The European Commission has given Britain the green light for a huge government subsidy that will open the way for the first atomic power stations to be built for nearly 20 years. A majority of commissioners agreed Britain was not breaking state aid rules, overcoming the last regulatory hurdle for EDF Energy and its plan to construct Hinkley Point C in Somerset, south-west England. EDF believes the project will cost £16bn but the EC claimed construction costs alone by the time the plant is built in 2023 will be more than £24bn with a further possible £10bn of contingency payments.
Vodafone and Telefónica O2 have teamed up with UK sustainable development organisation Forum for the Future to create the Eco Rating 2.0 – an industry-wide ratings system that compares the green credentials of different mobile devices.
Lego has ended it’s partnership with shell following a Greenpeace campaign. The Toymaker will not renew current multimillion pound deal, that sees Shell-branded Lego sets sold at petrol stations. The split follows a viral video against Arctic drilling by the green group. Initially Lego had resisted Greenpeace, arguing that it ought to deal directly with Shell. Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, the toy maker’s chief -executive, said Lego would honour its existing deal with Shell, which began in 2011, but “as things currently stand we will not renew the contract with Shell when the present contract ends”.
Dozens of America’s east coast cities face routine tidal flooding under climate change researchers have said. Miami will deploy new pumps this week to hold back the waters of the King Tides, the highest annual high tides, which are projected to crest at 3.5 feet (1.07m). Other cities are going to have to undertake similar measures if they want to avoid soggy streets in the future, the researchers said The report, Encroaching Tides: How Sea Level Rise and Tidal Flooding Threaten U.S. East and Gulf Coast Communities over the Next 30 Years, from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), found most of the towns on America’s east coast will see triple the number of flooding events by 2030. More on the Guardian website here.
The European Federation of Waste Management and Environmental Services (FEAD) has published its six-year strategy for achieving a circular economy throughout Europe. Driving the Circular Economy, launched in Brussels, outlines a variety of sustainability and waste-management improvements for European policy makers. The Strategy was welcomed by the EU’s outgoing Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik, who said: “The role of the waste management sector is crucial in the transition towards a circular economy.”
Rising carbon dioxide levels in oceans adversely change the behaviour of fish through generations, raising the possibility that marine species may never fully adapt to their changed environment a new study, published in Nature Climate Change, has found.
Glasgow University has become the first academic institution in Europe to divest from the fossil fuel industry. After 12 months of campaigning, led by the Glasgow University Climate Action Society and involving over 1,300 students, the university court voted to begin divesting £18m from the fossil fuel industry and freeze new investments across its entire endowment of £128m.
UK Ministers’ rewriting of the law to allow fracking to happen beneath people’s homes without their permission flouts basic democratic rights, according to the author and activist Naomi Klein. Klien argues that the UK government’s changes to trespass laws, to speed up the ability for shale gas companies to frack beneath landowners’ property, was energising resistance to fracking in Britain. she told audience at a Guardian event in London: “What is animating the anti-fracking movement? Yes, it’s water. It’s also a defence of democracy. The fact the government is colluding with energy companies to force the right to frack underneath people’s homes without their permission flies in the face of the most common-sense definition of democracy and self-definition” . Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has brought the UK political party’s conference season to a close by insisting that a sustainable environment “will remain at the heart of the Liberal Democrats’ vision for Britain’s future”. In what proved to be the greenest speech compared with his Conservative and Labour counterparts, Clegg also told Lib Dem activists in Glasgow that his party would be launching a new commitment to ‘five green laws’ in its next manifesto, in an effort to reduce the UK’s carbon footprint. Liz Hutchins, senior political campaigner at Friends of the Earth said “Nick Clegg is right to pillory the PM over his environmental commitment. For people who’ve been flooded or choking on polluted air, for those threatened by fracking or shivering in heat-leaking homes, green is most definitely not crap.” adding “But the Liberal Democrats have themselves failed to hold the green line in the Coalition, capitulating on landmark issues such as a legally-binding target for cleaning up UK power generation. Liberal Democrat green credibility will ultimately be judged by what they do in office – not the promises they make for the future.”
The Government has sparked a furious backlash from renewable energy campaigners and trade groups by confirming controversial changes to solar farm subsidies. The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has announced it would be removing large-scale solar farms from the existing Renewables Obligation (RO) initiative. It did, however, sweeten the deal somewhat by also announcing it would be adding almost £100m to the Contracts for Difference (CfD) budget. The move to bar solar farms of more than 5MW from the RO process has prompted a sharp response from the industry, with edie hearing from the Solar Trade Association (STA), Renewable Energy Association (REA) and Friends of the Earth among others.
Edie.net reports that four out of five business leaders say energy affordability is important to their company, nearly twice the amount that prioritised a low-carbon economy. The findings come from a YouGov survey of 600 senior business decision-makers, commissioned by npower. In a similar vein, 58% of respondents said their firms would be ‘unwilling’ or ‘unlikely to be willing’ to increase their energy bills to fund low-carbon government schemes.
Yorkshire Water has opened its first self-powered sewage works. The plant will use advanced BioThelys technology to generate renewable biogas from 30,000 tonnes per year of sludge, producing enough heat and power for its entire 750 acre site. The project, which took two years to finish, is expected to reduce Yorkshire Water’s carbon footprint by 9000 tonnes per year, saving the company £1.3m per year in energy costs.
The Welsh Government has introduced the Food Manufacture, Service and Retail Sector Plan with a view to preventing waste, reducing waste production and increasing recycling across supply chains. The new scheme supports Wales’ ongoing ‘Towards Zero Waste’ strategy and underlines the importance of:
– waste prevention, and more sustainable ways of consuming and producing
– very high levels of reuse and recycling of the waste that is produced, and make sure that it is the right type of recycling (i.e. closed loop); in particular, for reuse, food waste from the food manufacturing sector to be used as animal feed
– sending food waste to anaerobic digestion plants to generate valuable renewable energy and fertiliser. You can download the Report here.
They Took A Camera To A Remote Area In Greenland, And What They Recorded Is Simply Terrifying. Climate change not happening? Have a look yourself.
Students at the University of East Anglia are being encouraged to urinate in the shower – to save water. The initiative has been developed by students Debs Torr and Chris Dobson and they have called their campaign ‘getwiththeflow’.
A new satellite system will be able to track illegal fishing around the globe. Tony Long, a formal Royal Navy commander and a campaigner against illegal fishing said the system can even identify boats through their sailing patterns.
Owen Paterson, the UK’s former environment secretary, has called on the UK government to scrap the Climate Change Act, passed in 2008, saying that sticking to green targets will mean the light will go out in the UK and a reduction of 80% of CO2 emissions by 2050 risks the UK’s energy security. Paterson, giving a speech to the Global Warming Policy Forum was criticised by Energy Secretary Ed Davey who said that tearing up the Climate Change Act would be “one of the most stupid economic decisions imaginable” and that the majority of EU member states were now prepared to adopt similar targets as the UK. The Act makes it the duty of the Secretary of State to ensure that the net UK carbon account for all six Kyoto greenhouse gases for the year 2050 is at least 80% lower than the 1990 baseline, toward avoiding dangerous climate change. The Act aims to enable the United Kingdom to become a low-carbon economy and gives ministers powers to introduce the measures necessary to achieve a range of greenhouse gas reduction targets. An independent Committee on Climate Change has been created under the Act to provide advice to UK Government on these targets and related policies.