Month: April 2014

Collaboration with Stanford University and Biofuels Research at the Joint BioEnergy Institute

By C. Chambon, Research Postgraduate, Department of Chemistry

As part of a group of six Imperial students who visited California, I travelled to San Francisco to work on two projects: the New Climate Economy project, and a research collaboration with the Joint BioEnergy Institute.

The New Climate Economy project is a government-commissioned project looking at how economic goals can be achieved in a way that also addresses climate change. The Innovation stream, led by Stanford University and the Grantham Institute at Imperial, is focused on the potential economic and environmental impact of disruptive technologies. Beginning in January, a group of six Imperial students each focused on a different technology for the project, researching and preparing case studies for our weekly teleconferences.

The challenge of seasonal weather prediction

By Hannah Nissan, Research Assistant in Regional Climate Modelling, Physics

In April 2009 the UK Met Office issued their now infamous forecast: “odds-on for a BBQ summer”. By the end of August, total precipitation since June had climbed to 42% above average levels for 1971-2000 (UKMO, 2014). Why is it so challenging to provide seasonal forecasts several months ahead?

A question which arises often in conversations about climate change is “how can we predict the climate in 50 years when we can’t even get the weather right next week?” While we have no skill in forecasting the weather on a particular day in 2060, we can make much more confident projections about the average conditions at that time.

Stranding our fossil assets or stranding the planet

By Helena Wright, Research Postgraduate, Centre for Environmental Policy

Earlier this month Carbon Tracker came to Imperial College London to discuss their report on ‘Unburnable Carbon’.  The report outlines research which shows between 60-80% of coal, oil and gas reserves of publicly listed companies are ‘unburnable’ if the world is to have a chance of keeping global warming below the globally-agreed limit of 2°C.  The event was followed by a lively debate.

The research, led by the Grantham Research Institute at LSE and the Carbon Tracker Initiative, outlines the thesis that a ‘carbon bubble’ exists in the stock market, as companies with largely ‘unburnable’ fossil fuel reserves are being overvalued.

New Climate Economy Collaboration with Stanford University

By Phil Sandwell, Research postgraduate, Department of Physics and Grantham Institute for Climate Change

This March, six Imperial students travelled to Palo Alto, California, to work with Stanford University students on the innovation stream of the New Climate Economy.

The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate was established to investigate the economic benefits and costs associated with climate change mitigation and adaptation. The flagship project of this is the New Climate Economy, a worldwide collaboration of internationally renowned research institutions. One such stream, focusing on innovation, was spearheaded by Stanford University and the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London.

A slow start to a global climate treaty

By Gabriele Messori, Stockholm University (former Imperial PhD student)

The United Nations’ climate negotiations usually gain the press spotlight once a year, when the big Conference of the Parties (COP) meeting takes place. The most recent COP, which took place in Warsaw last November, was discussed on this blog here. However, the efforts to design a global climate treaty under the umbrella of the United Nations are ongoing, and additional negotiations take place throughout the year. These are particularly important in preparing the ground for the COPs, and provide the occasion to iron out the contrasts which might hamper later work.