ANOTHER PLANET?

DRAX POWERAccording to measurements from the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, a very remote atmospheric research facility in the middle of the Pacific that has been monitoring atmospheric change since the 1950s, the Earth’s atmosphere is right about to reach 400 parts-per-million (ppm) of CO2, a level that was last seen 3 million years ago. The first measurements at the observatory in 1958 had CO2 levels at 317ppm. The last time CO2 reached the symbolic milestone of 400 parts per million in the atmosphere – in the Pliocene era – temperatures rose by between 3 and 4 degrees and sea levels were between five and 40 metres higher than today. We’re toast ……..  http://www.treehugger.com/climate-change/co2-levels-atmosphere-reaching-400ppm-first-time-3-million-years.html

Biomass news: In our last update we were worried about the fact that burning wood might not be the ‘renewables’ solution its made out to be.  But the owner of the UK’s largest power station, Drax, has announced it has agreed a £75m private loan, underpinned by a Government guarantee to fund its biomass conversion project.

The UK needs to be bolder in pushing through new business models if it is to create a circular economy, WRAP CEO Liz Goodwin has warned, telling delegates at a Sustainable Business conference on resource scarcity in London that the UK economy was failing to make the most use of its resources.  She said that new business models were required so that the UK could extract maximum value from its materials and recover and regenerate the component parts and materials at the end of life

The level of public disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions among the world’s 800 largest companies is “unacceptably poor”, according to research by the Environmental Investment Organisation (EIO). The climate change and finance think tank found that only 37% of companies are reporting complete data and correctly adopting the basic principles of greenhouse gas emissions reporting.

Abu Dhabi-based renewable energy company Masdar and the UK Green Investment Bank (GIB) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to explore project investment opportunities in the UK’s clean energy sector.

Nike has joined forces with NASA to explore new ways of pushing forward sustainable materials innovation in an initiative backed by US foreign ministries. The project, known as LAUNCH, is seeking to challenge thinking in this area through fostering greater collaboration between materials specialists, designers, academics, manufacturers, entrepreneurs and NGOs. http://www.edie.net/news/5/Nike-and-NASA-sustainable-material-innovation-launch-2020/

The first international restaurant rating system which enables diners to choose a restaurant by its sustainability standards, was launched today by the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA). The SRA’s Global Sustainability Rating means diners across the globe can check how restaurants manage their energy, waste and water, how they treat their staff and where they source their food.  President of the SRA and chef Raymond Blanc, said: “This is wonderful news for anyone, like me, who cares about where their food comes from and how it is produced. It is encouraging to know that when I am eating out, anywhere in the world, I can check if the restaurant is doing the important things that will help lead to a more sustainable future for us all”.  http://www.edie.net/news/6/Raymond-Blanc-launches-global-rankings-system-for-sustainable-restaurants/

Energy wasting amongst Brits remains high, despite 80% saying they consider energy saving measures, according to the latest Government figures.  Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) latest public attitudes tracker, which surveys more than 2,000 people, found that 67% of people admit to at least occasionally boiling the kettle with more water than they intend to use.  It also found that 52% leave lights on when they are not in the room and just over 50% said they leave the heating on when they go out for a few hours

UK Energy Minister Greg Barker has officially opened The BRE National Solar Centre (NSC) in St Austell, Cornwall today, which aims to drive innovation, reduce costs and increase confidence in the marketplace through knowledge generation

The Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames has seen a 43% increase in the amount of plastic recycled after the council widened the range of materials that could be collected at the kerbside last October. The new service now includes all plastic bottles, including drink, shampoo and detergent bottles as well as meat trays and ready meal food trays, margarine tubs, yoghurt pots and ice cream containers and fruit and vegetable punnets.

Hot on the heels of Coca Cola Enterprises’ Joe Franses calling for businesses in the beverage industry  to recognise the need to improve water efficiency within their operations and that progress must continue to secure the sector’s future, comes news that Sainsbury’s has reduced its water consumption across its estate by 50% since 2005, largely due to recycling and utilising rainwater throughout its operations.

sneezeBad news for hay fever sufferers. 2013’s extremely cold start means that many trees have not released their pollen when they should have – but they all are ready to release pollen now as it warms up, so expect a blizzard of pollen – and a blizzard of sneezing – another unwanted side effect of climate change! And even worse news – malaria could become a real risk in the UK as leading health experts warn the UK government it needs to take action against mosquito borne disease – as climate change with warmer weather and wetter summers brings  what were once thought of as tropical diseases such as dengue fever, malaria and haemorrhagic fever ever closer to the UK. http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2013/may/05/uk-tropical-disease-malaria-threat

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