• Plastic pollution underwater
    Environmental

    Environmental Impacts

    Which is the fairest of them all? One area that has interested me lately is how impacts on the environment are costed. This topic is more important than you might think, as it is the basis of many environmental laws and taxes. So it relates to all three of the reasons for managing environmental risk, as introduced in Unit 1, Element 1 of the NEBOSH National Diploma in Environmental Management: moral, legal and financial. There are two ways of working out who pays for the costs associated with environmental impacts – and any accountants among you will recognise these terms: internalising the cost, or externalising it. What do these mean?…

  • Refinery
    Environmental

    Going With The Flow – Cheaper in the Long Run?

    I often travel to London from the West Country by train and always enjoy passing through the Somerset Levels. I look at the farmsteads and churches perched on hillocks surrounded by miles of flat, green farmland and try to imagine what it must have been like when King Alfred was hiding from the Danes in the 9th century and these were island refuges in an inland sea. Well, travelling at the tail-end of Winter 2014 I felt transported back in in time, as my train sailed across mile after mile of water and the hillocks really were islands! This was a glimpse of what the Levels were like in a…

  • Environmental ground
    Environmental

    Buying a ‘Stairway to Heaven’ – Or Another ‘Tragedy’?

    Buying a ‘Stairway to Heaven’ – or another ‘Tragedy’? I’ve never been a fan of the idea of environmental “offsetting”. The concept is most frequently applied to greenhouse gas emissions – with which NEBOSH Environmental Certificate students who have studied Element 1 will be familiar – where an organisation (or individual) seeks to compensate for the carbon emissions they cause (usually through using energy) by paying for improvements elsewhere. Carbon offsetting has become institutionalised through regulated schemes such as the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, and there is also a host of commercial ‘carbon offsets’ that are available for purchase from specialist companies. Carbon offsets are usually sold as tonnes of…

  • Man in field next to wind turbines
    Environmental

    Identifying Environmental Aspects and Impacts

    Identifying Environmental Aspects and Impacts – Race to The Finish Seven years ago I competed in my first marathon it was hard – very hard. As everyone always says, in the last six miles of the race you hit a wall, and a very well built and extremely big wall it was, too! Something that feels very much like the last few miles of a marathon and which causes students a lot of pain is assessing environmental aspects and impacts – as  covered in Unit 1, Element 3 of the NEBOSH Diploma in Environmental Management: ‘Control Strategies for Environmental Risk’. Often, when I am delivering courses or marking assignments, I…

  • Back end of cars in traffic
    Environmental

    Fossil Fools?

    Fossil Fools? You may have noticed – and this is confirmed by the AA’s monthly fuel price report – that petrol and diesel prices are down significantly this month (November 2013). Good news? Well, nestling within every silver-lining there’s often a cloud. The recent drop in fuel prices seems to go against the long-term trend and raises questions about where the underlying global price of fossil fuels is going. Element 7 of the NEBOSH Certificate in Environmental Management raises questions about the rising costs of fossil fuels and identifies that demand is starting to outstrip supply. The script that we have been following in recent years goes something like this:…