Author Archive Debbie

How smaller retailers can respond to challenging trading conditions

It’s frequently reported how the high street is under immense pressure, with smaller, independent retailers particularly feeling the impact.

And the light at the end of the tunnel may be some way off for a lot of retailers, as they struggle to reopen amidst complex restrictions.

However there is a simple step they can make to manage their finances.

Smart meters enable accurate billing, helping to take the stress out of budgeting and putting you back in control. Plus, smart meters send your gas and electricity readings directly to your energy supplier so you don’t have to – very handy.

If your firm has 10 employees or less, your business could be eligible. To see whether smart metering can work for your business, contact your energy supplier. To find out more please click here

Smart meters could help businesses take control of their outgoings.

Coffee shops and cafes are welcoming customers inside, hairdressers and beauty salons
are switching on the lights and workers are starting to return to the office.

However, trading is going to be tough for SMEs who need to closely budget and forecast their spending.

Smart meters enable accurate billing, helping to take the stress out of budgeting and putting you back in control. Plus, smart meters send your gas and electricity readings directly to your energy supplier so you don’t have to – very handy.

If your firm has 10 employees or less, your business could be eligible. To see whether smart metering can work for your business, contact your energy supplier. To find out more please click here

Business Net Zero Events

The government has launched ambitious targets for the reduction of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions to Net Zero by 2050. The changes needed mean that all businesses need to phase out all emissions within the next few decades.

For many SMEs, the changes needed to deliver net-zero seem daunting, so working together with the FSB, British Chambers of Commerce and energy networks from across the UK they have developed a Zero Carbon Buiness portal, that gives small and medium sizes businesses objective, clear and easy to follow advice and support on how to get started and get ahead of the targets.

Join these special webinars this April to hear from SME business leaders on the challenges of delivering net-zero.

Friday 16th April 9:30am – 11:00am Register Here

Friday 23rd April 9:30am – 11:00am Register Here

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Chamber Low Carbon

Just before we take a break for the Christmas period, we would like to finish with a good news story.
Celia Glaze from The Wellbeing Farm a member of East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce and a participant on the Green Rose Programme, wanted to share some exciting sustainability news with us…“As you may know, I have three passions which underpin my business model: fun, wellbeing and sustainability…
When you work with llamas and donkeys, every day is fun.
We’ve done loads on wellbeing this year with the creation of a new business: the North West Centre for Business and Team Wellbeing and also co-founding Wellbeing Lancashire which is now a CIC.
But what about sustainability?
I am overjoyed to finish 2020 on a high with the launch of our new green sustainability website created by a sustainability graduate we have worked with – Leah Bennett.” and documenting:

  • Our pledge to be one of the most sustainable green and carbon-neutral venues in the UK
  • Our work on progressing towards the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals
  • Our Progress in becoming eco-friendly
  • Climate disclosure work
  • Our passion for sustainability
  • Green weddings and events
  • Environmental policy
  • Our role in the Community
  • Recognition for our work
  • What guests, staff and suppliers can do to support our sustainability work
  • Why are we doing this
  • Our intention to WASH your business – our WASH scheme stands for:
    • Wellbeing at our centre
    • Amazing nutritious food
    • Sustainable and safe
    • Happy and fun environment
Its fantastic to see a Local business passionate about sustainability and working towards COP26, if you would like any advice or support on your journey to Net Zero, please get in touch with the Chamber Low Carbon Team on 01254 356487.

Autumn curriculum – and what low carbon did this summer

Term time again … online. The Chamber Low Carbon programme (CLC) is back with a busy Green Rose agenda, free carbon- and cost-saving advice plus financial support, expert webinars … and a 23rd September invitation to join a key Environment Bill conversation.

Carbon made the headlines this summer as the chief suspect behind increasingly destructive climate change, violent wildfires, record Arctic and Antarctic ice melts and a new urgency to curb emissions.

However, our own good news is that the low carbon programme has been expanded and extended to operate until July 2023.

With two successful years behind us, we look forward to helping even more companies become more energy-efficient, adopt circular economy principles and take new technologies to market.


Working together

If we haven’t worked with you yet, we hope to soon as part of a green UK Covid-19 recovery and drive to mitigate climate change by cutting emissions to net-zero by 2050.

To join us, please contact Debbie Treadwell (, or call 01254 356 487.

Later, we list some of our early autumn online events and services, plus obvious and strange ways in which carbon affected the way we live this summer.

These include US west coast fires, violent Asian flooding, wilting UK wheat harvests … plus injecting bio-methane made from cow manure into the National Grid and eco-friendly low carbon concrete.

There is also news that renewables could satisfy 66% of UK energy demand by 2030, of a greenhouse gas direct air capture (DAC) technology competition, 5G’s positive role in decarbonisation and plunging wind and solar energy costs. Google and Facebook are also going carbon-zero.



Autumn’s first diary date – “Targets for Green Growth – setting the targets under the Environment Bill” – is an opportunity for you to join a key public conversation with Defra Secretary of State, George Eustice, Chief Executive of the Committee on Climate Change, Chris Stark, IEMA’s CEO Sarah Mukherjee, and other leaders exploring what is required to: –

  • Define the environmental outcomes we need to guide a green recovery and green growth
    • Engage businesses and civil society in setting targets and delivering solutions
    • Translate national targets into positive actions

The event on Wednesday 23rd September from 9.30am to 11.30am is organised by the Broadway Initiative in partnership with IEMA and the influential Aldersgate Group.

To register, go to

Second diary date – Leading the Charge: Electric Vehicle ChargePoints for your community” is a local chance to take part in our opening autumn Chamber Low Carbon LIVE Lunch and Learn online webinar on Thursday, 1 October 2020 from 12.00pm to 13.30pm.

To register, please go to

We will be joined by Daniel Heery and Ady Powell of Charge My Street which installs and maintains publicly accessible EV chargepoints to encourage people to switch to EVs (

Daniel, with 20 years funding and community project experience, wanted a chargepoint on his Lancaster street which led to the idea of using community shares to unite local people in co-operative solutions. Ady, who manages the SOSCI (Scaling On-Street Charging Infrastructure) project for Charge My Street, finds sites, manages delivery partners and sets up site owners.

They will discuss increasing electric vehicle (EV) uptake, EV charging technology, Charge My Street operations, plus practicalities and options for becoming a host site.


Green Rose autumn blooming

We should also mention the CLC team’s six-month Green Rose Programme helping businesses to develop bespoke Environmental Management Systems to recognised standards. The aim is to: –

  • Save money on consultancy fees
  • Meet new customers who want environmental credentials
  • Prepare businesses for ISO 14001, BS 8555 or EMAS certification
  • Provide a peer-to-peer learning and support network
  • Earn a Green Rose Certificate of recognition

2020/21’s six diary dates are: –

  • 17th November – Session 1 – 9am-1pm
  • 15th December – Session 2 – 9am -1pm
  • 12th January – Session 3 – 9am – 1pm
  • 9th February – Session 4 – 9am – 1pm
  • 9th March – Session 5 – 9am – 1pm
  • 6th April – Session 6 – 9am – 1pm

Again, please contact Debbie Treadwell at    


Global goals week – 18th to 26th September

We mentioned in January 2020 the importance of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) designed to tackle huge challenges facing mankind and change society and life for the better. In September 2019, a huge push was planned by world governments for September 2020.

“2020 Global Week to Act4SDGs”, as part of Global Goals Week (, is a joint action-call for leaders, citizens, organizations and institutions to make “now” a ‘true turning point for people and planet’ by making SDGs central to their recovery plans in the coming decade.

The UN has made a universal promise to build back better and leave no one behind in achieving a peaceful and prosperous world by 2030. A detailed list of the 17 SDGs covering poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice can be seen at

That’s the end of the commercials messages!

What low carbon did this summer

However, having local and regional action plans is clearly important given the growing global problems of a warming world.

Scientists at NOAA (the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) say 2020’s northern hemisphere summer was the hottest recorded, with wildfires from the Arctic to the tropics. The San Francisco Chronicle even accused President Trump of “fiddling while California burns”.

With a quarter of June, July and August 1.170C above the 20th-century average, and the second-hottest August recorded globally, 2020 could be one of the world’s five warmest years yet.

Annual snowfall is now too low to replace melting ice flowing to sea from Greenland’s glaciers. Thawing northern hemisphere peatlands will release greenhouse gases this century at a rate 30%-50% higher than estimated previously, say researchers. Heat also reduced US Mid-West and UK grain harvests, exposing the vulnerability of food chains.

And for only the second time ever recorded, five tropical cyclones have been active together in the Atlantic Ocean. However, while Louisiana and Mississippi residents faced hurricane winds, typhoons also brought devastating flooding to China, India and Asia.


Environment Bill update

Meanwhile, an August Environment Bill update shows that Defra is developing time-bound, numerical targets to tackle a range of key environmental issues, with at least one “strong and meaningful” target for the four priority areas of biodiversity, air quality, water and waste. There will be mid-to-late 2030s deadlines backed by interim targets.

The UK’s post-Brexit green issues watchdog, the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) will report annually on target progress; recruitment for OEP’s first chairperson in 2021 has also begun.


Corporate initiatives

CBI director-general, Carolyn Fairbairn, says Britain must become a global climate action leader creating green jobs and boosting productivity for a post-pandemic economy recover. The CBI has launched a “green recovery roadmap” and called for the Government to reignite global efforts to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The CBI also warns that air pollution is causing 3 million lost UK working days annually.

Lego, meanwhile, will replace plastic packaging with paper bags from 2021 at a cost of £310 million after receiving letters of environmental concern from children. The company is exploring alternatives to replace the plastic from which its bricks are currently made.

Google, Facebook ITV say they are now committed to zero-carbon; Google says it has wiped out its historic carbon footprint, although some of its “high-quality carbon offsets” have been questioned. It became carbon-neutral in 2007.



By one measure, the fightback is not impossible. A new report from the Energy Transitions Commission (ETC) backed by industry majors, says that by scaling up energy efficiency and increasing renewable energy generation capacity more rapidly the world could “technically and economically” transition to net-zero by 2050 for less than 1% of global GDP annually (

Wind and solar “levelised cost” electricity is 30-50% cheaper than previously thought new Government figures show, giving it a dramatic 50% edge over gas-fired power by 2025.

O2 has also published a new analysis – ‘A Greener Connected Future’ – of how ultrafast 5G could help to decarbonise the UK economy by 269 megatonnes of CO2e emissions from transport, utilities, manufacturing and healthcare sectors by 2035 ( with smart heating cutting domestic energy use by 20% and support for the EV transition.


Fossil-fuels and flight

Diesel and petrol engines do not get away scot-free. To cut high emission and air pollution, speed limits on parts of the M1, M5 and M6 will be cut to 60mph for a trial 15 months linked to £100 fines and three penalty points.

In the higher atmosphere, British Airways, Qantas and American Airlines are among 13 flight operators signing a new joint commitment to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.

Airlines will invest in more fuel-efficient aircraft, sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) and carbon offsetting. Emissions from waste will be included, forcing some groups to hand out fewer single-use items while improving recycling and reuse processes. Electric aircraft are not mentioned specifically.


Concrete proposals

Concrete accounts for 8% of global carbon emissions and if it were a country would rank third in emissions behind China and the US. Carbon dioxide is part of the manufacturing process. Its ingredients are also carbon-unfriendly, including cement as 15% of the mix which is particularly unsustainable. Experiments are underway to reduce both or use alternative materials.

At the cutting-edge of technical innovation, the Government is launching a new programme to develop and demonstrate the direct air capture (DAC) of CO2 and other greenhouse gas (GHG) removal technologies (GGR) to “suck” existing GHGs out of the atmosphere. A competition should be announced before the end of 2020, with projects starting in April 2021 (


Looser proposals

Biogas (mainly methane) from straw and cow manure produced in an oxygen-free environment with naturally-occurring micro-organisms by a Cambridgeshire Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plant has been injected directly into the gas grid in what the National Grid describes as a UK first.

The plant operated by BioCow Ltd feeds a pipeline which will supply ten local homes with gas for heating and cooking on a trial basis for a year at a claimed rate of up to 15,000 m3 per hour.

Of less interest to cows is the “wonder plant” Seagrass which absorbs carbon from the atmosphere up to 35 times faster than tropical rainforests and can store 10% of annual global ocean carbon which may be locked up in sediments for millennia.

But Seagrass has been in sharp decline, almost disappearing from Britain’s coast. Now a Pembrokeshire University of Swansea, WWF and the Sky Ocean Rescue charity restoration project aims to create a 20,000 square-metre meadow to reinstate the plant around Britain and the world.


Good green cheer

On a more spirited note, the Chancellor announced £10 million of new R&D funding in his 2020 budget to help distilleries go green. Competition applications are now open.

Phase 1 will provide up to £500,000 for feasibility studies to develop low carbon fuel technologies. Phase 2 considers applications to pilot key components and new fuel switching solutions – including electrification, hydrogen, biomass and waste.





Targets for Green Growth – setting the targets under the Environment Bill

The Broadway Initiative in partnership with IEMA and the Aldersgate Group invites you to join the public conversation on Targets for Green Growth – setting the targets under the Environment Bill

Wednesday 23rd SEPT 9:30AM – 11:30AM

Join the Defra Secretary of State George Eustice, Chief Executive of the Committee on Climate Change Chris Stark, IEMA’s CEO Sarah Mukherjee and other leaders to explore how we can:

• Define the environmental outcomes we need to guide a green recovery and green growth.
• Engage businesses and civil society in setting the targets and delivering the solutions.
• Translate national targets into positive actions.

Register here for this FREE event.

Energy & Environment Advisor – Junior Role

The Chamber Low Carbon Business Support programme, developed by East Lancashire Chamber, in partnership with North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, BOOST and Businesswise Solutions Ltd, is a £6m Part Funded European Union project from the European Structural & Investment Funds via the Department for Communities and Local Government to provide a free suiter of services to the SME community of Lancashire to:

  • Stimulate the take up of energy efficiency measures and reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Provide grant funding for Low Carbon Technology Installation
  • Work with Lancashire technology developers who have low carbon technology products that are now “close to market” and need support to move their products to full commercialisation.

The project was launched in June 2018 and has engaged with just over 800 businesses to date. To deliver the next phase of the programme, (funding secured until June 2023), working alongside the Chamber Low Carbon Staff and a team of specialist consultants we are looking to recruit the following post:

Energy & Environment Advisor (Junior): Salary from: £ 18,000 per annum

This entry level post is ideal for someone with a passion and interest in environmental and sustainability issues but has yet to gain experience or formal qualifications.

The role will receive full support and on the job training from the existing team.

The Job Description and Person Specification are available by clicking here.

Please apply by sending in your CV and a covering letter to:

Louise Gaskell, Director: Finance and Policy
East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Red Rose Court
Clayton Business Park,


Closing date for applications is Wednesday 30th September 2020

Earth Overshoot Day 2020

Each year, the Global Footprint Network calculates ‘Earth Overshoot Day’, the day when humanity’s consumption of natural resources exceeds what the earth can regenerate within that year.

The changing date of Earth Overshoot Day provides a marker of our increasingly unsustainable ecological footprint (our demand for natural resources). When the Earth Overshoot campaign was  first launched in 2006, Earth Overshoot Day fell in October. This year, we will have overshot the earth’s capacity by 22nd August.

Humanity’s ecological footprint encompasses our demand for food and fibre, livestock and fish, forest and other forestry products, space for building, and forest capacity to absorb carbon dioxide. Our ecological footprint in 2020 has in fact been reduced by around 9.3% compared to 2019, due to the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic driving down production and consumption. However, as the Global Footprint Network highlights, this is short-term and not sustainable.

To close the ever-widening ecological deficit and enable future generations to thrive, we must adapt to more efficient ways of meeting humanity’s demand for energy, materials, and services. The circular economy concept presents a solution to this. The principals of the circular economy include designing out waste, keeping materials in circulation, and regenerating natural capital, enabling the transition to an economy that operates within the boundaries of the planet.

Already there are numerous examples out there of businesses around the globe who have adopted more ‘circular’ business models, cutting their ecological footprint:

More locally, the Chamber Low Carbon Circular Economy Club was launched last year to kickstart the expansion of a circular economy in Lancashire. The group aims to bring together businesses and local actors, to enable the sharing of ideas and services. If you’re a business looking to adopt a more circular business model, have already achieved a circular business model, or are simply interested in learning from or bringing new ideas to the group, then join our Chamber Low Carbon Circular Economy Club Linked In group: Furthermore, head over there to read the article we’ve posted on the circular economy concept, and businesses in Lancashire who have already embraced circular business models.

2020 – A different kind of summer

2020 – a different kind of summer

Chasing the sun is harder this year. But as the Met Office launches a new decade-long warning service of winter storms that it says are clearly driven by climate-change, the skies above are becoming increasingly important to our low-carbon lives.

Whether away on a break with real travel, or at home on a coach-based staycation, this year’s weather – rain or shine – could prove to be an interesting holiday conversation topic.

After a record-wet winter, record-dry spring and an iffy summer, winter is probably still too far away to bother most people, with the exception of Met Office researchers.

In what is described as a major scientific breakthrough, a team of scientists have been hard at work making North Atlantic storm patterns much more predictable. The Met office has also shown that climate change is now definitely a driving force behind extreme UK weather events.

Elsewhere, researchers revising the 41-year-old link used since 1979 between atmospheric carbon levels and rising global temperatures have reached an important triple-conclusion.

Firstly, they confirm that there is no room for complacency at lower emission levels. Secondly, luck alone will not save us. Thirdly, the high-end worst case scenario is now considered to be less likely. However, a warming world still poses serious problems for human survival.

Net Zero carbon emissions for businesses

James Napier, the founder of CBD Expert (, has been looking closely at the carbon dioxide we release into the atmosphere. His expert field is the stringent efforts all UK companies must now make to support the UK’s legally-binding target of net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050, or sooner.

In our July Lunch & Learn online webinar – “NET ZERO – What it means and why it’s as important to SMEs” – James explained the both obligations and commercial advantages for businesses. If you missed his presentation, please go to

What Net Zero means

Under the 2015 COP21 Paris climate agreement, countries must collectively cut carbon by making Nationally Defined Commitments (NDCs) before the 2021 COP26 summit in Glasgow that are sufficient to meet the 2050 science-based net-zero target. China is part of the process; the US, with Nicaragua and Syria, is one of only three states that are not.

To play their part, large corporates such as Sky and Apple are working towards a 2030 deadline. A key argument is that if interim 2030 targets cannot be met, the 2050 goal will be unreachable.

Some 61% of UK energy is now low-carbon. However, a 7.6% year-on-year reduction is needed to stay on track – a fivefold increase on 2019 pre-Covid-19 cuts. Offsetting is insufficient. Many governments are expected to enact legislation to achieve an 80% drop by 2030, or 90% if possible. This will have a direct impact on all companies.

How companies are affected

Net Zero is important for SMEs in helping their customers to win or lose work. It is also a growing employee concern and reduces real business costs. However, starting soon is essential because 2030 is effectively just five operational years away.

And that will involve all businesses – from manufacturers to professional service providers –understanding their carbon footprints intimately and knowing how to go about reducing them.

In practice, greenhouse gas emissions are categorised into three groups or ‘Scopes’ by the most widely-used international accounting tool, the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol. Tackling Scope 1 and Scope 2 will be mandatory. Scope 3, however, is optional and much more challenging.

Scope 1 covers direct emissions from owned or controlled sources and can include gas boilers, vehicle fleets and even air-conditioning leaks. Scope 2 covers indirect emissions such as from bought-in electricity, steam, heating and cooling systems.

However, Scope 3 is potentially complex because it includes other indirect emissions which a company may not control in its cradle-to-grave value chain – typically from business travel to procurement and waste to water. In fact, an initial task is to define the parameters of Scope 3 which might, for example, be set on an organisational or lifecycle basis.

Although there are major commercial benefits to be gained within Scope 3, it can be 6.5 times larger than Scope 1!

Lower costs

Cost savings can be made in two areas. Cost reduction involves questioning how often clients really need to be visited, what fraction of energy bought is wasted, and looking at consumables – paper made from sugar waste can have a zero-carbon certification! Most energy providers now offer ‘green’ and ‘brown’ energy with similar cost points.

The other area is cost avoidance. COP26 is expected to confirm carbon pricing, a cost that could rise sharply. By reducing carbon emissions businesses can reduce their embedded costs.

A handy five-point reminder is: – to be efficient; reduce travel; use low carbon products; buy green energy; and recycle.

CBN Expert passionately supports SMEs on their Net Zero journey by: – helping them to calculate and report carbon emissions swiftly and accurately; providing a supporting community that offers insights and access to experts; ensuring clear targeting and progress reporting to stakeholders; being aligned with Government and UN objectives; and giving a real return on investment (ROI).

For full details of CBN Expert’s carbon footprint dashboard and other services, talk to James.

Met Office news – cold comfort

As an autumn diary note, the long-delayed Environment Bill will be considered by a Public Bill Committee on 29 September ( The bill, which is the Government’s flagship post-Brexit legislative programme, has been hit by Covid-19.


With luck, we might also see a late Indian summer. The Met Office, however, has had its eye on wintery developments far out to sea.


Given the erratic extreme weather patterns of recent UK winters, it has published “How predictable are European winters?” (, an analysis of six decades of climate modelling data which suggests that decadal variations in North Atlantic weather patterns are actually highly predictable.

As a result, it should soon be possible to know well in advance whether winters over a whole decade are likely to be stormy, warm and wet, or calm, cold and dry.

Improved crisis planning

On the basis that the best defence strategy is “preparation, preparation and preparation”, this should make water and flood management more effective so that the energy sector can plan for potential blackouts and power surges more efficiently, and airports can anticipate disruption.

The Met Office has also published its sixth State of the UK Climate report ( As lead author Mike Kendon explains, “Our report shows climate change is exerting an increasing impact on the UK’s climate. This year was warmer than any other year in the UK between 1884 and 1990, and since 2002 we have seen the warmest ten years in the series. By contrast, to find a year in the coldest ten we have to go back to 1963; over 50 years ago.”

Clouds, carbon and new calculations

Climate and clouds affect the warming equation in other ways. A new UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) study due to be published in 2021 suggests that a better understanding of the role of clouds could mean that worst case warming estimates need to be revised upwards (

However, another study is particularly interesting. Research published by Review of Geophysics ( has revised the 1979 link between CO2 and surface temperature rises, plus the effect a doubling of the pre-industrial carbon level of 280ppm (parts per million) to circa 560ppm by 2060 could have on warming.


The expert team’s approach has been to define more accurately the likely range of warming’s most probable climate impacts, a concept known as “equilibrium climate sensitivity”.

Since 1979, the IPCC has assumed that a doubling of atmospheric CO2 would mean a 66% chance of the planet heating up by between 1.50C and 4.50C.

However, the latest work reduces the 66%-certainty range of climate sensitivity to between 2.60C and 3.90C – or 2.60C to 4.10C with more uncertainties included – and a most likely estimate a little above 30C.

The 2015 Paris climate agreement aims to keep warming below 1.50C. Sensitivity under 2.50C is largely ruled out by the new findings. But the chances of meeting the Paris goal at the high end are minimal. According to one author, the world would “… need to go into overdrive to avoid catastrophe.”

Some like it hot

With their body’s unique physiology, most humans live successfully in a narrow 110-150C temperature band around the world; a smaller number survive in 200-250C areas. That might be changing.

The World Meteorological Organisation believes that there is a 24% chance in the next five years of the average global temperature rising more than 1.50C above pre-industrial levels for at least one year (


By 2070, circa three billion people in a projected world population of 9.4 billion could find themselves in ‘near un-liveable’ 290C, or above, conditions if global warming continues unchecked, according to Tim Michael, Professor of Climate Change and Earth System Science at the University of Exeter (


UK 400C heat

In July, US weather forecasters warned of a potentially life-threatening heat wave with temperatures of up to 500C in southern California, Utah, Arizona and Nevada. The UK also faces risks.

Following an all-time high of 38.70C was recorded at Cambridge University Botanical Gardens in July 2019, the Met Office Hadley Centre team has examined the likelihood of reaching 400C in the UK, the equivalent of an average summer Sahara Desert day, but with severe public health, transport and infrastructure impacts. (

To model the future, the team looked at a “medium RCP4.5” scenario where GHG emission rise but level off after the mid-century point, a “high emissions RCP8.5” scenario where little effort is made to reduce climate change, and a “natural climate” with no GHG emissions at all.

The UK south east, which is most at risk because of its proximity to warm European influences far from Atlantic storms and cold cloudy weather, will see temperatures above 35°C more regularly. But many northern areas could exceed 30°C at least once per decade.

However, the predicted frequency of 400C is more dramatic. Moving from today’s once in every 100 to 300 years norm, even under moderate climate change conditions where world temperatures rise but then level off in the second half of this century, the UK mercury could hit 400C every 15 years.

With high risk warming if the world decides not to cut GHG emissions seriously, this could fall to just 3.5 years; as a baseline comparison in a “natural climate” scenario with no human-induced GHG emissions the interval would be 100 to 1,000 years.

Their overall conclusion is that the probability of extremely hot UK days has and will continue to increase this century at a rate potentially 10 times higher than in a natural climate with no human influence.

Hot and wet

However, simple temperature rises are not the only problem. High humidity levels make sweating impossible. This is where wet-bulb temperature (WBT) is important – a temperature read on a thermometer covered in water-soaked cloth in an air current.

In fact, extreme humid heat overall has more than doubled in frequency since 1979, may have been under-reported and is becoming increasingly severe. A WBT of 350C can lead to hyperthermia.

Even with the advantages of walking on two legs – offering a smaller profile to the sun than quadrupeds – plus hairless skin and the ability to sweat, Homo sapiens (wise, sensible, judicious) is being pushed out of a safe ecological niche.


Cities most at risk have tried different remedies – painting roofs white to reflect heat and suppress the heat island effect (New York), using a reflective road asphalt sealant to cool tarmac (Los Angeles), planting tree corridors to channel cool air down from surrounding hills (Stuttgart) and intensive vegetation-planting (Singapore). All at a considerable cost.

The best solution is to prevent overheating in the first place. Which brings us back to James’ webinar.


Chamber Low Carbon supports the Environment Agency’s 2025 ambitions

The Environment Agency have published their five-year plan to facilitate the UK’s path towards a greener and fairer country in 2025. EA2025 sets out the Environment Agency’s ambitions to build resilience to climate change, protect and restore our land, sea, air, and the valuable services they provide, and facilitate sustainable growth. The Environment Agency also reasserts its commitment to reducing its own emissions to net zero by 2030.

The report has been published against a backdrop of efforts to build, transform, and grow as we embark on our road to recovery from the pandemic. We are in a climate of change, and our emergence from difficult times presents a unique opportunity to ‘build back better’. Furthermore, this climate of change has come at the beginning of a critical decade for the future of our planet. The Environment Agency’s report addresses the sense of urgency that has stemmed from the convergence of a critical requirement to act on climate change, and a fleeting opportunity for change.

Chamber Low Carbon supports the ambitions of the Environment Agency and the strategy set out in EA2025. By supporting businesses with understanding and reducing their environmental impacts, we continue our contribution to supporting sustainable development, and protecting our natural environment. Additionally, East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce have taken responsibility for our contribution towards the UK’s net zero ambition through becoming a signatory of the International Chambers of Commerce Climate Coalition.

Such transformational change as is needed to address the economic and environmental challenges that we face, will be achieved through partnerships and cooperation. Chamber Low Carbon supports the Environment Agency’s 2025 ambitions and will continue to act to help businesses develop sustainably.