International carbon emissions project opens its first UK office

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An international project giving the latest information on carbon emissions has opened its first UK office at the University of East Anglia (UEA).

According to the UEA, the Global Carbon Project provides objective scientific data to policy-makers and the public on the latest trends in CO2 emissions and ‘sinks’ around the world. It already has offices in Australia, Japan, France, US, China and South Korea with more than 50 scientists around the world contributing their expertise to the project.

The UK Global Carbon Project Office will be located within the UEA-led Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, itself a partnership of eight UK universities.

Funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, the office will support the annual publication of the project’s ‘global carbon budget’, which quantifies global CO2 emissions in the previous 12 months and shows how they are divided between the land, ocean and atmosphere.

Last year, the group reported that global CO2 emissions had reached 10 billion tonnes following a 50 per cent rise over the last two decades in emissions from fossil fuels.

In a statement it says it has also shown that the proportion of CO2 remaining in the atmosphere is increasing as the natural carbon sinks on land and in the ocean weaken in response to recent changes in climate.

Prof Corinne Le Quéré, Tyndall Centre director and co-chair of the Global Carbon Project, said: ‘Without accurate, up-to-date information, policy-makers lack the tools to plan effective future strategy in this vitally important field.

‘Establishing the Global Carbon Project’s first UK office is a significant step in improving the quality of the data and reducing uncertainty in the science. Ultimately, our knowledge of global carbon cycles could be such that the weakening of a carbon sink would be precisely located and monitored, and act as a kind of early-warning system.’

In separate news, energy-efficiency experts at UEA today called for ambitious targets to reduce energy demand across the European Union.

In a report published by the Build with CaRe consortium, the researchers propose an EU target of a 40 per cent reduction in primary energy demand by 2050. The existing target is a 20 per cent improvement in energy efficiency by 2020, but the EU is currently on track to achieve only half of this.

The report by Dr Bruce Tofield and Martin Ingham, associate consultants at UEA’s Adapt Low Carbon Group, concludes that radically improving the energy efficiency of new and existing buildings is key to reducing global greenhouse-gas emissions, and Europe should be leading the way.