It’s Trump – what now for climate action?

What are the implications for international action on climate change of the election of Donald Trump?

There’s shock all round in the environmental movement as the news sinks in that the next President of the United States is a climate sceptic who has threatened to derail the Paris Climate Agreement and has suggested that climate change is a Chinese conspiracy.

CAT Chief Executive Adrian Ramsay says:

The election of a climate change sceptic as leader of one of the world’s biggest emitters of greenhouse gases is very bad news for the environment – there’s no sugar coating that.

“Coming just days after the Paris Agreement came into force, and at a time when negotiators at the UN climate talks in Marrakech are being urged to be more ambitious, Trump’s election risks slowing global momentum on climate change. However, the Paris Agreement is bound in law and – despite the rhetoric that we’ve seen over the past months and years – Trump cannot simply repeal it over night.

“Time will tell what the true impacts of this election will be, but we cannot afford to wait and see which way Trump will jump. At Marrakech we can push for greater ambition, and as citizens of the Earth we can continue to campaign for the changes we know need to happen if we are to keep global temperature rise to within ‘safe’ limits.”

Later today our man in Marrakech, Paul Allen, will give us a view from inside the COP22 UN climate change talks, where he says the American Pavilion has gone eerily quiet…

New biomass teaching facility unveiled

Last week saw the launch of CAT’s new renewable heating teaching facility. The system will provide heat and hot water for several of our buildings, including the WISE education  and conference centre, whilst also being used as an example system for training heating engineers and plumbers in biomass installation. Display signs will help visitors and school groups to understand the benefits, and potential drawbacks, of using biomass as a fuel.

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Image: Launch of biomass boiler. Credit: Ian Care

Speaking at the launch event on Friday 7th October, CAT CEO Adrian Ramsay said: “The installation uses established and proven technology and fits well with CAT’s mission of helping people deliver practical solutions that can address the challenge of climate change.”

The system works on both wood chip and wood pellet – the first time the manufacturers have created this kind of combined fuel system outside of a laboratory. We plan to source fuel from local suppliers wherever possible, with much of the wood chip coming from a supplier based less than 1 mile from the CAT site in Pantperthog.

What’s on at CAT this summer?

Every day during the school holidays…

Enjoy special activities every day during the school holidays (18th July to 29th August). Get the kids out exploring nature and let them get creative with eco-crafts and solar boat-building. Take a guided tour or explore our brand new Quarry Trail. Just relax in our organic gardens or stop for lunch in the CAT cafe. See you soon!

Fun for kids!

 

EcoCrafts-Blog

 

 

Get crafty with natural jewellery making

 

 

 

 

 

SolarBoat

 

 

Put your inventing cap on and build a solar-powered boat

 

 

 

 

 

SlugsAndBugs

 

 

Get up close to some amazing beasties on a slug & bug hunt

 

 

 

And adults too!

 

GuidedTour

 

 

Take a guided tour to learn more about renewable energy and greener buildings

 

 

 

 

NewQuarryTrail

 

 

 

 

Explore our brand new Quarry Trail for amazing views across the old quarry on which CAT is built

 

 

 

 

 

Woodwork

 

 

Release your inner bodger with green woodcraft demonstrations every Wednesday

 

 

 

 

*School holiday activites run from 18th July to 29th August, with kids’ activities and guided tours on every day

To find out what’s on when, take a look at our events calendar at http://visit.cat.org.uk/whats-on

 

Sir John Houghton Bursary for CAT graduate school

Sir John Houghton, former co-chair of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Scientific Assessment Working Group and former Chief Executive of the Met Office, has made a donation of £60,000 to the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) to create an annual bursary for a student beginning one of the Masters courses at the Graduate School of the Environment.

CAT’s mission is to inspire, inform and enable people with practical solutions for sustainability. Our Graduate School offers a range of postgraduate programmes including MSc Sustainability and Adaptation, MSc Renewable Energy and the Built Environment and a Part II Architecture programme.

A bursary of £4,500 will be awarded annually to a promising student who demonstrates that they have an excellent academic record and a passion for tackling climate change.

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Sir John Houghton has had an illustrious career as one of the world’s most eminent climate scientists, and is a long term supporter of CAT’s work. On making the donation, he said:

“I have spent a lifetime studying the atmosphere and the climate and latterly have been concerned with the reality of human induced climate change. I now want to help the next generation tackle this serious problem, possibly the biggest the world faces.”

Adrian Ramsay, CAT Chief Executive said:

“CAT is extremely honoured to receive this donation from Sir John Houghton, someone who has made such as great contribution to our understanding of climate change. CAT now has more than one thousand alumni working across industry, government and academia who are collectively implementing the changes that society needs to make to tackle climate change. This award will enable more people to join them and drive forward the solutions that enable humanity to rise to this challenge.”

The closing date for applications for the 2016 award is Sunday 26th June.

For terms and conditions and an application form, please see the bursaries page.

‘Zero carbon to be enshrined in UK law’

The Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) welcomes the news that the government intends to enshrine a commitment to zero carbon in UK law, and calls on Ministers to outline a clear plan for how this target will be reached.

CAT Chief Executive Adrian Ramsay said:

The climate science demands that we get to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by the second half of this century. To do this, we must set ambitious targets and we must start investing in the technologies that will help get us there.

Having stated that ‘The question is not whether but how we do it,’ Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom should now commit to a target date for getting to zero, and outline a clear plan of action. CAT’s Zero Carbon Britain research has shown that we can reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions using technology available today – all that’s needed is the political will. CAT calls on the government to revisit recent changes to UK energy policy and reinstate support for proven, effective renewable technologies that will help us meet our climate commitments.”

Zero Carbon Britain: Rethinking the Future outlines a scenario that would allow us to ‘keep the lights on’ through a combination of ‘powering down’ our energy demand through efficiency measures and ‘powering up’ our renewable energy supply. We can do this without pinning our hopes on future technologies, and without new nuclear.  CAT’s most recent research project, Zero Carbon: Making it Happen looks at the barriers to achieving net zero emissions, and how these can be overcome.

Minister for Natural Resources visits new Quarry Walk at CAT

Welsh Government Minister for Natural Resources Carl Sargeant AM and local Assembly Member William Powell AM visited CAT this week to see the beginnings of a new woodland trail.

William Powell and Carl Sargeant meet with CAT CEO Adrian Ramsay, External Relations Officer Paul Allen and the team of staff and volunteers who are creating the new Quarry Walk.

Opening later this summer, the Quarry Walk will allow visitors to explore changing land-use patterns and human impact on the environment, taking in agricultural, industrial and woodland areas. The new trail will offer spectacular views across the old slate quarry on which CAT is built, and will allow access to never-before-seen areas of the CAT woodlands and gardens.

Built with support from Natural Resources Wales, the Quarry Walk will also allow visitors to get a better understanding of the plants and animals that share the site, including rare species such as dormice and lesser horseshoe bats.

Natural Resources Minister Carl Sargeant AM said: ‘One of the priorities of Natural Resources Wales is to provide opportunities for people to learn about and enjoy nature and the environment. CAT’s Quarry Walk is a great example of a place where people can get closer to nature and learn more about what we can do to manage landscapes in ways that work for both people and nature.’

William Powell AM said: ‘CAT’s work in highlighting environmental issues and solutions over the past 40 years has inspired thousands of people to care more about and to do more to help the natural world. The development of this trail adds a new dimension to this work, bringing to life the history and biodiversity of the site itself.’

CAT CEO Adrian Ramsay said: ‘The new trail will allow visitors to CAT to gain a better understanding of the impact that people have on the environment, and how we can create landscapes that actively benefit nature. It also opens up views across the Dulas Valley into the Snowdonia National Park, providing a stunning backdrop to a visit to CAT.’

The Quarry Walk officially opens in late summer, but CAT’s woodlands team will be offering tours of sections of the trail during the Easter holidays as part of a programme of activities for visitors, which includes tours, talks, demonstrations and a range of eco-activities for kids. Activities run from Monday 21 March to Saturday 9 April inclusive. See visit.cat.org.uk or call 01654 705950 for details.

CAT in Paris – Media Pack

CAT is going to Paris, here you will find our press pack for the  COP21 UNFCCC climate talks. Packed full of useful information, key events we will be attending and the messages we are taking with us. We will be promoting our ground-breaking Zero Carbon research project both inside and outside the official negotiating hall to raise ambition by showing we have all the technologies we need to do what the climate science demands of us. The work we will present includes the recently released ‘Who’s Getting Ready for Zero?’ and some initial findings from our current phase of research, ‘Zero Carbon: Making it Happen’.zc__mih_header_3

The key messages that we are taking to Paris are:

We know we must! The climate science couldn’t be clearer. In Paris the world must plan to rapidly move beyond fossil fuels and eliminate our greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century.

We know we can! CAT’s new ‘Who’s Getting Ready for Zero?’ report offers robust scenarios from across the globe that clearly demonstrate that we can reach zero emissions with existing technologies.

The media services we offer are:

  • Spokespersons for CAT and the Zero Carbon Britain project include Adrian Ramsay, CEO of CAT and Paul Allen, Zero Carbon Britain Project Coordinator.
  • Expert information and commentary on all aspects of sustainable technologies, including the policy environment. Areas of expertise include renewable energy, sustainable architecture, land use and transport.
  • Case studies of and contacts for pioneering projects that aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, tackle fuel poverty and provide clean green energy.
  • High quality images of sustainable technologies in action.
  • Our Twitter and Facebook feeds will be closely following events both inside and outside the climate talks. We will be using the opportunity of the climate talks to showcase decarbonisation scenarios from across the globe on our social media channels.
  • Interviews in Welsh language

    Get in contact if you would like any more information kim.bryan@cat.org.uk/ +44 (0)7709 696 599

CAT celebrates the next generation of graduates ‘making it happen’

Graduates from the Centre for Alternative Technology celebrate their academic successes at ceremony.

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CAT’s CEO Adrian Ramsay addresses Graduates and their families in the rammed earth lecture theatre

Over 40 students from the Graduate School of the Environment at the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) in Machynlleth celebrated the successful completion of their studies with an award ceremony on Saturday 14th November.

The evening also included a buffet dinner, a welcome from CAT’s chief executive Adrian Ramsay and a keynote speech by Professor Herbert Girardet, leading environmental commentator and author of several books including the seminal “Blueprint for a Green Planet” (1987) and “Creating Regenerative Cities” (2014).

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The class of 2015 – CAT Graduation

The event saw students graduate from all of CAT’s postgraduate programmes: MSc Renewable Energy and the Built Environment, Professional Diploma in Architecture, MSc Architecture: Advanced Environmental and Energy Studies and MSc Sustainability and Adaptation.

Adrian Ramsay, CEO of CAT, said they were the people who would be ‘making it happen’ in the transition to a zero carbon future:

“The world faces many challenges in the transition to a zero carbon future. The knowledge and skills that our graduates learn by studying at the Graduate School for the Environment equip them well to be the people making it happen. We are very proud of this year’s CAT graduates and look forward to hearing about their successes as they take the knowledge gained from their time at CAT into their careers, communities and home lives.”

Five students received particular awards for excellence in their dissertations. Helen Nicholls received an award for her dissertation comparing the impact of different waste water treatment systems on climate change. Lee Eyre received an award for his research into the role of metaphor in the world views of environmentalists. Elgan Roberts’ award-winning study looked at the greenhouse gas emissions from small scale hydroelectric schemes in Wales. Anne-Clare Landolt received an award for her dissertation on storing heat to improve greenhouse growing conditions. Lucy Jones also received an award for her technical report on a more sustainable alternative to supermarkets.

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CAT congratulates the class of 2015 with a buffet dinner

This year’s graduates join over one thousand people who have graduated from CAT’s postgraduate courses and are working for sustainability in their work and communities across the UK and around the world. CAT graduates have taken their skills to many professions which need expertise in sustainability and many companies have been set up by CAT graduates, bringing innovative solutions to environmental problems.

Photographs by Eveleigh Photography

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Celebrating in the bar after the ceremony