The World Going Green: A Roundup of 2022’s Most Eco-Friendly Moments
With extreme weather events becoming more and more severe every year, and sea levels rising faster than ever before, nations worldwide are working hard to gain control of the climate and repair some of the damage caused by the use of fossil fuels and deforestation. Despite concerns that governments aren’t acting fast enough to offset the climate crisis’s impact on the planet, 2022 has been a positive year for climate activism, with some big commitments being made by world leaders. In this roundup, we’ll bring you a summary of the best that 2022 had to offer the climate in the quest to go greener.
COP27: A Climate Summit to Remember
As the second most attended COP summit of all time, COP 27 was always going to be one of the highlights of the 2022 calendar for climate activism. There were some high hopes for the gathering that saw over 33,000 delegates travel to Sharm El-Sheikh to discuss the key barriers to a greener world. Split into 11 thematic days, some of the topics on the agenda included decarbonization, energy, biodiversity and future generations, but one of the most pressing matters surrounded how the world will respond to the challenges faced by vulnerable countries that bear the brunt of some of the more influential players on the world stage.
For instance, low-lying island territories have faced some of the worst impacts of climate change, driven primarily by the emissions of richer nations. So at COP27 a decision was made to set up a “loss and damage” fund for developing nations. This fund is a significant commitment for the vulnerable nations and island states who have been campaigning for visibility for years, so expect to see some wider-reaching worldwide support over the coming years!
Not only was the “loss and damage” fund established, but further commitments to the adaptation of the globe to climate change were progressed. From the building of flood defences and the preservation of wetlands to the regrowth of forests, COP27 leaves a lot in the pipeline for the next few years.
Sustainable Property Design
Around the world, property developers are seeking new and exciting ways to improve their properties’ sustainability and carbon footprint.
You only need to look at the architects in Bristol, who are making waves in the environmentally friendly development space, to understand why the UK is a hotspot and global inspiration for eco-friendly design. Working alongside local developers, the councils and government authorities for Bristol and surrounding areas are developing an overall strategy designed to meet the area’s housing needs for the next eight years, under the West of England Joint Spatial Plan. As part of this plan, new houses will be built that need to meet greater environmentally conscious demands, so the input and influence of the UKs top architects is vital.
For example, this architect in Bristol places an exceptional emphasis on the impact of building on the environment, so as part of their project planning process, they will inform the council about the environmental impact of their work. Considering the ecological concerns of an area and the implications of regenerating old buildings makes a big difference to the overall success of a development project, and consideration should also be paid to the biodiversity net gain potential of any work. Biodiversity net gain, or BNG, defines whether a project has positively impacted the environment. Since legislation was introduced in 2021 that mandates BNG for all development projects, it’s more important than ever for developers to protect the ecosystems they impact.
£37 Million Renewable Energy Boost
August 2022 was a big month for the energy sector, with UK-based biomass projects awarded a staggering £37 million in government funding in a bid to boost investment into domestic renewable energy. The funding will support two key projects:
Biomass Feedstocks Innovation Programme
Most of the funding (£32 million) has been awarded to the Biomass Feedstocks Innovation Programme, designed to increase the level of biomass produced in the UK. Touted as the fuel of the future, biomass is a sustainable plant material that acts as an exceptionally effective alternative to fossil fuels and could truly revolutionize the way energy is produced worldwide.
Hydrogen BECCS Programme
Earlier this year, the Hydrogen BECCS Programme tasked participants with developing technologies that drive hydrogen-production. The 22 Stage One winners will benefit from the remaining £5 million of government funding.
At the forefront of the UK’s renewable energy mix, these technologies hold tremendous potential to make a big difference, and as we head into 2023, there’s a lot to look forward to.
The Breakthrough Discovery of an Australian Start-Up
Hydrogen production has long been considered a way for the world to go greener and turn its back on fossil fuels, so the breakthrough discovery of an Australian start-up this year has turned heads towards a new way of driving power station turbines. The patented catalyst technology of Star Scientific Ltd provides green hydrogen-powered generators to existing power stations and could make burning coal a thing of the past.
Not only can this technology be fitted to existing plants, but it’s also suitable for a huge range of industries. In the future, the world can expect a lot from the team at Star Scientific, and Australia will play a key role in supporting similar start-ups making waves in green development.
Climate change is an issue that affects every single person on the planet, so it’s vital that world leaders and local governments alike grasp the magnitude of risk that comes with deforestation and the use of fossil fuels. Slowly, it looks like a greener future is making its way onto the agenda of climate summits, housing development projects and academic programmes. As a result, 2022 has been a year that has the potential to shape a generation of young leaders. With the incredible input of architects like 24 Housing and climate activists, a greener future awaits us all.