Tim Hughes: First up, I will welcome Professor Mike Berners-Lee from Lancaster University.
Mike Berners-Lee: Thanks. Okay. So the first thing I want to say is, thank you all for being in this assembly, which I think is a really important process. So we just heard about the carbon footprint of the average UK person. There's that chart again, neatly into four different chunks. And I'm just gonna position where the stuff that we buy fits within all of that. So to look at it in a little bit more detail. So four chunks. The first chunk, which we're not going to talk about today is food. That's the one in orange. Most of its most of stuff we buy from the shop, some of its eating out. Then next down from there in blue, we have everything that goes on around homes and where we stay and a little bit is accommodation places like hotels. But 6% of the whole pie is around housing. So that's building houses. It's improving houses. It includes ripping out your kitchen and putting a new one in there. All the stuff that we buy that's to do with our accommodation, our homes. And of course, in those homes, the rest of the blue pie - the blue chart here has got household fuel and household electricity. And some of us, a lot of the stuff we buy, of course, uses that electricity. So the stuff we buy influences the size of that piece of the pie as well. And then moving round into the green chunk, which is all about travel and the biggest things there are about are driving and flying, and when it comes to driving bit there's two chunks in the driving. There's the fuel that we use and there's the carbon footprint of the manufacturer of the car itself. So any physical product we buy has got a carbon footprint associated with it. And that's because there are emissions that take place in the manufacturing process. And not only that, but the components that go into those manufacturing processes have to be made, and you can trace things right back to the point at which, for example, in the manufacture of a car, the metal comes out of the ground or comes from a recycled metal source or something like that. So when we're thinking about driving and just more about this in a second, for example, there were two considerations around the carbon footprint. One is the fuel you use. And the other is the actual embodied carbon that's in the manufacture of the car in the first place.#
And then, moving around the pie again into the yellow section that catchall that everything else section that includes all kinds of things. It includes carbon footprint of our schools and hospitals and all those public services we get and all kinds of services that we buy. Something's slightly wrong with formatting, the slide so that. But it also includes all the other miscellaneous nonfood things that we buy. So that's clothing, furniture, the IT kit that we buy, toys, sports kit, anything that we can't eat, that's physical that we buy that's not covered as well.#
Okay, so roughly speaking, what we buy is going to be the chunks I've left in the biggest bits of it, are the bits that I've kept in colour there. So its housing and homes and cars themselves, and then the big yellow chunk is all the other bits and pieces of furniture, clothing and so on. Okay, and when we look at the carbon footprint of something that we buy if you look at all the carbon that's associated with it, from the point at which it's made right through its life until the point that it's the end of life, which could be checking it into a landfill, or it could be having it recycled and turned into something new or remade into something new. There were three components to it, really. So the first is the manufacture of, the production of it. Which might be for some things, it's, you know, if it's made of wood, it's that's growing it in a forest. Or it might be made of metals, it might be getting hold of those metals, getting ore out of the ground, making into things, turning into components and then a whole load of processes to turn into the final finished product and all the transport along the way as well. So there's a manufactured part.#
And then there's a use part and some products, but not all products have a carbon footprint as we use them. So a sofa doesn't, you just sit on it and it doesn't emit any carbon. But on the other hand, a washing machine absolutely does, because it's burning through so much, is going through so much electricity in its life and that electricity has a carbon footprint on it. So which is bigger out of the manufactures phase and the use phase really varies between products, and it depends also on how products are made. And then, at the end, there's an end of life, usually takes some energy in some carbon to deal with something at the end of its life. It's usually the smallest component of this, but it's still really significant because if we do the right thing at the end of life, then we help the materials to go, people talk about a circular economy, go around the circle and back into helping the manufacture of new products become lower carbon.#
So let's just have a look at some - a few different products and have a look at how those three stages stack up. So here's three of them. First of all, so at the top there, I've got a gas boiler and the -there's a bit of carbon in the manufacture, but the big deal is that this gas boiler burns through gas through the whole of its life. So the big impact here is the carbon, is it sufficient? The big - the critical question is, how efficient is it because the big part of its carbon footprint is in use. So if a boiler isn't as efficient as it could be, then it needs to be maintained or replaced, and it's worth it from a carbon perspective.#
Next up down the list I've got a petrol car. So the manufacture is really significant, but it's also going to burn through a lot of fuel in its life. So the biggest consideration is the fuel that it uses, but the manufacture is still in there as an important component. So when you're looking at whether to buy a new car or not, it's kind of a trade-off. On the one hand, you might build up to buy a more efficient car on that or an electric car and that might save a load of carbon. But on the other hand, in doing so, you're triggering the manufacture of a new car, so you have to work out what the balance is going to be.#
And then, lastly, on the list you got electric cars. And electric cars have a similar-ish kind of footprint to manufacturing a conventional car, possibly a little bit higher arguably, but the use phase is much lower. So there's a question about, should we all go to electric cars? Well, we have to balance out. How quickly should we transition? If we all ditched our petrol cars right now, for example, that would be a lot of extra carbon impact in the manufacture, unnecessary -unnecessarily rapid manufacture of a whole load of new electric cars. So it's somewhere, it's important in the equation for cars.#
And some other products. So IT kit, I've just put a smartphone up here as an example of it. And the manufacturer is the big deal, and these days, with modern efficiency, actually, the energy that they use is pretty small compared to the energy that and the carbon that it takes to manufacture them in the first place. So the critical thing there starts to be, well, how long can we keep products to keep the product down. How many years can we get out of our phones and our computers and all the rest of it?#
Then furniture. All the carbon is in the manufacture of it, because they don't emit carbon when they're being used. And then just to give it up. And then at the bottom I've got housing and the carbon footprint of the construction of the house depends a lot on what the materials are. If there's a lot of cement and bricks in it that's higher. Generally, if it's a timber frame construction's tend to be lower. But how you build the house makes a big - has a big impact on the energy that it's likely and the carbon that it's likely the carbon footprint of living in it over, it's maybe 100 years or so.#
Okay, just few materials. The core materials that have big carbon footprints. We're saying that steel. So and things about steel are ways to cut the company that has to use less carbon, to do more recycling, and to phase out the use of coal in the manufacture of steel and cement. Alternative materials, sometimes feasible. Plastic. It's worth remembering with plastic that the carbon footprint is not the only thing that's associated with it. But recycling can help to cut the carbon footprint of plastic. And I just - wood would obviously lower carbon material. And batteries. Just to mention we need to have batteries on the radar. They do have a very significant carbon footprint associated with them, especially when we're thinking about electric cars.#
Okay, the five Rs for products and packaging, many products. So the big things are. Can we buy less? Can we find ways of buying less junk? Buying only things that really add value to our lives. Maybe buy second hand or pre-loved? Can we choose sustainable materials and sustainable production? Buy high quality, fewer high-quality things and make them last? And if we do that, can we find ways that actually improves the quality of our lives? And, of course, by buying less stuff that saves us money as well. Can we share, borrow or hire? And that just gets more mileage out of each product that's made. Once things have been made, can we have a world in which things get repaired and maintained? So, for example, and maybe there are lots of co-benefits with this. So if we can have high streets full of shops that will repair our clothes, repair our kit and all the rest of it, then that helps it to last longer. And it also - I'm out of time and I'm totally distracted - but potentially also it saves us money and provides loads of jobs opportunities. And then recycling, which you're going to hear about a little bit more, is really important in that it lowers the carbon. It's very much lower carbon way of bringing you new materials into the manufacturing of the new products that we do know do need. And the last resort is to try and get some energy back by burning things that can't be recycled. That's an absolute last resort. Thank you.
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