ANOTHER PLANET?

sustainability leadersThe winners of the Sustainability Leaders Awards 2012 have been crowned at a glittering gala ceremony in central London compered by Great British Bake-off presenter Sue Perkins who also handed out the accolades to our 15 category winners.  The awards, are hosted by edie and Sustainable Business magazine in association with Ovivo and Accent.

And the winners are:

Carbon Management
Co-operative Group

Energy Efficiency
Sainsbury’s

Sustainability Reporting
Coca Cola Enterprises

Stakeholder Engagement
Sony Europe

Waste & Resource Management
Nextek

Waste Management: Food & Drink
Sainsbury’s

Sustainable Building
P+HS Architects

Renewable Energy
Northumbrian Water

Water Management
ABP Food Group

Sustainable Transport
London 2012

Sustainability Communications
Co-operative Group

Best Environmental Consultancy
Arup

IEMA Graduate Award
Lorna Pilbin

Sustainability Practitioner
Kirsten Henson, KLH Sustainability

Sustainability Leader
Dale Vince, Ecotricity

David Aaranovitch writes about smog in the Times and reminds us that the arguments of climate change sceptics are eerily reminiscent of those made by the opponents of the Clean Air Act which was passed as recently as 1956. In fact London’s last smog wasn’t in Victorian times – it was in 1962 and you wouldn’t have been able to see the hand at the end of your arm outside or breathe properly. The problem with CO2 is you can see it, cant smell it and it doesn’t make you immediately ill. It’s just killing the planet.  We can see clearly on smog. So why not on CO2? The Times December 6th 2012.

newcastleNewcastle United football club has gone beyond zero emissions by off-setting more carbon than the operation emits, becoming the world’s first football club to be ‘carbon positive’. The club achieved this by reducing energy consumption without affecting operational requirements, and by offsetting the club’s residual carbon footprint.  Further initiatives include boiler optimisation, burner management, lighting upgrades, bore holes, energy monitoring and behavioural changes within the operational staff.

There is growing concern that the EU is falling behind in its ambitions to address future threats around resource security. Talking at the House of Lords, the European Commission DG Environment deputy director-general Dr Alan Seatter, painted a picture of an EU with an unsustainable pattern of consumption.  “The amount of raw materials that we need to keep our economy going in Europe every year comes to 16 tonnes of per person per year.  “Of that six tonnes goes to waste every year and of that waste three tonnes is going to landfill – that is clearly something that is quite an unsustainable pattern of production in the economy,” he said.

The UN climate Change talks in Doha were brightened by the UK announcing that it had pledged £1.8 billion to finance climate change adaptations in the developing world, but the 17.000 odd delegates from 194 countries  missed a series of deadlines to try and and replace the Kyoto protocols on greenhouse gas emission reduction, despite Arctic sea ice reaching its lowest ever recorded levels and CO2 it’s maximum concentration in the atmosphere. Former UKIP climate spokesman and climate change sceptic Lord Monckton was on hand to cause a fuss by dressing up in full arabic dress in some sort of daft publicity stunt in Doha. He later pretended to be a member of the Burmese delegation and before being ejected told conference delegates “In the 16 years we have been coming to these conferences, there has been no global warming at all”. Bonkers.

Technology capable of turning human excrement into biofuel and stem cell researchers attempts to cure paralysis will be boosted by a £600 million investment to promote British science. £35 million will go towards a  new medicine manufacturing plant, and £50 million will be invested into ‘synthetic biology’ – “to feed us, heal us and fuel us” according to David Willets, the Science Minister. Another £20 million will go into cell therapies.

Campaigners have welcomed a move to create the world’s biggest shark sanctuary in the seas of French Polynesia.  The mako shark is the latest species to be protected in the waters and joins the lost of fish banned from capture in the South Pacific.

Conservationists believe they may be able to bring the old redwood forests by using clones of ancient trees – a kind of arboreal Jurassic Park. The Archangel Ancient Tree Archive has spent years collecting samples from some of america’s oldest and largest coastal redwoods and giant sequoias.

A cluster of transformational engineering projects are set to advance material optimisation through lightweighting, durability and recyclability in the drive for greater resource efficiency. Led by the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the four initiatives will target R&D in new lightweight materials, while also seeking to build better durability and recyclability into product design.  Sophisticated techniques to clean up contaminated land will also be explored under the research programme to investigate the potential for reclaiming valuable metals.
Senior energy industry executives have urged governments to establish coherent and joined-up policies to help achieve sustainable energy systems, according to a report published by the World Energy Council (WEC).

Smart water networks could save utilities up to $12.5bn (£7.75bn) a year worldwide, according to research commissioned by utility infrastructure company Sensus.

The future of family homes with resource efficiency principles built into them during the construction phase is set to be unveiled in Scotland. The modular designed house is expected to exceed 2016 Scottish Building Standards Gold performance requirements, offering an affordable and scalable model for the house-building industry to follow. The modularity means there can be enhanced control over cost, waste arising and supply chain accreditation as the development isn’t subject to certain site difficulties.  Tigh Grian has been appointed to construct the house on a development plot funded by Zero Waste Scotland at the BRE Innovation Park in Ravenscraig, North Lanarkshire.

€6bn (£4.86) will be allocated to renewables, energy efficiency, smart grids and storage after a vote by the European Parliament’s Energy and Research Committee (ITRE).This amounts to three-quarters of the next energy research budget including the Intelligent Energy Europe programme, an EU programme designed to help organisations improve energy sustainability.  It is part of an overall €80bn fund for R&D under Horizon 2020 – a financial program that is a key component of Innovation Union, a Europe 2020 flagship initiative meant to increase Europe’s global competitiveness.

Used clothing is an increasingly valuable commodity, but this message needs to be drilled home to businesses and consumers, resource minister Lord de Mauley has warned. Talking to edie.net Mauley said: “Perhaps in these increasingly hard times people will begin to realise that there is value for them in what they had perhaps previously regarded as waste. At the same time of course its good for the environment that we are not sending it to landfill.”

A senior member of the European Parliament has warned that the EU will move to regulate fracking. Jo Lienen MEP says that the UK cannot be sure of what it is doing in its ‘dash for gas’. Fracking involves pumping pressurised water, sand  and chemicals into rocks to release shale gas. Testing in the Morecambe Bay area in Lancashire was suspended after two minor earthquakes.

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