ANOTHER PLANET?

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A rare finch may be all that stands in the way of Australia mining a vast coal reserve.  Its a funny old world – Australia is undoubtedly suffering more than many other countries from the effects of climate change – but cant stop itself letting economics drive its choices – but the fact is when there is no air and no water – you can’t breathe or drink money. Hey ho. If approved the Carmichael mine would cover 280 sq km and would be the first of nine mines in the Galilee basin in Queensland- one of the worlds largest remaining reserves of coal – and according to 350.0rg, capable of being the 7th large of carbon on the planet if the 4 billion tonnes of fossil fuel are extracted. Environmentalists says that if Indian Multinational Adani Group are allowed to mine the region the last two breeding groups of the the Black-throated Finch would be wiped out.

Stanford University has developed a new fast-charging aluminium-ion battery that could be a legitimate option for grid-level storage of renewable energy. The key feature of the aluminium-ion battery is its durability, making it a potential solution to the problem of how to store renewable energy on electrical grids. The battery is able to be charged 7,500 times without losing capacity, compared to a typical lithium-ion battery which can be charged 1,000.

teslamodelSElectric carmaker Tesla sold 10,030 cars in the first quarter of 2015 – a 55% year-on-year increase. The figures – a new company record for a quarter – surpassed analyst expectations by at least 500 units and led to a 9% bump in in Tesla stock. The growth is driven by the Tesla Model S which accounted for 25% of all electric vehicles sold in the US in Q1 2015. It was recently named the best car in the world by the influential Consumer Reports magazine for the second year in a row.

Edie.net reports that innovation and improvements to grid connections could make onshore wind the most cost-effective new electricity source by 2020, according to the Onshore Wind Cost Reduction Taskforce.  Research carried out by the Taskforce, set up by RenewableUK, shows that these measures, along with ensuring the UK planning system is working and sharing best practise within industry, would be needed to drive down the price of onshore wind. It believes this would make onshore wind cheaper than its nearest price competitor, gas, by reducing the cost up to £21 per MWh. The costs are anticipated to be 22% less than today’s current prices for onshore wind.

Emissions from 10,000 of Europe’s most polluting power stations and factories have fallen by more than 4%, according to new figures. The number comes from verified data submitted by 87% of the 12,000 installations covered by the EU Emission Trading Scheme (ETS). The 4.4% fall in emissions is thanks to the growth of renewables and a mild winter in 2014, according to data-provider Carbon Market Data. The drop also outpaced the annual shrinking of the overall ETS cap, which reduces by 1.74% each year between 2013 and 2020, targeting a 20% cut in total emissions compared with 2012.

Nearly three-quarters of the world’s biggest palm-oil users have improved their commitment to sustainable sourcing in the past year, but fast-food brands are evidently lagging behind.  The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) has ranked the 10 largest palm-oil users in three sectors – fast-food, packaged food and personal care. Despite broadly positive results – 21 companies out of 30 increased their commitments – the fast-food sector was a clear loser. Dunkin’ Donuts has made a ‘strong’ commitment out of the sector and, Yum Brands – the parent-company of fast-food brands KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut – has committed to 100% sustainable palm oil for the first time following pressure from environmental activists.

California Governor Jerry Brown has ordered business and residents to cut water use by 25% last week as the drought continues, but tech-giants in Silicon Valley need to do even more, according to one expert.  A single data centre can consume up to 20,000 litres of water per hour – “as much water as a small city”, according to Peter Hopton, founder of liquid-cooling firm Iceotope. “The water use of data centres is insane, especially when viewed in a time of ‘historic drought’ in California, where many facilities are based,” said Hopton.

And Edie.net reports that China is set to tackle its heavily-polluted water supplies by enforcing polluting industries to treat discharged water.  The country is expected to launch an action plan later this month following approval by the cabinet to give it legal powers to hold polluters and local authorities responsible. The plan will require industries such as paper mills and dye and chemical plants to treat discharged water, setting high penalties for those that do not comply with the new regulations. Water will be prevented from being classed worse than level five – so polluted it is toxic for human skin – by 2017.

jamie UK chef Jamie Oliver has launched a campaign to fight global obesity epidemic. With 42 million children under the age of five either overweight or obese across the world, the bottom line is the next generation will live shorter lives than their parents if nothing is done to rectify these alarming stats. That’s why Jamie’s taking his Food Revolution, started in the UK, around the world. And he needs your help. he’sasking that you do two simple things – first, please sign a petition to show your support for compulsory practical food education in schools across the world, then, most importantly, share it via your social networks. It’s essential that we arm future generations with the life skills they urgently need in order to lead healthier, happier, more productive lives. I passionately believe this is every child’s human right and I hope you agree. If you can help me get millions of people to sign this petition, we can create a movement powerful enough to force all G20 governments to take action.  Food education will make a difference to the lives of the next generations, so please help. Jamie can’t do it without you. SIGN UP AND SHARE HERE.

hawksbill-turtle-thailandWhy we should all love turtles – have a look at this amazing video with a link through to a commentary from diver Darren C. Turtle populations have declined by 80 percent worldwide during the last century.

Nobel prize winners in the US and Australia have joined calls for the world’s two largest health charities to sell their stocks in leading fossil fuel companies. The eminent medical researchers argue that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust should end their investments in major coal, oil and gas firms because they conflict with the charities’ aims of improving public health. “It is clear that while some coal producers may be in denial, the large oil companies understand exactly what is happening with anthropogenic climate change. It is also clear that the rush to find more oil and dig more coal continues unabated,” said Professor Peter Doherty, a scientist at the University of Melbourne who won the Nobel prize for his work on the immune system. “Is it likely that anything other than placing a real price on carbon and withdrawing investment will influence either industry?” he said. More on the Guardian website here.

Vancouver has become the latest city to commit to running on 100% renewable energy. The city of 600,000 on Canada’s west coast aims to use only green energy sources for electricity, and also for heating and cooling and transportation. Cities and urban areas are responsible for 70-75% of global CO2 emissions and that’s where “real action on climate will happen” said Park Won-Soon, Mayor of Seoul, South Korea at the ICLEI World Congress 2015, the triennial sustainability summit of local governments where Vancouver made the announcement.  “We are the green tide coming together to save the world from climate change,” Park said to nearly 15,000 members of local government including more than 100 mayors. Andrea Reimer, Vancouver’s deputy mayor told the Guardian: “There’s a compelling moral imperative but also a fantastic economic case to be a green city.” The 100% goal is likely to be set for a target year of 2030 or 2035.

A major spike in air pollution across much of England poses a risk to those suffering from respiratory diseases, older people and children, health charities have warned today (10th April). Unseasonably dry, warm and still weather, pollution from the continent and dust from the Sahara have added to exiting UK pollution to create  am major problem in some areas and children and people with asthma and other respiratory problems are being warned to be careful. The government pushed its smog alert levels to “very high” – its most extreme pollution warning – for some parts of south east England.  Northern Europe, especially France, will be cloaked in a thick shroud of smog for much of Friday. In Paris and northern cities the government has reduced all traffic speed limits by 20km/hr. Residential parking has been made free in Paris to encourage people to leave their cars at home. Keith Taylor is the Greens MEP for the south east, the area most heavily affected by Friday’s event, said the problem should be a national priority. “Whoever forms the next government, one of the first things they must do is to urgently address this public health crisis that currently only seems to be getting worse.”

And Barack Obama has highlighted the impact of climate change on public health, hours after the White House unveiled an initiative targeting adverse health effects caused by extreme weather and greenhouse gas emissions. “There are a whole host of public health impacts that are going to hit home,” Obama said at a roundtable discussion with health professionals at Howard University in Washington DC, citing rising asthma rates and the prospects of nontraditional insect-borne diseases soon moving to North America. “Ultimately … all of our families are going to be vulnerable. You can’t cordon yourself off from air or from climate.”

The glaciers of western Canada, one of the world’s most picturesque mountain regions, are likely to largely melt away over just three generations, scientists have warned. By 2100, the glaciers of Alberta and British Columbia are set to shrink by 75% in area compared to 2005 levels, and by 70% in volume, according to their predictions.

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