ANOTHER PLANET?

detox-catwalk-420x309Greenpeace has  announced its Detox Catwalk, listing how major fashion brands rank on removing toxic chemicals from their supply chains and tackling water pollution.  As part of the four-year Detox campaign, fashion brands have had to commit tozero-discharge of all hazardous chemicals by 2020 and require their suppliers to be transparent about water pollution incidents. The Detox Catwalk assesses how committed companies have performed against key criteria, including eliminating known hazardous chemicals from their products and moving towards full supply chain transparency.  The list has three categories; detox leader for those who have met their detox commitments, greenwasher for those who have only made partial progress, and detox losers for those companies who have not met their targets at all. Luxury British fashion house Burberry joined the campaign in 2014, and has thrown down the gauntlet to other luxury brands by making significant progress against its commitments, joining other recognisable UK highstreet brands such as C&A, Primark, Marks and Spencer and H&M on the list of ‘Detox Leaders’. Greenpeace identified sporting-giant Nike as a ‘greenwasher’, saying “the company is unwilling to embrace a transparency revolution across its global supply chain and still has not given a clear timeline to eliminate all PFCs in all its products.” Diesel, PVH, Only The Brave,  Giorgio Armani, Gap, Mango and D&G are amongst the shamed detox losers.

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is the best way to decarbonise British industry, according to a new report from the influential Green Alliance think-tank.  The report argues the Government should invest in large-scale CCS clusters as the most efficient way of reducing emissions. “To decarbonise industry, CCS is the only choice,” said report author Dustin Benton. “UK CCS deployment has been painfully slow to date, but creating industrial CCS clusters would cut carbon faster as well as cutting costs. Supporting clusters makes sense, whereas simply compensating energy-intensive industries for high carbon prices does not.” Green Alliance is a charity and independent think tank focused on ambitious leadership for the environment.

Around 320,000 new electric vehicles were registered around the world in 2014, accounting for 43% of all electric vehicles currently on the road. The US is leading the charge, having added 117,000 electric cars, retaining the no. 1 spot for the world’s biggest fleet of e-vehicles.  The figures for China also spiked with nearly 54,000 new electric vehicles added, an increase of around 120%.  China’s fleet is the third largest in the world, just behind  Japan which saw a relatively muted 45% growth rate. The global growth rate was 76%.  And the resale value of electric cars will soon match their diesel counterparts, making them a more attractive proposition, experts have claimed.  Glass’s – a second-hand car valuator – said that the resale values of electric vehicles would continue to increase as the market becomes more accustomed to the technology.

droughtAnd more from China. The Chief of China’s Meteorological Administration, Zheng Guoguang, has said that China is suffering more acute effects from climate change than other countries. Chinas average surface temperature has increased by nearly twice the annual global average since the 1950s and the state news agency has warned that the country faces serious threats to food security, water resources, energy supply and economic development. Particularly at risk are crop yields, and the massive engineering projects that have defined China’s economic development such as the Three Gorges Dam and the south-north water diversion project.  Chinas economic losses from climate change run at eight times the global norm. Recently some Chinese states have begun to scale back heavy industry in the face of  toxic air pollution and the risk to food security and the need to feed the nation is seen as a top priority.

Longannet power station  in Fife looks – the ‘most polluting in Scotland’ – is set to close next year after losing out on a crucial National Grid contract to supply ‘voltage support’ services.  Owner Scottish Power had previously stated that the contract was its last hope of staying open, and the company today confirmed “in all likelihood” that it would close the station in March 2016. The £15m contract was instead awarded to the gas-fired Peterhead Power Station, in Aberdeenshire.According to a National Grid statement, Peterhead was selected thanks to its ability to provide system stability and resilience, and value for money for GB consumers.

orcaDodo tells us that SeaWorld, the much criticised family entertainment company much criticised for its treatment of captive orca whales is now facing a blizzard of derision oin twitter after it’s public relations team jumped blindly into the wild waters of the internet — only to be met with a virtual tidal wave of backlash, Using #AskSeaWorld, Twitter users can ask anything, and SeaWorld will post it on a central site. So far, the ones posted have been pretty tame; they include “How does SeaWorld care for their killer whales?” and “How long do killer whales live?” But on Twitter, it’s another story. A quick glance at the hashtag will give a pretty good idea of how Twitter is responding to the campaign – such as “#AskSeaWorld So it’s normal for a baby to be forcefully taken from it’s family & sent to a different country to live with abusive strangers?” and “#AskSeaWorld since when did money become more important than the care and safety of animals? #FreeTheWhales” and “When are you going to close already? #AskSeaWorld”. Orcas need to be in the sea – not a theme park.

cowsIs man’s obsession with meat and livestock a bigger problem than greenhouse gases produced by industrial and domestic use and generating energy? Is methane the planet’s worse nightmare? Have a look at the Cowspiracy – The Sustainability Secret:  which ends with the observation that most deforestation is to clear grazing land for animal agriculture and to produce soya to feed domestic animals:  its worth a watch

Edie.net reports that as part of the Budget, George Osborne has announced £60m funding to help UK companies develop and commercialise energy technologies of the future.  The flapship project to receive funding will be the Birmingham Energy Systems Catapult, which will initially focus on the improvement of energy networks – including heat, electricity and combustible gases. Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “The Energy Systems Catapult will make Britain the best place in the world to develop new energy products and services, like local energy systems that can provide an alternative source of power to the national grid. “Locating the Catapult in Birmingham puts it right at the heart of a vibrant energy hub that will bring researchers and businesses together – a key component of bringing new and innovative ideas to market.”

And the Government has given the UK Green Investment Bank (GIB) £200m to expand its investment portfolio into India and Africa. In a letter to Parliament, Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said the joint venture with Decc would maximise the impact of UK climate aid.  “Unmitigated climate change will hit the poorest first and hardest,” said Davey. “It is vital that we use public climate finance to catalyse private investment into developing countries.” The GIB will focus on renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, using the same framework as its UK operation: invest based on commercial viability and mobilise additional private sector finance.  The UK Green Investment Bank (GIB) is also one of three investors funding a first-of-its-kind £111m recycling and waste facility in Scotland. The Levenseat project will see a 12.5MW energy from waste (EfW) plant built alongside – and ultimately used to power – a Materials Recycling Facility (MRF).

Frozen food giant Iglo Group is investing £3.7m to launch a campaign encouraging people to freeze food to reduce waste across Europe.
Related articles. Iglo is teaming up with the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) in the pan-European iFreeze campaign which aims to inform customers on the benefits of freezing on a million occasions by 2020 through TV and print advertising, online tips and on-pack advice. Iglo hopes the campaign will reduce the €260 of food waste thrown away by every European household each year.

Flexible laminate packaging, such as food and drink pouches, could soon be included in existing household recycling schemes thanks to a new trial. The project, first announced in June 2014, is being funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) Action Based Research programme in partnership with major food brands Nestlé UK & Ireland and Coca-Cola Enterprises. One aim is to determine best practise to increase the amount of flexible laminate packaging collected by testing different methods of engagement with residents. It should provide insight on how communication, customer behaviour and brands will influence collection rates.

FrackOffThe former chief of the Environment Agency is “hugely sceptical” on the prospects of fracking for shale oil in the UK, saying it is far from clear that the process should be used to extract quantities of oil from downlands in the south-east of England.  Lord Smith of Finsbury, better known as Chris Smith when he was a Labour MP and minister, said: “The environmental case for shale oil is much more adverse than for shale gas. It’s much more difficult to make the case for shale oil.” Smith chairs the taskforce on shale gas, an independent group funded by fracking companies to examine how shale gas exploration should be overseen, which on Wednesday advocated that a new single regulator should be put in charge of all inland gas and oil extraction in the UK, whether from shale fracking or other methods. And do you want to see what your local politicians think about fracking? The Frack Free Promise is supported by Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace. Across the UK, they have been asking local  candidates in the may 7th general election to oppose fracking in their constituencies if they’re elected – have a look here!

UK,Businesses will soon be able to take solar panels with them when they relocate without losing subsidies, the Government has announced From summer 2019, medium and large building-mounted solar PV systems will be allowed to be moved between buildings without the loss of Feed-in Tariff (FIT) payments. Previously FiT payments ended when solar panels were relocated, meaning commercial tenants were unwilling to invest in renewable technologies.

The mining town of Broken Hill in Australia is fast running out of water. The widespread drought in Queensland and New South Wales, blamed on climate change, has drained the town’s water reserves so they may well run out by August. The area has experienced more frequent and more intense droughts.

Lobbyist and public relations consultant Dr. Patrick Moore, who has worked for pesticide manufacturers like Monsanto and others in the pesticide industry – and Greenpeace – has refused to drink a glass of Monsanto’s weed killer “Roundup” after labeling the substance safe to drink, saying he would be ‘stupid’ to do so, and then walking out on the interview calling the interviewer a ‘jerk’. It’s all on video!

And more of the same! Appearing before a Nebraska Oil & Gas Conservation committee hearing, a local farmer received nothing but silence from the pro-fracking members of the board after he invited them to drink glasses of water tainted by fracking. In the video,  Nebraskan James Osborne used his 3 minutes before the committee to visually explain what fracking waste can do to the water table, dramatically pouring out water containing his own “private mixture” of fracking additives.

Cholita - the spectacled bear

Cholita – the spectacled bear

And finally – Cholita, An endangered Andean spectacled bear is awaiting an airlift to the U.S. after a brutal life in a Peruvian circus has left her maimed and bald. The bear was discovered two weeks ago during a surprise raid on a circus in north Peru by Animal Defenders International (ADI) – her teeth had been smashed in and her paws damaged and claws removed by the circus.  ADI now need to raise funds to send the bear to Colarado, in the USA, along with 33 lions and 25 monkeys in the largest airlift ever of freed performing animals. Remember – this bear should look like Paddington Bear – and Paddington athor Michael Bond has thrown his weight behind the campaign saying Cholita’s plight was a “Horrible story”. More on the fundraising here.  ADI began its Stop Circus Suffering campaign in South America in 2007 after an undercover investigation into the abuse of wild animals – whose use is now banned in Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay, Columbia, El Salvador Panama, Costa Rica and Mexico.

When you do something eco-friendly and people say “oh thats so inspirational”: Well, “it shouldn’t be inspirational, it should be the norm”: Thank you will.i.am.

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