ANOTHER PLANET?

Live Earth

 

A rare finch may be all that stands in the way of Australia mining a vast coal reserve.  Its a funny old world – Australia is undoubtedly suffering more than many other countries from the effects of climate change – but cant stop itself letting economics drive its choices – but the fact is when there is no air and no water – you can’t breathe or drink money. Hey ho. If approved the Carmichael mine would cover 280 sq km and would be the first of nine mines in the Galilee basin in Queensland- one of the worlds largest remaining reserves of coal – and according to 350.0rg, capable of being the 7th large of carbon on the planet if the 4 billion tonnes of fossil fuel are extracted. Environmentalists says that if Indian Multinational Adani Group are allowed to mine the region the last two breeding groups of the the Black-throated Finch would be wiped out.

Stanford University has developed a new fast-charging aluminium-ion battery that could be a legitimate option for grid-level storage of renewable energy. The key feature of the aluminium-ion battery is its durability, making it a potential solution to the problem of how to store renewable energy on electrical grids. The battery is able to be charged 7,500 times without losing capacity, compared to a typical lithium-ion battery which can be charged 1,000.

teslamodelSElectric carmaker Tesla sold 10,030 cars in the first quarter of 2015 – a 55% year-on-year increase. The figures – a new company record for a quarter – surpassed analyst expectations by at least 500 units and led to a 9% bump in in Tesla stock. The growth is driven by the Tesla Model S which accounted for 25% of all electric vehicles sold in the US in Q1 2015. It was recently named the best car in the world by the influential Consumer Reports magazine for the second year in a row.

Edie.net reports that innovation and improvements to grid connections could make onshore wind the most cost-effective new electricity source by 2020, according to the Onshore Wind Cost Reduction Taskforce.  Research carried out by the Taskforce, set up by RenewableUK, shows that these measures, along with ensuring the UK planning system is working and sharing best practise within industry, would be needed to drive down the price of onshore wind. It believes this would make onshore wind cheaper than its nearest price competitor, gas, by reducing the cost up to £21 per MWh. The costs are anticipated to be 22% less than today’s current prices for onshore wind.

Emissions from 10,000 of Europe’s most polluting power stations and factories have fallen by more than 4%, according to new figures. The number comes from verified data submitted by 87% of the 12,000 installations covered by the EU Emission Trading Scheme (ETS). The 4.4% fall in emissions is thanks to the growth of renewables and a mild winter in 2014, according to data-provider Carbon Market Data. The drop also outpaced the annual shrinking of the overall ETS cap, which reduces by 1.74% each year between 2013 and 2020, targeting a 20% cut in total emissions compared with 2012.

Nearly three-quarters of the world’s biggest palm-oil users have improved their commitment to sustainable sourcing in the past year, but fast-food brands are evidently lagging behind.  The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) has ranked the 10 largest palm-oil users in three sectors – fast-food, packaged food and personal care. Despite broadly positive results – 21 companies out of 30 increased their commitments – the fast-food sector was a clear loser. Dunkin’ Donuts has made a ‘strong’ commitment out of the sector and, Yum Brands – the parent-company of fast-food brands KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut – has committed to 100% sustainable palm oil for the first time following pressure from environmental activists.

California Governor Jerry Brown has ordered business and residents to cut water use by 25% last week as the drought continues, but tech-giants in Silicon Valley need to do even more, according to one expert.  A single data centre can consume up to 20,000 litres of water per hour – “as much water as a small city”, according to Peter Hopton, founder of liquid-cooling firm Iceotope. “The water use of data centres is insane, especially when viewed in a time of ‘historic drought’ in California, where many facilities are based,” said Hopton.

And Edie.net reports that China is set to tackle its heavily-polluted water supplies by enforcing polluting industries to treat discharged water.  The country is expected to launch an action plan later this month following approval by the cabinet to give it legal powers to hold polluters and local authorities responsible. The plan will require industries such as paper mills and dye and chemical plants to treat discharged water, setting high penalties for those that do not comply with the new regulations. Water will be prevented from being classed worse than level five – so polluted it is toxic for human skin – by 2017.

jamie UK chef Jamie Oliver has launched a campaign to fight global obesity epidemic. With 42 million children under the age of five either overweight or obese across the world, the bottom line is the next generation will live shorter lives than their parents if nothing is done to rectify these alarming stats. That’s why Jamie’s taking his Food Revolution, started in the UK, around the world. And he needs your help. he’sasking that you do two simple things – first, please sign a petition to show your support for compulsory practical food education in schools across the world, then, most importantly, share it via your social networks. It’s essential that we arm future generations with the life skills they urgently need in order to lead healthier, happier, more productive lives. I passionately believe this is every child’s human right and I hope you agree. If you can help me get millions of people to sign this petition, we can create a movement powerful enough to force all G20 governments to take action.  Food education will make a difference to the lives of the next generations, so please help. Jamie can’t do it without you. SIGN UP AND SHARE HERE.

hawksbill-turtle-thailandWhy we should all love turtles – have a look at this amazing video with a link through to a commentary from diver Darren C. Turtle populations have declined by 80 percent worldwide during the last century.

Nobel prize winners in the US and Australia have joined calls for the world’s two largest health charities to sell their stocks in leading fossil fuel companies. The eminent medical researchers argue that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust should end their investments in major coal, oil and gas firms because they conflict with the charities’ aims of improving public health. “It is clear that while some coal producers may be in denial, the large oil companies understand exactly what is happening with anthropogenic climate change. It is also clear that the rush to find more oil and dig more coal continues unabated,” said Professor Peter Doherty, a scientist at the University of Melbourne who won the Nobel prize for his work on the immune system. “Is it likely that anything other than placing a real price on carbon and withdrawing investment will influence either industry?” he said. More on the Guardian website here.

Vancouver has become the latest city to commit to running on 100% renewable energy. The city of 600,000 on Canada’s west coast aims to use only green energy sources for electricity, and also for heating and cooling and transportation. Cities and urban areas are responsible for 70-75% of global CO2 emissions and that’s where “real action on climate will happen” said Park Won-Soon, Mayor of Seoul, South Korea at the ICLEI World Congress 2015, the triennial sustainability summit of local governments where Vancouver made the announcement.  “We are the green tide coming together to save the world from climate change,” Park said to nearly 15,000 members of local government including more than 100 mayors. Andrea Reimer, Vancouver’s deputy mayor told the Guardian: “There’s a compelling moral imperative but also a fantastic economic case to be a green city.” The 100% goal is likely to be set for a target year of 2030 or 2035.

A major spike in air pollution across much of England poses a risk to those suffering from respiratory diseases, older people and children, health charities have warned today (10th April). Unseasonably dry, warm and still weather, pollution from the continent and dust from the Sahara have added to exiting UK pollution to create  am major problem in some areas and children and people with asthma and other respiratory problems are being warned to be careful. The government pushed its smog alert levels to “very high” – its most extreme pollution warning – for some parts of south east England.  Northern Europe, especially France, will be cloaked in a thick shroud of smog for much of Friday. In Paris and northern cities the government has reduced all traffic speed limits by 20km/hr. Residential parking has been made free in Paris to encourage people to leave their cars at home. Keith Taylor is the Greens MEP for the south east, the area most heavily affected by Friday’s event, said the problem should be a national priority. “Whoever forms the next government, one of the first things they must do is to urgently address this public health crisis that currently only seems to be getting worse.”

And Barack Obama has highlighted the impact of climate change on public health, hours after the White House unveiled an initiative targeting adverse health effects caused by extreme weather and greenhouse gas emissions. “There are a whole host of public health impacts that are going to hit home,” Obama said at a roundtable discussion with health professionals at Howard University in Washington DC, citing rising asthma rates and the prospects of nontraditional insect-borne diseases soon moving to North America. “Ultimately … all of our families are going to be vulnerable. You can’t cordon yourself off from air or from climate.”

The glaciers of western Canada, one of the world’s most picturesque mountain regions, are likely to largely melt away over just three generations, scientists have warned. By 2100, the glaciers of Alberta and British Columbia are set to shrink by 75% in area compared to 2005 levels, and by 70% in volume, according to their predictions.

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Osprey outcry put T’s Strathallan home at risk

tCampaigners opposed to T In The Park taking place at the Strathallan Estate in Perthshire, which include the Woodland Trust and the RSPB, have secured what they say is a defining victory against promoters DF and the Estate owners, Jamie and Debs Roberts. Whilst the local authority is still considering arguments on both sides over whether the 80,000 capacity festival can take place from 10-12 July, the RSPB, who had already noted that ospreys traditionally nest near the Estate, have said the protected birds have returned. Under the Wildlife And Countryside Act it is a criminal offence to disturb ospreys during the breeding season. Although the ospreys’ long-term roosting spot is not on the Strathallan Estate itself, STV reports that a 2500 foot ‘buffer zone’ would be required around the nest if T went ahead there, and that would significantly cut into the planned festival site. DF had reportedly hired experts to try to persuade the ospreys to nest in a alternative nesting space and DF contractors had been using using kites, balloons and an extended cherry-picker crane near the old nest to try to divert the birds to the new site. The RSPB has dubbed these attempts “unethical and unacceptable”. However the birds have now returned to their original nesting spot.

James Reynolds of RSPB Scotland told reporters: “We are aware that the ospreys have been reported at the nest site and indeed we have some video footage that shows one of them alighting on the nest with a stick”. He went on: “This blatantly means this is now an active nest and is protected from disturbance, so the cherry picker should have been removed immediately. I was informed that that did not take place and contacted Police Scotland to make them aware of that. As this nest is closer to the main festival activity, the risk that the birds will be disturbed by the festival has increased and that will be reflected in our response to the planning application”. A spokesperson for DF said that the RSPB’s video “does not correspond with the ongoing monitoring from our ornithologist on site”, meaning that the promoter is not yet convinced the ospreys have indeed set up home in their original nest. The spokesperson added: “We are fully aware of and compliant with the legal protocol and as such, we have asked the police and RSPB to seek further information so that the video’s authenticity can be fully examined. We have removed the cherry picker while we wait for this information”. Police were called to the scene on Monday and are investigating.

ospreynestingHowever, after the news about the Osprey’s return broke, Xfm reported that a spokesperson for festival organiser DF concerts “We can confirm that ospreys have returned to Strathallan, but the expert opinion of our ornithologist is that they have not yet nested. In the meantime, we’d also like to assure fans that the festival will go ahead. The decision on our planning application will still be made in May and we remain confident that the event will take place at Strathallan.” DF boss Geoff Ellis told the BBC: “We are in daily contact with the RSPB and we will be working very closely with them. Whichever nest the birds take to we will work with them to agree an appropriate exclusion zone and manage it accordingly. We guarantee to do that and we’d be bound by the law to do it anyway. We will work with the RSPB so that T In The Park can continue at its new home at Strathallan Castle and the ospreys can co-exist with the festival” and Ellis said he said that his team were capable of adapting the way they use to site to accommodate the local birds of prey. Noting that DF had to work around a pipeline at their old site at Balado, he said his team were used to changing site plans saying “We used to have to [change our site plans] at Balado almost every year with the changes in the HSE guidelines to the pipeline. The one thing about a music festival is you build it up from scratch each year. It’s just a case of re-plotting positions of things on site. It’s extra work obviously but certainly it’s not a show stopper in any form”.

Read more at http://www.xfm.co.uk/festivals/t-in-the-park/news/t-in-the-park-go-ahead-despite-nesting-rare-birds/#sQmmbupo7lVeX2SK.99

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-tayside-central-32202516

Glastonbury and INMusic new talent finalists announced

ETCThe Glastonbury Festival have announced the eight acts that have made it through to the live final of their 2015 Emerging Talent Competition.

The invite only finals take place in Pilton next Saturday (11th April) and the judges include a number of main stage bookers for the Festival, as well as judges from BBC Radio 1 and PRS For Music. The winner is guaranteed a slot on a main stage at the 2015 Festival, and £5000 from the PRS for Music Foundation Talent Development fund. Two runners up will also each receive £2,500 from PRS for Music Foundation.

You can hear all eight finalists on Soundcloud here. The finalists are:

Declan / McKenna

MoD Music

Princess Slayer

Lucy Kitchen

Isaac Lee-Kronick

SHIELDS

Jakl

K.O.G. & The Zongo Brigade.

The eight acts were selected by Glastonbury judges from the longlist of 120 artists which was compiled by 40 of the UK’s best online music writers, who chose their selections from thousands of entries. Emily Eavis told us: “We’ve been blown away by the interest in the competition this year. To have more than 6,000 acts from the UK and Ireland enter is just incredible. Our team of judges did a fantastic job of whittling all those entries down to 120 acts, and it certainly wasn’t easy for us to choose eight finalists from the longlist. But I’m really excited about the quality and variety of the eight acts we’ve ended up with. I’m really looking forward to seeing them play at the live finals.”

 

AATMAnd the finalists for this years All About The Music have been announced with “5 great bands take part in the final trying to rock your socks off for a chance to play on the main stage at this years INmusic festival in Croatia (June 22nd – 24th) alongside the likes of Placebo , Death Cab for Cutie, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Eagles Of Death Metal. Those finalists for the 3rd May final at the Corporation  in Sheffield are:

AWOOGA
Native Braves
Katalina Kicks
DIVIDES
All To Ruin

Plus last years winners Stop Drop Robot will take to the stage. For more information and to check out a track each of the bands see: http://aatm.dscvr.uk/

Jarno’s new e-book focusses in on your event’s Environmental Plan

Cover+bookJarno Stegman, one of A Greener Festival’s core team who until very recently ran our Awards scheme in North America, has just published a new e-book titled  Event Management: Your Environmental Plan.  This e-book is an easy guide for event and festival producers/planners to writing an environmental plan for their event. It’s not scientific, far from it. The guide is meant to make it easy for people to think about the steps they can take towards a more sustainable event. The e-book is based on the online workshop “Event Planning: greening your event” – and it’s 41 pages and the idea is to help event organisers/planners/producers/organisations (take your pick) to write their environmental plan

The book is only $2.99 (and although focussed on North American experiences, its about £2 in the UK) and it’s a Kindle book/e-book only.

Here’s the link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VNK073G

This is the link to the online workshop as it is offered via Udemy.com https://www.udemy.com/sustainable-event-management-greening-your-event/?couponCode=semYOURS Retailing at $10.

All info can be found on www.eventtutor.com

ANOTHER PLANET?

greenpeacePresident Obama has  approved Shell’s lease to drill in the Arctic, helping Shell get one step closer to drilling in the Alaskan waters this year. Greenpeace say “Right now, Shell are desperately trying to avoid media attention as they put profits before the planet and prepare for potentially devastating Arctic drilling. So six volunteers are pursuing a Shell oil rig across the Pacific, on route to the Arctic drill site. They hope to shine a spotlight on Shell and show that the world is watching. But they will need our help. Join the Arctic movement and follow the journey of the six volunteers at http://grnpc.org/IgDhX

The US will pledge to cut carbon pollution by up to 28%, doubling the pace of current emissions cuts, under a global agreement on climate change to be finalised in Paris at the end of the year.  The Obama administration is expected to unveil its plans on Tuesday, joining China, the European Union, Mexico, Norway and Switzerland in outlining their plans to fight climate change after 2020, when the current commitments expire. The commitments offered over the next few months are seen as the building blocks of an international agreement at Paris for global efforts to fight climate change in the years ahead. More here.

As many as 95% of environmental professionals want to see sustainability issues given more prominence in the National Curriculum and other learning frameworks. That is the headline finding of a new poll from the Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment (IEMA), which had 400 respondents. As well as installing sustainability in the curriculum, 88% of respondents wanted it included in the Government-prioritised STEM skills (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).

London_Big_Ben_Phone_boxLondon has taken sixth spot in a new ranking of 23 European cities on air quality, but mayor Boris Johnson is “lucky” to have been rated so highly as he has no plans to comply with air pollution laws until after 2030, if ever.  The “Sootfree Cities” rating, compiled by Friends of the Earth Germany and the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), evaluated air pollution levels from transport, concentrating on measures put in place in cities over the past five years and looked at air quality plans for the next five years to take into account changes that were already in the pipeline. London received a ‘C-‘ ranking – below Zurich, Copenhagen, Vienna, Stockholm, Berlin, who came in at 1st to 5th respectively. Johnson’s city was praised for “showing effort to tackle its high levels of air pollution over the last years, including by implementing a congestion charge”.

Cruelty is no laughing matter, but sometimes playful tactics are the best way to get a compassionate message across. You can watch how  PETA France supporters used an April Fool’s joke to draw attention to Air France’s continuing policy of shipping primates to laboratories at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport. The video is here.

Caroline_Lucas_2010Green Party MP Caroline Lucas has labelled the Green Deal an “absolute disaster” which epitomises a so-called green Government that has failed to deliver on a raft of environmental policies. Speaking to edie.net  in the aftermath of a heated panel debate between the four main political parties earlier this week, Lucas said the coalition’s Green Deal, launched at the start of 2013, has caused “untold damage when it comes to insulating people’s homes”. “The Green Deal has been an absolute disaster because, as we predicted at the time, the interest rates were far too high to encourage people to take it up,” Lucas said. “Under this Government, there has been an 80% drop in insulation measures provided for the fuel-poor.”

Investment in small and medium-scale renewable energy through crowdfunding is particularly appealing to the older generation, analysis of lenders has shown.  Trillion Fund analysed more than 300 lenders that have participated in funding wind projects through the platform which revealed a third of them to be over 61. Almost half of all funds raised (49%) have come from this age group, with older lenders individually investing more than twice as much as younger lenders.

The vast majority of Scottish adults want the next UK Government to take forward policies that tackle greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.  A new YouGov poll, commissioned by Scottish Renewables, found that almost two-thirds supported such green policies, while just 14% disagreed. It also revealed that 79% of Scottish adults support the continued development of renewable energy. In comparison, just 26% of the survey’s respondents back fracking for shale gas, 45% support new nuclear power stations, and half are in favour of the building or extension of coal and gas-fired power stations.

allotmentsNEW PETITION: Councils across the UK are currently selling off allotment land to developers, and if we don’t act now we will see these special plots of land slip away from us. Many allotments are on land that has become valuable and the last few years has seen a disturbing trend where councils have increased requests to deregulate allotments in favour of property development that do not always best serve local needs. Tell Eric Pickles we need to protect allotments. The promote self reliance. They educate. The provide cheap and nutritious food – and they are great social melting pots. SIGN HERE.

The UK transport industry must embrace biofuels if it is to meet EU decarbonisation targets, a Government-backed report has claimed.  The Transport Energy Task Force concluded that there is a ‘clear role for biofuels’ in UK transport despite the increasing popularity of electric and hybrid vehicles. The report added that the UK should only support ‘sustainable’ biofuels – i.e. those with a “low risk of indirect impacts on other land based industries and activities”. Edie.net says that biofuels remain somewhat controversial, in part because of their potential impact on food crops. But a sustainable way to counteract this, according to the Report, is to use wastes as feedstocks rather than growing dedicated crops.

The Scottish and UK Governments have announced a £4.2m investment in industrial research and feasibility studies for a 570MW Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) plant in Scotland.  The investment – £2.5m from the Scottish Government and £1.7m from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) – will allow US based Summit Power Group to undertake development work ahead of its ultimate goal of designing and building its proposed Caledonia Clean Energy Project in Grangemouth Scotland. The intended plant will combine coal gasification with CCS technologies in a single facility for the first time. The technology should capture 90% of CO2 emissions from generation which would then be pumped via existing on-shore and sub-sea pipelines for permanent storage 2km beneath the North Sea.

UK Green-energy supplier Ecotricity has secured £70m through a refinancing deal with Aviva Investors, which it says will allow it to almost double its energy-generating capacity. The agreement – underpinned by Ecotricity’s existing 60MW estate – will help fund a 40MW growth over the next 18 months, according to founder Dale Vince. Vice said: “Harnessing our customers bills and turning them into windmills got Ecotricity to where it is today – that ‘bills into mills’ model has worked well for us over the last 20 years.

The UK Government could subsidise up to £1,500 of the cost of electric motorbikes and scooters as part of a plan to bring electric vehicles into the mainstream.  Up to £7.5m will be set aside in total to help bikers bridge the cost-gap between a zero emission electric motorcycle and conventional petrol versions.  And UK businesses will be permitted to install rooftop solar arrays of up to 1MW in size without the need for planning permission, under new Government changes confirmed by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles.

Indeed the UK is in the midst of a green investment revolution, according to the head of sustainable finance at the Green Investment Bank.  Speaking exclusively to edie.net , Gavin Templeton said that institutional investors at home and abroad are turning their attention to UK green infrastructure projects for the first time. “It’s not quite a tsunami, but the smart money which has never invested in the UK before, is coming now,” said Templeton. “I think it’s a sea change. Over the last 18 months institutional investors have started seeing sustainability as a good investment rather than something that is simply nice to have”.  Green Investment Bank fund manager Foresight has announced a £4m investment in a farm-based anaerobic digestion (AD) plant at Old Quarrington, Durham.  It is the first investment by the recently created GIB-backed £50m Recycling and Waste LP fund, unveiled by Business Minister Matthew Hancock in February.

Doctors and other health professionals have added their weight to the campaign for an immediate moratorium on fracking in the UK as a new report from health charity Medact warns that exploratory drilling for shale gas poses a serious risk to public health.  The report – Health & fracking: the impacts & opportunity costs – claims that a suspension of activity is needed to allow time for a full and comprehensive impact assessment to be completed, instead of simply going “all out for shale” as David Cameron has previously stated. “Climate change is the biggest long-term threat to global public health,” said report co-author Dr Patrick Saunders. “Suspending fracking now will also allow time for the independent UK Committee on Climate Change to complete its next assessment of the climate change risks.”

Shell_oil_croppedShell and its oil and gas peers are narcissistic, paranoid and psychopathic, and engaged in a cynical attempt to block action on global warming, according to the UK’s former climate change envoy.  In an open letter to Shell chief executive Ben van Beurden, John Ashton said the company’s promised transformation in response to climate change is in reality “a manifesto for the oil and gas status quo”. The companies justified their strategy, he said, with the unsupported claim that the economic and moral benefits of providing cheap energy to the world’s poor exceeds the risks to the same people from climate change. Ashton, an independent commentator and until 2012 the UK’s top climate diplomat, wrote the letter, published in the Guardian, in response to a speech by van Beurden in February. The Shell CEO said those calling for “fossil fuels out, renewables in” were naive and said provoking a sudden death of fossil fuels was not a plausible plan to tackle global warming.

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ANOTHER PLANET?

detox-catwalk-420x309Greenpeace has  announced its Detox Catwalk, listing how major fashion brands rank on removing toxic chemicals from their supply chains and tackling water pollution.  As part of the four-year Detox campaign, fashion brands have had to commit tozero-discharge of all hazardous chemicals by 2020 and require their suppliers to be transparent about water pollution incidents. The Detox Catwalk assesses how committed companies have performed against key criteria, including eliminating known hazardous chemicals from their products and moving towards full supply chain transparency.  The list has three categories; detox leader for those who have met their detox commitments, greenwasher for those who have only made partial progress, and detox losers for those companies who have not met their targets at all. Luxury British fashion house Burberry joined the campaign in 2014, and has thrown down the gauntlet to other luxury brands by making significant progress against its commitments, joining other recognisable UK highstreet brands such as C&A, Primark, Marks and Spencer and H&M on the list of ‘Detox Leaders’. Greenpeace identified sporting-giant Nike as a ‘greenwasher’, saying “the company is unwilling to embrace a transparency revolution across its global supply chain and still has not given a clear timeline to eliminate all PFCs in all its products.” Diesel, PVH, Only The Brave,  Giorgio Armani, Gap, Mango and D&G are amongst the shamed detox losers.

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is the best way to decarbonise British industry, according to a new report from the influential Green Alliance think-tank.  The report argues the Government should invest in large-scale CCS clusters as the most efficient way of reducing emissions. “To decarbonise industry, CCS is the only choice,” said report author Dustin Benton. “UK CCS deployment has been painfully slow to date, but creating industrial CCS clusters would cut carbon faster as well as cutting costs. Supporting clusters makes sense, whereas simply compensating energy-intensive industries for high carbon prices does not.” Green Alliance is a charity and independent think tank focused on ambitious leadership for the environment.

Around 320,000 new electric vehicles were registered around the world in 2014, accounting for 43% of all electric vehicles currently on the road. The US is leading the charge, having added 117,000 electric cars, retaining the no. 1 spot for the world’s biggest fleet of e-vehicles.  The figures for China also spiked with nearly 54,000 new electric vehicles added, an increase of around 120%.  China’s fleet is the third largest in the world, just behind  Japan which saw a relatively muted 45% growth rate. The global growth rate was 76%.  And the resale value of electric cars will soon match their diesel counterparts, making them a more attractive proposition, experts have claimed.  Glass’s – a second-hand car valuator – said that the resale values of electric vehicles would continue to increase as the market becomes more accustomed to the technology.

droughtAnd more from China. The Chief of China’s Meteorological Administration, Zheng Guoguang, has said that China is suffering more acute effects from climate change than other countries. Chinas average surface temperature has increased by nearly twice the annual global average since the 1950s and the state news agency has warned that the country faces serious threats to food security, water resources, energy supply and economic development. Particularly at risk are crop yields, and the massive engineering projects that have defined China’s economic development such as the Three Gorges Dam and the south-north water diversion project.  Chinas economic losses from climate change run at eight times the global norm. Recently some Chinese states have begun to scale back heavy industry in the face of  toxic air pollution and the risk to food security and the need to feed the nation is seen as a top priority.

Longannet power station  in Fife looks – the ‘most polluting in Scotland’ – is set to close next year after losing out on a crucial National Grid contract to supply ‘voltage support’ services.  Owner Scottish Power had previously stated that the contract was its last hope of staying open, and the company today confirmed “in all likelihood” that it would close the station in March 2016. The £15m contract was instead awarded to the gas-fired Peterhead Power Station, in Aberdeenshire.According to a National Grid statement, Peterhead was selected thanks to its ability to provide system stability and resilience, and value for money for GB consumers.

orcaDodo tells us that SeaWorld, the much criticised family entertainment company much criticised for its treatment of captive orca whales is now facing a blizzard of derision oin twitter after it’s public relations team jumped blindly into the wild waters of the internet — only to be met with a virtual tidal wave of backlash, Using #AskSeaWorld, Twitter users can ask anything, and SeaWorld will post it on a central site. So far, the ones posted have been pretty tame; they include “How does SeaWorld care for their killer whales?” and “How long do killer whales live?” But on Twitter, it’s another story. A quick glance at the hashtag will give a pretty good idea of how Twitter is responding to the campaign – such as “#AskSeaWorld So it’s normal for a baby to be forcefully taken from it’s family & sent to a different country to live with abusive strangers?” and “#AskSeaWorld since when did money become more important than the care and safety of animals? #FreeTheWhales” and “When are you going to close already? #AskSeaWorld”. Orcas need to be in the sea – not a theme park.

cowsIs man’s obsession with meat and livestock a bigger problem than greenhouse gases produced by industrial and domestic use and generating energy? Is methane the planet’s worse nightmare? Have a look at the Cowspiracy – The Sustainability Secret:  which ends with the observation that most deforestation is to clear grazing land for animal agriculture and to produce soya to feed domestic animals:  its worth a watch

Edie.net reports that as part of the Budget, George Osborne has announced £60m funding to help UK companies develop and commercialise energy technologies of the future.  The flapship project to receive funding will be the Birmingham Energy Systems Catapult, which will initially focus on the improvement of energy networks – including heat, electricity and combustible gases. Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “The Energy Systems Catapult will make Britain the best place in the world to develop new energy products and services, like local energy systems that can provide an alternative source of power to the national grid. “Locating the Catapult in Birmingham puts it right at the heart of a vibrant energy hub that will bring researchers and businesses together – a key component of bringing new and innovative ideas to market.”

And the Government has given the UK Green Investment Bank (GIB) £200m to expand its investment portfolio into India and Africa. In a letter to Parliament, Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said the joint venture with Decc would maximise the impact of UK climate aid.  “Unmitigated climate change will hit the poorest first and hardest,” said Davey. “It is vital that we use public climate finance to catalyse private investment into developing countries.” The GIB will focus on renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, using the same framework as its UK operation: invest based on commercial viability and mobilise additional private sector finance.  The UK Green Investment Bank (GIB) is also one of three investors funding a first-of-its-kind £111m recycling and waste facility in Scotland. The Levenseat project will see a 12.5MW energy from waste (EfW) plant built alongside – and ultimately used to power – a Materials Recycling Facility (MRF).

Frozen food giant Iglo Group is investing £3.7m to launch a campaign encouraging people to freeze food to reduce waste across Europe.
Related articles. Iglo is teaming up with the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) in the pan-European iFreeze campaign which aims to inform customers on the benefits of freezing on a million occasions by 2020 through TV and print advertising, online tips and on-pack advice. Iglo hopes the campaign will reduce the €260 of food waste thrown away by every European household each year.

Flexible laminate packaging, such as food and drink pouches, could soon be included in existing household recycling schemes thanks to a new trial. The project, first announced in June 2014, is being funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) Action Based Research programme in partnership with major food brands Nestlé UK & Ireland and Coca-Cola Enterprises. One aim is to determine best practise to increase the amount of flexible laminate packaging collected by testing different methods of engagement with residents. It should provide insight on how communication, customer behaviour and brands will influence collection rates.

FrackOffThe former chief of the Environment Agency is “hugely sceptical” on the prospects of fracking for shale oil in the UK, saying it is far from clear that the process should be used to extract quantities of oil from downlands in the south-east of England.  Lord Smith of Finsbury, better known as Chris Smith when he was a Labour MP and minister, said: “The environmental case for shale oil is much more adverse than for shale gas. It’s much more difficult to make the case for shale oil.” Smith chairs the taskforce on shale gas, an independent group funded by fracking companies to examine how shale gas exploration should be overseen, which on Wednesday advocated that a new single regulator should be put in charge of all inland gas and oil extraction in the UK, whether from shale fracking or other methods. And do you want to see what your local politicians think about fracking? The Frack Free Promise is supported by Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace. Across the UK, they have been asking local  candidates in the may 7th general election to oppose fracking in their constituencies if they’re elected – have a look here!

UK,Businesses will soon be able to take solar panels with them when they relocate without losing subsidies, the Government has announced From summer 2019, medium and large building-mounted solar PV systems will be allowed to be moved between buildings without the loss of Feed-in Tariff (FIT) payments. Previously FiT payments ended when solar panels were relocated, meaning commercial tenants were unwilling to invest in renewable technologies.

The mining town of Broken Hill in Australia is fast running out of water. The widespread drought in Queensland and New South Wales, blamed on climate change, has drained the town’s water reserves so they may well run out by August. The area has experienced more frequent and more intense droughts.

Lobbyist and public relations consultant Dr. Patrick Moore, who has worked for pesticide manufacturers like Monsanto and others in the pesticide industry – and Greenpeace – has refused to drink a glass of Monsanto’s weed killer “Roundup” after labeling the substance safe to drink, saying he would be ‘stupid’ to do so, and then walking out on the interview calling the interviewer a ‘jerk’. It’s all on video!

And more of the same! Appearing before a Nebraska Oil & Gas Conservation committee hearing, a local farmer received nothing but silence from the pro-fracking members of the board after he invited them to drink glasses of water tainted by fracking. In the video,  Nebraskan James Osborne used his 3 minutes before the committee to visually explain what fracking waste can do to the water table, dramatically pouring out water containing his own “private mixture” of fracking additives.

Cholita - the spectacled bear

Cholita – the spectacled bear

And finally – Cholita, An endangered Andean spectacled bear is awaiting an airlift to the U.S. after a brutal life in a Peruvian circus has left her maimed and bald. The bear was discovered two weeks ago during a surprise raid on a circus in north Peru by Animal Defenders International (ADI) – her teeth had been smashed in and her paws damaged and claws removed by the circus.  ADI now need to raise funds to send the bear to Colarado, in the USA, along with 33 lions and 25 monkeys in the largest airlift ever of freed performing animals. Remember – this bear should look like Paddington Bear – and Paddington athor Michael Bond has thrown his weight behind the campaign saying Cholita’s plight was a “Horrible story”. More on the fundraising here.  ADI began its Stop Circus Suffering campaign in South America in 2007 after an undercover investigation into the abuse of wild animals – whose use is now banned in Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay, Columbia, El Salvador Panama, Costa Rica and Mexico.

When you do something eco-friendly and people say “oh thats so inspirational”: Well, “it shouldn’t be inspirational, it should be the norm”: Thank you will.i.am.

Live Earth – lets take real climate change action now

live earthAnnounced by climate change front-man Al Gore, music TV producer Kevin Wall and music legend Pharrell Williams, this event will revive the Live Earth template on June 18th to rally action on climate change.

From Sydney to Rio to Durban to Antarctica to New York and Beijing, Live Earth together with the United Nations will once again create a series of events over 24 hours on six continents. The hub of this global affair rightly comes from Paris at the Stade de France, the same city that will host the much anticipated United Nations conference five months later.

live-earth-2-300x214Ban-Ki Moon commented that “Live Earth ‘Road To Paris’ will bring us together, and amplify our voices. It will help us seize the opportunity of a low carbon future. We all have a role to play in building a more peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world for ourselves and for our children. I urge people everywhere to take climate action now.”

Live Earth 2015 will be broadcast across all major media platforms and its take-home message of inspiring climate action is bolstered by an online campaign to bring together a billion voices to deliver the strong message of the urgent need for action on climate change. People across the globe want climate action and when enough people demand it, leaders will take note. Live Earth 2015-Road to Paris seeks to harness and unite these voices to pressure leaders to agree bold emission targets later this year.