ANOTHER PLANET

The so called ‘Greenest’ Olympics ever seem to becoming distinctly non green as the weeks go by and 2012 approaches. Two new stories surfaced this week, firstly that the operators of London Luton Airport would be building (or rather extending) a road to allow VIP guests swift car access to the M1 motorway to London. The airport’s Spanish owner Abertis is spending £4 million on road widening at a bottle-neck where queues of traffic stretch for up to half a mile on busy summer mornings. also in the news, the 2012 Games organiser, LOCOG, has said that it would be picking up the London Congestion Charge bill for the fleet of 4000 BMW cars available to VIPs, competitors, sponsors, media and officials. Officials and thers will also have priority use over 100 miles of roads linking sports venues and hotels. The £10 daily Congestion Charge is meant to deter car use in central London. LOCOG will pay the C-charge bills with a ‘Fleet Auto-pay Account’. Still, the Olympics won an ‘green’ award – see below!

Unusual weather conditions are set to return, wreaking havoc across the World as an evolving La Nina – the body of cold water on the Pacific – affects weather around the globe. La Nina refers to the cooler than average cool water in the Pacific which  leads to higher than average rainfall in South East Asia, North & East Australia and the Western side of North and South America. Conversely the Southern US and Mexico states lack rain and there is a higher risk of cyclones, and countries such as Argentina and Brazil on the Atlantic coast face dryer conditions. It is expected that the weather changes will have a profound effect in food prices as crops such as corn, soya beans, wheat, sugar onions and coffee suffer from both heavy rain in some areas and dry conditions in others. Heavy rain in South East Asia and Australia may also effect commodities such as palm oil and rubber and the mining of  coal and tin. Other climate change scientists believe that ‘Arctic Oscillation’ – unpredictable pressure changes in the Arctic – can also produce strong shifts in climate patterns.

Energy giant EDF has been found guilty of spying on environmental campaigners Greenpeace by a French Court. Judge Isabelle Prévost-Desprez, sentenced three men, including two EDF employees to prison terms. Judge Prévost-Desprez also fined the French state-owned business 1.5m euros and ordered it to pay half a million euros in damages to Greenpeace. EDF executive Pierre-Paul François was sentenced to three years imprisonment, with 30 months suspended. A second EDF executive  Pascal Durieux, received the same sentence, with two years suspended and a 10,000 euro fine for commissioning the spying operation. The judge also handed down a guilty verdict in the case of Thierry Lorho, the head of Kargus, a company employed by EDF to hack into the computers of Greenpeace.  Lorho was sentenced to three years in jail with a further two years suspended as and a 4,000 euro fine.

The UK’s first CRC league tables have now been published and Edie.net reports that simple energy saving or regulating measures could have seen some of the 800 organisations making up the foot of the CRC league table improve their position. Astonishingly it appears nearly 40% of organisations on the 2106 strong list, which includes major public bodies like the Home Office, have no voluntary half-hourly meters or energy performance accreditation. While DECC is one of the top 25 performers the CRC’s own department, the Environment Agency, only manage to rank at 275 and only achieved a 62.5% early action metric. .Across the whole CRC league table the Ministry of Defence is the highest emitter and will need to spend around £21m on allowances this year to cover its emissions.

http://crc.environment-agency.gov.uk/pplt/web/plt/public/2010-11/CRCPerformanceLeagueTable20102011

One of the UK’s largest green energy producers Ecotricity has relaunched its ecobond renewable investment scheme. The drive, which was launched at the weekend, is a repeat of ecobond one, launched in October last year, which was oversubscribed by 50%.  Its new scheme called ecobond two is also seeking £10m and aims to ‘bypass’ the banks and allow people to share in the benefits of the green energy revolution ‘without needing to stick anything on their roof’.  The scheme offers fixed and will have an initial four-year term paying an annual rate of interest of 6%, however that rises to 6.5% for Ecotricity customers.

Cuts to the UK’s Feed In Tariffs may face a legal challenge after  solar industry leaders gave an impassioned defence of the sector following at Edie’s Sustainable Leaders Forum.   Solar Trade Association chairman, Howard Johns, denied the sector had been over subsidised and said he was losing business as he’d been forced to scrap contracts he had in place due to the changes.  Mr Johns says members of the solar industry will also lobby MPs on November 22 at the House of Parliament over this week’s announcement of a consultation into cutting the rates of Feed-In Tariffs (FITs).

Manchester United Football Club has reduced material consumption across its business by nearly 20% over the past eight years by working closely with its supply chain, achieving cost savings of £500,000.

Commuters in London will soon be able to travel using a greater range of zero emission vehicles as the UK’s first network of hydrogen fuelling stations prepares to open. As part of the Hydrogen Transport for European Cities (HyTEC) scheme, 15 hydrogen-powered black-cabs and five hydrogen-powered Suzuki Bergmann scooters will take to the streets of London, with the aim of reducing carbon emissions in the capital.

70% of people in Wales are in favour of the country introducing a minimum 5p charge on single-use carrier bags new research by Cardiff University shows.  The scheme has resulted in a 95% drop in use. And Ireland has launched a nationwide initiative to encourage more battery recycling following a survey that found 90% of Irish people were aware that irresponsible disposal of batteries may have negative environmental consequences.

The Environment Agency (EA) has launched a full investigation into how raw sewage leaked into a seven mile stretch of a tributary of the River Thames on November 1st. An estimated 3,000 fish including mature pike, eel and perch have been killed so far.

The UK’s Secretary of State for energy and climate change, Chris Huhne, has unveiled the University of Salford’s (UoS) centre for energy and public policy.  The Joule House centre, has been part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund to help the university develop its portfolio of business support activity.

Using advanced wastewater treatment facilities to treat food waste through anaerobic digestion (AD) is the best environmental option, according to a new study. The Report from PE International examined the impact of various food waste disposal systems. It found that food scraps put into a sink-based disposal unit and sent to wastewater treatment plants resulted in lower global warming potential than landfill, incineration and centralised composting.  According to the study, commissioned by US company InSinkErator, if 30,000 households switched from sending food waste to landfill to a waste disposal unit instead, the reduction in global warming potential would be the equivalent of eliminating nearly 2,100 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

And a farm-based anaerobic digestion (AD) plant will use cattle dung and grass silage to power homes and businesses in Northern Ireland  The Greenhill Dairy Farm Biogas farm near Ardstraw claims to be the first plant in Northern Ireland in 20 years to provide sustainable heat and power in this way. The waste from 600 cows on the 700 acre site will help fuel the plant to produce 430 kWh – enough to supply 430 homes with electricity.

And finally, the Edie Awards for Environmental Excellence 2011 Winners have been announced

Carbon Reduction – First UK Bus
Renewable Energy – Marks and Spencer
Green Corporate Initiative – Marks and Spencer
Green Retail Initiative – Sainsbury’s
Public Sector Initiative – North West Fire and Rescue Sustainability Network
Sustainable Transport – Transport for London’s Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme
Sustainable Construction – Olympic Delivery Authority
Water and Wastewater – Microbial Solutions Microcycle Technology
Waste and Resource Management – Coca Cola Enterprises
Climate Change and Renewables – SKM Enviros
Water and Wastewater – SKM Enviros
Waste and Resource Management – Amec
Impact Assessment and Planning – URS Scott Wilson
Due Diligence – ENVIRON
Corporate Sustainability – ERM
Contaminated Land – SKM Enviros
Environmental – Amec

more at http://www.edie.net/

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