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Glasgow will host COP26 UN climate summit in November 2020

Glasgow will be the host city for the UN’s 26th climate change conference in November 2020. This summit brings together over 30,000 delegates from around the world, including climate experts, business leaders and citizens to agree ambitious action to tackle climate change. The announcement by the UN means the UK is now officially backed by the group of countries responsible for nominating the 2020 host. International allies formally gave their backing for Britain to host COP26 in 2020.

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Nigel Holmes
July 2019 was Earth’s hottest month on record

The impacts of global climate change are now becoming clear, and the latest NOAA update for July 2019 from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration makes uncomfortable reading.

Much of our planet sweltered in unprecedented heat in July, as temperatures soared to new heights in the hottest month ever recorded. This record warmth also shrank Arctic and Antarctic sea ice to historic lows.

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IEA reports on The Future of Hydrogen & Today's Opportunities

The International Energy Agency report on The Future of Hydrogen: Seizing today's opportunities shows that the time is right to tap into hydrogen’s potential to play a key role in a clean, secure and affordable energy future. At the request of the government of Japan under its G20 presidency, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has produced this landmark report to analyse the current state of play for hydrogen and to offer guidance on its future development.

Governments and companies from around the world will benefit from the report’s rigorous analysis, as well as the ambitious and actionable recommendations. "Hydrogen is today enjoying unprecedented momentum. The world should not miss this unique chance to make hydrogen an important part of our clean and secure energy future." said Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the IEA.

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IET report on the Transition to Hydrogen for UK Heat

Experts from a cross-professional working group of UK engineering institution led by the IET have assessed the engineering risks and uncertainties from repurposing the UK gas network to hydrogen. This report concludes there is no reason why cannot be achieved, but identifies some engineering risks and uncertainties which need to be addressed.

This IET report on Transitioning to hydrogen: Assessing the engineering risks and uncertainties clearly shows that from an engineering perspective the large-scale deployment of hydrogen can be achieved safely. Delivering Scotland’s world-leading ambition to achieve net zero emissions by 2045 will require us to tackle the ‘hard to treat’ emissions from heat, transport and industry, and this is where hydrogen can play a significant role.

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Nigel HolmesThe IET
CCC advises Scotland to set Net Zero GHG Emissions Target for 2045

The UK Committee on Climate Change (CCC) report Net Zero: The UK's contribution to stopping global warming is advising the UK, Welsh, and Scottish Governments on setting new ambitious targets for greenhouse gas emission to help stop global warming:

Based on this advice from the CCC,  the Scottish Government announced on 2nd May 2019 that it is acting immediately by lodging amendments to the Climate Change Bill. These amendments would, if agreed to by the Scottish Parliament, implement the CCC’s advice by setting a target date of 2045 for net-zero emissions of all greenhouse gases and increasing the levels of the 2030 and 2040 targets to 70% and 90% reductions respectively.

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Orkney to host ISCF £28.5M ReFLEX project

BIGHIT partner EMEC will lead the first phase of a new £28.5 million Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) project to create a Virtual Energy System (VES) in Orkney, along with BIGHIT partner Orkney Islands Council. The ReFLEX (Responsive Flexibility) Orkney project builds on recent projects in the Orkney Islands, including Surf ‘n’ Turf and BIGHIT. ReFLEX has been launched to digitally link distributed and intermittent renewable generation to flexible demand, and will demonstrate a first-of-its-kind Virtual Energy System (VES) interlinking local electricity, transport, and heat networks into one controllable, overarching system. It aims to create a ‘smart energy island’, demonstrating the energy system of the future, which will reduce and eventually eliminate the need for fossil fuels.

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Nigel Holmes
Hydrogen for the Scottish Energy Networks in 2030

The Scottish Government has set out their vision for Scotland's electricity and gas networks to 2030. The Electricity and Gas Networks Vision builds on Scotland's Energy Strategy, which was published in December 2017.

The Networks Vision considers how Scotland's electricity and gas network infrastructure will continue to support the energy transition, the crucial role that Scotland's electricity and gas networks will play in the energy transition currently underway.

This new Networks Vision reinforces the key role that hydrogen could play in connecting and helping decarbonise our heat, industrial and transport systems. Hydrogen also has the potential to transform our urban, rural and island economies, and support the expansion of renewable energy.

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Global Surface Temperature 1C Above pre-Industrial Levels

The forecast for the global average surface temperature for the five-year period to 2023 is predicted to be near or above 1.0 °C above pre-industrial levels, says the UK Met Office.  If the observations for the next five years track the forecast that would make the decade from 2014 to 2023 the warmest run of years since records began. Averaged over the five-year period 2019-2023, forecast patterns suggest enhanced warming is likely over much of the globe, especially over land and at high northern latitudes, particularly the Arctic region. The effects of climate change are not limited to surface temperature. Warming of the climate system is seen across a range of climate indicators that build a picture of global changes occurring across the land, atmosphere, oceans and ice.

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Nigel Holmes
Met Office predicts faster Global CO₂ rise in 2019

During 2019 Met Office climate scientists expect to see one of the largest rises in atmospheric carbon-dioxide concentration in 62 years of measurements.  This Met Office  CO₂ forecast is based on a combination of factors including rising anthropogenic emissions and a relative reduction in the uptake of carbon-dioxide by ecosystems due to tropical climate variability.

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Nigel Holmes
Just Transition Commission Remit Announced

The Just Transition Commission will look at how to maximise the social and economic opportunities for Scotland offered by moving to a carbon neutral economy. It will be chaired by Professor Jim Skea, who is also the Co-Chair of Working Group III (Mitigation) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

The Scottish Government is committed to growing a low-carbon, inclusive economy. Scotland’s Economic Strategy sets out the ambition to create a more cohesive and resilient economy that improves the opportunities, life chances, and wellbeing of every citizen in our country, and the Climate Change Bill commits Scotland to being carbon-neutral by 2050.

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CCC reports Hydrogen is a credible option for the future

A new report released today by the UK Committee on Climate Change (CCC) gives the very clear message that Hydrogen is a credible option to help decarbonise the UK energy system, but also highlights this depends on early Government commitment and improved support to develop the UK’s industrial capability: The UK must now prepare for the key decisions on zero-carbon energy.

The report finds hydrogen could replace natural gas in parts of the energy system, where electrification is not feasible or is prohibitively expensive, for example in providing heat on colder winter days, industrial heat processes and back-up power generation. Hydrogen should be viewed as a credible option in the next stage of the UK’s energy transition, and the report offers a new impetus for early Government action.

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IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) today released their Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC: http://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15/ The IPCC is the leading world body for assessing the science related to climate change, its impacts and potential future risks, and possible response options.

This report contains many important messages about the steps which need to be taken to avoid dangerous climate change, and also key references to the role of hydrogen in meeting global climate targets.

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Nigel Holmes
HyDIME hydrogen ferry project for Orkney Islands

Innovate UK has awarded funding to develop the UK’s first hydrogen injection system for a hydrogen/diesel ferry. The consortium is led by Ferguson Marine Engineering Limited and includes the BIG HIT partners Orkney Islands Council and the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC).

The HyDIME (Hydrogen Diesel Injection in a Marine Environment) project will design and integrate a hydrogen diesel dual fuel injection system on board a commercial ferry which will be deployed in the Orkney Islands.

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Nigel Holmes
Policy Exchange releases 'Fuelling the Future' report

The wider recognition of the role for hydrogen in decarbonising the UK energy system continues with the publication of a report by the Policy Exchange which identifies Scotland and North East England as being best placed for developing hydrogen in the near term.

Policy Exchange’s ‘Fuelling the Future’ report states that ‘Scotland and North East England offer the best opportunities for successful hydrogen production hubs, while investment in cost-effective hydrogen production technologies – such as electrolysis – would open up export opportunities and address both the Industrial and Clean Growth strategies’

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Nigel Holmes
Launch of the European Hydrogen Initiative

The Hydrogen Initiative has been launched at the Linz high-level energy conference to support the deployment of sustainable hydrogen technology for the decarbonisation of multiple sectors, the energy system and for the long-term energy security of the EU. The hydrogen industry is technologically diverse and sustainable hydrogen can be produced through electrolysis and through reformation processes that combines carbon management and abatement solutions. Delivering on Europe’s formidable decarbonisation ambitions will require having both at our disposal.

Although the Hydrogen Initiative is non-binding, it has already been signed by 25 EU countries, and calls on governments to increase research efforts, particularly into very large scale storage of hydrogen to address seasonal energy demands for heat.

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Nigel Holmes
Just Transition Commission to advise on Decarbonisation

A national taskforce to advise on how Scotland achieves a carbon-neutral economy has been launched.   The Just Transition Commission, a commitment under the Programme for Government, will look at how to maximise opportunities of decarbonisation, in terms of fair work and tackling inequalities, while delivering a sustainable and inclusive labour market.

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Nigel Holmes
IRENA report on Hydrogen from Renewable Power

A new report ‘Hydrogen from renewable power: Technology outlook for the energy transition’ has been released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). This report shows Hydrogen can help meet a range of energy needs that would be difficult to address through direct electrification, making hydrogen the missing link in the global transition to a low carbon energy system.

As the world strives to cut carbon emissions, electric power from renewables has emerged as a vital energy source. Yet transport and industry will still require combustible fuels for many purposes. Such needs could be met with hydrogen, which itself can be produced using renewable power.

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Nigel Holmes
EMEC announced as a 'Top 200' world influencing project

The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), based in the Orkney Islands of Scotland, has just been announced as one of the top 200 influencing world projects by the Institution of Civil Engineering. This recognises the pioneering and world-changing work that is taking place at their wave and tidal energy test sites in the Orkney Islands.

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Nigel Holmes
HYSEAS III – the World’s First Hydrogen Powered Sea-Going Car Ferry – Destination Orkney

HYSEAS III will to pave the way for the building and launch of the world’s first sea-going car and passenger ferry fuelled by hydrogen. The supported development is expected to cost around €12.6 million. The vessel’s fuel will be produced from renewable electricity marking a paradigm shift towards entirely emissions-free marine transport. The successful test will allow a vessel to be constructed, in the already assured knowledge that such a vessel can operate safely and efficiently around Scotland’s challenging coast. The vessel is planned to operate in and around Orkney, which is already producing hydrogen in volume from constrained –hence otherwise wasted – renewable energy.

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