On Saturday, 29th of March, many westerners switched off their lights to celebrate Earth Hour. The Big Ben, Times Square in New York and the Kremlin in Moscow were just a few of the iconic landmarks that joined millions of people who dimmed their lights to raise awareness about saving energy and reducing our carbon footprint.
So the saying goes "if you can't beat them, join them" and the latest raft of energy price hikes suggests now is the time for UK consumers to consider doing just that. We are a nation tired of being held to ransom by our energy bills - so has the time come to ditch our reliance on energy companies by becoming the bosses of our own energy supplies?
Whether man-made climate change is occurring or not, there are few who would argue against a move towards low-carbon energy generation. One way or another, carbon emissions must be cut. Forget the tired anti-nuclear rhetoric and the ridiculous claims that a Fukushima-style disaster could hit the UK. Third generation nuclear is the way forward and the new reactors planned at Hinkley Point are the first step in the right direction.
Ashden has some cracking efficiency-based winners this year. The 2013 Gold Award went to the partnership of the Sustainable Energy Academy and United House for what is in effect a new supply chain for doing internal solid-wall insulation, taking off-site what is often a very messy and disruptive business when it is done on-site.
Food shortages in India are compounded by a lack of cold-chain storage facilities, but a new solar-powered cold storage device, developed by the University of Cincinnati in partnership with industry, could put this problem on ice.
In recent months there has been a renewed look at the idea of a financial carbon bubble, or unburnable carbon reserves. Most recently, a report from The Carbon Tracker with a forward by Lord Stern of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change (London School of Economics), argued that serious risks are accumulating for investors in high carbon assets, such as coal mining companies and the oil and gas industry.