ANOTHER PLANET?

A high-level climate change task force has warned that world leaders must do more to react to climate change, and calls for the Rio+ 20 conference to take threat seriously. The Climate Change Task Force (CCTF), which consists of scientists, economists, former heads of state, Nobel Prize laureates, as well as climate and sustainable development experts from developed and developing countries, aims to encourage political change to address climate change.  As a result, it has launched an appeal calling for the United Nations (UN) sustainable development conference in Brazil to “prioritise action against the drivers of global warming”, and argues that climate change must be positioned in the “wider context” of sustainable economic and social development.

Big Belly Solar Compacting Waste Bins are powered by a solar compactor that converts the Sun’s energy into electricity to power an internal compactor, which crushes the waste and increases the capacity up to eight times that of a normal litter bin. We are told ” the bins are robust and stylist, they cannot crush or hurt wildlife, they eliminate the problems of bees and wasps in the warmer months and keep odours contained.  Already, many Councils, Universities, Theme and Country Parks are already taking advantage of the many benefits the Bins deliver.” The bin even sends out an alert when it needs emptying! It doesn’t allow waste sorting, but its a clever thing – more  on BBC Newsround at   http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/17671518 .

UK honey prices will rise after a 16% decline in hives in England. The British Beekeepers Association say the bigger than expected decline is thought to be due to the varrora mite infestation and the weather – when warn autumn weather allowed increased wasp activity to the detriment of bees, a cold winter interrupted breeding and the current wet weather is curtailing foraging for pollen and nectar. In the 2007-2008 winter hives declined by 30% and beekepers are calling for a review of UK and EU farming policies more research into the effects of pesticides. Overall hive numbers are down 50% in the last 20 years.

The UK has signed an energy agreement with Iceland, which will enable Iceland’s volcanoes to supply deep geothermal energy to the UK. And A pioneering energy partnership between the UK and Norway, which aims to secure affordable and sustainable long term energy supplies for the two countries, has been unveiled across a wide range of energy activities including “safe and environmentally sensitive oil and gas extraction” (hmmm),  long term gas supply, renewable energy investment, electricity interconnection and international climate change policy development. And Wales and Denmark have also pledged to work together on sustainability opportunities ahead of the Rio+20 summit taking place later this month.

Edie.net reports that critics of public funding for renewable energy developments have been challenged to look again at the level of ongoing financial support provided to other parts of the UK’s energy mix. Targeting their comments at anti-wind farm campaigners, in particular, the lobby organisation, Scottish Renewables, told Edie today that critics of renewables tend to overlook the ongoing financial support provided to other electricity generators.

Roadchef motorway services have launched the UK’s first network of rapid charge points for electric cars, enabling drivers to drive the length of the country. As part of the project, a network of rapid charge points, capable of filling a depleted battery in 30 minutes or less will be installed across the country, with the first being switched on at Clacket Lane Services on the M25.

Sticking with cars ….. green or not …. the EU risks losing its leadership position on fuel efficient cars beyond 2020, according to a leading environmental NGO.  Sustainable transport campaigners Transport & Environment (T&E) have warned that a proposed EU target for new car emissions of 95g/km by 2020 will not be enough to ensure Europe maintains its leadership position in fuel saving technologies.  It also claims that European drivers would welcome tighter CO2 standards for cars as it could help them save €500 per year at the pump on average if this proposal is adopted.

Edie.net also report that the waste industry must reinvent itself in preparation for a circular economy if it is to have a vibrant future. At the opening session of the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management’s (CIWM) annual conference a panel of resource experts spoke of the importance of the growing appetite for a society in which waste will be effectively designed out – and challenged waste companies to start realigning their business models fast.  And Dame Ellen MacArthur has called for greater engagement among Europe’s political leaders if the ambition of a circular economy is to be realised. The former round the world yachtswoman turned sustainability campaigner was speaking at the European Commission’s launch of a high-level steering committee to drive greater resource efficiency across EU member states that took place in Brussels last week.

HSBC has invested $100m in a five-year Water Programme set up in partnership with WaterAid, WWF and Earthwatch, after reporting that gross domestic product (GDP) will be affected by water scarcity. Even the UK’s water security is at a critical point and decisive action must be taken to safeguard water resources, according to the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE). ICE is now calling for the creation of a UK Water Security Taskforce to deliver an integrated roadmap to water security by spring 2014, based on strategic plans from all Governments.

Discarded fishing nets are to be recovered and turned into carpet tiles through a pioneering community-based supply chain initiative. Global carpet tile manufacturer Interface has teamed up with conservation charity the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) to tackle the growing problem of discarded fishing nets in some of the world’s poorest coastal communities.  The announcement, which coincides with World Ocean Day, sees the unveiling of a pilot launch – the Net-Works partnership – that will trial the scheme on Danajon Bank in the Philippines.

The UK’s Foreign Secretary William Hague, Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell and Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman have all asked PM David Cameron to provide more support for green industries to boost the economy, and stop the UK falling behind other countries, and losing its global leadership on the environment.

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