Monthly Archives: April 2014

AIF launches The Festival Congress

TFC_logo_neg_RGB (1)The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has announced details of a brand new annual flagship event, The Festival Congress, which it will be bringing to Cardiff this Autumn. This event is set to be the largest gathering of UK independent festivals to ever take place. The Congress will take place on 17th and 18th October – the same weekend as Cardiff’s NME award-winning Sŵn Festival.

Keynote speakers confirmed  include inspiring figures from the independent festival industry such as Jude Kelly (Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre), Martin Elbourne (Glastonbury / The Great Escape), Rob da Bank (Bestival) and John Rostron (Welsh Music Foundation and Sŵn Festival). There will also be a number of emerging artist showcases throughout the event and the conference will be exploring issues including programming, marketing, creative and immersive elements, sustainable event management and much more.    The AIF expects that up to 400 people will attend over the two days – including festival promoters, crew and suppliers from all over the UK. The Congress “offers an excellent and affordable opportunity to network with fellow festival organisers and to participate in panels and discussions, alongside attending the ultimate celebration following a busy festival season.

 The AIF also plans to open up the event to students and those wishing to work in the festival and events industry. There is a huge wealth of expertise and professionalism in this thriving and buoyant sector.

The Festival Congress will launch at the BBC Hoddinott Hall, Wales Millennium Centre following the AIF AGM. The second day of the conference will take place in Cardiff’s Angel Hotel. A very special event is being planned for the Festival Congress celebration and will be announced soon.

The AIF now represents 50 festivals from around the UK, including Bestival, Womad, Sonisphere, Wakestock, Secret Garden Party and End of the Road. The Festival Congress is presented by AIF and supported by the Welsh Government and the British Council. Economy Minister Edwina Hart said: “Music festivals are a key part of our strategy to enhance Wales’ reputation as a destination for major events. Wales is already home to many successful events attracting a variety of different audiences helping to draw in tourists and boost the economy. So it is appropriate that Cardiff is hosting the first ever Festival Congress and I’m sure they will get off to a good start in Wales.”

For ticket details go to



Vespa_mandariniaIn the UK the House of  Commons Environmental Audit Committee is proposing tough new laws to fight back against foreign species that are invading the UK. The 292 long list of alien invaders includes Japanese Knotweed (which cost the UK economy £165 million in 2013), grey squirrels, the Caspian Sea ‘killer shrimp’ and North American Signal Crayfish that are devastating aquatic ecosystems, the oak processionary moth already found in and around London and Berkshire, and the Asian Hornet which killed six people in France last year – and is on its way here. The total cost of dealing with invading species is estimated at £1.7 billion annually. . Photo of the Asian Giant Hornet:  Gary Alpert at en.wikipedia.

A former oil refinery in Essex has been granted a new lease of life as a new enterprise park developed by Vopak, Shell and Greenenergy and the 400 acre park will the world’s first facility designed to convert landfill waste into aviation fuel. The former Coryton refinery will reopen and create around 1,000 new jobs to rebuild the site and the ‘Green-Sky’ fuel facility is being developed by British Airways and Solena Fuels with plans to convert 575,000 tonnes of post recycled landfill waste into 120,000 tonnes of liquid fuels each year – worth $550 million annually.

The European Parliament has proposed changes to lorry designs that could cut the number of cyclists and pedestrians killed on roads. The new rules will ensure that blind spots are reduced, will have crumple zone and a rounded front that ensures that anyone hit by the vehicle is pushed away and not dragged under the wheels of a lorry.

A coalition of companies from around the globe is urging policy makers to take a number of actions in line with the science of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).  Welcoming the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report, 90 UK, EU and international companies, including Acciona, Coca-Cola Enterprises, EDF Energy, Shell, Tesco and Unilever are demanding a proactive policy response to climate change risk through The Trillion Tonne Communiqué, set up by the Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group.  According to the IPCC report, global emissions of greenhouse gases have risen to unprecedented levels despite a growing number of policies to reduce climate change. It found that emissions grew more quickly between 2000 and 2010 than in each of the three previous decades.  The Report does say that catastrophic climate change can be averted without sacrificing living standards – concluding that the transformation required to a world of clean energy is eminently affordable. “It doesn’t cost the world to save the planet” said economist Professor Ottmar Edenhofer, who led the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) team.  The cheapest and least risky route to dealing with global warming is to abandon all dirty fossil fuels in coming decades, the report found. Gas – including that from the global fracking boom – could be important during the transition, Edenhofer said, but only if it replaced coal burning.

In related news, the European Investment Bank (EIB) has announced that more than €2bn (£1.6bn) is to be made available for new innovative renewable energy and carbon capture projects. Global ‘clean energy’ investment increased 14% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2014, according to the latest research. The research, carried out by data analyst firm Clean Energy Pipeline, showed the sector totalled $61bn (£36bn) in the first quarter of 2014, up from the $53.4bn invested in the corresponding period in 2013. And the United Nations (UN) has launched a 10-year plan, which aims to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency worldwide. The Decade of Sustainable Energy for All (2014-2024) strategy plans to provide universal access to modern energy services, double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency and share renewable energy globally.  Announcing the launch in New York yesterday, Secretary-General’s Special Representative on the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative Kandeh Yumkella called on the private sector to innovate and invest in order to help reach the initiative’s three objectives by 2030.

And Drax is likely to receive a E300 million grant from the European Commission for a carbon capture and storage project with the support of the British government. Drax’s White Rose project could become Europe’s first advanced CCS plant.

Giant inflatable wind turbines that float in the sky to generate electricity will be tested in Alaska next year. Altaeros Energies, a US company, has developed four prototype helium filled devices that channel wind to turn the turbine and generate power – capturing a stringer and more reliable wind source in the sky. reports that Lord Smith has said that the winter floods have highlighted the danger of building on floodplains and underlines the need to continue improving flood defences to cope with extreme climate. The Environment Agency chairman told an audience at the Royal Geographical Society that there needs to be a continued commitment from Government and partners to investing in flood defence maintenance. He also told the audience that more widespread use of individual property flood protection measures and a higher priority given to flood risk in national infrastructure planning is needed.

IKEA has announced its largest global renewable energy investment to date, purchasing a 98 megawatt wind farm in Illinois, US. The wind farm is expected to generate up to 380GWh of renewable energy each year – the equivalent amount of electricity to meet the needs of 34,000 average American households. However in the UK The wind industry has responded angrily to a statement from Eric Pickles, The Communities and Local Government Secretary that he will be extending his period of pulling in decisions on renewable energy projects for planning control a further 12 months.

blackfishNumbers of people attending the SeaWorld’s popular US centres between January and March have dropped, from 3.5 million in 2013 to 3.05 million this year, a decline of 13% – the reason being say woldlife campiagners is the effect the documentary film Blackfish has had.  The film tells the story of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau who was killed by Tilikum, a bull orca. The killer whale, it was also revealed, had been involved in the deaths of other individuals while in captivity. Blackfish focuses on the distress experienced by killer whales who are depicted as complex, highly intelligent creatures which are taken from their families, kept in small pools and given psychotropic drugs to calm them and help them perform tricks that include balancing human trainers on their snouts, rotating in the water to pop music, waving their flippers and tails, and floating on their backs. The film triggered widespread public outrage against marine parks in general and a petition, signed by 1.2 million people, was handed into the California state assembly calling for a ban on killer whale shows. Earlier this month, a bill legalising the ban was put on hold for the next 12 months. Campaigners are still hopeful it will be enacted next year. More on the Guardian website here

kiss the skyWith all the recent controversy surrounding captive orcas, Ann and Nancy Wilson decided it was high time to celebrate the wild ones. Heart –  joined by Special Guest Graham Nash – and Joan Jett and The Blackhearts headlined a historic concert in Seattle at EMP Museum’s spectacular “Sky Church” on Earth Day, April 22nd, to benefit wild orca research and advocacy. Joining Heart and Graham Nash were Joan Jett and The Blackhearts Country Joe McDonald, acoustic cellist Jami Sieber, and musician and activist Andrew Morse. Also on the bill for “Kiss the Sky! The Orca Freedom Concert” was the extraordinary up-and-coming singer/songwriter and guitar virtuoso Arielle and the Emcee was  legendary radio personality Norman B – and it was all streamed live.

orcaAnd the fate of the captive orca Morgan has been decided by the Dutch Courts with the appeal court in Den Haag saying that under the current law, the orca will not be freed. The Free Morgan Foundation said: “Despite overwhelming evidence provided by world renowned orca researchers, scientists and advocates, as members of the Free Morgan Foundation, the best interests of Morgan have not been met. It has been designated that she will be sent to a life of permanent captivity in a barren concrete tank. Realistically this is nothing short of a death sentence for Morgan as orca in captivity only live an average of 8.5 years, compared to more than 50 years in the wild. It is disgraceful that a country such as the Netherlands, known around the world for their humanitarian and animal welfare compassion, should have allowed this to happen. Clearly, ulterior motivations such as money and entertainment have presided over the welfare interests of Morgan.” reports that UK supermarket giant Sainsbury’s has launched a brand new scheme to let customers recycle their Easter egg packaging, in a bid to divert household waste away from landfill. The supermarket will be the first retailer in the UK to unveil a specially designed Easter recycling facility in store. Customers will be able to recycle all elements of Easter egg packaging, including plastic, film, card, foil and ribbon.

clucasCaroline Lucas, the UK’s only Green Party MP. has been cleared of obstructing a public highway and breaching an order under S14 of the Public Order Act. The MP and four co-defendants were charged after fracking protests at Cuadrilla’s drilling site in Balcombe, west Sussex, last August.  Lucas said their arrests were the result of “oppressive policing” and that protests were the “lifeblood of democracy”. The Green Party are currently polling just 2% of the national vote but have seen their share rise to 14% amongst students – the third biggest share after the Labour and Conservative parties and ahead of both UKIP and the Liberal Democrats.  (Youthsight).

“Sustainability is an engine for growth ……. and sustainability d0es not have to revolve around trade offs and sacrifices. In the political and public debate, sustainability is often presented  as a choice between prosperity today and the sustainability of tomorrow. The transformational leaders demonstrate that smart investment, targeted at the challenges of tomorrow, can be turned to an advantage today” (The Business of Environment by Peter Lacy and Rob Hayward, RSA Journal, Issue 1 2014).

Festival News

isle of dreamsPromoter Marcel Avram is launching a new electronic music festival in Switzerland, Turkey and Israel. Isle of Dreams will feature local DJ talent alongside the biggest international artists. Each event will take place over a three day period in August 2014 and are planned as the major electronic music event for each country. Confirmed artists include Above & Beyond, Alesso, Apollonia, Avicii, Axwell, Calvin Harris, Chuckie, Fedde Le Grand, Gareth Emery, Jamie Jones, Nervo, Paul Oakenfold, Paul van Dyk, Pete Tong, R3hab, Sebastian Ingrosso, Sasha, Steve Aoki and Zedd.

sziHungary’s Sziget Festival has moved its dates a week later from the busy first weekend in August period, in order to attract more international artists.

Irish festival Oxegen will not take place this year, its organiser MCD have confirmed, citing a “lack of suitable headline acts” combined with an increasing financial strain on the event.

AAA tells us that Liverpool Sound City is going cashless. The May 1-3 event has teamed up with ZNAP, a global mobile business platform, and hopes to improve the Sound City experience by offering mobile payment services. To use ZNAP at Sound City, ticketholders must download the app (available from the Google Play or Apple App stores) and register their credit or debit card details. Once they have arrived at the festival, they can pair their near field communication (NFC) wristbands with the ZNAP app. Wherever a ZNAP sign is displayed, punters can tap their wristbands on the NFC reader to pay.

inmusicCroatia’s INmusic festival have announced the finalists of their talent contest organised by festival travel company eufest and Band Crusade – All About the Music. the 500 emerging acts from across the UK have been whittled down to just five for the final on May 2nd –  soul/rock outfit The River 68s, indie-pop trio Faitala, electronic rock act Stop Drop Robot, blues rockers The Black Hands and Manchester based alternative rock band BÊTE.


Join in with Milwaukee’s 3rd Annual Earth Day Celebration



When: Tuesday, April 22 from 11:00am to 1:00pm

Where: The City Center at 735 N Water Street, Milwaukee, WI


Worthy Farm To Install UK's Largest Private Solar Panel SystemThe UK Government has launched its new solar strategy which aims to open up the market for mid-size, commercial and industrial onsite generation and to complete one million roof installations by the end of 2015. Much of the strategy’s focus will be on increasing mid-size deployment (larger than 50 kWp and up to 1 MWp), particularly on commercial and industrial buildings.  By driving cost reductions, innovation and improving the supply chain, the Government says its strategy will deliver a step-change in the deployment of solar PV in the UK by 2020. Car manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover has recently completed the installation of 21,000 photovoltaic panels at its new Engine Manufacturing Centre in Staffordshire, making it the UK’s largest rooftop solar panel array. Pictured is Michael Eavis with the Worthy Farm solar array on the site of the Glastonbury Festival.

The London Assembly Environment Committee has today called for more impetus on sustainable drainage and river restoration to reduce flood risk. The Committee says that focusing on these initiatives will create space for flood waters to be held higher in the river catchment and soak back into the ground.  It added that this will allow low-lying areas to flood safely at times of high water flow and is likely to “protect homes, roads and businesses”.

Supermarkets should redistribute unsold food to food banks rather than sending it to be recycled via anaerobic digestion (AD), a House of Lords committee has said. A report published yesterday (6 April) by the House of Lords European Union Committee, entitled ‘Counting the Cost of Food Waste’, said it was “morally repugnant” that at least 90m tonnes of food were dumped each year in the EU, including 15m in Britain.  It also suggested that supermarkets should be urged to scrap buy-one-get-one-free deals to help prevent food waste.

glast1Householders in the UK and France often assume that the recycling process ends when they discard an item, according to a new study commissioned by Coca Cola Enterprises and the University of Exeter. say that the drinks giant initially commissioned the study with the University of Exeter to better understand how household dynamics influence recycling behaviours.  The research is entitled ‘Unpacking the household’, led by Dr Stewart Barr, observed 20 families, couples and single-person households in Great Britain and France, in their own homes, for six months.  The survey found that the majority of households do not have an accurate understanding of what happens to waste once it has been collected for recycling. It also highlighted how householders view recycling as a ‘linear’, rather than a ‘circular’ process. also reports that Ealing Council has partnered up with Greenreedem, a subsidiary of waste management firm Grundon, to introduce a recycling rewards programme for its residents. The scheme from Greenredeem will allow 130,000 households in the West London borough to earn points for recycling and other ‘green actions’ in order to boost local recycling rates and secure grants for local community projects. Residents need to register to the system and are awarded ten points for reporting what they have recycled each week, the accrued points – worth up to £70 annually – can be exchanged for discounts and offers. They can redeem points for discounts at more than 100 national retail outlets such as Marks & Spencer and Cineworld.

Amazon burningThe Amazon is becoming increasingly vulnerable to fires a new study by the National Academy of Sciences – a combination of drought, climate change and human activities such as deforestation and farming. Scientists from the USA and Brazil say that “these results provide …. experimental evidence of a link amongst extreme weather events, widespread and high-intensity fires and associated abrupt changes in forest structure, dynamics and composition”.

Air pollution in the UK contributes to 29,000 deaths each year and can shorten the life expectancy of citizens. Public Health England has calculated that air pollution impacts most significantly on city dwellers – in some parts on London one in twelve deaths can be partly attributed to long term exposure to car ehauset emissions and to a lesser extent emissions produced from heating buildings.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu is calling for an anti-apartheid style of campaigning to boycott fossil fuel companies and countries that are failing to address climate change. Saying that in a ‘mad’ world dominated by greed, the interests of capital had been allowed to outweigh the interests of the planet and the interests of people, Tutu said “It is clear that those countries and companies primarily responsible for emitting carbon and accelerating climate change are not simply going to give up; they stand to make too much money. They need a whole lot of gentle persuasion from the likes of us. And it need not necessarily involve trading in our cars and buying bicycles! There are many ways that all of us can fight against climate change: by not wasting energy, for instance. But these individual measures will not make a big enough difference in the available time” saying in the Guardian newspaper “People of conscience need to break their ties with corporations financing the injustice of climate change. We can, for instance, boycott events, sports teams and media programming sponsored by fossil-fuel energy companies. We can demand that the advertisements of energy companies carry health warnings. We can encourage more of our universities and municipalities and cultural institutions to cut their ties to the fossil-fuel industry. We can organise car-free days and build broader societal awareness. We can ask our religious communities to speak out. We can actively encourage energy companies to spend more of their resources on the development of sustainable energy products, and we can reward those companies that do so by using their products. We can press our governments to invest in renewable energy and stop subsidising fossil fuels. Where possible, we can install our own solar panels and water heaters.” and “We cannot necessarily bankrupt the fossil fuel industry. But we can take steps to reduce its political clout, and hold those who rake in the profits accountable for cleaning up the mess”.

power station3The UN has urges huge increase in green energy to avert climate disaster.  Mitigation of Climate Change, by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a panel of 200 scientists, makes it clear that by far the most realistic option for the future is to triple or even quadruple the use of renewable power plants. Only through such decisive action will carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere be kept below the critical level of 480 parts per million (ppm), before the middle of the century. If levels go beyond this figure, the chances of curtailing global mayhem are poor. The report – the third in a series by the IPCC designed to highlight the climate crisis now facing the planet – is intended as an urgent wake-up call to nations to commit around 1-2% of GDP in order to replace power plants that burn fossil fuels, the major cause of global warming, with renewable sources.

The US Navy believes that its scientists may have developed a new technology that means that its ships will no longer need fossil fuel in the future – instead extracting hydrogen and carbon from saltwater in the oceans and converting these into a liquid hydrocarbon fuel that will be potent enough to drive a warship> Vice admiral Philip Cullom, deputy chief of naval operations, said any practical and affordable use was a number of years away. The US Navy is already looking to fuel its aircraft carriers with 50% biofuel by 2016 in an attempt to reduce the Pentagon’s annual $20 billion fuel bill.

The UK’s biggest biomass developers are quitting Britain after accusing the Government of prioritising wind power. Eco2 blamed a government U-turn on capping subsidies  for small biomass plants that are fuelled by straw or wood as the reason for the company’s withdrawal.


glast1The Greener Festival Awards scheme is now open for 2014 and we need you to lets us know if you intend to apply by April 30th.

How to Apply?

To apply for the prestigious Award – the global benchmark for green events, you need to get in touch – deadline 30th April 2014 to express your interest in the 2014 awards and then

– Pay the application fee
– Complete and submit a self-assessment form one month before your event
– Provide us with two passes to your event

If you have missed the application deadline please email at the earliest opportunity. On receipt of your application we will assign independent environmental assessors to attend your event.

What Next?

glast1You can download our self-assessment form and use the check-list as an aid to self-assessing your event and identifying areas for development here .  If you would like to apply for an award, read the self-assessment guidelines and send us your completed self-assessment.  We recognise that every event is unique and therefore we offer a bespoke and personal service, please get in touch for a chat! Email us here:

How  Much?

The standard assessment fee is GB£210, US$350, CAN$375, AU$315, €320 or local equivalent. (plus any additional expenses where applicable, by pre-arrangement with festival only). This must be paid prior to your event.

Full Report

eotr1We now offer an optional analysis and report for £500 per festival. Due to popular demand we now offer an additional service of analysis and a report following your assessment, detailing areas for improvement and recommendations. This will provide a more in depth breakdown of your performance against our criteria.

The Awards are made in four categories: Improving; Commended; Highly Commended; Outstanding. The best performing UK festival will be awarded with The Greener Festival Award at the UK Festival Awards 2014. One AGF Committee Member also participates in selecting the winner of the GO (Green Operations) Europe Award at the European Festival Awards.

Awards Administrator  (Europe, Africa)

Awards Administrator (North America) email

Awards Administrator (Australia) email,


The Awards scheme is generously sponsored by Robertson Taylor. Robertson Taylor are specialist insurance brokers in the music industry and offer a discount  insurance scheme for green events which AGF endorse.


Sheringham_Shoal_Wind_Farm_2012UK renewable electricity generation increased by 28% in 2013 to 52.8 terawatt-hours (TWh), up from the 41.3 TWh recorded in 2012, according to official figures. Statistics from the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), show that offshore and onshore wind, solar and bioenergy all recorded significant increases in 2013 from 2012.  Offshore wind generation rose by 45.8%, with onshore wind increasing by 36.4%, due to increased capacity, as well as higher wind speeds. Generation from bioenergy was up 22.8% due to increased capacity from conversions. Liquid biofuels represented 3.5% of petrol and diesel consumed in road transport in 2013, a 0.4 percentage point rise on the share in 2012. The only form of renewable energy that generated less electricity in 2013 from 2012 was hydro, which decreased by 10.7% due to lower rainfall in catchment areas. As renewables generation increased, fossil fuel production fell, with coal, oil and gas all recording lower production levels in 2013 from the previous year.

Good news and bad news for the future of wind power: The UK Green Investment Bank is investing £241m to jointly purchase, alongside Japan’s Marubeni Corporation, a 50% stake in the Westermost Rough offshore wind farm, from DONG Energy. The deal is estimated to be around £500m. Once operational, Westermost Rough will generate more than 800GWh of net renewable electricity, equivalent to the electricity consumption of around 200,000 homes, a city the size of York. But reports that major energy firm SSE is pulling back plans, and “significantly narrowing” its focus, on offshore wind development. As part of its streamlining programme, SSE will scale back plans for four offshore wind developments and cut 500 jobs. At present, the projects represent potentially up to 4,970MW of offshore wind farm capacity for SSE. The decision is part of the company’s plan to streamline its operations to offset the cost of the recently announced freeze on its domestic gas and electricity prices for two years. also reports that DIY and garden centre retailer B&Q is harnessing “teabag technology” to help increase peat-free gardening products and remove 15 million polystyrene trays from a range of plant products. From April 2014, B&Q will replace all polystyrene packaging across its range of bedding plants with a new teabag technology that is 100% recyclable and up to 95% peat-free.  As well as tackling the issue of non-recyclable polystyrene trays, which end up as non-degradable waste in UK landfills, the new teabag Technology, called easyGrow, will see each bedding plant rooted in up to 95% peat-free compost.

Retailers are producing “viable volumes” of surplus food that arise at the back of store which could be redistributed direct to charity and provide social benefit, according to new report from the Waste and Resources Action Programme(WRAP). The trials, detailed in the new report entitled ‘The Food Connection Programme’, is the UK’s first piece of quantitative research on store-level surplus food redistribution.  The research found that while tonnages of surplus food at store level are small in comparison to the whole supply chain, the volumes are sufficient and viable to deliver real benefit to those who need it.

A botched attempt by Shell to avoid a $6 million tax bill in Alaska by towing the Kulluk oil rig to Seattle cost the oil giant an estimated $200 million after the rig ran aground near Kodiak Island in predicted bad weather in December 2012. A report by the Alaskan Coat Guard, which prompted fears of an environmental disaster, also severely criticised the Anglo-Dutch company’s planning.

Despite claims that the fashion industry is starting to adopt more sustainable practices, the majority of brands are failing to back this up with hard evidence, new research has shown. Less than 10% of companies operating within this sector are performing at a high level in terms of sustainability, according to brand comparison website, Rank A Brand. Its latest FeelGoodFashion report found that just 34 of the 368 fashion brands researched were leading by example in this field: Whilst 50% of brands are reporting on the implementation of climate protection measures, only 4% of were able to show that they have significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

Two of the UK’s last three deep coal mines are set to close . The two collieries, Kellingley in Yorkshire and Thoresby in Nottinghamshire employ 1,300 people. Job losses at UK Coal’s Doncaster headquarters would also be likely. UK Coal said it had been hot by low international coal prices, partly called by the boom in US shale gas.

The smog like conditions that brought haze and air pollution to large areas on the United Kingdom last week will become even more frequent as diesel car ownership soars a leading expert from Kings College MRC-PHE Centre for the Environment has warned. The haze, blamed on Sahara ‘dust’, power station emissions and diesel engine, has been problematic for people with breathing difficulties and many schools kept pupils inside in lunchtime and other breaks. Light winds have concentrated carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, ozone and tiny particles (PM10 and PM25) and DEFRA said the pollutant had topped its Air Quality Index.

rainforest 1The boss of Unilever, Paul Polman, has urged fellow business leaders to stop dragging their feet on climate change, In a speech to Imperial College’s Grantham Institute for Climate Change Mr Polman  said that the ‘cost of inaction is  now starting to outweigh the cost of action” and that “continuing flows of capital to high carbon [ investment push us towards the cliff edge of irreversible and disastrous climate change. The comments are aimed at least in part at industry leaders such as Rex Tillerson of ExxonMobil (who argues that concern over climate change is overblown and we can adapt to rising sea levels) and Australian mining heiress Gina Rinehart who believes climate change is a natural phenomenon and worryingly owns a chunk of global media.

The Times reports that Innospec, the company that makes the fuel additive Tetraethyl Lead, linked to premature death and violent crime, has continued to export the toxic chemical despite twice saying it would stop. The Times says the company is still exporting TEL to Algeria. It is banned in most countries including the UK which have moved to unleaded petrol, but the chemical is still made at Ellesmere Port in Cheshire for export.

bee-300x150A comprehensive new study by the European Commission suggests that bees, Earth’s busiest pollinator,  are not dying quite as rapidly as was previously feared, at least in Europe .The study found that death rates among 32,000 bee colonies across 17 EU member states were, as a whole, lower than researchers expected. Between late 2012 and the summer of 2013, honeybees’ winter mortality rates ranged from 3.5 percent to 33.6 percent. During the beekeeping season, when bees are more active, their rates of death ranged from 0.3 percent and 13.6 percent. “While overwintering honeybee colony losses in Europe are variable and sometimes considered unacceptable, on the whole they are still much lower than in the U.S.,” Simon Potts, a professor at the University of Reading in England, told The Guardian. During the winter, honeybees suffered the greatest losses in Belgium and the U.K. Researchers noted a 34 percent and a 29 percent decline in honeybee colonies in those countries, respectively. Winter death rates for honeybees were lowest in Italy, where just 5 percent of colonies were lost. Greece, Italy, Spain, Hungary and Slovakia also saw less than 10 percent of their bees.