Tech leaders form Breakthrough Energy Coalition

The Breakthrough Energy Coalition is a commitment from the worlds richest tech entrepreneurs to invest in early stage clean energy companies. Announced at COP21 in Paris this week, this is a clear sign that big (tech) business is beginning to engage with combating climate change, to complementing the work of governments. Mission Innovation is the joint initiative to accelerate clean energy innovation. Bill Gates explains:

“If you look at where we’ve had huge success in the past, the government’s been there to fund the basic research,” he says in the video, adding that the government was critical to funding the research that led to the creation of the Internet. “We need the basic research, but we have to pair that with people who are willing to fund high-risk breakthrough energy companies.”

You can watch this short video of his further thoughts on getting involved:

The Breakthrough Energy Coalition will fund startups in a range of industries, from agriculture to transportation to electricity storage. They’ll also focus the investments on the countries that are part of Mission Innovation—a consortium of 20 countries, including the UK, that have committed to doubling their investment in clean energy over the next five years. The funds are to drive innovation from the laboratory to the market through the investment of patient capital at unprecedented levels into early-stage technology development. Good news for Envirodigital, GREAT news for us all.

The Touring Network builds digital tools to measure CO2 of rural touring

Greener Routes

The Touring Network (TTN) works to support, represent and develop professional live performances happening in small-scale venues across the Highlands & Islands. Across such a vast geographic area, from Shetland to Argyll and Perthshire to Skye, the carbon costs of touring to remote and varied locations can be significant – not only are distances great but transport and buildings infrastructure is also often limited.

In order to better understand the carbon impact of this vital cultural activity, they applied to Sustainable AmbITion, the green fund set up by Rudman Consulting’s digital development programme AmbITion Scotland for the creative industries in Scotland. TTN wanted to look at a range of factors that make up touring to rural locations including venues, transport, production and audiences. They worked alongside Comar on a single theatre tour playing 17 venues across the region and used a variety of calculations to look at each of these areas including audience return cards, energy meters and mileage totals.


Digital Changes Everything

16 February 2015
5:00 pmto8:00 pm

Last year I was invited to address Scotland’s national conference for microenterprises – Small is Beautiful.
You can watch my talk It’s Easy Being Green (with digital):

Related to that, I’m on the panel at the 2020 Climate Group‘s Digital Changes Everything event on 16th February, 5pm at St. Paul’s & St. George’s Church, Edinburgh. The keynote speaker, Ian Abbott Donnelly will focus on using digital technology to address climate change and will provide an opportunity to see ‘live’ examples of digital work in climate change from inspiring innovators.

Ian is a member of IBM Academy of Technology and specialises in using the tools of information science to drive improvement in resilience and sustainability. Sign up to come along!

Music + develops online learning to reduce CO2

Music +, the mentoring scheme run by the Scottish Music Centre, piloted an innovative project funded by AmbITion Scotland, the digital development programme designed by Rudman Consulting, Envirodigital’s parent company. They looked at ways of cutting organisational and mentee carbon emissions, through developing and offering online distance learning. Read more about their achievements!

Interview on Climate Justice – with Lady Susan Rice, MD Lloyds Banking Group

On behalf of The 2020 Climate Group (@2020climategrp), it was a real privilege for me to interview Lady Susan Rice, of Lloyds Banking Group, about the importance of ‪#‎climatejustice‬ and what the Lloyds Banking Group is doing internally around reducing business travel. She speaks also about how the group is helping client businesses to make changes towards lower carbon behaviours. This interview was recorded at the inaugural International Conference for Climate Justice in Edinburgh. – a Sustainable AmbITion case study

This case study from Hannah’s AmbITion Scotland programme reveals Creative Carbon Scotland‘s digital development The tool was developed with support from Sustainable AmbITion, a fund which was secured by Envirodigital from Creative Scotland for AmbITion Scotland and focussed on utilising digital technologies for better environmental sustainability. Reflecting on the development of, users from Festivals Edinburgh and the Edinburgh International Festival, as well as the tool’s creators Creative Carbon Scotland, explain the benefits and outcomes to Hannah Rudman.

Virtual worlds save 16th C salt pans of Brora

This AmbITion Scotland case study in digital development sees Hannah Rudman telling the story of the virtual world digital content development that The Scape Trust have created at Timespan Arts & Heritage Centre & Museum, following a community archaeology project in Brora, a remote part of North East Scotland.

Using Kinect technology (Microsoft XBox) in the museum, and 3D virtual reality software and the evidence from the archaeological dig, the 16th Century salt pans of Brora remain with us for exploration at Timespan and online, although coastal erosion due to climate change means they’re actually currently disappearing into the sea.

Watch and enjoy!

The National Piping Centre reduce their carbon footprint through live streaming

The National Piping Centre has been working to raise its live streaming capability and capacity through the support of Rudman Consulting‘s digital development programme, AmbITion Scotland. This case study shows how they’ve increased the reach and scale of live events from the centre, generating a new income stream. And their unusual wind powered assets, the Highland Bagpipe, have also been saving carbon footprint, as the performers don’t have to tour internationally if concerts from Glasgow can be made digitally available! 

Hannah Rudman goes to meet the team on the eve of a live streamed concert:

Sustainable cultural AmbITions for a low carbon transition

Today the IPCC published its 5th report to confirm that by 2100, the average projection for how much warming will occur is expected to be slightly above the 2 degrees C threshold, considered to be the temperature above which it is considered that climate change will damage the global environment: as well as the damage humans and their living and industry are already contributing. Also, the report confirms that there needs to be a carbon budget established, to clearly indicate the amount of greenhouse gas that the climate can cope with. Despite repeated pledges by governments to cut emissions, greenhouse gas output is still rising, which is why Envirodigital is focussing on helping people work out where they can make savings through using digital technologies.

The fifth in the series of influential Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) reports – has been significantly checked to ensure it doesn’t contain a significant error that could be seized upon by climate sceptics to discredit the research.
IPCC climate change tweet

This is my speech challenging the arts, culture, and heritage sector to begin to do even more – especially using digital technologies – to encourage a low carbon transition. The speech was recorded at the Culturing Our Creativity event, held in Edinburgh supported by AmbITion Scotland, Cultural Enterprise Office, Mission Models Money, and Arts&Business Scotland.

The deadline for the Sustainable AmbITion fund is Sunday 29.09.13: if you’re a Scottish creative organisation or practice (charity or social enterprise status)  and you have any ideas about how digital technologies, tools or communications could help the challenge, we – all, and the planet – need them!

AmbITions for an environmentally sustainable future


(A shorter version of this article appeared as a blog in The Guardian’s Culture Professionals Network.)

A huge body of science built up over the last 50 years proves that climate change is anthropogenic: human made. The balance of nature is being significantly affected by the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) humans and their industry have pumped into the atmosphere, and we have simultaneously chopped down the planet’s capacity to absorb the excess CO2. We’ve also exploited to peak points, without properly paying for, the earth’s natural but finite resources. The increase in global temperatures these actions have created affect the balance of nature: causing effects we are all too familiar with. The weather is that effect, operating as an alarm system. We can see it with our own eyes, but we are busy pretending we can not hear the alarm. Our growing population, and the consumerism of our populations is costing us the earth – our habitat.

What have the cultural and creative industries got to do with dealing with this rather appalling predicament? The energy, built environment, and transport sectors obviously have far greater impacts on a nation’s carbon footprint in comparison to the arts, cultural and creative industries. However, just because we are not seen as a significant part of the emissions/pollutant emitting and natural resource using problem, does not mean we should not be a significant player in the solution. We all know climate change is something we need to address.