Tag Archives: fossil fuel

Another Planet?

Caroline_Lucas_2010Recently re-elected Brighton Pavillion MP Caroline Lucas of the Green Party will be returning to the Eco Technology Show in Brighton this year to chair the important discussion titled “The Future of Energy Efficiency”. She will be joined by a panel of energy efficiency experts including Matthew Farrow, Executive Director of the Environmental Industries Commission, Christoph Harwood, Director of Marksman Consulting, Mike Walker, Sustainable Energy Using Products Team at DECC and Alex Hunt, Partner of The Green Building Partnership. Held on Friday 12th June 2:50pm – 3:50pm, this is just one of over 70 free keynotes, panels and talks spread across the three seminar areas throughout the show. You can see the full talk schedule here. Its free to register.

fde1Up to 90% of the global electronic waste produced each year – worth nearly $19bn – is illegally traded or dumped, according to a new report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). And the “mountain” of illegal e-waste is exhausting valuable resources and contains hazardous elements which pose a “growing threat” to the environment and human health.
UNEP’s ‘Waste Crimes‘ report found that the electronics market generates around 41 million tonnes of e-waste a year, of which 60-90% is illegally traded or dumped. Interpol estimates that one tonne of e-waste can be sold at around $500 on the black market, thanks to harvestable precious metals . UNEP executive director Achim Steiner said: “We are witnessing an unprecedented amount of electronic waste rolling out over the world.

The world’s biggest and most profitable fossil fuel companies are receiving huge and rising subsidies from US taxpayers, a practice slammed as absurd by a presidential candidate given the threat of climate change. A Guardian investigation of three specific projects, run by Shell, ExxonMobil and Marathon Petroleum, has revealed that the subsidises were all granted by politicians who received significant campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry.

airpollutionEnvironmentalists are demanding that the EU close a research fund which they claim offers coal companies tens of millions of pounds of public money in grants. The European commission’s Research Fund for Coal and Steel (RFCS) has awarded €144m (£107m) to companies such as E.On UK, RWE Npower and UK Coal Production Ltd, according to research by Greenpeace Energydesk. Most of the the money is spent on mining infrastructure, management and unconventional use of deposits, and on coal preparation and upgrading. Doug Parr, Greenpeace’s chief scientist, said that the fund made little environmental, economic or scientific sense.

Amber Rudd will replace Ed Davey as Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change as part of Prime Minister David Cameron’s reshuffle of the new Tory Government. The Hastings and Rye MP, who held onto her seat in Parliament in last week’s General Election, has been promoted from her previous position as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

The European Green Capital of the year, Bristol, has opened its first-ever community-owned solar farm. The 1.8MW Moorhouse Solar Farm will deliver 1,780 MWh of renewable electricity into the grid each year – enough to power around 430 homes each year – and save 850 tonnes of CO2 a year. The 1.8MW installation park was built by local company Solarsense and funded by Low Carbon Gordano, a co-operative whose purpose is to help the local community to reduce energy costs and become more sustainable.

One in three European birds is endangered, according to a leaked version of the most comprehensive study of Europe’s wildlife and natural habitats ever produced. The EU State of Nature report, seen by the Guardian, paints a picture of dramatic decline among once common avian species such as the skylark and turtle dove mainly as a result of agricultural pressures, and also warns that ecosystems are struggling to cope with the impact of human activity.

Norway’s biggest oil producer is establishing a new business encompassing renewable energy and other low-carbon energy solutions. Statoil, which is the world’s eleventh largest oil and gas company, announced today (12 May) that it is to set up New Energy Solutions (NES); to compliment its existing business and “drive profitable growth” in the green energy market.

Edie.net reports that the renewable energy industry in Northern Ireland has received a welcome boost this week with the launch of a new fully-funded solar solution which could save businesses up to £320m. Kingspan ESB – a joint venture between building technology firm Kingspan and Ireland’s largest energy company ESB will make photovoltaic (PV) energy available to businesses without the investment normally required in the capital outlay, installation or maintenance of a PV system. The funding solution unlocks cost savings of more than £320m over the next 25 years – £5.6m each year – along with significantly improved sustainability and environmental credentials for local businesses.

teaser313_bayer_bees_bundMore than two out of five American honeybee colonies died in the past year, and surprisingly, the worst die-off was in the summer, according to a federal survey. Since April 2014, beekeepers lost 42.1% of their colonies, the second-highest rate in nine years, according to an annual survey conducted by a bee partnership that includes the US Department of Agriculture. “What we’re seeing with this bee problem is just a loud signal that there’s some bad things happening with our agro-ecosystems,” said study co-author Keith Delaplane at the University of Georgia. “We just happen to notice it with the honeybee because they are so easy to count.”

Climate change campaigners reacted with disappointment as Edinburgh University announced on Tuesday that it would not fully divest from fossil fuels. Students lay down in protest on the steps of the building where senior vice principal Professor Charlie Jeffery set out the unanimous decision by the university’s court. Insisting that the university was committed to a change of investment policy, Jeffery said: “Our commitment is to engage before divestment, but the expectation is that we will bring about change by engagement.”  Boris Johnson has rejected a motion by the London assembly calling on City Hall’s pension fund to divest from fossil fuels, arguing the UK needs to press ahead with fracking to avoid being reliant on the Middle East and Russia for gas.  The Mayor of London said that a more realistic approach was needed than divestment, which he called a “sudden cliff edge”.

worldbankCountries could reduce the cost of decarbonisation by a third by enacting green policies immediately, according to a new report from the World Bank. The Decarbonising Development report lays out three steps for countries to follow in order for the planet to produce zero net emission by 2100. The steps include establishing a carbon price, providing support for those most affected by climate change, and setting defined targets.  The solutions exist, and they are affordable – if governments take action today, the report says. It warns, however, that costs will rise for the next generation the longer action is delayed. Data from the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report suggests that waiting just 15 more years and taking no action until 2030 would increase costs by an average of 50 percent through 2050 to keep temperatures from rising less than 2°C. “Choices made today can lock in emissions trajectories for years to come and leave communities vulnerable to climate impacts,” said World Bank Group Vice President and Special Envoy for Climate Change Rachel Kyte. “To reach zero net emissions before the end of this century, the global economy needs to be overhauled. We at the World Bank Group are increasing our focus on the policy options.”

The Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) and BRE’s training body, the BRE Academy, have formed a new partnership to develop sustainability training courses with a focus on the built environment. The agreement will see industry-relevant training courses embedded into Higher and Further Education programmes, as the effects of global warming are felt on buildings and infrastructures worldwide. IEMA chief executive Tim Balcon said: “Training and education provision is a key service which we provide for our 15,000-strong global membership, who are focussed on driving more sustainable practices and standards across all sectors. “This collaboration with the BRE Academy will enable us to offer new skills programmes with a focus on the built environment which plays such an integral part of every business and industry as well as the economy.

ecocideEcocide: The Psychology of Environmental Destruction:  Recent scientific reports about climate change make grim reading. A paper published in The Economic Journal by the respected UK economist Lord Stern states that the models previously used to calculate the economic effects of climate change have been ‘woefully inadequate.’ They have severely underestimated the scale of the threat, which will “cost the world far more than estimated.” What makes the situation even more serious is that climate change is just one of the environment-related problems we face. Others include the destruction and pollution of ecosystems, the disappearance of other species (both animal and plant), water shortage, over-population, and the rapacious consumption of resources. Now in his book Back to Sanity, Dr Steve Taylor suggests that human beings may be collectively suffering from a psychological disorder (‘humania’), and our reckless abuse of the environment is one of the best pieces of evidence for this. Would a sane species abuse their own habitat so recklessly? And would they allow such dangerous trends to intensify without taking any serious measures against them? More here.

Nearly two thirds of online shoppers now consider ‘green packaging’ when deciding where to shop according to a new poll. The survey of more than 500 internet shoppers, conducted by logistics firm Dotcom Distribution, found widespread support for environmentally-friendly packaging and green supply chain practices. Around 61% of respondents considered green packaging in their shopping choices with 57% saying it is important to them.

The plantable coffee cup

The plantable coffee cup

A new project called Reduce Reuse Grow is hoping to turn a major source of pollution into a positive solution that plants seeds! The project hopes to build a plantable coffee cup that has seeds built into the actual design. Alex Henige, a senior at California Polytechnic State University is the founder of the project, has created a kickstarter page to fund the new idea. Read More HERE. 569 backers have already pledged $21,077 to help bring this project to life – – “A coffee cup that has native seeds embedded within the material to be used for reforestation in your local communities.”

Shell_oil_croppedThe last intact section of one of Antarctica’s mammoth ice shelves is weakening fast and will likely disintegrate completely in the next few years, contributing further to rising sea levels, according to a Nasa study. The research focused on a remnant of the so-called Larsen B Ice Shelf, which has existed for at least 10,000 years but partially collapsed in 2002. What is left covers about 625 sq miles (1,600 sq km), about half the size of Rhode Island. Antarctica has dozens of ice shelves – massive, glacier-fed floating platforms of ice that hang over the sea at the edge of the continent’s coast line. The largest is roughly the size of France. Larsen B is located in the Antarctic Peninsula, which extends toward the southern tip of South America and is one of two principal areas of the continent where scientists have documented the thinning of such ice formations.

Environmental groups and experts hit out at the US government on Tuesday following its announcement that the Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell would be allowed to resume offshore exploration and drilling in the Arctic’s American waters. Unforgiving conditions in the Arctic’s icy waters not only make the chances of a spill likely, the complete lack of infrastructure in place to deal with a potential disaster means the consequences of the move could be calamitous, environmental activists and experts say.

scotlanbdthebrave

 

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ANOTHER PLANET?

Live Earth

 

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.

co-benefitsofclimateaction

ANOTHER PLANET?

whales killed

Environmental Investigation Agency

treehuggerEnvironmental photographer of the year shows climate change issues across the world – some marvellous photos can be found here  http://www.treehugger.com/slideshows/culture/environmental-photographer-year/#slide-top. Photo credit  Kevin McElvaney & Adam Latif, 2013

Sir David Attenborough, perhaps the most respected of all our wildlife broadcasters and a veteran campaigner, has warned that climate change is real and dangerous and that politicians, and others in authority and power, find it easier to deliberately ignore the compelling evidence of global warming. Sir David told Sky News “its a very major serious problem facing humanity” adding that the penalty for not taking notice is “huge”. That said, a group of leading economists have warned that the UN’s target to limit global temperature rises to 2C is too ‘costly’ and should be abandoned as the (economic) cost of limiting change was far outweighed by the economic damage,  with economist Dr Bjorn Lomborg, author of The Skeptical Environmentalist and director of the Copenhagen Consensis Centre saying that the UN target should be raised to 3C because the cost of limiting warming to 2C – estimated to be $100 trillion to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy – vastly outweighed the benefits – as adapting to climate change (droughts, storms, floods, environmental damage) would be much cheaper. World leaders meet in Paris next December to try and agree a deal to limit global temperature increases.

fossil-fuel-graphicVast underground reserves of oil, gas and coal should be classified as off limits if the world stands any chance of averting dangerous climate change, a major study of global fossil-fuel deposits has found. Scientists calculated that a third of global oil reserves, half of gas reserves and more than 80 per cent of coal reserves should remain in the ground as “unburnable” to avoid exceeding the 2C “safe” threshold for global warming. The Independent reports that the scale of the problem facing the climate negotiations in Paris later this year is writ large in the study by Christophe McGlade and Paul Ekins of University College London who have identified the critical fossils fuels and their locations that need to remain untouched and unexploited. China, Russia and the United States will have to leave their huge deposits of coal – the dirtiest of the three main fossil fuels – underground, while the Middle East will need to agree to keep much of its wealth-creating oil and gas reserves where they are. Similarly, Canada will have to relinquish its ambitions of producing oil from tar sands and the Arctic nations, mainly Russia, will have to agree that exploiting oil and gas in this environmentally sensitive region would be incompatible with a global climate agreement.

Sheringham_Shoal_Wind_Farm_2012New data from the National Grid has revealed that UK wind power generation rose by 15% in 2014, while separate figures from WWF Scotland round-up a record-breaking year for renewables north of the border. National Grid statistics show a rise from 24.5TWh to 28.1TWh electricity generated from renewables in the UK in 2014 – enough to power approximately a quarter of UK homes all year round. Wind farms feeding into the grid and single turbines connected to local networks together provided 9.3% of the UK’s total electricity supply in 2014, up from 7.8% in 2013. The UK’s wind sector success is being echoed across Europe as recent figures show Denmark and Germany also broke wind power output records last year. Danish local media has stated figures from Energinet.dk which reveal that 39% of all electricity used in Denmark in 2014 was generated by wind power. Production varied between nearly 62% in January and 23% in June. Meanwhile, reports from Germany reveal the country saw a record amount of electricity produced from wind energy in December, with renewable energy research institute IWR citing a record 8.9TWh of electricity generated by wind during the month. IWR director Norbert Allnoch said: “The main reason for the record-breaking wind power production is the current cyclonic weather with lots of low pressure areas.” IWR believes the record will be overtaken in 2015 as more offshore wind projects come online.

Edie.net reports that nuclear energy is an essential resource for replacing fossil fuels and environmental activists must drop their opposition to it, leading scientists have warned. A group of 75 biologists, including professors from Oxford and Cambridge, co-signed an open letter arguing that nuclear power must be deployed to replace the burning of fossil fuels, “if we are to have any chance of mitigating severe climate change”. But the statement has reignited the debate over UK nuclear power, as Greenpeace hit back, reiterating that cheap, clean nuclear reactors are currently an unrealistic proposition.

UKIP_logoThe Ukip energy spokesman Roger Helmer has claimed that climate change is still ‘open to question’ and says that the party would repeal legally binding targets to reduce emissions, if elected. Speaking to The Independent, Helmer said: “The relationship between global temperature and atmospheric CO2 levels is hugely open to question, especially as there hasn’t been any global warming for the last 18 years according to satellite data.” As a result Helmer said a Ukip government would immediately repeal the Climate Change Act – which enforces an 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050, compared to 1990. Helmer went on to criticise the latest IPCC report, in which hundreds of scientist concluded that climate change is real and undeniably caused by human activity – MEP Helmer says the projections are ‘grossly exaggerated.’ Elsewhere in politics, the Green Party has proposed a 10% cut in rail and bus fares “to relieve the national reliance on carbon-intensive forms of transport”. The scheme, projected to cost around £9bn over the course of the next Parliament, will be paid for by scrapping the majority of the current Government’s £15bn road building programme. And the current UK coalition government  has provided well over a billion pounds in loans to fossil fuel projects around the world despite a pledge to withdraw financial support from such schemes, an analysis of loans made by the UK’s export credit agency has revealed. Gazprom in Russia, Brazil’s state-owned oil company and petrochemical companies in Saudi Arabia are among the companies benefiting from around £1.7bn in government funding over the course of the parliament, Greenpeace found. The UK Export Finance (UKEF) deals appear to fly in the face of the 2010 coalition agreement, where the Conservatives and Lib Dems pledged to clamp down on funding for fossil fuel operations abroad.

New York City has banned single-use styrofoam packaging! This is great news for our planet. “By removing nearly 30,000 tons of expanded polystyrene waste from our landfills, streets and waterways, [this] is a major step towards our goal of a greener, greater New York City,” says Mayor Bill de Blasio.

energylabelNew energy efficiency measures have been brought in by the European Union (EU) with the aim of helping reduce energy consumption in 2015 The rules, which were agreed by all EU Governments, aim to reduce member states’ household energy bills by more than £30 a year as well as greatly benefitting the environment. According to EU figures, by 2020 consumers using energy efficient products in their homes could save more than £300 a year.

Edie also reports that Asda is collaborating with TV chef Jamie Oliver to reduce food waste by selling a new range of misshapen fruit and vegetables at reduced prices. The initiative, called ‘Beautiful on the Inside’, will be trialled at five Asda stores, starting on 26 January. The idea was reportedly born when farmers told Oliver on his Friday Night Feast TV show that a significant amount of fruit and veg isn’t being sold as ‘fresh’ because it’s ‘wonky’ or ‘ugly’.

rainforestwikiSome good news: Tropical rainforests may be absorbing far more carbon dioxide than many scientists thought, in response to rising atmospheric levels of the greenhouse gas. That’s according to the ‘Effect of increasing CO2 on the terrestrial carbon cycle,’ a NASA-led study published in the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences, which estimates that tropical rainforests absorb 1.4 billion metric tonnes of CO2 out of a total global absorption of 2.5 billion, more than boreal (coniferous) forests in the northern hemisphere.

Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR) – the Americas Cup sailing team led by the four-time Olympic gold medallist – has announced that its groundbreaking new headquarters will be powered completely by renewable energy The team base, currently under construction on the Camber in Portsmouth, will be powered specifically by high efficiency solar PV technology. The initial target is to supply 90% of the team’s electricity power needs, with this improving to 100% once energy monitoring is implemented. The headquarters, scheduled for completion in May 2015, will also be accorded BREEAM ‘Excellent’ status.

Sainsbury’s has confirmed that it is now sourcing 95% of its palm oil from certified sustainable suppliers. In total more than 1,100 Sainsbury’s own-brand products now use certified sustainable palm oil.

The food and drink industry must curtail the amount of water used in production to avoid two thirds of the world’s population living in ‘water-scarce’ areas by 2050. That’s according to the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) which has produced a new policy report calling for co-ordinated action to reduce the amount of hidden water used in food and drink production – estimated to be 2,000-5,000 litres per person per day. In the report, IChemE proposes government-enforced targets of a 20% reduction in water use in global food production.

End fossil fuel subsidies!

As the Rio+20 Earth Summit draws near, Earth Day Network has joined a diverse coalition calling for an end to fossil fuel subsidies. Their combined global petition now has over 990,000 signatures! They wanrt your help to reach a million this week! Sign the petition here:www.earthday.org/rio

Last year alone, governments gave over $500 billion to some of the richest corporations on the planet to promote fossil fuel extraction and use. EDN say they need to send a strong message to world leaders gathered in Rio: Fossil fuel subsidies drive climate change, drain public resources, and make it virtually impossible for clean energy sources to compete in the market. EDN say that if we’re going to jumpstart the green economy and chart a course to a sustainable future, they must end.

Once you sign the petition asking leaders at Rio+20 to create a plan to phase out fossil fuel subsidies around the world, please share it with friends: