Archive for the ‘UK’ Category

How Cities Can Exploit the Information Revolution | Sustainable Cities Collective   Leave a comment

 

Investments in Smarter systems often cut across organisations and budgets and many have objectives that are macro-economic, social and environmental, as well as financial. As such, they challenge existing accounting mechanisms. Whilst central government and the financial markets offer new investment solutions such as ethical funds, social impact bonds and city deals, so far these have not been used to fund the majority of Smarter solutions – many of which are supported by research programmes. The Technology Strategy Board’s investment in areas such as “Future Cities” and the “Connected Digital Economy” will provide a tremendous boost, but there is much to be done to assist cities in using new investment sources to fund Smarter initiatives – or to develop sustainable commercial or social-enterprise business models to deliver them.

Although progress can be driven by strong leadership, the issues of governance and fragmented budgets will need to be overcome if we are to take full advantage of the benefits technology can bring.

We live in an era of major global challenges – well described in the recent “People and the Planet” report by the Royal Society. At the same time, we have access to powerful new technologies and ideas to address them, such as those proposed by the 100 Academics who contributed essays to the book “The New Optimists”. When we focus those resources on cities, we focus on the structures in which we can have the greatest impact on the most people.

Already many forward-looking cities in the UK such as Sunderland and Birmingham are joining others around the world by investing in Smarter systems.

If we can meet the technical, organisational and investment challenges, we will not only provide citizens, businesses and agencies with new choices and exciting opportunities; we’ll also position the UK economy to succeed as the Information Revolution gathers pace.

(This post was first published as part of the “Growth Factory” report from the thinktank TLG Lab). ”

via How Cities Can Exploit the Information Revolution | Sustainable Cities Collective.

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Posted August 7, 2012 by arnoneumann in Cities, Smart Cities, UK

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Biofuels boom in Africa as British firms lead rush on land for plantations | Environment | The Guardian   Leave a comment

“The revelation of the central role of UK companies in biofuels coincides with a report from Oxfam forecasting that the price of staple foods will more than double in the next 20 years. The report identifies biofuels as a factor and demands that western governments end biofuel policies that divert food to fuel for cars. “We are sleepwalking towards an age of avoidable crisis,” said Oxfams chief executive, Barbara Stocking. “One in seven people on the planet go hungry every day despite the fact that the world is capable of feeding everyone. The food system must be overhauled.” ”

via Biofuels boom in Africa as British firms lead rush on land for plantations | Environment | The Guardian.

“Liquid fuels made from plants – such as bioethanol – are hailed by some as environmentally-friendly replacements for fossil fuels. Because they compete for land with crop plants, biofuels have also been linked torecord food prices and rising hunger. There are also fears they can increase greenhouse gas emissions.

A market has been created by British and EU laws requiring the blending of rising amounts of biofuels into petrol and diesel, but the rules werecondemned as unethical and “backfiring badly” in April by a Nuffield Council on Bioethics commission. In the UK, only 31% of biofuels used meet voluntary environmental standards intended to protect water supplies, soil quality and carbon stocks in the source country. “

Posted May 31, 2011 by arnoneumann in Africa, agriculture, UK

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