Another Planet?

Caroline_Lucas_2010Recently re-elected Brighton Pavillion MP Caroline Lucas of the Green Party will be returning to the Eco Technology Show in Brighton this year to chair the important discussion titled “The Future of Energy Efficiency”. She will be joined by a panel of energy efficiency experts including Matthew Farrow, Executive Director of the Environmental Industries Commission, Christoph Harwood, Director of Marksman Consulting, Mike Walker, Sustainable Energy Using Products Team at DECC and Alex Hunt, Partner of The Green Building Partnership. Held on Friday 12th June 2:50pm – 3:50pm, this is just one of over 70 free keynotes, panels and talks spread across the three seminar areas throughout the show. You can see the full talk schedule here. Its free to register.

fde1Up to 90% of the global electronic waste produced each year – worth nearly $19bn – is illegally traded or dumped, according to a new report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). And the “mountain” of illegal e-waste is exhausting valuable resources and contains hazardous elements which pose a “growing threat” to the environment and human health.
UNEP’s ‘Waste Crimes‘ report found that the electronics market generates around 41 million tonnes of e-waste a year, of which 60-90% is illegally traded or dumped. Interpol estimates that one tonne of e-waste can be sold at around $500 on the black market, thanks to harvestable precious metals . UNEP executive director Achim Steiner said: “We are witnessing an unprecedented amount of electronic waste rolling out over the world.

The world’s biggest and most profitable fossil fuel companies are receiving huge and rising subsidies from US taxpayers, a practice slammed as absurd by a presidential candidate given the threat of climate change. A Guardian investigation of three specific projects, run by Shell, ExxonMobil and Marathon Petroleum, has revealed that the subsidises were all granted by politicians who received significant campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry.

airpollutionEnvironmentalists are demanding that the EU close a research fund which they claim offers coal companies tens of millions of pounds of public money in grants. The European commission’s Research Fund for Coal and Steel (RFCS) has awarded €144m (£107m) to companies such as E.On UK, RWE Npower and UK Coal Production Ltd, according to research by Greenpeace Energydesk. Most of the the money is spent on mining infrastructure, management and unconventional use of deposits, and on coal preparation and upgrading. Doug Parr, Greenpeace’s chief scientist, said that the fund made little environmental, economic or scientific sense.

Amber Rudd will replace Ed Davey as Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change as part of Prime Minister David Cameron’s reshuffle of the new Tory Government. The Hastings and Rye MP, who held onto her seat in Parliament in last week’s General Election, has been promoted from her previous position as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

The European Green Capital of the year, Bristol, has opened its first-ever community-owned solar farm. The 1.8MW Moorhouse Solar Farm will deliver 1,780 MWh of renewable electricity into the grid each year – enough to power around 430 homes each year – and save 850 tonnes of CO2 a year. The 1.8MW installation park was built by local company Solarsense and funded by Low Carbon Gordano, a co-operative whose purpose is to help the local community to reduce energy costs and become more sustainable.

One in three European birds is endangered, according to a leaked version of the most comprehensive study of Europe’s wildlife and natural habitats ever produced. The EU State of Nature report, seen by the Guardian, paints a picture of dramatic decline among once common avian species such as the skylark and turtle dove mainly as a result of agricultural pressures, and also warns that ecosystems are struggling to cope with the impact of human activity.

Norway’s biggest oil producer is establishing a new business encompassing renewable energy and other low-carbon energy solutions. Statoil, which is the world’s eleventh largest oil and gas company, announced today (12 May) that it is to set up New Energy Solutions (NES); to compliment its existing business and “drive profitable growth” in the green energy market. reports that the renewable energy industry in Northern Ireland has received a welcome boost this week with the launch of a new fully-funded solar solution which could save businesses up to £320m. Kingspan ESB – a joint venture between building technology firm Kingspan and Ireland’s largest energy company ESB will make photovoltaic (PV) energy available to businesses without the investment normally required in the capital outlay, installation or maintenance of a PV system. The funding solution unlocks cost savings of more than £320m over the next 25 years – £5.6m each year – along with significantly improved sustainability and environmental credentials for local businesses.

teaser313_bayer_bees_bundMore than two out of five American honeybee colonies died in the past year, and surprisingly, the worst die-off was in the summer, according to a federal survey. Since April 2014, beekeepers lost 42.1% of their colonies, the second-highest rate in nine years, according to an annual survey conducted by a bee partnership that includes the US Department of Agriculture. “What we’re seeing with this bee problem is just a loud signal that there’s some bad things happening with our agro-ecosystems,” said study co-author Keith Delaplane at the University of Georgia. “We just happen to notice it with the honeybee because they are so easy to count.”

Climate change campaigners reacted with disappointment as Edinburgh University announced on Tuesday that it would not fully divest from fossil fuels. Students lay down in protest on the steps of the building where senior vice principal Professor Charlie Jeffery set out the unanimous decision by the university’s court. Insisting that the university was committed to a change of investment policy, Jeffery said: “Our commitment is to engage before divestment, but the expectation is that we will bring about change by engagement.”  Boris Johnson has rejected a motion by the London assembly calling on City Hall’s pension fund to divest from fossil fuels, arguing the UK needs to press ahead with fracking to avoid being reliant on the Middle East and Russia for gas.  The Mayor of London said that a more realistic approach was needed than divestment, which he called a “sudden cliff edge”.

worldbankCountries could reduce the cost of decarbonisation by a third by enacting green policies immediately, according to a new report from the World Bank. The Decarbonising Development report lays out three steps for countries to follow in order for the planet to produce zero net emission by 2100. The steps include establishing a carbon price, providing support for those most affected by climate change, and setting defined targets.  The solutions exist, and they are affordable – if governments take action today, the report says. It warns, however, that costs will rise for the next generation the longer action is delayed. Data from the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report suggests that waiting just 15 more years and taking no action until 2030 would increase costs by an average of 50 percent through 2050 to keep temperatures from rising less than 2°C. “Choices made today can lock in emissions trajectories for years to come and leave communities vulnerable to climate impacts,” said World Bank Group Vice President and Special Envoy for Climate Change Rachel Kyte. “To reach zero net emissions before the end of this century, the global economy needs to be overhauled. We at the World Bank Group are increasing our focus on the policy options.”

The Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) and BRE’s training body, the BRE Academy, have formed a new partnership to develop sustainability training courses with a focus on the built environment. The agreement will see industry-relevant training courses embedded into Higher and Further Education programmes, as the effects of global warming are felt on buildings and infrastructures worldwide. IEMA chief executive Tim Balcon said: “Training and education provision is a key service which we provide for our 15,000-strong global membership, who are focussed on driving more sustainable practices and standards across all sectors. “This collaboration with the BRE Academy will enable us to offer new skills programmes with a focus on the built environment which plays such an integral part of every business and industry as well as the economy.

ecocideEcocide: The Psychology of Environmental Destruction:  Recent scientific reports about climate change make grim reading. A paper published in The Economic Journal by the respected UK economist Lord Stern states that the models previously used to calculate the economic effects of climate change have been ‘woefully inadequate.’ They have severely underestimated the scale of the threat, which will “cost the world far more than estimated.” What makes the situation even more serious is that climate change is just one of the environment-related problems we face. Others include the destruction and pollution of ecosystems, the disappearance of other species (both animal and plant), water shortage, over-population, and the rapacious consumption of resources. Now in his book Back to Sanity, Dr Steve Taylor suggests that human beings may be collectively suffering from a psychological disorder (‘humania’), and our reckless abuse of the environment is one of the best pieces of evidence for this. Would a sane species abuse their own habitat so recklessly? And would they allow such dangerous trends to intensify without taking any serious measures against them? More here.

Nearly two thirds of online shoppers now consider ‘green packaging’ when deciding where to shop according to a new poll. The survey of more than 500 internet shoppers, conducted by logistics firm Dotcom Distribution, found widespread support for environmentally-friendly packaging and green supply chain practices. Around 61% of respondents considered green packaging in their shopping choices with 57% saying it is important to them.

The plantable coffee cup

The plantable coffee cup

A new project called Reduce Reuse Grow is hoping to turn a major source of pollution into a positive solution that plants seeds! The project hopes to build a plantable coffee cup that has seeds built into the actual design. Alex Henige, a senior at California Polytechnic State University is the founder of the project, has created a kickstarter page to fund the new idea. Read More HERE. 569 backers have already pledged $21,077 to help bring this project to life – – “A coffee cup that has native seeds embedded within the material to be used for reforestation in your local communities.”

Shell_oil_croppedThe last intact section of one of Antarctica’s mammoth ice shelves is weakening fast and will likely disintegrate completely in the next few years, contributing further to rising sea levels, according to a Nasa study. The research focused on a remnant of the so-called Larsen B Ice Shelf, which has existed for at least 10,000 years but partially collapsed in 2002. What is left covers about 625 sq miles (1,600 sq km), about half the size of Rhode Island. Antarctica has dozens of ice shelves – massive, glacier-fed floating platforms of ice that hang over the sea at the edge of the continent’s coast line. The largest is roughly the size of France. Larsen B is located in the Antarctic Peninsula, which extends toward the southern tip of South America and is one of two principal areas of the continent where scientists have documented the thinning of such ice formations.

Environmental groups and experts hit out at the US government on Tuesday following its announcement that the Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell would be allowed to resume offshore exploration and drilling in the Arctic’s American waters. Unforgiving conditions in the Arctic’s icy waters not only make the chances of a spill likely, the complete lack of infrastructure in place to deal with a potential disaster means the consequences of the move could be calamitous, environmental activists and experts say.



T-in-the-Park gets a green light

t-in-park-moving-2015-strathallanT In The Park has been approved by Perth and Kinross Council after the development management committee held 90-minute hearing that saw supporters and opponents of the planned event outline their positions. It’s the first year the DF Concerts promoted festival will be staged at Strathallan Castle, although there was resistance from concerned locals worried about the festival’s impact on the grounds and the risk to wildlife, in particular a pair of nesting ospreys. Conditions have been imposed. RSPB Scotland, which worked with DF Concerts on plans to mitigate disturbance to the birds, welcomed those. No councillors spoke against the plans, despite 1,600 letters of objection being lodged. Councillors discussed a report from development quality manager Nick Brian, who had recommended they give a short-term green light to the event. During that period the impact of the festival on the area will be assessed in detail, informing a decision on its longer-term future at a later date. DF’s Geoff Ellis said “It is our intention to work closely with all residents to ensure that we are excellent neighbours and minimise any disruption to local life. Mid-Scotland and Fife MSP Liz Smith claimed the planning process had been “very badly handled” by the council and event organisers adding “This is a decision which has clearly divided local opinion over many months”.

T in the Park, which attracts 85,000 music fans each day, was forced to move from its home at Balado, near Kinross, after an underground pipeline sparked safety fears.

The event takes place 10 to 12 July. Kasabian, The Libertines and Noel Gallagher are all headlining the event and other acts include Avicci, Twin Atlantic, David Guetta, The Prodigy, Jessie J, Paloma Faith, St Vincent, Jessie Ware, Fatboy Slim and Rudimental.


Zebra_Botswana_edit02Africa’s big cats are facing a hungry future as human population pressure, hunting and habitat destruction for livestock farming needs reduce the number of their prey species. Zebras, antelopes, tapirs and giraffes are rapidly diminishing and sometimes facing extinction in grasslands, savannahs, deserts and forests according to the Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit who analysed data on the world’s largest 74 herbivores and said “without radical intervention [they] will continue to disappear from numerous regions. The Grevy’s Zebra population in the Horn of Africa has halved in the last 20 years with only 2,200 remaining in an area less than 10% of what it was, only 600 African wild ass remain on 2.5% of their natural range, the remaining 80,000 giraffe have just 11.3% of their former range and  2,500 pygmy hippos just 1.3%. Forest elephants in Africa were down 60% in the the years up to 2011 and poaching continues to decimate the elephant and rhino populations. reports that the pledges made by major international emitters ahead of the Paris UN conference are not strong enough to limit global warming to 2C, according to team of researchers led by Nicholas Stern.  The US is expected to offer emissions cuts of 26% to 28% by 2025 , the EU has agreed to cut its emissions by 40% by 2030, compared with 1990 levels, while China has promised its emissions will peak by 2030. However, these proposed cuts put the trio on track to generate between 20.9 and 22.3 billion tonnes of carbon-dioxide-equivalent in 2030. Current and planned policies from the rest of the world suggest they will produce around 35 billion tonnes of CO2e, putting the global total at around 56bn tonnes CO2e.  At best, this is 12bn tonnes more than the level UNEP says would give the planet a 50-66% chance of limiting global warming to less than 2°C. “Countries should be considering opportunities to narrow this gap before and after the Paris summit,” said the paper overseen by Stern, who is chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change.

greenpeace adA few months ago Greenpeace published a newspaper ad stating: “Experts agree – [fracking] won’t cut our energy bills.” The ASA asked for evidence to back up the claim — so Greenpeace submitted statements from 22 experts and commentators including leading academics, the energy secretary Ed Davey, and even quotes from fracking firm Cuadrilla. This wasn’t enough for the ASA and they still said the ad was misleading. But the only evidence they could provide to back that up?… A quote from the prime minister. Greenpeace so pint out that the chair of the ASA, Lord Chris Smith, happens to be the head of the Task Force on Shale Gas (a group funded by the fracking industry).


Employment in renewable energy increased by 9% across all sectors last year, with biomass heating emerging as the best-performing sector in terms of recruitment.  The Renewable Energy Association (REA) has today (1 May) released its annual regional and national jobs analysis, revealing significant growth in the UK’s green energy labour market. The total number working in the renewables industry has risen to more than 112,000, outstripping growth in market values in many other sectors.  The UK now boasts the third largest utility-scale solar capacity in the world after a flurry of first quarter installations.  New figures from market analysts Wiki-Solar show that the UK added 1.5GW of utility-scale capacity, leapfrogging Germany and India for the third spot. And  Council recycling services in England saved 4% more greenhouse gas emissions in 2013/14 than in 2012/13, thanks mainly to increased captures of metals and plastics.  That’s according to the third annual Recycling Carbon Index Report from consultancy firm Eunomia, which shows that 64% of England’s local authorities increased their emissions savings over the past year, despite a levelling off of the country’s recycling rate performance. Wales and Northern Ireland faired even better, reducing overall emissions by an additional 6%, and 7% respectively.

airpollutionEU lawmakers have agreed to fastrack a reform to the EU emissions trading scheme (ETS), to deal with the surplus of allowances in the system.
Related articles. Representatives from the European Parliament and the European Commission decided to establish a market stability reserve (MSR) in 2019 – two years earlier than originally planned. Approximately two billion backloaded and unallocated allowances will be put into the MSR before they flood the market at the end of the decade.  The current surplus “surpresses the carbon price” and means Europe’s worst polluters are “not held to account over their emissions”, according to green groups.

Shipping owners using European ports will have to report on the CO2 emissions of their vessels, under a new proposal approved by MEPs. The new rules – intended to encourage efficiencies and cut emissions – will apply from 2018 for ships weighing over 5,000 tonnes. Warships, fishing boats and ‘wooden ships of a primitive build’ will be exempt. Maritime transport is not currently subject to any emissions reductions measures and shipping emissions have increased by approximately 70% since 1990. If that upward trend was allowed to continue, the sector would account for between 6-14% of global emissions by 2050.

The fossil fuel industry is a bigger threat to global health than tobacco and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust have a moral obligation to divest from it, an international organisation that represents 1 million medical students has said.  A letter to the charities from the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA) called on the charities to drop their fossil fuel company interests, which amount to almost £1.5bn. The students said investments in coal, oil and gas companies were in direct contravention of the solemn Hippocratic 0ath, which doctors take before they begin their service.  The Church of England has pulled its money out of two of the most polluting fossil fuels as part of what it called its moral responsibility to protect the world’s poor from the impact of global warming.  In a move approved by the church’s board it divested £12m from tar sands oil and thermal coal – the first time it has ever imposed investment restrictions because of climate change.

TropicalIslandLeonardo DiCaprio has announced plans to create “the world’s most sustainable island resort” which will push the boundaries of green design, architecture and eco-tourism. The Hollywood actor and environmental activist is working with Restorative Hospitality, a subsidiary of ethical real estate firm Delos, to develop a 104-acre ‘restorative island’ at Blackadore Caye in Belize. Upon its completion in 2018, the island will feature 68 villas, 48 estate homes, three restaurants, a spa and a private clubhouse – all incorporating sustainable building techniques that will restore and regenerate the surrounding ecosystem and reverse the effects of climate change.

The Foundation for Deep Ecology and the Population Media Center have released a collection of astounding photographs that illustrate the devastating effects of out-of-control growth and waste, and it’s breathtaking. “This is an issue that people care about, and oftentimes it’s just not discussed by mainstream media,” Missie Thurston, director of marketing and communications at the Population Media Center said.  In September, world leaders will try and agree on sustainable development goals that will take us through 2030. In December, in Paris, the United Nations will attempt to finally set binding limits on pollution. 2015 will dictate “how we address our degrading planet over the next few decades”. What Humans Are Really Doing to Our Planet, in 19 Jaw-Dropping Images.

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teslaA cryptic tweet from Tesla boss Elon Musk has got everyone talking about a potential new utility scale battery. So far, specific details are thin on the new battery designed for home use that Tesla’s announcing next week. But just based on what we do know, it’s a pretty big deal. The quest for a good battery that can store home-generated power is kind of like the holy grail for a renewable energy future. This one product might change everything. A New York Times article published earlier this week essentially sets up the problem that Tesla’s battery will solve. In Hawaii, 12 percent of homes have some kind of solar energy, by far the highest rate for any place in the US at the moment. In fact, that rate is growing too quickly—solar customers are dumping so much energy back onto the grid that they’re taxing the delicate and often aging infrastructure that was only designed to deliver power to homes. What’s happening in Hawaii is actually indicative of what’s going to be an issue everywhere as many cities start to see an increase in large-scale solar implementation: There’s going to be too much energy generated, and nowhere to put it. More on Gizmodo and the Times tells us that the wall mounted battery called the Powerall will be able to store 7 kilowatt hours on a daily cycle and will cost $3000 – a further 10 kWh storage capacity will be available for $3,500. A single run of a washing machine uses about 2.3 kWh, a refrigerator uses 0.2 kWh per day and flat screen TV 0.1 kWh per day.

wildflowersFrom Friends of the Earth comes an important message from nature campaigner Sandra Bell who says “Laws protecting our most important nature sites, from Dartmoor to the North Yorkshire Moors, are at risk right now. Because of a review by the European Commission happening at the moment there’s a real danger these critical laws could be weakened. But if thousands of us say we want to defend these nature laws, the European Commission will have to protect them and make sure they are enforced. Please read my blog on why these laws matter and tell me your own reasons for protecting nature. As part of its review the European Commission has just launched a public consultation. The consultation asks why we want these laws, known as the Nature Directives. I’ve been working with partners across Europe on how to make it easy for all of us to respond. Please leave a comment on my blog saying why nature is important to you. It’s critical we stand up for existing nature laws. My blog gives plenty of reasons to defend them. But it’s not just about protecting our most important nature sites and species. Experts say we need to connect these sites by restoring nature across the country.  We all have personal connections to nature. We need to make sure everyone has access to thriving nature everywhere.  I’m looking forward to us all working together to achieve that. Thanks for stepping up for nature.”

The UK is in breach of European air quality standards and must draw up plans to reduce the amount of nitrogen dioxide in the atmosphere, the Supreme Court has ruled.  The decision marks a major victory for environmental NGO ClientEarth, who brought the case to court in an effort to force Government to act. Nitrogen dioxide is mainly produced by diesel vehicles and can cause breathing difficulties for children, older people and asthmatics. The five Supreme Court judges ruled unanimously that “the Government must prepare and consult on new air quality plans for submission to the European Commission … no later than December 31 2015″.

The financial cost of air pollution in Europe stands at more than $1.6tn (£1.5tn) a year, a study by the World Health Organisation (WHO) has found, equating to about a tenth of the GDP of the continent. While air pollution has long been known to be a major environmental burden, the costs in human and economic terms have not been categorised before. The costs come in the form of 600,000 premature deaths each year, and the sickness caused to hundreds of thousands of other people from preventable causes, such as pollution from small particles that come from the exhausts of diesel vehicles, and nitrogen dioxide, a gas that can inhibit breathing in vulnerable people.

Air pollution causes babies to be born smaller, according to a study of babies born just after the Beijing Olympics. The  Guardian tells us that the research surveyed the birth weights of 83,672 babies born in Beijing around the time of the 2008 Olympics, when the government closed down industry, raised vehicle emissions standards, stopped construction and introduced a license plate rotation to slash the number of vehicles on the road. The massive state intervention created a one-off natural laboratory in which air pollution levels in one of the most choked cities on Earth reduced by between 18% and 59% during the summer of 2008. Birth weights were an average of 23g higher for babies who were in the eight month of pregnancy during the summer of the Games than during the same period in 2007 and 2009 .

A new report has revealed that the UK’s onshore wind industry contributed £906m to the UK economy last year, of which almost 30% directly benefits local areas.  The report, undertaken by BiGGAR Economics for RenewableUK, shows the industry’s contribution to the UK economy is increasing, having risen by 65% (£358mn) since 2012. It also shows that each megawatt of installed onshore wind has brought more than £2m to the UK over its lifetime, of which 69% is remaining in the UK.

Orangutan3-226x300The winner of a major conservation prize has called on the Indonesian government to halt a road-building plan that threatens the last place on Earth where elephants, rhinoceros, tigers and orangutans live together. The plan for the Ladia Galaska road network has been approved by the Aceh government, but requires consent from the central minister for home affairs to go ahead. Panut Hadisiswoyo, who won a £35,000 Whitley Award on Wednesday for engaging north Sumatran communities on orangutan conservation, said the development would be a disaster for the densest remaining population of Sumatran orangutans. “The spatial plan must be cancelled and must be revised to include the Leuser ecosystem so that development is in line with the conservation goals in Sumatra,” said Hadisiswoyo. The plan currently makes no mention of the precious ecosystem it threatens.

Humpback_Whale_underwater_shotMany species of whales and dolphins are facing extinction – and are far more likely to die out than other marine creatures – regardless of human intervention by hunting. Ocean mammals are ten times more likely to die out than bivalves such as mussels and clams. The new research looked at the skeletal fossil records of sharks, whales, corals, molluscs and other animals . And one in six of the planet’s species will be lost forever to extinction if world leaders fail to take action on climate change, according to a new analysis. The stark warning on the scale of global warming’s impact on animals and plants comes just months before nearly 200 governments meet for UN climate talks in Paris in an attempt to forge a global deal on cutting carbon emissions. Conservationists said such a large loss would be a tragedy with serious ramifications for people as well as ecosystems.

After sweltering through its hottest year on record in 2014, England is likely to feel the effects of more human-induced climate change in the future, an Australian-led research team has discovered. In a new study published in the journal ‘Environmental Research Letters‘, the international team led by the University of Melbourne’s Dr Andrew King discovered that England could be up to 13 times more likely to experience temperatures that contribute to warmer-than-average years. King, from the university’s ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science, said that a high concentration of human activity in such a small area has contributed to England being more susceptible than other countries to anthropogenic, or human- induced, climate change. He said his team analyzed data from the Central England Temperature record (CET), dating back to the 17th century, to show that human activity will only continue to impact climate in the area. Dr Geert Jan van Oldenborgh from the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, who co-authored the study, said climate change had become so influential on the world’s weather that its effects could be modelled at increasingly local levels. “Climate change has become so strong over the last 10 to 15 years that you can really sense it now on the local level. Fifteen years ago you could only really see it if you looked at the global mean temperature. And now any old thermometer can show you that the temperatures are increasing,” he said.  Environmental Research Letters is a quarterly, open-access, electronic-only, peer-reviewed, scientific journal covering research in all aspects of environmental science. It is produced by IOP Publishing reports that a fter more than 10 years of debate, the European Parliament has agreed new laws to limit the use of crop-based biofuels across the continent. The new rules effectively limit the use of biofuels in the transport sector at 7%, which count towards the 10% renewable energy target in transport by 2020. The decision will prevent up to 320 million tonnes of CO2 – equal to Poland’s total carbon emissions in 2012 – from entering the atmosphere. It has dually been welcomed by green groups and industry bodies alike.

skeltonThe European Space Agency (ESA) has chosen a new energy storage technology for possible orbit in 2018 which is expected to cut mission costs and improve energy efficiency.  The chosen ultracapacitor technology is also beginning to be used within the automotive and renewable energy markets to provide green and cost-effective energy storage. Developers Skeleton Technologies have developed an energy storage method that stores energy in an electric field using ‘curved graphene’. The ESA will use the energy storage in space to provide surges of power on satellites and other spacecraft, and provide a continuation of energy when spacecraft are unable to harvest energy with solar cells from the sun.

Renewable energy sources accounted for more than three quarters of new capacity installed in the US in the first quarter of 2015. According to a federal report ,”Energy Infrastructure Update”, 900MW of wind, solar, geothermal, and hydropower was installed in the US, compared to 300MW of natural gas. Wind power was the leading technology, with more than 600MW of new capacity added.

And if you wondered what Al Gore, former  Vice President of the United States and chairman of The Climate Reality Project, said in his talk: Reality of the Climate Crisis and Road Forward for Humanity.  Wonder no more. Its all on YOUTUBE here. The event is part of the Haas School of Business’ Dean’s Speaker Series and is co-sponsored by the Institute for Business & Social Impact at Berkeley-Haas. reports that the rapid expansion in the anaerobic digestion (AD) industry over the past year has taken it from an ’emerging, niche waste treatment industry’ to one providing a significant contribution to the UK’s electricity production.  That’s according to the National Non-Food Crops Centre (NNFCC) speaking at Sustainability Live as it launched its second annual AD deployment report. But further development of the industry is expected to be hampered by supply chain security, especially food waste contracts, and a ‘perverse’ cost control mechanism.

A sewage-filled Rio de Janeiro beach has been removed from the list of venues for a surfing competition in the city in May, the World Surf League said on Wednesday. A spokesman, Dave Prodan, said São Conrado beach had to be removed as a competition site “due to pollution issues”. São Conrado had been a backup for the Rio Pro event scheduled for 11 to 22 May, to be used in case of sub-par waves or other problems at the primary venue, nearby Barra da Tijuca beach. More here.

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The AIF (Association of Independent Festivals) and AFO (Association of Festival Organisers) have launched an industry-wide survey as part of an initiative to develop a green manifesto for their members. Working with Kambe Events, the company behind award-winning green festival Shambala, this will be the largest ever industry survey on this topic, exploring what festivals are already doing, what matters to them, and what support they need to take action to green their events.

The survey will reach out to over 300 UK festivals, and results will be presented back later in 2015.


Chris Johnson of Kambe Events, who is leading on the initiative says; “Our vision is to bring the festivals together to share knowledge and inspiration and to regain our industry’s historically pioneering approach to sustainability. Now is the time – being green is becoming the norm endeavour, improving audience experiences, brands and reducing costs”

Information from the survey will also help to inform a vision for the industry in the context of the United Nations International Climate Change talks (COP15) in Paris this November, with UK festival industry think-do tank Powerful Thinking publishing a state of the industry report based on findings.

To find out more about Kambe please visit   Photo credit Danny North

Green Events & Innovations – conference videos now available

Still Getting Wasted in 2015?

Still Getting Wasted in 2015?

Videos of all of the sessions, panels and talks at the 2015 edition of Green Events and Innovations are now online – and it’s all here

Many thanks to Bucks New University and to Teresa, Ben and Mel for making this happen.

The winners of the 2015 Environment and Energy Awards!

energy&envirnmentawardsAND THE WINNER IS…

On the 22nd April 2015 over 350 guests congregated at the National Motorcycle Museum, Birmingham, to celebrate the winners of the 16th annual Environment and Energy Awards!

The finalists ranged from single individuals to whole organisations, from large multinational corporations to local businesses, from both the public and private sectors, but all had one thing in common: each of them pushed the boundaries of sustainable innovation to a new level!

Each of their entries showcased the very best advancements in green technologies; excellence in energy and water management and outstanding company performances within the sustainability division.

For the full story from the Awards night please visit:

But now, without further ado, we are pleased to announce the winners of the 2015 Environment and Energy Awards!



Winner: Louise Hall of Asda Stores

Highly Commended: Gareth Williams of Northern Rail



Winner: AkzoNobel Decorative Paints UK

Highly Commended: L&Q


Winner: 4Eco


Winner: Global Action Plan & Sainsbury’s Supermarkets



Winner: Desert Aquaponic Company



Winner: NVP Energy



Winner: Yorkshire Water



Winner: O’Donovan Waste Disposal



Winner: HM Revenue & Customs



Winner: Lontra



Winner: Terry Casey of Instellastar Europe


Winner: B&Q

Highly Commended: Forest Centre