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Showing posts from October, 2019

Flooding in the UK: Understanding the past and preparing for the future

On the 16th of October 2019, Ivan Haigh ­Associate Professor in Coastal Oceanography at the University of Southampton - gave a presentation on the “characteristics and drivers of compound flooding events around the UK coast” at the BRIDGE research seminar in the School of Geographical Sciences. He began by outlining the seriousness of flood risk in the UK - it is the second highest civil emergency risk factor as defined by the Cabinet Office - before moving on to the first section of the talk on his work with the Environment Agency on its Thames Estuary 2100 plan (TE2100)[1].
Thames Estuary 2100 plan: 5-year review The construction of a Thames barrier was proposed after severe flooding in London in 1953, and it eventually became operational 30 years later in 1983. Annually, the Thames barrier removes around £2bn of flood damage risk from London and is crucial to the future prosperity of the city in a changing environment.

Flood defences in the Thames estuary were assessed in the TE210…

Uncomfortable home truths: Why Britain urgently needs a low carbon heat strategy

A new report backed by MPs and launched by Minister for Climate Change Lord Duncan on 15 October 2019, calls for an urgent Green Heat Roadmap by 2020 to scale low carbon heating technologies and help Britain’s homeowners access the advice they need to take smarter greener choices on heating their homes.  The year-long study by UK think-tank Policy Connect warns that the UK will miss its 2050 net-zero climate target “unless radical changes in housing policy, energy policy and climate policy are prioritised”. Dr Colin Nolden was at the launch on behalf of the Cabot Institute for the Environment and blogs here on the most interesting highlights of the report and questions raised.
---------------------------------- Policy Connect had invited a range of industry, policy, academic and civil society representatives to the launch of their Uncomfortable Home Truths report. The keynote, no less than Lord Duncan of Springbank, Minister for Climate Change, and the high-level panel consisting of Ma…

AI & sustainable procurement: the public sector should first learn what it already owns

While carrying out research on the impact of digital technologies for public procurement governance, I have realised that the deployment of artificial intelligence to promote sustainability through public procurement holds some promise. There are many ways in which machine learning can contribute to enhance procurement sustainability.

For example, new analytics applied to open transport data can significantly improve procurement planning to support more sustainable urban mobility strategies, as well as the emergence of new models for the procurement of mobility as a service (MaaS).* Machine learning can also be used to improve the logistics of public sector supply chains, as well as unlock new models of public ownership of, for example, cars. It can also support public buyers in identifying the green or sustainable public procurement criteria that will deliver the biggest improvements measured against any chosen key performance indicator, such as CO2 footprint, as well as support the…

CAKE: In memory of Dr Caroline Williams

It all started with a picture.

A picture of a 1773 eruption of Tungurahua volcano in Ecuador. Caroline, the historian, was fascinated by the writing. Alison and Kathy were interested in the details of the eruption: the two vents, the distribution of the lava bombs, the flow that blocked the river. Erica, the paleoclimatologist, was the conduit between us, receiving the image from Caroline and passing it along to Alison and Kathy. And thus CAKE (Caroline-Alison-Kathy-Erica) was established.

Over the intervening years, we pursued several academic collaborations with students (one PhD and two MSc) that not only brought us together on questions of science and historical records, but also grew into a deep CAKE friendship, with shared dinners and social events in addition to a shared Dropbox folder and co-authored publications. Caroline taught us (the scientists) that the methodologies employed by data-driven historians are very similar to those used by scientists - find more than one sourc…