Chris France has been closely associated with CES since 1993 as Director of the Engineering Doctorate (EngD) in Environmental Technology. He joined the Centre as a Senior Lecturer in Environmental Technology in January 1998. An engineer by training Chris holds higher degrees in Instrumentation with particular expertise in optical fibre sensing systems. He supervises 8 EngD Research Engineers covering such issues as Environmental Performance Indicators, Institutionalisation of Environmental Management and 'End-of-life for Electronic Goods'.
The Planetary Boundaries (PB) framework represents a significant advance in specifying the ecological constraints on human development. However, to enable decision-makers in business and public policy to respect these constraints in strategic planning, the PB framework needs to be developed to generate practical tools. With this objective in mind, we analyse the recent literature and highlight three major scientific and technical challenges in operationalizing the PB approach in decision-making: first, identification of thresholds or boundaries with associated metrics for different geographical scales; second, the need to frame approaches to allocate fair shares in the ‘safe operating space’ bounded by the PBs across the value chain and; third, the need for international bodies to co-ordinate the implementation of the measures needed to respect the Planetary Boundaries. For the first two of these challenges, we consider how they might be addressed for four PBs: climate change, freshwater use, biosphere integrity and chemical pollution and other novel entities. Four key opportunities are identified: (1) development of a common system of metrics that can be applied consistently at and across different scales; (2) setting ‘distance from boundary’ measures that can be applied at different scales; (3) development of global, preferably open-source, databases and models; and (4) advancing understanding of the interactions between the different PBs. Addressing the scientific and technical challenges in operationalizing the planetary boundaries needs be complemented with progress in addressing the equity and ethical issues in allocating the safe operating space between companies and sectors.
Safety Data Sheets are the primary source of hazard information on chemical substances and mixtures and are used to inform risk assessments. It is imperative to ascertain the quality of this primary source of information in informing risk based decision making. The content of Safety Data Sheets (SDS) is governed by regulatory requirements outlined under the Globally Harmonised System for the Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). However, regulation in itself does not provide assurance of the quality of the content of the SDS. This study assesses and creates an awareness of the quality of Safety Data Sheets and establishes the criteria for ranking the quality of various sections in the SDS. 200 Safety Data Sheets have been selected from the aerospace sector and assessed for their quality. A review of the 200 SDS has identified significant statistical differences between the various sections of the SDS and the quality of information between hazardous and non-hazardous chemicals. The data analysis suggests a limited impact of GHS and REACH, Annex II Regulations on the overall quality of content of the Safety Data Sheets.
In order to understand the electricity use of Internet services, it is important to have accurate estimates for the average electricity intensity of transmitting data through the Internet (measured as kilowatt-hours per gigabyte [kWh/GB]). This study identifies representative estimates for the average electricity intensity of fixed-line Internet transmission networks over time and suggests criteria for making accurate estimates in the future. Differences in system boundary, assumptions used, and year to which the data apply significantly affect such estimates. Surprisingly, methodology used is not a major source of error, as has been suggested in the past. This article derives criteria to identify accurate estimates over time and provides a new estimate of 0.06 kWh/GB for 2015. By retroactively applying our criteria to existing studies, we were able to determine that the electricity intensity of data transmission (core and fixed-line access networks) has decreased by half approximately every 2 years since 2000 (for developed countries), a rate of change comparable to that found in the efficiency of computing more generally.
Palmer, J. and France, C.M. (1998) “Informing Smaller Organisations about Environmental Management: An Assessment of Government Schemesî”, Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 41, No. 3, pp. 355-374.
Pember, S.J., France, C.M. and Jones, B.E. (1995) “A Multiplexed Network of Optically Powered, Addressed and Interrogated Hybrid Resonant Sensors”, Sensors and Actuators A, 46-47, pp 474 - 477.
Crosby, P.A., Powell, G.R., France, C.M., Fernando, G.F. and Spooncer, R.C. (1996) “In-situ Cure Monitoring of Epoxy Resins using Optical Fibre Sensors”, Journal of Smart Materials and Structures, 5, pp 415 - 428.
Powell, G. R., Crosby, P. A., Fernando, G. F., and France, C. M. (in press) “In-Situ Cure Monitoring using Optical Fibre Sensors - a comparative study”, accepted for publication by the Journal of Smart Structures and Materials.