Skip to main content

APPCCG & DECC: Presenting the Global Calculator

Image from Global Calculator
I recently had the great pleasure of being part of the Global Calculator presentation that took place in Parliament and was organized by Policy Connect.

In the background of the Paris talks and with more and more voices being raised demanding action to be taken against climate change, it is clear that the Global Calculator is a very ambitious project with a very demanding audience: all of us!

So what is the Global Calculator? By 2050, the global population is expected to grow from 7 billion today to 10 billion, and the global economy is expected to triple in size. This is the backdrop against which we are presented with the challenge of cutting global greenhouse gas emissions by half of today’s levels by 2050 in order to meet our international commitments to restrict the global mean temperature to 2°C. Leading scientists from over ten organizations came together and built a model of the world’s energy, land, food and climate systems to 2050. The team built the Global Calculator to model what lifestyle is physically possible for the world’s population – from kilometres travelled per person to calorie consumption and diet – and the energy, materials and land requirements to satisfy all of this. The climate impacts of different pathways are also illustrated by linking the model to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) climate science. The model has been tested with experts from more than 150 organisations around the world. Uniquely, you can use it yourself – the model, its methodology and assumptions are all published.

What is absolutely amazing about this project is the response it has received with more than 20,000 results (or ‘pathways’ as the experts called them)which have already been submitted by individuals!

The enthusiastic panel consisted of: Laura Aylett, Policy Analyst from the Department of Energy and Climate Change, Simon Harrison, Manager from the Group Strategic Development, Grahame Buss, Principal Researcher of Shell and Dr Jeremy Wood from Imperial College London.

Ms Aylett, who presented the software and its uses also noted that in the beginning, it was only a UK Calculator that was developed but more and more countries became interested in this project that they all started developing their own Calculators and this was what resulted in the Global Calculator.  That remark was seconded heartedly by Mr Harrison who referred to the software as “UK’s gift to the world”.

A very interesting presentation was that of Mr Buss from Shell who have as a company also submitted two official pathways, one called Mountains and one called Oceans, trying to reach the emissions goal set by the software.

Finally Dr Woods who was one of the leading scientists developing the Calculator presented us with some more technical information and details about how the model was developed and the challenge of keeping it simple but also effective and functional.

In all it was an absolutely fantastic experience, extremely informative that I would like to conclude with the final words of Dr Wood’s presentation:
“The time to act is now”
This blog is written by Cabot Institute member Eleni Michalopoulou, a PhD student in the School of Chemistry at the University of Bristol.

Eleni blogs on a recent meeting of the All Party Parliament Climate Change Group.


Popular posts from this blog

A response to Trump's withdrawal from the Paris Agreement

The decision by President Trump to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change puts the United States at odds with both science and global geopolitical norms.  The fundamentals of climate change remain unambiguous: greenhouse gas concentrations are increasing, they are increasing because of human action, the increase will cause warming, and that warming creates risks of extreme weather, food crises and sea level rise. That does not mean that scientists can predict all of the consequences of global warming, much work needs to be done, but the risks are both profound and clear. Nor do we know what the best solutions will be - there is need for a robust debate about the nature, fairness and efficacy of different decarbonisation policies and technologies as well as the balance of responsibility; the Paris Agreement, despite its faults with respect to obligation and enforcement, allowed great flexibility in that regard, which is why nearly every nation on Earth is a signatory.


The Diamond Battery – your ideas for future energy generation

On Friday 25th November, at the Cabot Institute Annual Lecture, a new energy technology was unveiled that uses diamonds to generate electricity from nuclear waste. Researchers at the University of Bristol, led by Prof. Tom Scott, have created a prototype battery that incorporates radioactive Nickel-63 into a diamond, which is then able to generate a small electrical current.
Details of this technology can be found in our official press release here:
Despite the low power of the batteries (relative to current technologies), they could have an exceptionally long lifespan, taking 5730 years to reach 50% battery power. Because of this, Professor Tom Scott explains:
“We envision these batteries to be used in situations where it is not feasible to charge or replace conventional batteries. Obvious applications would be in low-power electrical devices where long life of the energy source is needed, such as pacemakers, satellite…

What happens when you let PhD students and post-docs organise a meeting?

As plant science PhD students, we feel it is vital to share our research with other scientists to generate new ideas for collaborative projects. For this reason we decided to organise the ‘Innovations in Plant Science to Feed a Changing World’ workshop, which was held in the University of Bristol Biological Sciences department in February 2017. The delegates included early-career scientists from Kyoto University, Heidelberg University and of course the University of Bristol.

The University of Bristol has a long-standing partnership with Kyoto University and more recently, Heidelberg University, as our plant science groups share overlapping research areas. The main aim of the workshop was to encourage novel collaboration opportunities between the plant science groups, which would give rise to future projects, publications and ultimately funding.

Last year, Kyoto University hosted a highly engaging and productive workshop (see Sarah Jose’s blog post last year) for early-career scientist…