We conducted research on the impact of land-use change that has resulted
in international action
to improve forest management. Our research demonstrated that clearing
forests to grow crops for
biofuels leads to large carbon emissions. In light of these findings, the
UK Government amended
its biofuel policy to include mandatory sustainability criteria. Leeds
researchers co-established with
a number of businesses the charity United Bank of Carbon, resulting in the
investment of £1.5
million and the protection of 200,000 hectares of forest. Our research
underpinned a forest-based
climate mitigation scheme resulting in the investment of an additional
£440k in forest protection.
Impacts: I) Development of carbon credit certification schemes,
including the expansion by the Gold Standard Foundation into land-use and
forestry and the creation of the Natural Forest Standard by Ecometrica Ltd
(both in 2012). II) Enhanced cross-sector collaboration for the
quantification of forest-loss risks and implications for financing risks,
through the 2011 creation of a Forest Finance Risk Network (FFRN).
Significance and reach: The Gold Standard Foundation represents
nine forestry projects worldwide (benefiting >8,500 people) and over
1.8million ha. of Brazilian land is managed through two Natural Forest
Standard projects. The FFRN connects 80 member organizations globally.
Underpinned by: Research into carbon emissions associated with
forest-loss, undertaken at the University of Edinburgh (2005 onwards).
Research led by the School of Geography at the University of Leeds has
enabled, for the first time, the use of on-the-ground observations to
evaluate directly the role of tropical forests in the global carbon cycle
and to assess their sensitivity to change. Findings from the research have
had a significant impact on international debates on the future trajectory
of climate change and appropriate policy responses, and are influencing
national-scale efforts across the tropics to manage forests in the face of
climate change and to reduce carbon emissions resulting from deforestation
[D, E, G, H, J]. The success of this Leeds-led initiative has been
achieved through the extensive network of scientists involved in this
global forest observatory: more than 250 scientists from over 50
institutions across more than 30 countries are now involved.
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.
The UN Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation
(REDD+) programme offers developing countries incentives to reduce carbon
emissions from forested lands. Work on carbon storage and sequestration
led by researchers in the Department of Zoology has had demonstrable
impacts on international development, via the REDD+ programme and two
associated UN Conventions; Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Biodiversity (UN
CBD), and on national level policy development in Tanzania and Brazil. It
has improved the quality of data collection and monitoring necessary for
successful implementation of REDD+, and has led to international
investment. The work has also had direct impacts in a number of developing
countries, through capacity building, employment generation, and enabling
local communities to better adapt to climate change.
Dr Luiz Aragão in Geography at Exeter has, since 2008, led research
focused on quantifying the impacts of environmental change on fire risk
and carbon dynamics in Amazonian forests. This has had a number of
impacts. First, research into drought frequency and intensity and fire
occurrence has directly informed the design and implementation of
environmental policy and regulation in relation to a `zero fire'
policy by the State of Acre in Brazil. Second, the research has led to the
development of new monitoring tools to assist policy makers in
understanding the interactions between climate, ecosystems, and human
health in Amazonia. Third, research into carbon emissions has influenced
methodological development within the United Nations REDD (Reducing
Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing
Countries) programme in Colombia. Finally, Dr Aragão's research has been
widely disseminated in media outlets, thus increasing awareness of the
general public and policy makers on drought and fire issues in
International and national political negotiations and public debates
about climate change mitigation policies can only progress with accurate
and timely updates about the global carbon budget. Annual carbon updates
have been supplied over many years, as a result of our work. The "Global
Carbon Project" (GCP) has become the definitive source on carbon budgets
for political and policy processes dealing with climate change mitigation
and the GCP draws heavily on the School's work on the ocean carbon cycle,
including ocean iron fertilisation, and its relevance to the contemporary
global carbon budget. This is evidenced by its citation and influence on
national (e.g. UK, Germany, Australia, USA, Sweden and Canada) and
international (e.g. UN Framework Convention on Climate Change)
In the REF impact period, our research on carbon-rich tropical peat swamp
forests in Indonesia
has been used to:
Impacts: I) Economic benefits derived from carbon credit and
land-use schemes in sub-Saharan Africa. II) Multi-national developments in
public-policy related to Reducing Emissions for Deforestation and Forest
Degradation (REDD). III) Recommendation for launch by the European Space
Agency (March 2013) of the first ever forest-specific monitoring mission.
Significance and reach: Public policy developments have occurred
over the period 2011 - June 2013 in Malawi, Mozambique and Gabon.
Increases of more than 20% in the level of rural employment pre and post
2008 have been documented for one project in Mozambique.
Underpinned by: Research into quantifying tropical forest biomass
stocks and their degradation, undertaken at the University of Edinburgh
The Scottish Government is aiming to generate all of its electricity
through renewable energy sources by 2020. Research by the University of
Aberdeen has produced a freely available tool - the Windfarm Carbon
Calculator - that has overhauled the planning process for windfarm
developments in Scotland. In changing public policy and planning
regulations, and informing the public debate, Aberdeen's calculator is
helping the Government fulfil its pledge to become "the green energy
powerhouse of Europe" while protecting some of the country's most
environmentally fragile areas. It continues to guide the actions of
politicians, planners, the wind industry, NGOs and community groups.
The claimed impact therefore is on: the environment, economy and
commerce, public policies and services, practitioners and services.