The delicate balance of the planet’s biosphere is tipping — threatening all life on earth. Scientists are calling it our ‘Holy Shit’ moment on climate change, and world leaders meet at the UN in just over 100 days — we have until then for all of us, everywhere, to act, in the largest day of action on climate change in history, to call for action and fight for everything we love. There’s no way to get around how big a task this is. But together, each small action will add up into a millions-strong movement that literally drowns out the opposition and gives our leaders the best reason to break free and build a hopeful, clean and green future. Click here to join in: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/join_to_change_everything_rb/?bWaAcdb&v=41497
A $15 billion Australian coal project has suffered a set back after the Australian Government said that it would review concerns that the Carmichael coal and rail project which would see Adani Enterprises develop mines, railways and a giant port in Queensland could endanger the Great Barrier Reef by dumping 3 million cubic tonnes of sand by the Reef.Greenpeace said the project would endanger birds and drain away precious water supplies, spread toxic coal dust and threaten turtle nesting sites – all to provide India with highly polluting and high carbon emitting coal for energy generation. The UN has also voiced concern saying the dumped waste could irreparably damage the coral and Unesco’s World Heritage Committee is considering putting the Great Barrier Reef on its ‘in-danger’ list.
The High Court in London has overturned a decision by the Eric Pickles to reject a planning application for a 24MW solar farm in Ellough, Suffolk. Edie.net reports that on June 23, Justice Lindblom found in favour of Lark Energy, who had planned to construct the solar farm on the site of a former WWII airfield. The scheme was recommended for consent by the Planning Inspectorate after a public enquiry. However, Mr Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, stepped in and overturned the decision, rejecting the application in October 2013. The judge found that Mr Pickles’ decision was not made in the way required in the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 causing ‘substantial prejudice’ against Lark Energy. The High Court has refused the Secretary of State leave to appeal against its ruling. Land remediation and regeneration firm Harworth Estates has announced the installation of 30MW of solar generation across four former colliery sites in the North and Midlands. Three developments already have approval – Welbeck Colliery in Mansfield, Gelding in Labley and a third in Bilsthorpe – with a fourth at Askern in South Yorkshire awaiting planning consent – let’s hope they don’t end up ‘in a pickle’ !
Consumer appetite for sustainable brands is growing as new research reveals that more than half of online shoppers are prepared to pay a premium for socially responsible products and services. A study by Nielsen found that 55% of online consumers across 60 countries were willing to pay more for products and services provided by companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact. The propensity to buy socially responsible brands is strongest in Asia-Pacific (64%), Latin America (63%) and Middle East/Africa (63%). The numbers for North America and Europe are 42% and 40% respectively.
Sainsbury’s in Cannock will be the UK’s first supermarket to run on electricity generated solely from food waste. The supermarket giant has partnered with leading waste management firm Biffa to convert food waste from Sainsbury’s stores across the UK into energy, using Biffa’s anaerobic digestion (AD) facilities – although there has been recent concern that too much edible food is being classified as waste and food and drink companies face renewed calls today to implement better product packaging and labelling measures as new research reveals 2 million tonnes of household food in the UK is thrown away because it is judged to be past its prime. A report from WRAP further reveals that half of this amount is thrown away either intact or in unopened packaging. In a third of cases (660,000 tonnes) passing a date label triggered disposal, while foods judged to be stale or mouldy were responsible for most of the remaining 1.3 million tonnes.
The UK’s Green Deal Home Improvement Fund (GDHIF) has got off to a flying start, issuing £2.61m to households during its first week. The new incentives added to the Green Deal now offer up to £7,600 cash back to offset the cost of developments to households in England and Wales making energy saving improvements. And the Green Investment Bank has announced a £2m investment to help SMEs make improvements in energy efficiency. The investment – £1m of which comes from private equity firm SI Capital – will go towards ReEnergise Finance’s Smart Energy Finance vehicle which aims to provide loans to small businesses seeking funding for energy saving projects. ReEnergise Finance specialize in energy efficiency and the renewables market and looks to provide funding solutions for UK-based SMEs which have struggled to find finance or advice for their efficiency projects.
Glastonbury Festival organisers have estimated that 1 million plastic bottles are used each year during the five days of music and fun, with more than 11 million litres of water consumed on site each year at the festival – and this year in an effort to reduce plastic waste, organisers are distributing reusable steel bottles and have set up 400 drinking water taps around the site. Other businesses could significantly enhance their sustainability credentials by improving the way they measure, manage and report the amount of plastic they use in their operations and across the supply chain. That’s according to a new report from the Plastic Disclosure Project, the UK Environment Assembly and natural capital analysts Truscot which argues that tighter regulation, increased competition and more consumer demand would force plastic-intensive firms to pay the natural capital costs. It highlights a growing concern about the threat that widespread plastic waste poses to marine life, with conservative estimates of the overall financial damage of plastics to marine ecosystems standing at US$13bn each.
Employing skilled sustainability professionals is essential if companies want to align better resource management with profitability, the Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment (IEMA) has said. The Institute has published a practical guide today to help businesses adopt a circular economy approach when it comes to advancing resource efficiency. It has also released research which shows that SMEs can achieve cost savings of more than £5,000 a year by appointing a dedicated sustainability lead, a figure which rises to over £1m for larger corporations.
Security analysts in London and Baghdad say control of rivers and dams has become a major tactical weapon for Isis and that water supply is key to outcome of the conflicts in Iraq and Syria.
The Guardian reports that Caribbean coral reefs ‘will be lost within 20 years’ without protection as a major report warns that loss of grazing fish due to pollution and overfishing is a key driver of region’s coral decline: A comprehensive analysis by 90 experts of more than 35,000 surveys conducted at nearly 100 Caribbean locations since 1970 shows that the region’s corals have declined by more than 50%. But restoring key fish populations and improving protection from overfishing and pollution could help the reefs recover and make them more resilient to the impacts of climate change, according to the study from the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network, the International Union for Conservation of Nature and the United Nations Environment Programme.
Scientists have warned that Emperor penguins are at risk of extinction: The article in the journal Nature Climate Change says that the entire population of Antarctica’s famous emperor penguins could fall by a third by the end of the century because of disappearing sea ice, putting them at risk of extinction, researchers said which justified protecting emperor penguins under the endangered species act – as America already does for the polar bear.
UK Councils will have to recycle 70% of household waste by the end of the next decade, under proposals unveiled by the European commission. This would require a significant increase in the proportion of UK waste diverted from landfill. At least 80% of packaging waste will also have to be recycled by 2030, as Brussels toughens its stance on the amount of rubbish buried underground. By 2025, there would be a total ban on sending waste to landfill that could have been recycled. More here.
Early bird entry for the Sustainability Leaders Awards closes on Friday 11th July, so make use you submit your entry now to take advantage of the £99.00 entry fee. After this date, for the final week of entries, the price will increase to £125.00 per entry. ENTER HERE.