Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not. (The Lorax)
The UK Government has set its banding review for the Renewables Obligation (RO) which suggests renewable energy will bring £25bn of investment into the UK. Changes to subsidies for renewable electricity could incentivise between £20bn and £25bn of new investment in the economy between 2013 and 2017 reports edie.net. The banding review will support jobs and deliver more clean power with a reduction in costs to consumers between 2013 and 2015, Ministers said. However, Edie.ner reports that the Government’s new draft energy bill could reduce investment in sustainable energy projects as it proposes to introduce a system of long-term contracts to give power companies a guaranteed price for the low-carbon electricity they produce. According to MPs on the Energy and Climate Change Committee who have examined the draft legislation the proposals could enforce unnecessary costs on consumers, lead to less competition and deter badly needed investment. Tim Yeo MP, Chair of the Energy and Climate Change Committee, said: “The Government is in danger of botching its plans to boost clean energy, because the Treasury is refusing to back new contracts to deliver investment in nuclear, wind, wave and carbon capture and storage.
And EFF, the UK manufacturers trade body, has said that the UK government’s green policies are not ‘fit for purpose’. A majority of firms who were polled on green policies including measuring CO2, rules om energy efficiency and reporting environmental performance said they often went further than official guidelines and regulations, but said that bureaucracy involved in compliance was time consuming and inefficient and thsat regualtions were far to complex. Some firms said they were covered by five different regulatory schemes.
The Earth has warmed by 1.5C in the last 250 years – with a large part of that in the last 50 – and human’s are almost certainly to blame. That’s according to a study from the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Project (BEST), led by Professor Richard Muller, who was previously a climate change sceptic – but who now puts the rise in temperatures down to greenhouse gas emissions. BEST was set up to address the concerns of climate change sceptics and BEST scientists analysed 14.4million land surface observations going back to 1753. $150,000 of funding comes from the Charles G Koch foundation set up by the coal magnate who is a key backer of climate change sceptical science. Whilst the analysis was automated to remove human bias, some scientists remain unconvinced including one member of the BEST team, Professor Judith Curry, who said the method used to attribute global warming with human gas emissions was “way over simplistic”.
The Ellen MacArthur foundation estimates that the EU could save at least £220 billion each year if we designed products in a way that supported resource recovery and eliminated waste streams – shifting from a ‘take, make, waste’ economy to a ‘lease the resource, make, recover the resource, reuse and re-make’ model.
The Environment Agency and Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority are among the beneficiaries of EU funding for eight UK pathfinder environmental projects. The European Commission has approved 20.5m euros in funding for the initiatives under the LIFE+ programme, the EU environment fund. Two of the projects are waste-related and will look at issues around landfill gas capture and public engagement.
EDF Energy has installed monitoring technology at sports venues across the Olympic park to show real-time energy consumption at the 2012 games.
Amended regulations which seek to impose a legal duty on waste companies and local authorities to separately collect paper, metal, plastic and glass by 2015 have been laid before Parliament. The proposals, if approved, will apply to both household and commercial/industrial waste streams in England and Wales when they come into force on 1 October 2012. However, flexibility has been built into the regulations in the form of an exemption if collection operators can prove that a co-mingled approach will achieve certain quality standards, or if the establishment of a separate collection system is not possible.
Edie.net reports that Coca Cola Enterprises is pioneering work around utilising waste-derived natural materials to push packaging innovation to new levels in terms of recyclability and carbon. The company has set an ambitious target to slash the carbon footprint of each bottled drink it produces by a third by 2020 – set against a 2007 baseline. This will mainly be achieved by delivering carbon reductions through its value chain and one area which could play a vital role in this is through sourcing new bio-based recyclable materials.
UK Food and drink manufacturers have cut their operational water use by 14.4% thanks to an industry-wide voluntary agreement. And A new UK WEEE standard will launch this Autumn to boost confidence in the reuse of waste electrical and electronic equipment, as well as cut down on illegal exports.
Glastonbury Festival organiser Michael Eavis is celebrating the installation of a new solar panel roof at Worthy Farm which will generate almost 45,000 kWh of electricity per year. Eavis has added another 200 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels to the 1,100 panels previously installed and Mr Eavis currently owns one of the largest private solar roofs in the UK. The new panels cover an area larger than a tennis court and will save more than 25 tonnes of carbon dioxide, while earning money under the Government’s feed-in tariff. The installation of the panels will allow Mr Eavis to generate enough electricity to milk some of his 400 cows and keep their milk cool. Mr Eavis said: “Generating our electricity using solar PV panels is fantastic and couldn’t get any better. It produces no smell or dirt, there’s no wages to pay for producing it and we get all this wonderful free electricity.”
Businesses are failing to realise the commercial advantages to be gained from adapting to climate change, according to a new Defra report. Companies in some sectors were found to accept the idea that the climate is changing and that clients want solutions, new products and services as a result. This is particularly prevalent for those in the building industry, where businesses are actively developing new consultancy programmes and resources specifically based around climate change adaptation to help drive new product development and differentiate from competitors. However many other businesses are focusing solely on the risks resulting from climate change, rather than the opportunities, the report concludes.