Sitges Meeting 2012: Emission Compensation

REFRESH is concerned with the impacts that climate and other changes will have on freshwater ecosystems and how the management of freshwaters can be adapted to account for these potential impacts. REFRESH recognises that, with emissions of greenhouse gases expected to rise until at least the middle of the century, any stabilisation is likely to be at significantly higher levels than present. As well as examining what practical adaptation and mitigation steps can be taken to minimise the adverse effects of climate change on freshwater ecosystems over the next 50 years, REFRESH also needs to consider how the project's activities contributes to emissions and therefore to climate change.

Many of the partners involved have institutional strategies to reduce their carbon footprints. However, looking specifically at REFRESH, annual project meetings represent one of the main, tangible activities that producing a significant carbon footprint as they involve the many people travelling over long distances, many of them by air. To reduce the carbon footprint of REFRESH, a carbon offsetting component was included in the registration fee for the third project meeting in Sitges, Spain. A local company was tasked with calculating, managing, offsetting and communicating the carbon footprint of the meeting. The carbon footprint was determined using a questionnaire completed by participants which enabled the cost required to offset our emissions to be calculated accurately. This was summarised in a carbon footprint report.

The meeting generated 44.752 tonnes of CO2 equivalents, mainly as a result of travelling and accommodation. This was offset by investment in high quality reduction projects. Two projects benefited from the REFRESH compensation;

  • BiofuelCeramic Facility Fuel Switching Project - this comprises three small ceramic businesses (Guaraí, Itabira and Santa Izabel ceramics) situated in the Itaboraí municipality, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. They produce structural ceramic products such as bricks, to be sold in the regional market. The companies use a more sustainable form of production, replacing the heavy oils generally used, by renewable biomass to generate thermal energy for the ceramic kilns. The biomass comes from sawdust and wood residues from areas of reforestation.
  • Hydroelectric DamBabilonia Hydroelectric Project (Mini Hydroelectric project in Honduras) - this project consists of a small run-of-river hydroelectric projects with 4MW of installed capacity. It is built along the Babilonia River, in a mountainous area with no direct road access in El Ocotal Municipality, Department of Olancho, Honduras. The main rationale of the project activity is to avoid the construction of new thermal power plants by generating electricity through sustainable, clean and secure means, using hydropower resources. Besides reducing the dependency on fossil fuels, this project will trigger local development. The project includes supply of electricity to nearby villages, provision of training in crop cultivation for local populations, construction of schools, a police station, and a mobile dental health unit for school children.

View the Emmission compensation certificate for the REFRESH Meeting at Sitges version 5.0

We are happy to announce that version 5.0 of is now online! This version offers the following new/additional features:

  1. Additionally to fish, macro-invertebrates and diatoms, this version also offers ecological information on macrophytes. Please see >> Experts and >> Terms of use (citation) for the contributing experts and correct citation. The ecological parameters sections offer a variety of query features. You may find them after login by pressing the "Query ecological parameters"-button.
  2. In close cooperation with we have now also incorporated species that might be affected by climate change, including fish, macro-invertebrates and macrophytes. This climate change parameter can be found within the ecological parameter sections.
  3. Queried ecological parameters can now be easily exported to csv-format by pressing the "Export"-button at the lower end of each query. This export function also includes the export of all references used. Details can be found in the >> How to use the database section.
  4. For linking and comparing your own species list with the taxonomic backbone of we established a taxa validation tool (>> Taxa Validation Tool (TVT)). It is available for fish, macro-invertebrates, macrophytes and diatoms. This tool can also be used to upload a species list, link it with the ecological parameters of interest and download the dataset again. This export function also includes the export of all references used. A short description how to use the TVT can be found in the >> How to use the database section.

Please always remember that this database is the work of many experts and it is very important to acknowledge their work by using precise citations. For the success of it is inevitable to cite the database correctly whenever you use it. Information how this is to be done can be found in the menu >> How to use the database/How to find the correct references and citation and >> Terms of use (citation).

Lake Sediment Coring in Turkey

Dr Martin Kernan and Dr Simon Turner joined colleagues from Middle Eastern Technical University (METU), Ankara, to take sediment cores from three large shallow lakes in western Turkey; Lakes Beyşehir, Marmara and Uluabat. UCL and METU will use palaeolimnological techniques, employing biologicial remains and geochemistry, in studying the sedimentary record. This will allow them to reconstruct changes in salinity, nutrient state and trophic structure related to major changes in water level in the past century. The aim of this work is to support assessments of the ecological consequences of lowered lake levels arising from the combined effects of climate change and abstraction for irrigation.

Spain drought experiment on TV

REFRESH scientists have been filmed by Televisio de Catalyuna 3. Eugènia Martí (CSIC) and Francesc Sabater (Universitat de Barcelona) discuss the experiment on the River Arbúcies that simulates drought conditions. The experiment is discussed in relation to the REFRESH project and the simultaneous drought experiments happening across the European Union.

The video (in Catalan) can be viewed at