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Renewables 2021 Global Status Report

Solar farm and a wind turbine
Photo by Nazrin B-va on Unsplash

A political economist at Edge Hill University is among some of the world’s leading experts in renewable energy to feature in a new report highlighting the serious challenges that lie ahead for global clean energy targets. 

Christopher Dent, a Professor of International Business, has featured in the latest REN21 Renewables report, which shows that despite a historic decline of 4% in primary energy demand, polluting G20 countries barely met and still missed their renewable energy targets. 

Prof Dent provided his expert opinion in a special feature chapter on the important role that businesses have to play in renewable energy deployment. 

While business demand for renewable energy produced by electricity has made great progress, Prof Dent warned of the uphill challenges that lie ahead for decarbonising the thermal energy and transportation energy sectors. 

Read further the importance of this report:

Biden marks the United States’ symbolic return to Paris Climate Agreement

As President Biden sent a message to the world on his first day in office by signing an executive order for the United States to re-join the Paris Climate Agreement, a political economist at Edge Hill highlights the importance of the symbolic move. 

Only hours after being sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, Joe Biden’s first actions in the Oval Office included re-affirming the nation’s commitment to the largest international effort to curb climate change. 

The US, the world’s second highest carbon emitter, officially withdrew from the Paris accord to limit climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions last year, after Donald Trump began the process in 2017. 

International political economist, Christopher Dent, is a Professor in Economics and International Business at Edge Hill University and leader of SustainNET. 

Read further the importance of this pivotal change:

Overcoming the psychological barriers to Climate Change

On the 27th November Geoff Beattie gave a keynote on ‘Overcoming the psychological barriers to climate change’ at the Italian National Geographic Festival of Science in Rome. 

Geoff and Laura McGuire were independently invited to contribute to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee’s report on “COP26: Principles and Priorities – a POST survey of expert views”. This report was prepared for the Secretary of State for BEIS and Minister for COP26 by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST), using the responses that a panel of experts provided. Actual quotes are not attributed to people or universities, but their approach to climate change was flagged up in the report.

In the words of POST ‘The report is the first of its kind and will make an important contribution to UK Parliament’s scrutiny of the COP26 process over the next 12 months.’ Geoff and Laura will remain on the POST COP26 expert data base going forward. The report can be found here:, along with an accompanying letter to the Secretary of State for BEIS and Minister for COP26 here:

Edge Hill Academic invited to the Caribbean to talk about Botanic Gardens and SDGs

Nicholas Catahan, self-proclaimed “Place Ecologist”, Programme Leader and Senior Lecturer at our Business School was invited by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), tourism development agency linked to the Ministry of Tourism, and Royal Botanic Gardens of Trinidad and Tobago, to talk about cutting edge research on Botanic Gardens worldwide, their development and their instrumental part to play in global goals regarding sustainability. Nick was joined by Mr Brian Vogt, CEO of the acclaimed Denver Botanic Gardens, Colorado, in a discussion about: ‘Developing Botanical Gardens as Natural Heritage Tourist Attractions’.

White metal spiral staircase in a botanical garden

Nick highlights that Botanic Gardens have key aims and purpose, which must be at the forefront of any development plans, policies and practice regarding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Key concepts and good practice of mindfulness, effectual entrepreneurship (and all that comes with this, creativity, collaboration, innovation with the means available to name a few), Transformative Service Research (TSR) (considering both positive and negative transformations and ways forward), Responsible Tourism (acting locally on a micro-environmental scale, maximising positive outcomes and minimising negative), and Sustainable Tourism (regarding macro-environmental factors impacting upon places including ethical dimensions and of course acting globally with SDGs driving all that we plan for), but ultimately, Place Ecology, studying places in their entirety best we can, Place Phenology, studying the multiple dimensions of events, festivals and suchlike across the calendar year across places, and resultant responsible, strategic marketing, and Place Management practice are ways to approach development. Nick states that these are informed, evidence-based ways forward for not only Botanic Garden Communities but many others too, for the transformative service of places; and in this case developing Botanic Gardens as places of transformative service for scientific research, conservation, education and displays of collections, whilst developing as natural heritage tourist attractions being one strand and part of their policies, plans and developments.

Pink botanical flower surrounded by green foliage
Man standing in front of a flowering Corpse Flower

Secretary General of the CTO, Neil Walters praised Nick and Brian’s input into their strategic tourism development discussions and plans with much gratitude, and Charlene Drakes, Executive Coordinator, Office of the Secretary General stated that feedback on the presentations was well received, absolutely wonderful and insightful, and that further discussion has already commenced in the Ministry of Tourism on how they can better develop and make their Botanic Garden provision better and places better as a whole.

Nick certainly looks forward to further research with both the Royal Botanic Gardens of Trinidad and Tobago, and Denver Botanic Gardens, Colorado.

Download Nick’s accompanying presentation, notes and closed captions [PDF]

For more information about Nick and his work on Botanic Gardens Worldwide please follow this link:

UN Day 2020: Moving a global vision to local action

With the United Nation’s marking its 75th anniversary this weekend, a team of academics at Edge Hill University have warned that greater local action is needed in order to deliver a sustainable future for the planet.  

The 17 SDGs were adopted by all UN member states, as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which set out an ambitious 15-year plan to achieve the goals. 

With the 10-year countdown on to meet the 2030 Agenda, a group of sustainability experts at Edge Hill believe that urgent action is needed at a local level if we are to turn the UN’s global vision into a reality. 

Daniel Bocharnikov has recently joined Edge Hill as Sustainability Manager and believes that the academic and education community will have a major role to play in the implementation of the SDGs.  Professor Christopher Dent is an international political economist at Edge Hill’s Business School and leader of SustainNET, a new collaborative network under the Institute for Social Responsibility for individuals passionate about sustainability and John Sandars who is a Professor of Medical Education and Director of Medical Education Innovation and Scholarship in the new Edge Hill University Medical School as well as a co-leader of SustainNet.

Read what they have to say about the challenges facing the global community:

Edge Hill Academic’s sustainability research wins her global recognition

Laura McGuire staff profile photo

An Edge Hill academic has won a global award from the Sustainability Research Network in recognition of her pioneering work to improve climate change education.

Dr Laura McGuire has scooped an esteemed Emerging Scholar Award due to her important work with the public to encourage positive behaviour change and instil messages about tackling climate change and sustainability.

The award highlights how she has used her expertise to analyse both the psychology behind the choices people make and how best to improve climate change education for all ages.

In addition to receiving the award, Dr McGuire will be invited to speak at the Seventeenth Sustainability Research Network International Conference being held at the Vrije University in Amsterdam in 2021. The theme of the conference is Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability. There she will chair a range of panels and give a presentation on her recent work.

Read more about Laura’s pioneering work:

World Ozone Day – what have we learned in the global fight against climate change?

Homemade poster 'The climate is changing' being held at a demonstration

More than 30 years on since the landmark Montreal Protocol united the world in a bid to save the ozone layer, an Edge Hill academic reflects on the lessons to be learned in the greatest environmental challenge ahead – climate change. 

When expeditions to Antarctica in the 1980s confirmed that chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), found in household appliances and personal hygiene products, had caused a hole in the ozone layer, the news spurred action from leaders around the world.  

The Montreal Protocol was designed to kickstart the worldwide phaseout of CFCs and to this day remains the only United Nations agreement to be signed by every country in the world. 

Chris Dent

Professor Christopher Dent, an international political economist at Edge Hill University’s Business School, believes that a similar, cohesive global response is needed if we are to effectively tackle the urgent climate emergency we are currently facing. 

More information can be found about this news story: .

Are Britain’s young people going plant blind?

Researchers at Edge Hill University have discovered why fewer students are choosing to study the biology of plants and are calling for changes to the curriculum to address ‘plant blindness’ to protect this much needed profession.

With climate change, food security and the natural world regularly in the spotlight, academics have been intrigued as to why today’s students are showing less of an interest in plant sciences and choosing to focus instead on human and animal biology, as it is plant scientists who can answer many global challenges.    

Plant Science Lecturer Dr Sven Batke has been investigating this trend and uncovered that a phenomenon called ‘plant blindness’, whereby people fail to notice the plants in the environment around them, has become an increasing issue in younger adults.

Read further about Dr Sven Batke’s investigation:

New law to curb deforestation in supply chains won’t address bigger climate change issues

The UK government unveiled plans this week to make it illegal and impose fines on companies who are unable to provide details of the origins of products and who do not comply with the new law in protecting forests and other natural ecosystems.

Although this is a step in the right direction, Dr Sven Batke, Senior Lecturer in Plant Science, believes it still doesn’t really address more pressing issues surrounding climate change and sustainable forest management. 

Read a more detailed explanation of Dr Batke view: