What next for the United Nations climate agreement?

Dr Ken Milne  is Director of Corporate Services for the Isle of Man Government and will be speaking at the Cambridge Clentech Annual Conferecne on 6 July. Here he expresses his view about the Paris Climate Change Agreement:

The United Nations has previously warned that humanity has never faced a greater challenge than climate change. At the Paris climate conference (COP21) in December 2015, 195 countries adopted the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal. This included a long-term goal of keeping the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels. The agreement also recognised the importance of averting, minimising and addressing loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change.

Unfortunately, it has recently been announced by the President of the USA that he intends for America to pull out of the climate agreement. Are Donald Trump, and the political leaders of Nicaragua and Syria correct and the rest of the world wrong? No, the scientific evidence is now indisputable that global emissions are having an impact on the climate.

Cost effective technology already exists that can achieve the aims in the climate agreement:


- Energy efficient homes can be built with sufficient insulation that houses do not require heating systems. In the Isle of Man we have built several passive houses in the public and private sector and shown significant reduction in energy bills. Therefore why would we not build such homes as normal in the future?


- In addition to better insulation of existing housing stock it is also possible to replace fossil fuel heating boilers with renewable technologies. In the Isle of Man we have installed air source heat pumps throughout a public sector housing estate and shown significant reduction in energy bills.


- Growth in the number of electric vehicles is being accelerated with improved range performance, infrastructure for charging and reducing costs. In the Isle of Man we have hosted an annual zero emissions motorbike race at the TT races since 2009 to encourage technology innovation. The Isle of Man is also in the process of an extensive installation programme of publically available fast charge stations throughout the Island.


- Renewable energy technologies such as wind and solar power are cost effective and no longer require subsidies. Renewable technologies in the UK made up 25% of electricity generated in 2015. On occasions in the previous year greater than 40% of the UK’s electricity was generated from wind power and recently almost 25% of the UK’s electricity was generated from solar power. The Isle of Man is continuing with its plan to progress an offshore energy strategy that includes offshore wind and marine renewables.

Why not attend the Cambridge Cleantech Conference on Thursday 6th July to learn more about “the Smart Island Concept: The Isle of Man as a Discrete Testbed for New Smart Technology”.