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What is the Carbon Trust?

By: Kathryn Senior PhD - Updated: 5 Mar 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Carbon Trust Climate Change Carbon

The Carbon Trust is an organisation that is often mentioned as the source of reliable information in press releases about issues related to climate change and carbon emissions. It is one of the foremost not-for-profit organisations in the UK and its main aim is to help the UK reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and to move to a system that produces a much lower output of carbon dioxide in the future.

One of the specific goals of the Carbon Trust is to encourage and help the UK meet the requirement to reduce carbon emissions by four fifths by the middle of the century. This tough target was set in 2008, when the UK became the first nation in the world to legislate to reduce carbon emissions to an agreed and specified level. This was quite a brave move and the Carbon Trust recognises that the only hope of success is to make significant changes sooner rather than later.

What Does the Carbon Trust Do?

The main function of the Carbon Trust is to offer its support to the public services in the UK and also to British industry in their efforts to move to more energy efficient systems. This will reduce the amount of carbon dioxide released as a result of domestic and industry power use. The Trust is also working hard to help turn innovative ideas for using technologies that lower carbon emissions into commercially viable projects. It helps businesses and homes convert from high carbon economies to low carbon.

What Has the Carbon Trust Achieved Already?

The Carbon Trust was set up in 2001, so has been active for almost a decade. It has already given many businesses and companies advice and information to help them move towards becoming carbon neutral and it can also help out financially too. It continues to provide training and research grants and also grants to enable small businesses to implement more energy efficient operating systems. Much of its advice is free and is accessible online to businesses looking to make improvements that are sustainable.

It also helps larger businesses and organisations that work in the public sector in the UK. It tailors the help and support it gives to the needs, size and budget of the organisation on the receiving end. So far, the Carbon Trust has worked with organisations to save a massive 23 million tonnes of carbon emissions. This has had the added advantage of saving those organisations nearly £1.5 billion in costs related to energy usage.

Future Goals

The people involved with the Carbon Trust realise that simply saving energy and diverting use from fossil fuels to more ecofriendly energy sources is not enough to achieve the government targets or to make a real difference to reducing the impact of climate change. Its forward looking strategies also include stimulating new markets that will use technologies that have a low carbon footprint and to pushing ahead innovation to enable some of these technologies to be taken up commercially. They are also providing investment capital for companies who are just starting out but whose intention from the very beginning is to be carbon neutral.

In the next 40 years, the Trust plans to make its work on new environmentally friendly technologies to save well over 20 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

Ongoing Projects

The number of projects ongoing at the carbon trust is wide ranging and includes stimulating innovation to reduce carbon emission from manufacturing processes, a cost reduction strategy for producing mass fuel cells based on renewable technology and a series of project encouraging greater use of algae biofuels. These are more ecofriendly that plant biofuels, as they do not clash with the need to use land to grow crops for food.

The Trust is also very keen to support the development of offshore rather than onshore wind farms and is always mindful of the impact of environmental development on local communities.

Getting Involved with the Carbon Trust

The Trust welcomes enquiries about its work and has an extensive website with information and advice about reducing carbon footprint. It is just as happy to hear from individuals interested in reducing their carbon footprint as from large companies interested in becoming one of their consulting partners on future projects that will benefit the whole of UK society, as well as the global environment.

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