Monthly Archives: September 2016

ANOTHER PLANET?

sea_ice_polar_bearThe United States and China, the world’s biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, have announced they will formally ratify the Paris climate change agreement in a move campaigners immediately hailed as a significant advance in the battle against global warming.

Arctic sea ice this summer shrank to its second lowest level since scientists started to monitor it by satellite, with scientists saying it is another ominous signal of global warming. The US National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado said the sea ice reached its summer low point  extending 4.14m sq km (1.6m sq miles). That’s behind only the mark set in 2012, 3.39m sq km.

Humans have destroyed a tenth of Earth’s remaining wilderness in the last 25 years and there may be none left within a century if trends continue, according to an authoritative new study. The Guardian reports that researchers found a vast area the size of two Alaskas – 3.3m square kilometres – had been tarnished by human activities between 1993 and today, which experts said was a “shockingly bad” and “profoundly large number”. The Amazon accounted for nearly a third of the “catastrophic” loss, showing huge tracts of pristine rainforest are still being disrupted despite the Brazilian government slowing deforestation rates in recent years. A further 14% disappeared in central Africa, home to thousands of species including forest elephants and chimpanzees.

Orangutan3WE NEED TO SAVE THE ORANG UTAN. WE REALLY DO.  The Bornean Orangutans are now officially classified as “critically endangered” – meaning they’re on the very brink of extinction. Greenpeace are campaigning to stop oil palm producers destroying their natural habitat and end deforestation. PLEASE SUPPORT THIS.

A coalition of 25 military and national security experts, including former advisers to Ronald Reagan and George W Bush, has warned that climate change poses a “significant risk to US national security and international security” that requires more attention from the US federal government. The prominent members of the US national security community warned that warming temperatures and rising seas will increasingly inundate military bases and fuel international conflict and mass migration, leading to “significant and direct risks to US military readiness, operations and strategy”. More here (Three Bipartisan Groups of Military and National Security Leaders Urge Robust New Course on Climate Change).

beesUnpublished field trials by pesticide manufacturers show their products cause serious harm to honeybees at high levels, leading to calls from senior scientists for the companies to end the secrecy which cloaks much of their research. The research, conducted by Syngenta and Bayer on their neonicotinoid insecticides, were submitted to the US Environmental Protection Agency and obtained by Greenpeace after a freedom of information request.

The UK will fail to meet its targets on renewable energy generation, with take-up of clean fuels for heating and transport falling badly behind aims, MPs have warned. The findings of the influential Energy and Climate Change Committee (ECC) show that ministers have little clear plan for meeting the 2020 target to meet 15% of UK energy needs from renewable sources. This includes a target to generate 30% of electricity from wind, solar and other low-carbon sources by the end of the decade, and to generate 12% of heating energy and 10% of transport fuels from clean sources by the same date. The UK is not legally bound to meet the heat target, which is advisory.

Humpback_Whale_underwater_shotThe soaring temperature of the oceans is the “greatest hidden challenge of our generation” that is altering the make-up of marine species, shrinking fishing areas and starting to spread disease to humans, according to the most comprehensive analysis yet of ocean warming. The oceans have already sucked up an enormous amount of heat due to escalating greenhouse gas emissions, affecting marine species from microbes to whales, according to an International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) report involving the work of 80 scientists from a dozen countries.

The UK’s new flood defence plans anticipate significantly higher extreme rainfall, after new research was published as part of the government’s National Flood Resilience review. The government, which had been criticised for not taking full account of the impact of climate change in driving up flood risk, will now plan for 20-30% more extreme downpours than before. The review, prompted by severe flooding in recent winters in towns and cities including Carlisle, Keswick, Kendal, Cockermouth, York, Manchester and Leeds, also found that 530 critical infrastructure sites, such as water and telecoms, are at serious risk from floods, each potentially affecting at least 10,000 people. Utility companies have pledged to have new protection in place by the end of the year. The government’s official climate change advisers recently warned that flooding could cause a cascade of emergencies by knocking out energy, transport, water and communications links. The review allocates £12.5m for more temporary defences, such as barriers and pumps, at strategic locations around the country. By this winter, the government said, four times more temporary barriers will be available. More here.

HoneyBeeMore bad news for bees: Beekeepers around the south-eastern US fear a new threat to their livelihood: a fine mist beaded with neurotoxin, sprayed from the sky by officials at war with mosquitos that carry the Zika virus. Miami fears Zika virus may hit $24bn tourism industry hard but earlier this week, South Carolina beekeepers found millions of dead honey bees carpeting their apiaries, killed by an insecticide. Video posted by a beekeeper to Facebook showed thousands of dead insects heaped around hives, while a few survivors struggled to move the bodies of fellow bees. “This is what’s left of Flowertown Bees,” a despondent keeper says in the video. Company co-owner Juanita Stanley told the Associated Press her farm looked “like it’s been nuked” and estimated 2.5 million bees were killed. In another Facebook post, South Carolina hobbyist Andrew Macke wrote that he had lost “thousands upon thousands of bees” and that the spraying had devastated his business. “Have we lost our mind,” he wrote, “spraying poison from the sky?”

Even more bad BEE news – please GIVE BEES A CHANCE:  the Asian hornet’s long-feared arrival on the UK mainland has been confirmed, government scientists have said, with ecologists warning of dire consequences for honeybees if the species is not swiftly eliminated. The hornets eat honeybees and have become widespread in central and southern France, prompting warnings in recent years that they could arrive in the UK via potted plants from France. While not considered a threat to humans, the arrival of the hornets add to the woes of Britain’s honeybees, which are vital for pollination of many crops but have been suffering declines for decades.

mantaray2The UK is to ban commercial fishing from a million square kilometres of ocean around British overseas territories. In total, the UK government is creating marine protected areas around four islands in the Pacific and Atlantic, including the designation this week of one of the world’s biggest around the Pitcairn Islands. A 840,000 sq km (320,000 sq mile) area around Pitcairn, where the mutineers of the Bounty settled, becomes a no-take zone for any fishing from this week. St Helena, around 445,000 sq km of the south Atlantic ocean and home to whale sharks and humpbacks, is now also designated as a protected area. And President Barack Obama will establish the first US national marine monument in the Atlantic, a move that’s designed to permanently protect nearly 5,000 square miles of underwater canyons and mountains off the coast of New England. The White House said the designation will lead to a ban on commercial fishing, mining and drilling, though a seven-year exception will occur for the lobster and red crab industries. Also, recreational fishing will be allowed within the monument.

african-elephant2The government must implement a total ban on ivory sales in the UK, according to scores of politicians, conservationists, scientists and entertainment stars including William Hague, Jane Goodall, Stephen Hawking and Ricky Gervais. Ministers this week announced a ban on ivory younger than 70 years old, but stopped short of a total ban. The group have written to prime minister Theresa May “appealing to the government for a total ban on ivory sales”, which was a pledge made in both the 2010 and 2015 Conservative party manifestos. The Guardian says elephants are being slaughtered by poachers for their ivory in huge numbers and, while the international trade is illegal, critics say legal domestic trade allows illicit ivory to be passed off as antique and therefore legitimate. “The legal ivory trade in the UK feeds one of the largest markets for ivory in Europe,” write the group. “The closure of all ivory markets, both international and domestic, is critical for elephants’ survival.”

And finally – a loose coalition of more than 100 countries, including the US and European nations, is pushing for an early phase-out of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a powerful greenhouse gas that if left unchecked is set to add a potentially disastrous 0.5C to global temperatures by the end of the century.  At a meeting in New York on Thursday, world leaders called for an “ambitious phase-down schedule” for HFCs, which are commonly used in refrigerators and air conditioning systems, and pledged adaptation money for developing nations where HFC use is rapidly increasing.

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ADE Green announces a special panel, workshop and Dutch Awards ceremony for October 19th

adeMore and more festivals are going green – and new initiatives and exciting collaborations are becoming evident and used by more and more events!

Together with Green Events Nederland and A Greener Festival, ADE Green have programmed a workshop, an in-depth panel and a special Netherlands’ award ceremony for A Greener Festival, to help events go even greener!

Last year at ADE Green, seven Dutch festivals signed the ‘Green Deal – Waste free festival’ pact, collaborating on the aim to reduce waste and increase recycling. This year they will share the measures they took and talk about the results and the challenges of getting festivals greener. One of the measures that proved to be highly successful was the introduction of reusable hard cups (instead of disposable ones). Although this very common in some countries including Germany, there seem to be many  obstacles for the Dutch events industry. In the planned Zero-Waste panel, experts will discuss those obstacles, plus the do’s and don’ts from three different points of views: visitors, organisers and breweries.

Festivals who haven’t yet started going green can get their starter tips at the Go Greener Workshop. This introductory workshop will teach you where to start,  how to manage sustainability and different sustainability-related themes like energy, waste, traffic, transport and catering.
And last but by no means least, ADE are excited to announce that the ceremony for the annual ‘A Greener Festival Award’ is back in the Netherlands! A new scheme has been introduced as a way to help festivals to adapt or refine their behaviour and become more environmentally conscious. Several Dutch festivals have applied for an Award – and during this ceremony they will hear if they are to be rewarded for their efforts.

If you want to stay updated on ADE Green, subscribe here

ADE Green is a collaboration between ID&T and ADE, supported by Green Events Nederland, A Greener Festival, Greeen Music Initiative, Julie’s Bicycle and Open House.

Date: Wednesday October 19th

Venue: De Brakke Grond

Tickets for ADE Green (E35) are available here. The event is also accessible for  ADE 1- & 5- day conference ticketholders.

ANOTHER PLANET?

paris smogThe planet is warming at a pace not experienced within the past 1,000 years, at least, making it “very unlikely” that the world will stay within a crucial temperature limit agreed by nations just last year, according to Nasa’s top climate scientist Gavin Schmidt, who says “in the last 30 years we’ve really moved into exceptional territory”.  This year has already seen scorching heat around the world, with the average global temperature peaking at 1.38C above levels experienced in the 19th century, perilously close to the 1.5C limit agreed in the landmark Paris climate accord. July was the warmest month since modern record keeping began in 1880, with each month since October 2015 setting a new high mark for heat. But Nasa said that records of temperature that go back far further, taken via analysis of ice cores and sediments, suggest that the warming of recent decades is out of step with any period over the past millennium. More here on RT.

greatapesContinents and oceans in the northern hemisphere began to warm with industrial-era fossil fuel emissions nearly 200 years ago, pushing back the origins of human-induced climate change to the mid-19th century. The first signs of warming from the rise in greenhouse gases which came hand-in-hand with the Industrial Revolution appear as early as 1830 in the tropical oceans and the Arctic, meaning that climate change witnessed today began about 180 years ago. Researchers in Australia found evidence for the early onset of warming after trawling through 500 years of data on tree rings, corals and ice cores that together form a natural archive of Earth’s historical temperatures.

A group of 130 institutions that control US$13tn of investments have called on G20 nations to ratify the Paris agreement this year and accelerate investment in clean energy and forced disclosure of climate-related financial risk. More here from the Guardian.

orcaBarack Obama has created the world’s largest marine protected area by expanding an existing ocean reserve off Hawaii to cover 582,578 square miles, providing what’s likely to be the grandest, and final, chapter in the president’s conservation legacy. The sweeping move quadruples the size of the Papahānaumokuākea marine national monument, which was originally designated by George W Bush in 2006 and was declared a World Heritage site in 2010. The monument, which is now now double the size of Texas, stretches outward from the north-western Hawaiian islands and includes Midway Atoll, famed for its former military base and eponymous battle that was crucial in the US defeat of Japan in the second world war. President Obama has also given  two major speeches on climate change in the space of a day, one in Nevada and another in Hawaii, after Air Force One managed to safely dodge two hurricanes lurking in the Pacific. “No nation, not even one as powerful as the United States, is immune from a changing climate,” Obama told an audience of Pacific island leaders in Honolulu. “I saw it myself in our more northernmost state of Alaska, where the sea is swallowing villages and eating away at shorelines, where the permafrost thaws and the tundra is burning. Where glaciers are melting at a pace unprecedented in modern times. It’s a preview of our future if the climate changes faster than our efforts to address it.”

Cosmetics companies must be banned from using plastic microbeads in scrubs, toothpaste and beauty products because of the marine pollution they are causing, say a group of MPs. Members of the environmental audit committee have called for a ban within 18 months after hearing that trillions of tiny pieces of plastic are accumulating in the world’s oceans, lakes and estuaries, harming marine life and entering the food chain. About 86 tonnes of microplastics are released into the environment every year in the UK from facial exfoliants alone, they were told. Microplastic pollution comes from the fragmentation of larger pieces of plastic waste, small synthetic fibres from clothing and the microbeads used in cosmetics and other products. The microbeads in scrubs, shower gels and toothpastes are an avoidable part of this plastic pollution problem. A single shower could result in 100,000 plastic particles entering the ocean, said the committee chair, Mary Creagh.

rjfp3A group of researchers has published a study in the science journal Elementa in which they describe various models that compare 10 eating patterns: the vegan diet, two vegetarian diets (one that includes dairy, the other dairy and eggs), four omnivorous diets (with varying degrees of vegetarian influence), one low in fats and sugars, and one similar to modern American dietary patterns. What they found was that the carrying capacity—the size of the population that can be supported indefinitely by the resources of an ecosystem—of the vegan diet is actually less substantial than two of the vegetarian diets and two out of the four omnivorous diets they studied. https://www.elementascience.org/articles/116

If Italian MP Elvira Savino has her way, parents in Italy could go to jail for forcing their children to follow a vegan diet. Savino, who used to work in public relations and now holds a position as deputy for the Forza Italia party, believes that parents should be prosecuted for imposing such “reckless and dangerous eating behavior” on children 16 and under. Treehugger has more.

More than 3,500 churches across Britain have moved their electricity supply to renewables, or are planning to do so, according to data released on Thursday. Those switching away from fossil fuels include the majority of the Salvation Army’s sites, about a third of Quaker meeting houses, and about 2,000 churches belonging to 16 Catholic dioceses which are running entirely on renewable energy. But the number represents a relatively small proportion of the 50,000 Christian churches estimated to be active across the UK.

desertAustralia is the worst country among the G20 when it comes to action on climate change, according to a comprehensive assessment before the G20 summit in China. Under China’s leadership, this weekend’s G20 in the eastern city of Hangzhou has had a strong focus on climate-related issues. By analysing the policies and actions of each of the 20 countries, which together produce 75% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, Climate Transparency produced a report, scorecard and series of country profiles detailing their findings, revealing Australia was not pulling its weight. On the scorecard, Australia was the only country to receive a rating of “very poor” in a majority of categories.