Monthly Archives: February 2015


princeofewalesThe Prince of Wales has called for us all to treat our planet like a sick patient. In a keynote speech, he also urged health practitioners to be bolder about highlighting the links between the effects of climate change on clean air, water and our wellbeing. Prince Charles — who for decades has used his unique position to champion action for a sustainable future — told the Royal Society in London: “Protect the health of the planet, protect our health. Actions which are good for the planet are also good for human health.  Taking a more active approach to transport by walking and cycling and adopting healthy diets reduce greenhouse gas emissions but also reduce rates of obesity, heart disease, cancer and more — saving lives and money. “Reductions in air pollution also result, with separate and additional benefits to human health. A healthy planet and healthy people are two sides of the same coin.” The future King’s strong intervention, at a joint event involving his International Sustainability Unit and the World Health Organisation, came after he and the Duchess of Cornwall made a historic visit to the London Evening Standard newsroom today. The Royal Society event brought together health ministers, senior civil servants, health professionals and civil society organisations to discuss climate change, health and the forthcoming negotiations involving the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP21. More on the Evening Standard here.

The European Commission has released details of its ‘Energy Union’ vision to reboot Europe’s energy policy and proposals for the crucial UN climate change talks in December.  The Energy Union Package, announced today by Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic, includes a binding emissions reduction target of at least 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, along with a host of commitments for the EU to become ‘the world leader in renewable energy’. The 21-page document contains a dizzying list of measures – spanning renewables and energy-efficiency, gas supplies, legislation, finance, market design, a 10% power-interconnection target, R&D, and climate policy. More on here.  And The world’s states should commit to a legally binding emissions cut of 60% by 2050, with five-yearly reviews, in a Paris Protocol to replace the moribund Kyoto agreement at a climate summit later this year, according to a leaked EU document.  But environmentalists have questioned the integrity of the headline 60% figure, and a strategy which is seen as overly-tilted towards the US. “Major economies, in particular the EU, China and the US, should show political leadership by joining the Protocol as early as possible,” says the EU’s ‘Road to Paris 2015’ communication, which the Guardian has seen. “It should enter into force as soon as countries with a share of 80% of current global emissions have ratified it.

Rush_hour_cyclists_in_the_City_of_London,_August_2013The most dangerous junctions for cyclists in London have been revealed as transport chiefs came under attack for under-spending their road safety budget by more than £50 million this year. Elephant and Castle was named as the location of 80 crashes involving cyclists and motorists between 2009 and 2013 that were serious enough to be reported to police. Trafalgar Square was second with 46, followed by Waterloo Road (45) and Lambeth Bridge/Millbank roundabout (38), insurance firm Aviva found. Elephant and Castle was the scene of a fatal crash last May when Oxo Tower porter Abdelkhalak Lahyani, 47, was killed by a HGV as he cycled to work. Cyclist Meryem Ozekman, a 27-year-old fitness instructor, was crushed to death by a lorry on the same roundabout in April 2009.  Brian Holt was killed in blackspot Mile End Road after being in collision with an HGV in 2013. The Aviva survey, based on 23,000 cyclist crashes reported to police within the M25 over five years, included 80 fatalities — 67 of them within Greater London.  Upper Tooting Road/Lessingham Avenue, Ansell Road/ Derinton Road had 34 crashes (5th), Grove Road/Mile End Road 32 (6th), Vauxhall Bridge/ Wandsworth Road 31 (7th), Monument Tube station junction 29 (8th), Camberwell New Road/Brixton Road 28 (9th) and Camberwell New Road/Kennington Road/Harleyford Street 28 (10th).

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have voted to limit the amount of food crops used in the production of biofuels, but environmental groups say the new laws don’t go far enough.  Members of the European Parliament’s Environment Committee agreed  to limit the amount of food-based biofuels in the EU’s transport energy mix to 6%. The bloc has a target to source 10% of transport energy from all biofuels by 2020. MEPs also approved proposals to account for the added emissions of indirect land use change, i.e. where trees are chopped down to grow crops for biofuels. Finally, they agreed a new target for so called ‘advanced biofuels’ – which are sourced from seaweed or certain types of waste – which must now account for at least 1.25% of energy consumption in transport by 2020.

SOLAR POWERSolar is set to become the cheapest form of electricity production in many regions of the world following massive cost reductions. That’s according to a new study published by Agora Energiewende, a leading German think-tank dedicated to the German energy transition. The report – Current and Future Cost of Photovoltaics – projects the costs of solar photovoltaic on a global scale from now to the year 2050. According to the report, the cost of producing solar power in the UK will have declined to between 4.2 and 10.3p/kWh by 2025, and by 2050 to as low as 2.0 to 7.4p/kWh. However, these reductions are highly reliant on financial and regulatory frameworks due to the high capital intensity of photovoltaic installations. Poor regulation could affect interest rates and raise the cost of solar plants by up to 50%, the report concludes.

International wind turbine manufacturers saw a record-breaking year for global installations in 2014, but this is “disguising underlying challenges facing the industry”, according global business advisory firm FTI consulting. According to Global Wind Market Update: Demand and Supply 2014, global wind capacity bounced back with more than 50GW in 2014, over 40% growth on 2013, mainly driven by a record-breaking growth in China, Germany and Brazil. All 10 of the top global wind turbine original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) reported individual record years for installation. Vesta retained its top spot with a significant margin over its competitors, while Siemens moved up two places in the rankings due to a record breaking year in its onshore wind business.

The UK Government is putting £10m towards innovation in battery design to fund the development of a new high-voltage battery pack for the next generation of ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs).  Innovate UK will run the competition, which will award the money to a “consortium of organisations”, expected to include a research organisation and at least one vehicle manufacturer as well as experts in battery controls, electronics and software.

comicreliefUnilever UK is seeking to promote green behaviour beyond its own operations in the form of a new recycling incentivisation partnership.  The consumer goods giant is teaming up with Greenredeem – a UK-based firm which offers people reward points for everyday green actions such as recycling. These points can now be exchanged for Unilever products – such as Lynx, PG Tips and Ben & Jerry’s – under the new partnership. (Scroll down for more information on how Greenredeem works). Unilever Project Sunlight marketing manager Anna Owen said: “We’re so excited to work with Greenredeem to drive recycling rates in the UK. It’s shocking how far the UK lags behind other nations and we see incentivising positive action as a key mechanic to move rates forward, to meet and hopefully smash 2020 target levels. As their launch campaign, Unilever and Greenredeem are inviting Greenredeem members to donate points earned through recycling efforts to Comic Relief. Headlining the campaign will be Unilever brands Persil and PG tips which are already working closely with Comic Relief with special money-raising packs in store and are now looking to drive recycling rates at the same time.

waterdropThe energy and agricultural sectors “must be held accountable” for their vast water consumption and take steps to lower it, says a new UN report.  The two industries – which account for 70% and 15% of global water use respectively – are “guzzling water” while 2.9bn people could face shortages by 2025. Water dependent companies – in these two industries in particular – will “have a key role to play in financing and implementing sound strategies” to tackle this impending water crisis, said the report. Within 10 years, researchers predict 48 countries – 25% of all nations on Earth with an expected combined population of 2.9 billion – will be classified “water-scarce” or “water-stressed”.

BARBen Ainslie Racing (BAR) has been awarded ISO 20121 certification for sustainability across all its operations this week, the first such certification for a sports team in the UK.Springwatch To achieve the goal of ISO 20121, BAR worked with a range of sustainability experts involved in Green Blue – the joint environment programme created by the Royal Yachting Association and the British Marine Federation in 2005 to promote sustainability across the UK recreational boating sector. The BAR team, which was launched by four time Olympic medallist Ben Ainslie in 2014 with the long-term aim of winning the Americas Cup, has also partnered with 11th Hour Racing to achieve its sustainability goals.

sea_ice_polar_bearPeople who continue to deny that human activity is directly impacting climate change have a new challenge to over come: Scientists have, for the first time,  provided direct observational evidence that carbon dioxide is trapping heat in the atmosphere. In a study published in the journal Nature, researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory used eleven years of measurements from specialized instruments at sites in Alaska and Oklahoma to analyze the source of energy fluctuations, confirming that it’s carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels that’s causing warming — and not water vapor, changes in the sun or someone tampering with the data to make it look like global warming is worse than it is, as some have claimed. “We see, for the first time in the field, the amplification of the greenhouse effect because there’s more CO2 in the atmosphere to absorb what the Earth emits in response to incoming solar radiation,” lead author Daniel Feldman explained in a statement. “Numerous studies show rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations, but our study provides the critical link between those concentrations and the addition of energy to the system, or the greenhouse effect.” More on Salon here.

Britain’s railways are ‘a scrapheap’ says the man who runs Network rail. Mark Carne said that the railways are littered with old sleepers, rails and much is covered by graffiti.

And Britain has been told it should appoint an ambassador for the Arctic. The House of Lords have suggested that the need to safeguard the environment – as well as participate in its future. With 30% of the world’s remaining recoverable gas reserves and over 13% of remaining oil reserves the Arctic is a prime target for exploitation – not least as global warming (caused by the burning of oil and gas amongst other things) melts sea ice and makes the region more accessible for extracting fossils fuels and (over) fishing. However is does seem fears about polar bears dying out as sea ice melts may not be true as bear numbers have almost doubled since the 60s when hunting left many bear populations close to collapse.


March 5th 2015



GEI_Logo2015-largePNGA marvellous array of those involved in event sustainability and green production will be meeting at the ILMC in London on Thursday March 5th for the 7th edition of Green Events & Innovations.  Make sure you register soon to avoid disappointment – its just £80 for a full delagate pass and discounts are available for students, ILMC delegates and AIF and Yourope members (contact

Key topics this year include: waste management, food waste, the social impact of events and promoting audience sustainability.

Green Events & Innovations has a glittering array of speakers including artistes Martyn Ware (Heaven 17/Human League) and Rodney P (the “Godfather” of British hip hop) as well as top panellists including Rob Scully from the Glastonbury Festival, Pip Rush and Bertie Cole from Arcadia Spectacular, Andy Fryers from the UK’s Hay Festival, Yomi Ayeni from USA’s Burning Man Festival, Chris Johnson from the UK’s Shambala Festival, Artur Mendes from the Boom Festival in Portugal, Holger Jan Schmidt from Green Events Europe and Ben Hardy from Bristol 2015, the European Green Capital.

The day begins at 10.00 and is packed full of interesting panels, talks and presentations, right through to the closing drinks at 18.00 where delegates from Green Events and Innovations can meet with delegates from the ILMC Production Meeting for an end of conferences shindig. The full programme can be seen here


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Nuclear Dumping in the UK – near to YOU soon?

bikeNuclear dumping ANYWHERE in the UK?? The Infrastructure Planning (Radioactive Waste Geologial Disposal Facilities) Order 2015 is being debated in the Lords today (Weds 25 Feb), and if passed, it will allow central govt to force ANYWHERE in England to accept nuclear waste being dumped in boreholes, without any consent by local people. Currently local councils can veto this, and they have, in the past, so the Government is going to take that power away from them, so that they can’t do anything about it. Cumbria rejected dumping at the edge of the Lake District much to the Governments annoyance. So they want to change the law. Many people think that the logical extension of this is that boreholes which have been made for fracking will be used as nuclear dumps afterwards. The Infrastructure Act allows “any substance” to be left in fracking wells without our consent. Please spread the word about this and contact any Lord to ask them not to approve this Order. Twitter is a good way, but you will be able to find their email addresses on the Govt website too ( 

Two Spanish, Environment and Sustainability Scholarships on offer

beca puente inglésThe Spanish school in Granada, Escuela Delengua, has launched two scholarships for students interested in the environment and sustainability and who, at the same time, want to improve their Spanish.

The Spanish, Environment and Sustainability Scholarship lasts 8 weeks and includes daily individual Spanish classes, accommodation and visits to environmental projects.

You can find more information about the scholarship  on this webpage:



Dont pull that Dandelion!


Love Saves the Day and Protects the Environment

Love saves the dayLoves Saves The Day will be the first Bristol music festival to implement a reusable cup system – which is expected to save 360 000 plastic cups going to landfill over the next three years.

All draft beers and ciders will be served in the plastic cups over the festival – which will be held at Eastville Park on May 23rd and 24th. The cups can be re-used over 100 times when compared to a standard plastic cup. A non-refundable deposit of £1 will be charged for each cup and the revenue generated from this project will fund further sustainability projects.

Tom Paine, Festival Director, says: “Love Saves The Day is adopting a ‘re-use is better than recycle’ approach to viable areas of the events production. We need to start treating plastic as a reusable material rather than a disposable commodity.”

The introduction of resuable cups forms part of Love Saves The Day’s sustainability policy. The festival’s goal is to have a positive impact; providing inspirational entertainment, managing relationships with integrity, minimizing the environmental impacts associated with the festival, adding value to the local area where possible and creating new opportunities for people involved with the event.

Furthermore, to reduce carbon emissions, there are plans to highlight key cycling routes in the city as well as encourage more people to cycle to the festival. Use of public transport is going to be promoted as Love Saves The Day are working with First Group. Energy and waste are going to be carefully managed to ensure maximum efficiency and recycling.

As one of Bristol’s biggest festivals, Love Saves The Day is contributing to Bristol being a healthier and happier city – the UK’s first Green Capital.


GEI_Logo2015-largePNGThe leaders of the UK’s three main political parties, David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg have signed a cross-party pledge to tackle climate change.  The agreement includes commitments to an internationally binding deal at the crucial COP21 summit in Paris 2015, a promise to end unabated coal power generation and a pledge to agree a Carbon Budget in accordance with the Climate Change Act.  The agreement follows the close of the first international climate summit of 2015, in Geneva, where delegates produced the first draft of a possible “Paris Agreement” which will be negotiated throughout the year, before being agreed in the French capital in December.

The UK Energy Secretary Ed Davey has given the go-ahead for the giant Dogger Bank Creyke Beck offshore wind farm in the North Sea which is being hailed as one of the most significant infrastructure projects ever undertaken by the wind industry. The Dogger Bank Creyke Beck A and B wind project is now the largest consented offshore wind project in the world. It will have a maximum capacity of 2400MW and will generate enough electricity to power almost two million homes once built. The UK Government’s Green Investment Bank (GIB) also announced a new £60m investment to fund up to 30 community-scale renewable projects across the UK. And the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Commission have joined forces to launch two financial initiatives with a €715m investment to encourage private sector involvement in schemes that reduce energy use and conserve natural capital. In the US Citi will make $100 billlion available over 10 years to help finance “activities that reduce the impact of climate change and create environmental solutions”. The New York based bank will look for investment opportunities aimed at greenhouse gas reductions and resource effcienecy – such as sustainable transport, as well as access to clean water and affordable housing.

oil rigThe UK’s fossil fuel industry was deeply “unsettled” by comments from energy secretary Ed Davey raising the prospect that their assets could be rendered worthless by global action on climate change, according to a letter of protest sent to the secretary of state . Malcolm Webb, chief executive of Oil and Gas UK, which represents the industry, wrote to Davey saying he was “perplexed” by the “conflicting and confusing messages” and accused him of making investment in the North Sea less attractive. The letter was released to the Guardian under freedom of information rules. The issue was also raised by Erik Bonino, chairman of Shell UK, at a meeting with Davey in January, at which Bonino said if Shell “knew there were to be no more fossil fuels, [it] could cash out and give shareholders their money back in four years”.

Creating biofuels from waste produced by industry, farms, and households could generate 36,000 jobs in the UK and save around 37m tonnes of oil use annually by 2030, according to a new report. Across Europe, hundreds of thousands of new jobs could be created by using these ‘advanced biofuels’, which could replace 16% of the continent’s road transport fuel by the same year, the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) study said. But the gains will not come without ambitious policy to promote advanced biofuels, it warned. reports that supermarket chain Sainsbury’s is pioneering the use of ground-source heating technology by collecting the warmth from the back of its refrigerators to heat up its stores – cutting energy use by more than 30%. The new technology has already been installed at 30 Sainsbury’s stores across the country and the retailer is currently working with heating specialist Geoscart and British Gas to expand the roll-out to at least another 70 of its sites.    The ground-source heat pumps provide 100% of the stores’ heating needs by collecting the waste heat produced by the back of refrigerators and storing it in a heat chamber located in the ground beneath the supermarket. The subsurface rock makes for good insulation, keeping the heat for use in colder months, when the heat is pumped back up into the building as it’s needed.

harvardLawyers for Harvard University will appear in court to fight off attempts to force the world’s richest university to dump ivestments in coal, oil and gas companies from its $36bn (£23bn) endowment. A lawsuit filed late last year by seven law students and undergraduates argues the university has a duty to fight climate change by pulling out of fossil fuel companies. The university and the state of Massachusetts, which is also named in the lawsuit, are asking the judge to dismiss the case.

Orangutan3-226x300More from The Indonesian pulp and paper industry has once again come under fire from conservationists, this time for the legality of fibre supply. A new study from the Anti-Forest Mafia Coalition and Forest Trends analysed Indonesian Ministry of Forestry and timber industry data to assess the sustainability of the country’s booming pulp and paper industry. It revealed that more than 30% of wood used by Indonesia’s industrial forest sector stems from the unreported clear-cutting of natural forests and other illegal sources, instead of legal tree plantations and well-managed logging concessions.  The report singles out the zero-deforestation pledge made by Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) whose ‘improvements’ we recently reported on – claiming “such a commitment would be impossible for all of Indonesia’s pulp mills to meet”. The pulp sector does not have sufficient supply from plantations to meet current industrial capacity, it says.

2015 could see coral bleaching on a global scale for the third time in history – and the first in the absence of an El Niño. That is the latest prediction from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa), which has just launched a model to forecast threats facing the colourful reefs. Bleaching takes place when corals are stressed due to changes in light, nutrients or temperature. “It started in 2014 – we had severe bleaching from July to October in the northern Marianas, bad bleaching in Guam, really severe bleaching in the north western Hawaiian Islands, and the first ever mass bleaching in the main Hawaiian Islands,” said Mark Eakin, Noaa’s Coral Reef Watch coordinator. “It then moved south, with severe bleaching in the Marshall Islands and it has moved south into many of the areas in the western south Pacific.

BPREPORTThe chairman of the UK Parliament’s Energy and Climate Change Committee says a new global climate deal due to be agreed at the COP21 Paris meeting must allow for carbon trading between countries. MP Tim Yeo believes the crucial COP21 summit in Paris should put in place a price on carbon, which would enable emissions trading systems around the world to link-up in future and ensure the world slashes climate-changing emissions in the most-effective way possible.   “Putting a price on carbon is absolutely essential if we are to curb the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change,” said Yeo. “But using taxes to set a carbon price does not guarantee any particular level of emissions reduction because the emitters may simply pay the tax and carry on polluting.  Oil giant BP’s chief executive Bob Dudley has joined calls for a global carbon price to counteract spiralling emissions over the next 20 years, as projected by the oil giant’s latest Energy Outlook report which predicts that emissions will rise by 1% every year from now until 2035 – far above any ‘safe’ emissions targets identified by experts. This adds up to a 25% increase, which is “materially higher” than a scenario whereby global temperature rises are limited to 2C, the company says.

The US security establishment views climate change as real and a dangerous threat to national security. But Canada takes a very different view, according to a secret intelligence memo prepared by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). The memo, stamped “Canadian eyes only”, repeatedly casts doubt on the causes of climate change – the burning of fossil fuels – and its potential threat. The 44-page intelligence assessment of Canada’s environmental protest movement was prepared for the government of Stephen Harper, who is expected to roll out new anti-terror legislation. More on the Guardian here.

British food security is not being harmed by the spread of solar panels in the countryside as claimed by the UK’s environment secretary, documents from her own department reveal. Liz Truss told farmers last October that they would no longer receive agricultural subsidies for land that had solar power on, saying the “ugly” panels were “a blight on the countryside and villages” and were pushing production of meat and produce overseas. “I am committed to food production in this country and it makes my heart sink to see row upon row of solar panels where once there was a field of wheat or grassland for livestock to graze,” she was quoted as saying at the time. But environment department officials have admitted in private correspondence and documents released under freedom of information rules that they hold no data on the land covered in England by solar panels; they have no idea how much they will save in agricultural subsidies through the change; and the claim that solar power is harming food production does not stack up.

FrackOffGermany has proposed a draft law that would allow commercial shale gas fracking at depths of over 3,000 metres, overturning a de facto moratorium that has been in place since the start of the decade. A new six-person expert panel would also be empowered to allow fracks at shallower levels. Meanwhile in Australia, the Queensland government may adopt tough new regulations to tackle the amount of pollution flowing onto the Great Barrier Reef, with the state’s first ever reef minister vowing to strengthen protections to avoid the ecosystem being listed as “in danger” by the UN. The new Labor government has promised to slash the amount of nitrogen flowing on to the reef from key catchments by 80% by 2025, while also cutting total suspended sediment reaching the reef by 50% by the same year.

formulaeAnd finally, Battersa Park in South London will host the finale of the inaugural Formula-E series after planning permission was granted by Wandsworth Council. The race will feature the single seater electric racing cars launched at the first race in Beijing last September and is scheduled for June 27th and 28th on a 2.92km 15 turn circuit designed by British architect Simon Gibbons. Brazillian driver Lucas di Grassi (e-dams Renault) tops the leader board with 58 points followed by Brit Sam Bird (Virgin Racing) with 48 points and Swiss driver Sébastien Buemi (Audi Sport ABT) on 43 points.  In other e-car news from Treehugger, rumours abound that Apple is planning to go head-to-head with Tesla by going in the electric car market. Exhibit A is a Wall Street Journal piece that cites “people familiar with the matter” who claim that a project with the code name of “Titan” is underway, with a thousand-people team under Apple Vice President Steve Zadesky, a former Ford engineer who was on the teams that created the iPod and iPhone, and Johann Jungwirth, who was Mercedes Benz’s R&D chief before being hired by Apple last fall. Exhibit B is is tha Apple and Tesla are currently engaged in a talent war, poaching each other’s employees  and Exhibit C comes from the late Steve Jobs himself who apprently  told John Markoff of The New York Times that if he had more energy, he would have liked to take on Detroit with an Apple car.”