The activities central to the modern world - food production, transport and energy generation - are the biggest sources of greenhouse gases. Companies in these sectors are facing greater demands to monitor and reduce their impact from customers, stakeholders and regulators.
Reducing carbon emissions is not just the right thing to do; there are significant financial benefits to be gained through using raw materials more efficiently.
By combining our expertise in geography, chemistry, physics and engineering, we tackle these challenges by:
- Analysing the interactions between water cycles and ecosystems, and the consequences of climate change and changing land use
- Monitoring traffic emissions, air quality and crop health
- Improving the performance of power sources and power storage
- Managing traffic flow to minimise vehicle emissions
- Developing ways to utilise high voltage direct current
Depleting carbon sinks
With a booming global population placing increasing demands on land for living and growing food, deforestation is increasing at an alarming rate. The loss of carbon sinks such as trees and plants reduces the Earth’s capacity to manage the increasing carbon output, leading to a rise in CO2 levels in the atmosphere.
We are tackling this by monitoring deforestation and land use, increasing the productivity of crops and livestock and finding new ways of trapping CO2.
We work with governments, charities and industry to support them in monitoring and minimising the destruction of carbon sinks, information which can be used to inform government policies or to track illegal deforestation. Our cutting-edge Earth observation technology can detect minute changes to a landscape, bringing attention to areas of concern quickly enough to minimise damage.
We are exploring the possibilities around carbon capture and storage in natural systems as a tool to help minimise anthopogenic CO2 in the atmosphere. The Crustal Processes Research Group from the Department of Geology is investigating the potential of ultrabasic rocks to sequester large masses of carbon.
Before we can realise any significant improvements in climate change, we need to influence society’s attitudes, which will in turn drive the demand for manufacturers to be more sustainable.
Our Human Geography Research Group from the Department of Geography investigates how to create sustainable communities and inform local, national and international policy-makers on implementing sustainable living in society.