The UK's Climate Change Bill (2008) proposed a reduction in carbon
dioxide emissions of 60% by 2050. Tyndall-Manchester's research concluded
this target was inconsistent with the government's repeated commitment to
a temperature rise of no more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels.
It demonstrated a minimum 80% reduction was necessary;
scientifically-robust policies must be based on `cumulative emissions'
(carbon budgets); and that targets should include emissions from aviation
and shipping. All three recommendations are now explicitly enshrined in
primary legislation, with the responsible Secretary of State acknowledging
the "signal contribution" of Tyndall-Manchester's research to the
2008 Climate Change Act.
This case study describes the impacts of the work undertaken at
Manchester Metropolitan University's (MMU) Centre for Aviation, Transport,
and the Environment (CATE), on international and national policy and
legislation for reducing CO2 emissions from aviation and
shipping. The research has provided a robust technical basis for emissions
reductions of CO2 from aviation and the maritime sectors. It
has influenced international and national policy development of the
International Civil Aviation Organization through their Committee on
Aviation Environmental Protection (ICAO-CAEP), the International Maritime
Organization (IMO), the European Commission (EC), and the UK Committee on
Climate Change (UKCCC). Greenhouse gas emission reductions have been
pledged under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change's
(UNFCCC) Conference of Parties (COP) as a result of the United Nations
Environment Program's (UNEP) influential report "Bridging the Emissions
Gap", in which a chapter on aviation and shipping was led by CATE staff (,
sec.3, numerical references to the research).
Impacts: I) Enhanced public engagement with, and understanding of,
climate mitigation by
individuals, delivered through two successful popular science publications
and sustained bodies of
media and outreach work. II) Public policy formation related to climate
Significance and reach: Impacts of the popular science books
include >5,500 sales of a children's
book (2009 - 2011) and documented household-level behaviour changes in
energy usage. The
European Commission issued new directives on energy saving appliances in
Underpinned by: Research into the role of individuals in climate
change mitigation, undertaken at
the University of Edinburgh (2001 onwards).
Results from climate physics research at the University of Oxford have
demonstrated that targets for cumulative carbon emissions, rather than
greenhouse gas concentrations, are a more effective approach to limiting
future climate change. This new approach and the resulting `trillionth
tonne' concept have had substantial political and economic implications.
Impacts since 2009 include (a) stimulus to policy developments; (b)
influence on the business decisions of Shell e.g. to invest in a $1.35bn
carbon capture and storage facility; and (c) significant public and media
debate with a global reach.
This case study highlights the impact of LSE research on national and
international carbon pricing policy. This includes a fundamental change in
the way the UK government sets a carbon price for policy and project
appraisal, and its approach to carbon trading in Europe. LSE work has also
had impact beyond the UK, in particular on legislating — for the first
time — policies to price carbon in strategically important countries
across the world, including Australia, China, Mexico and South Korea.
Research performed at York during 2003-6 revealed the unexpectedly high
level of organic emissions by trees in the UK during the hottest periods,
catalysing the formation of smog. This research on causes of summertime
air pollution informed UK government policy reports in 2008/9. It also
resulted in on-going changes in modelling of biogenic emissions by DEFRA
(Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs), embedding the
knowledge into all future government policy evaluations of air pollution.
The Met Office and others have now improved their air quality forecasts
provided to the public by adding the effect of natural emissions. The
beneficiaries of the York research include government and those people at
health risk from low air quality. The impact spans public policy,
environmental policy and health.
Research at Oxford in the Transport Studies Unit (TSU) has enabled cities and governments
(regional and local) in the UK and internationally to adjust their transport policies over the longer
term (to 2050) towards low carbon alternatives. Its impact has been to reconfigure decision
makers' thinking on transport policies from trend-based projective studies for transport policy
options, towards trend breaking `backcasting' studies for sustainable transport policy futures.
Several national and international agencies have used both the backcasting approach, and also
two simulation models developed as part of the research.
Since 2005 the Agriculture and Environment Research Unit has undertaken
an extensive programme of research related to mitigating the climate
change impacts arising from agricultural land management policies and
practices. The research findings that identified the impact on climate
change of various policies, schemes and farming initiatives have been
instrumental since 2008 in providing UK policy makers, farmers and their
advisors with data and tools that helped to formulate improved climate
change mitigation policies. They also contributed to the development of
key guidance materials that supported the implementation of these policies
on the farm.
Cranfield University has been a key contributor to development of policy
and regulatory guidance for industrial composting in collaboration with
the UK environmental regulators, Government departments and with in-kind
and financial support from the waste management industry. The growth of
the industry in the UK has needed applied research to support the evolving
Cranfield has characterised and quantified the nature and magnitude of
airborne bioaerosol emissions and dispersion from composting for the first
time. This research has fed into policy development on the regulation of
facilities, and the practices of bioaerosol monitoring and site-specific
bioaerosol risk assessment.
Information on the potential impacts of climate change across the world,
and on the effects of policies designed to reduce emissions, is
fundamental to inform the development of climate mitigation and adaptation
policy. Research conducted at the Unit has been critical to the
establishment of a target 80% cut in UK carbon emissions by 2050, as
enforced by the Climate Change Act (2008), and provided an affirmation of
the relevance of the 2f0b0C global mean temperature rise target central to
national and international climate mitigation policy. Research into the
global consequences of climate change, particularly for water resources
and river flooding, has been used by the Department for Energy and Climate
Change (DECC) to assess the impacts of un-mitigated climate change and the
effects of different mitigation policy options.