7 metres above sea level and at serious risk of going underwater if they don’t protect their mangroves, in French Polynesia 0.05% of their country is land (the rest is ocean, roughly the same size as Europe), which the population are so connected to leaving for them ‘just isn’t an option’. Elsewhere communities are already being forced to migrate as a result of rising sea levels or war caused by climate change, such as the Syrian refugees. With all this in mind, the impact of climate change in the UK seems inconsequential when you realise for others it’s a matter of survival.

The final big event was ‘100% renewable energy for 1.5 degrees’ which had a stellar line-up. More humbling presentations from the President of the Marshall Islands and an activist from Sumba Island in Indonesia followed by a range of companies and government officials who are really sticking their necks out by setting ambitious targets for renewables. Ikea are well on their way to hitting 100% renewable energy, currently at 71% (hoping to hit 80% soon after their latest wind farm is finished) and it was music to my ears when Barry Parkin from Mars said getting their company to be 100% RE ‘just makes business sense’. Yes Barry!! So great to see large, successful corporates demonstrating that investing in renewable energy is the shrewd thing to do.

Chauffeur driven cars wait to take VIPs off to their next appointment

Chauffeur driven cars wait to take VIPs off to their next appointment

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COP-shock: my first day at the UN’s conference on climate change

I’ve (Chloe Hampson) been passed on the COP baton from Keith as I join the INTO (International National Trust Organisation) delegation at COP 22, which this year is in Marrakech.

Like Keith, I’m going out there on behalf of National Trust (England, Wales & N.Ireland) to share and sponge information on how heritage and cultural organisations are being impacted by and coping with climate change. I’m also there with my Fit for the Future Network hat on and interested in seeing what the rest of the world is up to with regards to sustainable energy.

Spot the Caucasian. Jokes aside, this tribe from Malaysia are losing their home and cultural heritage as a result of deforestation, these costumes are made from palm tree bark

Spot the Caucasian. Jokes aside, this tribe from Malaysia are losing their home and cultural heritage as a result of deforestation, these costumes are made from palm tree bark

I’d love to say that I’ve spent the first day getting into the nitty gritty, making useful connections and picking up resources, but I would be lying. I have spent most of the day wondering around in a daze trying to make sense of it all, it’s overwhelming. The shock of it all is probably not helped by the fact I have spent the last week trekking in the Atlas Mountains where I saw more goats than people (more on mountain farming in another blog). Just yesterday I was at the top of Mount Toubkal, the ranges’ highest peak.

COP22 is a shock to the system after a week in the mountains

COP22 is a shock to the system after a week in the mountains

Post-holiday reality check or not, the conference is vast; it took nearly an hour to get through security this morning and I have never seen so many different nationalities of people in one setting, everything from Malaysian jungle tribes to Saudi Arabian men in thobes (I studied anthropology at Uni and still have a huge soft spot for it so am absolutely loving the people watching and meeting). Almost every country has their own pavilion, decked out with all their best climate change plan credentials and showing off their projects. I haven’t yet been round the whole (COP) world, but if it was a competition (which let’s be honest, it is), India’s pavilion would win. The production on it is insane! As well as a spinning globe, some mutli-coloured sliding curtains and an enormous screen the length of at least a tennis court, they also have water droplets which when they fall spell out various words, such as ‘smart cities’. The EU tent and Indonesia pavilion are joint first so far in the ‘best free food and drink’ category; juices, coca colas, pastries and other delights are laid out at the end of each event, of which there are dozens and dozens throughout the day. On top of the free event food, there are four extra restaurant pavilions, one of them with its own security guards and offering multi-coursed banquets.

India’s pavilion, the photo doesn’t do it justice!

India’s pavilion, the photo doesn’t do it justice!

It’s all extremely impressive, but has made me wonder how much all of this costs, both in pounds (or whatever currency you deal with) and carbon. And is it all really necessary? It is only day one and yes I am a bit dazed by it all, and yes before you wander I do see the benefit of collaborating and networking, but there is still a part of me that finds the size and production of the conference at odds with subject it is trying to tackle: how to live within a 1.5 degree world.

If you want another account of COP22 then read Oliver’s blog on the INTO website: https://intoorg.org/26815

 

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Fluoride good for teeth but bad for the planet… addicted to HFC’s

The CO2 air source heat pump at Craflwyn near Beddgelert

The CO2 air source heat pump at Craflwyn near Beddgelert

Fluoride is the key constituent of most of the world’s refrigerants. In Kigali the capital of Rwanda a couple of weeks ago a little bit of human race self-preservation kicked in. The nations of the world signed an agreement in Kigali to phase out the use of Hydrofluorocarbons or HFC’s. Getting to know my HFC’s with the various R410A R407, , R145A and so on codes has been simple. It’s simply an agent which bridged one of the gaps left behind when CFC’s ChloroFluorocarbons were banned because of their Ozone depletion quality (remember them and the Montreal agreement?) Well this HFC gap bridger has grown to be a titan refrigerant in the chemical world. Then we get in GWP or Global Warming potential substances (CO2 has a GWP score of 1 and R410 is rated at 1900 times worse) HFC are an order of magnitude less harmful than than CFCs and the volumes of HFC’s were low but with every car, fridge, heat pump, fire extinguisher, air conditioning unit and even the agent used to inflate some of our green insulation is stuffed full and leaking out and it’s getting to be serious. Especially if we want to keep our planet below the 2C level that we have committed to in Paris 2015 COP21

This is all very nice and so what’s this got to do with me or the NT? Well we (NT) are about to install a lot of ground source and air source heat pumps and the above was one of the questions we asked potential suppliers. ‘what are you doing about the future free of HFC’s’ (might be worth you having a look at the tightening F Gas regulations as well) It was interesting to hear that most of the large heat pump manufacturers are already gearing up to this in terms of designing their systems to be relatively easy retrofit. There are other non and very low  GWP refrigerants such as CO2 (yes seriously it’s a good refrigerant) Ammonia and even air but this whole area needs scaling. We did install three CO2 air source systems into NT properties a few years ago including the CO2 air source heat pump in the main office in Llanerchaeron

Open to suggestions on makes and models in this emerging market which do not use HFC’s

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