ANOTHER PLANET?

windturbines_300Prince Charles has said that the prospect of his first grandchild, William and Kate’s expected first child, has increased his fears for the plane saying “I’ve gone on for years about the importance of thinking about the long term in relation to environmental damage, climate change and everything else telling ITV’s Breakfast show that in a “sensible world” we wouldn’t hand on “an increasingly dysfunctional world to our grandchildren, to leave them with a real problem …. a poisoned chalice”.

Interesting article in Diva magazine by Lily Pritchard  – Isn’t it time you went Vegan – asking “could this be the year you follow Ellen (DeGeneris)  and Portia’s (de Rossi) lead and give up animal products”  – and posing the question “We can now get 100% of the nutrients and minerals we need without consuming any animal products at all. Hooray! So why are you still doing it, I ask?” Well, more on Diva here.

Satellite pictures have been released showing the extent of the shrinkage of Arctic sea ice. Sea ice is at its lowest level since satellite records began in 1979 and the ice cover reduced annually since 2000 and the loss has been accelerating since 2007. As the dark blue sea absorbs heat – replacing the white ice which reflects the sun, a ‘feedback loop’ is set in motion, increasing the rate of ice loss and global warming.

In Australia burned out cars and homes were searched by Police and fire fighters in Tasmania as authorities struggled to find over 100 missing people after the widespread wildfires. Police Commissioner Scott Tilyard said that 40 blazes continued to burn. And feeding off drought conditions and high winds, wildfires are raging across some of Australia’s most populous regions. Meteorologists have said it is the country’s hottest ever spring and summer since records began. In New South Wales, as roads melt, 1,300 square kilometres of farmland and forest has been consumed by fires. Over 141 fires were reported with 31 ‘out of control’ the state’s Rural Fire Service said.  At the beginning of the week the average temperature across the country was 40C hitting nearly 50C in some interior areas.

Global wind turbine manufacturers have breathed a sigh of relief after the US Government extended a crucial tax credit, although some criticised the damage already done by the late announcement of the credit.

The UK Community Secretary Eric Pickles  is to introduce legislation to end “unreasonable” fines on people who place bins out on the wrong day. Pickles also said a neighbourhood test would be introduced to end “ludicrous” fines on people who put rubbish in the wrong bin.

The US Interior Department has opened an urgent review of Arctic offshore drilling operations after a string of blunders and accidents involving Shell Oil’s drill ships and support equipment, culminating in the grounding of a drill vessel last week off the coast of Alaska.

Henning Töegel, managing director and founder of the German concert agency, Moderne Welt, has died. He suffered a heart attack on January 9th at the age of just 58.

claude nobsAnd Claude Nobs, founder  of the Montreux Jazz Festival, has died after sustaining injuries in a skiing accident at Christmas. He was 76. Born in Montreux, Nobs (pictured right) grew the festival year-on-year to become an important fixture in the jazz world’s calendar and, as the music policy of the programme expanded somewhat, in the wider European festival circuit. And the event continues to enjoy much success today, attracting an eclectic mix of artists, and gaining particular attention for its annual awards.

OOne of the interesting issues raised at the Go Group panels at the EuroSonic conference in Groningen (January 9th – 12th) was the variety of schemes and colouring used in different countries – and at different festivals – to signify waste and recyclables – with many different schemes for labelling waste – waste only, compostable food, metals, glass, plastics and card/paper with the suggestion that perhaps organisations like the GO Group, Yourope and A Greener Festival could work towards a standardised labelling scheme so festival goers have similar . In the UK, Long-running battles over kerbside collection methods are damaging efforts to increase recycling rates in the UK, according to a leading industry commentator, Don Robins who heads up Cheltenham-based Printwaste Recycling & Shredding.

A green economy will be so integrated into business practice that the term will no longer be relevant, according to progressive Conservatives who have laid out their vision of the country in 2020.   Known as the 2020 Group, the MPs yesterday published a pamphlet, 2020 Vision – An Agenda for Transformation, which includes forecasts and recommendations on the nature of a sustainable economic future. That said, Green groups expressed anger after the Coalition Government’s mid-term review document offered no new policies on climate change.

Tens of millions of sharks are mutilated and thrown back in the oceans and left to die slowly each year – so that some affluent people in Asia can eat shark fin soup. Despite education and reform the practice is (clearly) widespread – and surely this has to stop. More here on TreeHugger (with some very upsetting photos) http://www.treehugger.com/slideshows/ocean-conservation/shocking-thousands-mutilated-shark-fins-drying-hong-kong-rooftops/

The UK has pledged to invest up to £10m in a European scheme aimed at developing innovative bioenergy projects. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) announced today that the UK will partner up with seven other EU countries as part of the ERA-NET Plus BESTF scheme worth approximately €47m (£38.3) in public money.

Space debris could be recycled and made into radiation shields for spacecraft exploration if research from NASA scientists bears fruit. More at http://www.edie.net/news/5/NASA-lifts-off-with-closed-loop-project-for-space-waste/23776/nl

The global cost of meeting climate change targets is set to soar unless urgent action is taken, new research has warned. According to an in-depth study from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), climate target levels will become much more difficult to achieve, and more expensive, if the problem isn’t tackled soon.  In the UK, pressure is mounting on society to ‘accept and adapt’ following news this week from the Met Office that UK businesses are at an increased risk of flooding due to extreme rainfall. After a year of unpredictable weather in which hosepipe bans were swiftly replaced with periods of tumultuous flooding, some industry observers see the extreme conditions as an inevitable consequence of climate change and are arguing for adaptation rather than prevention as a response. And in the USA, government scientists say that global warming is already having a major impact on life in America. The draft version of the US National Climate Assessment reveals that increasing storm surges, floods, melting glaciers and permafrost, and droughts are having a profound effect on the lives of Americans, saying that extreme weather such as Hurricane Sandy and radical changes in local climates will become more normal. The authors say that global warming is primarily  caused by human activity, predominantly from burning fossil fuels. See the Observer (13.01.13) US scientists warn in fresh alert over effects of global warming and see here and much more on the Guardian website and in Climate change set to make America hotter, drier and more disaster-prone

Channel 4’s Jon Snow has hit back at media mogul Rupert Murdoch for stating on his twitter account that the world should switch from “useless renewable energy investments to real job creating infrastructure projects”.  Replying to Murdoch’s tweet, news anchor Snow referred to Murdoch’s mother, a staunch advocate of the dangers of climate change and suggested that the media mogul would not have to deal with the consequences of climate change.

Edie.net reports that Greater supply chain collaboration to design out waste will dominate retailer efforts around sustainability this year, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).  The BRC confirmed  that waste prevention would be one of the key priority areas for its members in the coming 12 months, as the next phase of the Courtauld Commitment prepares to get underway.  According to figures from WRAP released last October, food retailers still aren’t reaping the full benefits of waste prevention despite making good progress in reducing waste across their supply chains.

Time to stand up to food waste (and walk more): The planet faces the prospect of having to feed 10 billion people by 2050. We need to stop throwing good food in the bin

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