Europe's research bodies should lead on climate, says VTT

September 30, 2019 //By Peter Clarke
Europe's research bodies should lead on climate, says VTT
Antti Vasara, CEO of VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, has said that Europe's leading semiconductor and electronics research organizations should adopt a common vision for a roadmap to carbon neutrality at the industry sector level.

"Yes, I think that is a good idea. Although our national contexts are differing slightly we have way more things in common," said Vasara in email communication with eeNews Europe. "We need to be focused on both the footprint and the handprint," he added.

The use of the term 'carbon footprint' to refer to the amount of greenhouse gas emitted into the atmosphere – principally carbon dioxide – that an individual or organization is responsible for, is well known. Less well known is the term 'carbon handprint' used to describe the greenhouse gas emission reduction in a customer's activities when replacing a baseline activity with a supplier's alternative. As such it can be a useful part of supply chain analysis (see Carbon handprint guide).

Rising amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere – due to increasing human activity – are widely seen as the biggest contributor to global warming. While there is a high degree of consensus within the academic community that major industrial and lifestyle changes must be made to avert a global catastrophe within a few decades, there is less consensus and urgency at the political and the industrial-sector level.

Speaking on the sidelines of the MEMS and Sensors Summit in Grenoble, Vasara said many companies – his own organization included –  examine their own carbon footprint. "It is an important thing to do and the most important part is to look at how you source electricity." There are increasing amounts of electricity being generated from carbon neutral or even zero-carbon methods, Vasara said.

However, such calculations remain difficult. Even though a wind turbine generates electricity from a renewable source, carbon dioxide will have been generated in the making of cement, in mining aggregate for concrete, in making components, in materials transportation and the erection of the turbine.

News: Make a carbon handprint

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