ANOTHER PLANET?

Amazon burningTen top PR firms including WPP, Waggener Edstrom (WE) Worldwide, Weber Shandwick, Text100, and Finn Partners have said that they will not represent clients that deny man-made climate change or seek to block emission-reducing regulations in a new survey.  Some of the world’s top PR companies have for the first time publicly ruled out working with climate change deniers, marking a fundamental shift in the multi-billion dollar industry that has grown up around the issue of global warming. Firms that refused to comment include both those that have worked for groups calling for action on climate change – as well as those seeking to block those efforts. 

PepsiCo is to expand the number of recycling bins at petrol stations and convenience stores across the US, as part of a five-year plan to drive up packaging recovery rates. The drinks brand has teamed up with the Nature Conservancy to form an initiative called ‘Recycle for Nature’ to roll out the bins, as part of its goal to help raise US beverage container recycling rates from 42% to 50% by 2018.

Sheringham_Shoal_Wind_Farm_2012Edie.net reports that the UK’s renewable electricity generation increased by 30% in 2013 according to DECC’s annual UK energy statistics. Electricity generated from renewable sources accounted for 14.9% of the UK’s total electricity generation last year, up from 11.3% in 2012.  In a statement released by DECC, energy secretary Ed Davey said: “The Government’s investment in renewable energy is paying off: renewable electricity has more than doubled in just four years – with around 15% of Britain’s electricity already coming from clean renewable sources like wind, solar and hydro.  But Energy Secretary Ed Davey has been accused of ‘slamming the breaks on Britain’s fledging solar energy business as the industry takes legal action against the Government. Four of Britain’s biggest solar firms – TGC Renewables, Solarcentury, Orta Solar Farms and Lark Energy – are launching a Judicial Review against the Government, claiming that Davey’s sudden withdrawal of support for solar through the Renewables Obligation (RO) scheme was ‘unlawful’.  The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) recently announced plans to end the RO scheme – which is the main support mechanism for renewable electricity projects in the UK – in nine months’ time, two years ahead of schedule. And The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) should be doing more to support companies developing sustainable, low-carbon technologies, according to the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee. In a new report – Innovate to accumulate: the Government’s approach to low-carbon innovation – the cross-party committee concludes that the Government is not allocating enough resources to helping companies to meet its own policy ambitions.

Events and exhibitions venue Olympia London has launched a new online vehicle share initiative to streamline deliveries and collections and significantly reduce carbon emissions. The new system developed by Carbon Voyage is integrated into Olympia’s existing vehicle booking site, allowing exhibitors to pair up with others from the same area. Currently, a third of journeys made to and from Olympia have the same point of origin.

A team of scientists at the University of Sheffield have developed a spray-painting method for applying new, cost-effective solar cells. The scientists utilized new perovskite solar cells – which have a lower material cost than traditional silicon based solar cells – and applied the cells using a spray-painting method which could have low-cost applications for high-volume manufacturing industries.

Commercial property owners across the country are being urged to ‘get ahead of the game‘ and prepare for upcoming energy efficiency standards which could have a negative effect on more than a third of buildings.  Professional services firm WSP says owners should be more proactive when it comes to the energy performance rating (EPC) of their buildings, as the recent consultation launched by DECC proposes to make it mandatory for commercial properties with a poor energy rating – lower than EPC ‘E’ – to be brought up to standard before they can be let, from 2018.

The largest food waste anaerobic digestion (AD) plant in Wales is now live with the potential to power all of the homes in one of the UK’s smallest cities. Biogen’s Waen AD plant situated on the site of a former abattoir in Denbighshire. The plant is able to recycle up to 22,500 tonnes of food waste every year, generating 1MW of renewable electricity for the national grid – the equivalent power needed for the nearby city of St Asaph.

Well-meaning lobbyists against unsustainable businesses and Government policy are likely to be inadvertently causing more harm to the environment than good, according to new research.  Economist Dr Petros Sekeris, of the University of Portsmouth, discovered that by making ‘sometimes exaggerated claims’ about a natural resource such as clean water or land, some lobbyists could actually be deemed ‘alarmists’ by speeding up the rate at which others rush to use up what’s left.

farmlandThe UK farming industry is set to become more environmentally friendly and sustainable with the publication of an updated specification for renewable fertiliser and the re-launch of the Compost Certification Scheme.  The PAS 110 specification has been updated to allow operators of anaerobic digestion (AD) plants to use or trade their digestate as ‘biofertiliser’, certified under the Biofertiliser Certification Scheme (BSC) from Renewable Energy Assurance Ltd (REAL).

Fox News has been subject to a stinging attack  – this time from an anchor at the rival news broadcaster CNN – after Fox ran a wilfully ignorant headline on an Washington Times article mocking climate change entitled, “Climate Doesn’t Cooperate With Al Gore’s Group’s Visit to Denver EPA Hearings” Brian Weir responded by tweeting “Weather is not climate, you wilfully ignorant f*cksticks.”

olivia fishliveScientists are warning that the UK needs to change  its fish eating habitats as global warming means that traditional favourites such as cod and haddock head for cooler waters further North. Sea temperatures have risen 1.6C inthe seas around the UK since the 1980s and in the last 30 years almost half of the 36 surveyed species in tyhe North Sea have ventured North out of British waters – John Dory – once found only of the South West coast of England are now colonised the north sea as far as the top of Scotland – and gurnard, sea bass, ling, hake and sardines are spreading into Northern waters. More at http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/aug/02/gurnard-and-chips-cod-warmer-seas-uk-fish-stock.

The Daily Telegraph reports “GM crops reasdy to enter food chain” saying that the first genetically modified crops, enriched with nutrients to improve health, will be harvested within weeks following a landmark field trial in Britain. In a major step towards GM food, a crop of camelina (false flax) has been spliced with genes which make Omega-3 so that its seeds will produce an oil rich in fatty acid normally only found in fish. More here. But the Telegraph also says there are ‘Big questions’ to answer over GM – not least the effect what disrupting a plant;s natural DNA could have – and potential harmful effects on health, on the environment and ecosystems.

Japanese red cedar , giant redwoods and trees from the continent may be used to replace oaks and pines in Britain’s woodlands which have been decimated by rising temperatures, drought and diseases.

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