Tag Archives: fracking

ANOTHER PLANET?

earth overshoot dayWe’ve Consumed More Than the Earth Can Produce This Year: Its 2015 and Thursday, August 13, is Earth Overshoot Day, when resource use is expected to outstrip the capacity for production—and it’s getting earlier every year.

A “Godzilla” El Niño may be on the way – with one of the strongest since record-keeping began in 1950. Above-normal, or very warm, temperatures in the Pacific Ocean are warmer than they were in August of 1997, when the strongest El Niño on record occurred. This is an indication that we could be rivalling the 1997-1998 record El Niño event that caused devastating flooding and mudslides across California. California is in the midst of a severe four-year record weather drought, with little relief in sight, but things may be changing in the coming months.  “This definitely has the potential of being the Godzilla El Niño,” Bill Patzert of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge, California, said.

Scottish ministers are planning to formally ban genetically modified crops from being grown in Scotland, widening a policy divide with the Conservative government in London. Ministers in Edinburgh are to apply to use recent EU powers that allow devolved administrations to opt out of a more relaxed regime, which is expected to increase commercial use of GM crops around the EU. The move will reinforce a long-standing moratorium on planting GM crops in Scotland and allow the Scottish National party to further distance itself from the UK government.

Amber Rudd MP

Amber Rudd MP

So much for empowering local communities. Fine – as long as they don’t make decisions the UK government doesn’t want. I for one dnt want polluted water tables,the risk of earthquakes and massive environmental damage: Many many agree.  BT Shale gas (fracking) planning applications are to be fast-tracked under new government measures to crack down on councils that delay on making a decision. Councils will be told they must rule on applications within the current 16-week statutory timeframe. If they repeatedly delay, ministers might take over the power to decide all future applications in that local area.  The applications to frack in Lancashire by energy company Cuadrilla was massively opposed by local people. The proposal,  to drill and frack eight wells, were first submitted in May 2014, but Lancashire county council’s development control committee repeatedly delayed to consider more evidence. The committee finally rejected the bids in June, on the grounds of unacceptable visual impact and noise. Environmentalists say it makes a mockery of the government’s promise to give power to local people. The government says it will take local views into account, but that developing shale gas is a national priority that must not be held up. Energy Secretary Amber Rudd said: “We need more secure, home grown energy supplies – and shale gas must play a part in that” and “We can’t have a planning system that sees applications dragged out for months, or even years. We need a system that delivers timely planning decisions and works effectively for local people and developers.” More on the BBC here and the Guardian here.

Are you pro-fracking? Have a look at this article: “Shirley “Sug” McNall is leaning up against a fence staring at a natural gas well about 40 meters from a playground behind the primary school where her daughter used to teach in Aztec, New Mexico. She believes that the gas industry and the explosion of fracking in her state is responsible for serious impacts on local air quality which are affecting people’s health. Her fears were boosted last year when Nasa satellites identified a methane bubble over Aztec visible from space. The bubble suggests that during drilling and production the natural gas industry is not capturing all of the gas they unlock from deep in the ground and significant amounts of this methane and other chemicals are leaking into the sky. McNall believes that other more dangerous gasses are being released too.”  MORE HERE.

Namibian lionIn South Africa, the practice of ‘canned hunting’ has come to light after the recent killing of Cecil the Lion in neighbouring Zimbabwe. Some 1,000 lions are killed each year by mainly American recreational big-game hunter – but these are not wild lions – these are lions which have been raised on ‘farms’ – bred to be slaughtered. It seems that American tourists leaf through brochures to pick the lion they wish to ‘hunt’;. some 7.000 lions are kept in often very confined captivity (more than three times the number who live wild) – with an average price for a kill being £20,000 andf the industry is worth about £14 million each year to the South African economy. Most kills are stuffed and mounted although recently a number of airlines said they would no longer ship the kills home to the USA. Wild lions are protected by law.

food wasteThe UK is the worst-performing country in Europe when it comes to food waste, throwing away almost 6kg of food per household every week.
A new study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters found that Europe as a whole wastes 22m tonnes of food a year. But the UK was the worst offender, wasting the equivalent in weight of one can of beans per person, every single day. Romania was the most efficient country, but still threw out the equivalent of an apple per person per day. The study found that 16% of all food that reached consumers was thrown away, with the vast majority of this waste being avoidable.

Close to 1,000 health professionals from around the world have thrown their weight behind an open letter asking the multi-billion pound health charity, the Wellcome Trust, to move its money out of fossil fuels on ethical grounds. The letter invokes one of the foremost principles of medical ethics, asking the Trust to “do no harm” because of the current and future impacts of climate change on global public health. The 946 signatories to the letter span the health profession and include nurses, academics, therapists, doctors, students, retired practitioners and dentists. While hundreds come from the UK, the US and Australia, many other countries such as Mexico, Colombia and Malaysia are also represented. Some of the largest US Catholic organisations have millions of dollars invested in energy companies, from hydraulic fracturing firms to oil sands producers, according to their own disclosures, through many portfolios intended to fund church operations and pay clergy salaries. This discrepancy between the church’s leadership and its financial activities in the US has prompted at least one significant review of investments. The Archdiocese of Chicago, America’s third largest by Catholic population, told Reuters it will re-examine its more than $100m (£64m) worth of fossil fuel investments.

Major “shocks” to global food production will be three times more likely within 25 years because of an increase in extreme weather brought about by global warming, warns a new report. The likelihood of such a shock, where production of the world’s four major commodity crops – maize, soybean, wheat and rice – falls by 5-7%, is currently once-in-a-century. But such an event will occur every 30 years or more by 2040, according to the study by the UK-US Taskforce on Extreme Weather and Global Food System Resilience. Such a shortfall in production could leave people in developing countries in “an almost untenable position”, with the US and the UK “very much exposed” to the resulting instability and conflict, said co-author Rob Bailey, research director for energy, environment and resources at Chatham House. More on edie.net here.

china air pollutionAir pollution kills an average of 4,000 people every day in China, according to a new study by researchers at Berkeley Earth. The California-based climate-science group found air pollution resulted in up to 17% of all China’s deaths, with 38% of the country’s population of 1.3bn breathing air that would be considered ‘unhealthy’ by US standards. The results of Berkeley Earth’s report estimated around 1.6 million Chinese are killed each year as a result of air pollution, particularly from PM2.5 particulate matter which damages lungs, causes heart attacks, cancer and asthma. The researchers argue most of the air pollution comes from China’s coal consumption and say switching from dirty coal to nuclear power, natural gas and renewable energy could bring down emissions.

Leaked documents show the UK is pushing for watered-down EU air pollution laws to be weakened further, arguing they would cause pit closures leading to substantial job losses and the need to import coal. The EU rules could help curb toxic nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions, although campaigners criticised them following revelations that they were partly drafted by the same companies they were meant to regulate. But a confidential government submission to Brussels, seen by the Guardian, says that the UK would have to import coal from Russia, Colombia and South Africa to meet the new standards, because British coal has such a high sulphur content.

One of the UK’s largest banks, Standard Chartered, has announced it is pulling out of a major coal mining project in Australia. The announcement follows an extended campaign by environmental groups. Standard Chartered is the second financial institutional to walk away from the proposed Carmichael coal mine in Queensland in the last few days. Last week the Commonwealth Bank of Australia also announced it was abandoning the venture after the federal court of Australia overturned the government approval for the mine.

Shell_oil_croppedShell is set to restart its controversial hunt for Arctic oil, three years after the company’s last ill-fated venture north. The Polar Pioneer rig began drilling on 30 July, but US safety standards have prevented the company from sinking a well deep enough to hit oil until a key safety vessel, an icebreaker called the Fennica, was in the Chukchi Sea. Shell said that the vessel was now in the area and it had informed the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement that it was ready to go for oil. A spokeswoman for the company said: “Fennica is in the Chukchi Sea, drilling continues, and we have requested the permit to drill deeper in this exploration well.”  More here.

The Renewable Energy Association (REA) has called for the EU to drop import tariffs on Chinese solar modules, claiming the cheaper equipment could help the industry overcome subsidy cuts. Since December 2013, Chinese imports to Europe have been subject to anti-dumping tariffs, which enforce a minimum price of €0.56 per watt and annual import quota of 7GW. The rules are intended to protect European manufacturers who cannot produce important equipment at the same price as Chinese firms – who are supported by substantial Government subsidies. However the REA says the tariffs, known minimum import pricing (MIP), have prevented module costs from coming down in the UK over the past few years.

decc-figuresRenewable electricity generation outpaced natural gas this month to become the second largest source of electricity worldwide, according to the International Energy Agency. Globally, coal remained king with 9,613TWh of electricity produced, around 41% of global electricity production compared to 5,130TWh (22%) from renewable energy sources. In OECD economic zone countries, electricity production fell slightly by 0.8% from 2013-14, with massive decreases in coal electricity production offset by increases in non-hydro renewable energy production from wind and solar power. The report also found in OECD countries that solar power had overtaken solid biofuels, used in biomass plants, to become the second largest non-hydro renewable source after wind power.

A new contender for Britain’s greenest home has been unveiled in North Yorkshire. The four-bed house, known as Furrows, will have a unique renewable energy system, allowing it to generate more than 13,000 kWh of electricity and heat a year. Around 5,000 kWh will be used by Furrow’s homeowners with the remaining 8,000 kWh exported to the grid – enough electricity to run two further houses. Furrows features a combination of 64 solar PV and solar thermal panels, with all spare energy diverted to an on-site storage system for evening use outside of sunlight hours. More here.

German energy company E.ON has started constructing the world’s first modular large-scale battery in the German town of Aachen. The modular aspect of the design means that various battery technologies can be ‘plugged in’ to the system – a world-first for a battery of this size. The system, known as M5BAT, will be housed in a former office building that is being converted specially for the installation. In total, the batteries and other components of the storage system will stretch over two floors and the roof, covering around 500 m² of floor space. M5BAT is backed by a €6.7 million grant from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy as part of its “Energy Storage Funding Initiative”.
Football_iu_1996This year for the first time, fans across the entire football league are being encouraged to cut emissions by car-sharing their way to away games, while Premier League giants Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal have all embraced ambitious sustainability strategies. As the football seasons kicks off, the greenest football club in the UK doesn’t feature in the Premier League. In fact, it plays in a division four tiers below the top flight. Forest Green Rovers have taken up the cause their name proclaims, aiming to become the most sustainable football club in Britain and “probably the world”. Chaired by Dale Vince, CEO of green energy company Ecotricity, who told reporters “The pitch is organic, we recycle all the water that lands on the pitch and reuse it, we’ve got solar panels on the roof of the stand, electric pumps to charge electric cars and we have a fully vegan from the start of this season.”  The club says it is aiming to irrigate the pitch using only collected rain water and runoff to make it independent from the mains. It has also received national and international coverage of its sustainability work, including for its meat free, fully Vegan menu – another first for UK football clubs.  The club is planning further sustainability developments with Ecotricity releasing concept designs last month for a new Eco Park, a 100-acre sports complex and green technology centre near Stroud.  In the top flight,  Chelsea have strong Green credentials. The club became the first football team to join the Green 500 Campaign, with pledges to reduce carbon emissions by 10%. Chelsea has also installed energy efficient lighting systems and recycles 100% of its waste, much of which is used for renewable energy generation.  Arsenal’s move to the Emirates Stadium saw a raft of new sustainability measures implemented which makes the ground one of the greenest in the country. As well as watching its spending following the multi-million pound move, the club has introduced a number of green initiatives, such as the use of voltage optimisation equipment and LED lights which have reduced power use by up to 20%. The stadium’s recycling policy sees waste minimisation across the club as well as the recycling of plastic and glass for fans on match days. The club says it recycles an average of 10 tonnes of cardboard and plastic and month as well as diverting 1.5 tonnes of glass per match from landfill. More here.

I am not

Advertisements

ANOTHER PLANET?

Splasticbagelfridges is to rid its stores of all single-use plastic water bottles as part of a campaign to reduce pollution of the oceans. Instead, the department store is encouraging customers to bring their own water bottles to fill at a newly-opened traditional drinking fountain in its London food hall. The initiative, part of an ongoing partnership with the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and the Marine Reserves Coalition (MRC), aims to reduce plastic waste in the oceans and help facilitate a change in behaviour around the use of plastic. Selfridges said it sold around 400,000 single-use plastic water bottles a year through its food halls and restaurants. And Hawaii has become the first U.S. state to ban plastic bags! This follows Oahu joining the other Hawaiian islands in banning plastic bags from its stores. Although there are some exceptions to the ban, this is a step in the right direction for solving our planet’s plastic waste problem. Up to 13 milllion tonnes of plastic enters our seas each and every year year – entering the food chain, killing marine wildlife and birds, and polluting vast swathes of our oceans.

roadsiderubbishMotorists should be routinely fined for dumping litter amid claims that many roads are overwhelmed by rubbish, council leaders say. Local authorities should be given the power to levy penalties against car owners when litter is seen being flung from a window — even if it comes from back-seat passengers, it was claimed. The Local Government Association said councils were struggling to cope with the “staggering and spiralling” amount of discarded bottles, drinks cans, crisp packets and cigarette boxes. North hertfordhire recently removed 80 tonnes of litter from an 18 mile sytrech of A roads and In Leicestershire 20 tonnes of litter were found on a 10 mile stretch of the A42. At persent local authorities cannotfine unidentified litter throwers, however pig like, lazy and selfish they are. We need a PIG ISLAND for these people to move to where they can live and fester in their squalor. Drivers who drop litter from their cars should be fined and receive a penalty point on their licence, campaigners have urged. Keep Britain Tidy wants the penalty to apply even to those who drop apple cores and other biodegradable waste.

If Lancashire won’t frack we will, insist Yorkshire residents: The campaign to start a British fracking industry is to shift across the Pennines, with an application to frack in the North York Moors National Park. There are an estimated 1,300 trillion cubic feet of gas in the bowland shale and as local pro-fracking group has been set up to support a move t bring hydraulic fracking to Kirby Misperton.  If only 10% of the gas were extracted it would provide Britain’s gas needs for the next 40 years. Ohhhh Yorkshire ….. fracking operations to extract shale gas in Britain could cause nearby house prices to fall by up to 7% and create a risk of environmental damage, according to a government report that has been published in full for the first time. Entitled Shale Gas Rural Economy Impacts, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) draft document was released on Wednesday after a freedom of information battle. As an official assessment of the impact of fracking, albeit in draft form only, the Report warns that leakage of waste fluids could affect human health through polluted water or the consumption of contaminated agricultural products.

Ecuador is planning to auction off three million of the country’s 8.1 million hectares of pristine Amazonian rainforest to Chinese oil companies, Jonathan Kaiman of The Guardian reports. The report comes as oil pollution forced neighbouring Peru to declare an environmental state of emergency in its northern Amazon rainforest. Ecuador owed China more than $7 billion — more than a tenth of its GDP — as of last summer. In 2009 China began loaning Ecuador billions of dollars in exchange for oil shipments. It also helped fund two of the country’s biggest hydroelectric infrastructure projects, and China National Petroleum Corp may soon have a 30 per cent stake in a $10 billion oil refinery in Ecuador. More here.

Prince Charles has given his backing to a campaign to discourage investent in fossil fuel companies. In a speech he said that coal, gas and oil cmpanies should not receive taxpaer subsidies and the Keep It In The Ground campaign was ‘clear, compelling and powerfully resonant”. He called for profound changes in the global economy to avoid catastrophic climate change.

BP_Petrol_StationBP has agreed to pay $18.7 billlion to settle legal actions brough in the USA over the  2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The envieonmental catastophe had already cost the oil giant $5.5 in fines under the Clean Water Act; the latest settlement came after an action from by the Department of Justice and the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Florida to cover damages to individuals and business not covered by anm earlier settlement. Judge Carl Barbier had found BP to have been ‘grossly negligent’ in its management of the oil well.

WWF and Unilever have launched a one-year partnership to engage consumers in the fight against deforestation. The partnership between the conservation organisation and the multinational consumer goods firm will seek to raise awareness of the importance of the world’s forests, as well as protect one million trees. The partners will support protection programmes in Brazil and Indonesia, two countries with some of the highest historical rates of deforestation in the world.

Clothing manufacturer Adidas has celebrated its partnership with Parley for the Oceans by creating a prototype shoe made from recycled ocean waste and deep-sea gillnets. The concept shoe, unveiled at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, is the first in a line of ocean-waste products that Adidas plans to release this year. Adidas global brands executive Eric Liedtke said: “This partnership allows us to tap into new areas and create innovative materials and products for our athletes. We invite everyone to join us on this journey to clean up the oceans.”

grousePeat bogs in the UK are at risk … just so some can shoot birds …….. “They are home to a diverse range of wildlife and up to 8,000 years old. And, according to a damning analysis by an independent government advisory body, the UK’s upland peat bogs are facing a sustained threat from the shooting classes’ desire to bag grouse. The Committee on Climate Change’s 2015 progress report to parliament notes: “Wetland habitats, including the majority of upland areas with carbon-rich peat soils, are in poor condition. The damaging practice of burning peat to increase grouse yields continues, including on internationally protected sites.” Burning creates different heather habitats. Young heather is nutritious while more established heather provides a place for nesting grouse. Creating a patchwork comprising heather of different lengths is a land management tool that experienced gamekeepers can use to increase grouse yields.” More on the Guardian website here.

London_smog-_UKLondon Mayor hopeful  Sadiq Khan MP, Member of Parliament for Tooting and Shadow Minister for London has released figures showing that London boroughs have routinely breached EU air pollution limits over the last 5 years. Almost all local authorities missed targets set for key air quality measures including levels of Nitrogen Dioxide, linked to asthma and lung damage,  and not one of the 32 boroughs meeting ozone objectives. There has been progress in reducing the amountof larger particles, known as PM10, in London’s air. Kahn had previously spoken out against the government’s inaction on air quality. Speaking at the launch of a national campaign against air pollution, Sadiq Khan MP has called for a national framework for Low Emission Zones to enable local authorities to encourage the use cleaner, greener, less-polluting vehicles. Sadiq has also called for greater powers for local authorities to tackle low levels of air quality in their communities.

UK Chancellor George Osborne has brought further uncertainty to green leaders, with an emergency Budget that confirmed more taxes for renewables along with tax-breaks for oil and gas. Delivering his second Budget in four months on Wednesday – the first all-Conservative budget in nearly 20 years – Osborne failed to offer much good news for the low-carbon economy; instead bringing further uncertainty to the sector. Osborne announced that the Government would be changing the Climate Change Levy, which businesses pay on their energy use. The Levy is “outdated”, according to the Chancellor, who said an exemption for renewables in the CCL will be removed.

Low-carbon economic growth can become the new normal and limit the impact of climate change, according to a new report from the New Climate Economy, part of the Global Commission on the Economy and the Climate. The report identifies ten economic opportunities that could close 96% of the gap between business-as-usual emissions and the level needed to stop dangerous effects of climate change – these include raisding energy efficiency,  committing to carbon pricing, investing $1trn in clean energy and restoring forests. The report argues low-carbon and climate-resilient growth is possible, but calls for investment and strong political willpower. Lord Stern, co-chair of the commission, said more and more counties were committed to integrating climate action into their economic plans, suggesting economic growth and emissions reduction could go hand-in-hand. More on edie.net here.

HoneyBeeA new study from Harvard University, published in the June edition of the Bulletin of Insectology, puts the nail in the coffin of the clever misinformation spread by the likes of chemicals giants  Bayer, BASF and Syngenta  about the rapid declines in the world’s bee populations. Neonicotinoids are killing bees at an exponential rate, they are the direct cause of the phenomenon labeled as colony collapse disorder (CCD). Neonicotinoid’s are the world’s most widely used insecticides. “The results from this study not only replicate findings from the previous study, but also reinforce the conclusion that the sublethal exposure to neonicotinoids is likely the main culprit for the occurrence of CCD.” For this study, researchers examined 18 bee colonies at three different apiaries in central Massachusetts over the course of a year. Four colonies at each apiary were regularly treated with realistic doses of neonicotinoid pesticides, while a total of six hives were left untreated. Of the 12 hives treated with the pesticides, six were completely wiped out. Those who make and spread misinformation about these chemicals should be imprisoned.

Revenues from sustainable products or services are growing up to six times faster than ‘normal’ equivalents, according to new research from the Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute (IRRCi). The Institute, which provides data-driven information to investors, analysed 12 companies listed in the S&P 100 that sold and tracked ‘sustainable’ products and services.
The study found between 2010 and 2013, revenues from these portfolios grew by 91% – around six times faster than the rest of the companies’ products.

Coronation_Street_TitlesThe television industry has been in the news with ITV’s Coronation Street winning the Film & TV  Award in the Observer’s prestigious  Ethical Awards for the lowest possible environmental impact with innovations including “whether that be the art department or recycling old sets [Corrie has achieved an impressive 90% recycling rate for its waste streams] or making sure that new wood is from sustainable resources. We also have an allotment and we’re growing some of our veg on site here, too”, Televisual has highlighted the fact that whilst some shows have taken steps to reduce their carbon footprints, the production sector needs to do far more. Solar was used to power the entire shoot of Operation Grand Canyon with Dan Snow while Springwatch ran its unit base and remote camera set ups with energy from renewable generators – but Televisual says despite these success stories, the TV production sector has a poor track record when it comes to the environment and a ‘step change’ in behaviour is needed. Its not all doome and gloom. The BAFTA led ‘Albert’ Consortium have been working hard to reduce the impact of the UK TV industry and their carbon calculator has now logged over 1,000 productions – but says the TV sector needs t be more proactive in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and shrinking film and TV’s carbon footprint. With a new training course in place for 150 executives from film & TV in place and a news website called www.mediagreenhouse.co.uk, the Albert consortium are also launching a major new survey into sustainability and climate change and the challenges they pose for the TV industry. And if you want to know how Anna Karenina saved money with BS8909 – the answer is here and more on TELEVISUAL here

SensationAnd news from Julie’s Bicycle: Our friends at Julie’s Bicycle and ID&T have created a new carbon calculator tool for indoor events. This new addition to our IG Tools was launched at ID&T’s 40,000 capacity Sensation dance event at Amsterdam Arena last weekend. The Tool enables you to quantify a range of impacts associated with your indoor event, including: energy, water, waste and travel. You can graphically analyse results to help inform action and easily export your results too. It’s available now and free to use at www.ig-tools.com. Julie’s Bicycle CEO Alison Tickell said “When one of the biggest dance promoters in the world is getting passionate about carbon we know that change is coming. Getting to grips with actual environmental impacts is a huge step forward; the new IG Tool will help not just ID&T but promoters all over the world to step up to the climate challenge.” Carlijn Lindemulder, Head of Sustainability at ID&T added ““It was a long time wish for us to be able to measure the environmental impacts of our indoor events. Working with Julie Bicycle on this exciting new tool gives Sensation the possibility to understands its environmental impacts, and design effective strategies to reduce them.”

takethegreentrainTake the Green Train was a seminar on environmental sustainability in music and jazz held at the Gateshead International Jazz Festival at the Sage Gateshead in April 2015, featuring guest speakers, case studies, green touring top tips, and ideas for future trajectories for the EJN membership on environmental sustainability. We want to make sure the learning and outcomes of the day are shared as widely as possible among the network, so have produced the following event report which summarises the various presentations and discussions from the day. Download the report here.

MMMAnd finally from Julie’s Bicycle: Have a listen to the first edition of the EE MUSIC Mixtape Series, where artists from Elevate Festival have been exploring energy and the environment in a series of exclusive mixes. In Part 1, Mixmaster Morris has intertwined samples and songs combining everything from Onethrix Point Never, Louis Armstrong to visions of a sustainable energy future. LISTEN HERE!

 

ANOTHER PLANET?

frackfreelancsLancashire county council has rejected a planning application by shale gas explorer Cuadrilla to frack in the county, in a major blow to what would have been the UK’s biggest round of fracking so far. Hundreds of anti-fracking campaigners outside the county hall in Preston, where the verdict was announced, reacted with delight and cheers, and people in the council chamber applauded. The surprise rejection regards a site at Preston New Road, near Little Plumpton on the Fylde, where Cuadrilla had hoped to drill four wells and undertake exploratory fracking for shale gas. Nine of the councillors on the 14-strong development control committee voted in favour of a motion to reject the application on grounds of visual impact and unacceptable noise, and also rejected a related application for an array to monitor seismic activity. It is expected that Cuadrilla will appeal the decision.  In a statement, the company said it was “surprised and disappointed” at the decision, and it remained committed to extracting shale gas in Lancashire. “We will now take time to consider our options regarding an appeal for Preston New Road, along with also considering appeals for the planning applications recently turned down, against officer advice, for monitoring and site restoration at Grange Hill, and last week’s decision to refuse the Roseacre Wood application,” the statement said.  Ken Cronin, chief executive of Ukoog, which represents the shale industry, called on the government to review the planning process. “This after 15 months of a long, drawn-out process cannot be right, and I urge the government to urgently review the process of decision-making.”  More here (and Image).

The Climate Change Committee (CCC) has published its first report under the new Parliament on the UK’s progress towards meeting emissions reduction targets. The CCC found that the UK has made “good progress”, but warns that decisions made in the next five years will have an enormous impact on whether the UK successfully adapts to and limits global warming. “The most cost-effective approach to dealing with climate change requires steady progress over many years,” said the report. As a result it calls for policy clarity on issues such as the Renewable Heat Incentive and the Levy Control Framework, to encourage long-term investments in green infrastructure. The Committee also reiterates its support for a wide spectrum of low carbon technology including renewables, carbon capture and storage (CCS) and nuclear energy. More on edie.net .

Staying in the UK, the government has quietly dropped a plan to allow households to opt out of junk mail after a row between the Department of the Environment and the Direct Marketing Association – which represents the companies that produce the thousands of tonnes of waste every year. The current scheme only blocks addressed junk mail. and a new scheme was meant to start back in 2012 with then Environment Secretary hailing the scheme as a major breakthrough in the battle against the ‘mountain of unwanted, unsolicited mail, most of which is thrown out’.

People who pave over their front and back gardens should be forced to return them to lawns and vegetable and flower beds to prevent our cities getting too hot – that’s according to the UK Government’s Committee on Climate Change. Concrete absorbs heat and doesn’t absorb rainwater meaning both heat and flooding will increase with an ever increasing loss of vegetation in cities. And new research from the University of Leicester says that more than 2,000 sq km of Britain’;s countryside has been lost to development, building and resource exploitation in just six years – with forests, wetlands and farmland being cleared to make way for urban development, mineral extraction, golf courses, roads  and wind farms between 2006 and 2012.  The study said that the loss of wetlands which store carbon is particularly concerning.

Permission has been given for a £1.7 billion potash mine in the North York Moors by the Park’s planning committee in a 8-7 vote. The mineral mine, near Whitby, is one of the biggest developments in a National Park for decades. Sirius Minerals says the project will generate 1,000 jobs directly with a further 1,000 indirect jobs being created.

China - sometimes all we need is the air that we breathe

China – sometimes all we need is the air that we breathe

China has formally pledged to peak its carbon emissions by 2030, but says it could begin reductions ahead of time. According to a statement, China will also aim to cut its CO2 emissions per unit of GDP by 60-65% compared to 2005 levels and increase its share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption by 20% by 2030. After a meeting with French President Hollande, Chinese Prime Minister Li Kepiang said: “China’s carbon dioxide emissions will peak by around 2030 and China will work hard to achieve the target at an even earlier date.” China’s commitment confirms its plans for cutting carbon emissions and comes ahead of the United Nations climate talks in Paris in December.

London_smog-_UKA new campaign plans to bring together businesses, government and local groups to solve the problem of air pollution in the UK. Deliver Change, a non-profit organisation focused on sustainable technology projects, launched the campaign in central London y at an event hosted by the Wellcome Trust. The ‘Let’s make air pollution visible’ initiative aims to bring together businesses and policy makers to tackle poor air quality in the UK. Deliver Change chief executive Jonathan Steel said: “Air pollution remains the greatest invisible threat to our health today, as well as to the economic performance of our cities. People are waking up to the problem, but we need to be able to see the ‘unseeable’.”

The White House has churned out about 40 new measures to fight carbon pollution just since the start of 2015, stepping up the pace ahead of critical talks for a global climate change deal. Two years after Barack Obama’s sweeping promise to fight climate change on 25 June 2013, the president has used his executive powers to spit out new climate events or announcements at a dizzying rate of one every 4.5 days this year, according to the running tally kept by the White House. Those measures are offset by furious attempts by Republicans and industry to stop the climate plan in its tracks, and other Obama policies which campaigners say would increase the greenhouse gas emissions causing climate change, such as opening up the Arctic, one of the world’s great “carbon bombs”, to oil drilling and expanding coal mining in Wyoming’s Powder river basin. A new free trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, could also weaken climate protections, campaigners said. But Obama is still constructing a significant record on climate change says the Guardian. US President Barack Obama recently admitted to Sir David Attenborough that the US is “not moving as fast as we need to” in its efforts to tackle climate change. In a TV interview, broadcaster and naturalist Attenborough questioned Obama’s environmental record after six and a half years in office, suggesting the US should attack climate change with the same zeal as it attacked putting a man on the moon. Attenborough said: “Supposing you said that within 10 years the US will energise the world to find a solution, to find a way of exploiting sunshine and finding ways of storing energy? Because if you did that, so many problems would be solved.” Obama replied: “That’s what we are going to be shooting for.”

doubledeckerelectricThe world’s first electric double decker bus will be on the roads in the UK this year under plans to cut emissions.Five buses will be in use in London by October – joining the eight single decker electric buses introduced in London in 2013. The 312 route between Norwood and South Croydon will be electric bus only. The buses can run for 162 miles between charges and a recharge takes about 2 hours. “The iconic red double-decker bus is about to become greener than ever,” said Mayor Boris Johnson. “I could not be more pleased that London will play host to these exciting pure electric double-deck buses, and I’m sure the lucky users of route 16 will embrace it with gusto.

Cycle networks have brought more than £7 billion in benefits according to the National Cycle Network by reducing pollution, improving health and cutting the number accidents.

Bill Gates has announced he will invest $2bn (£1.3bn) in renewable technologies initiatives, but rejected calls to divest from the fossil fuel companies that are burning carbon at a rate that ignores international agreements to limit global warming. Speaking to the Financial Times, Gates said that he would double his current investments in renewables over the next five years in a bid to “bend the curve” on tackling climate change. Gates has called for international Governments to triple R&D funding for renewable technologies in order to find a ‘magic solution’ to climate change. Gates told the Financial Times that current renewable technologies would only be able to reduce CO2 emissions at “beyond astronomical cost”. Instead, he wants Governments to support new ideas such as high altitude wind power, which uses tethered kites and gliders to capture the high-speed winds circling the atmosphere at 20,000 feet. He also highlighted the potential of ‘solar chemical’ power, which creates an artificial version of photosynthesis to produce hydrocarbons, as well as Travelling Wave Reactors, which use nuclear waste to produce energy.

Europe will likely get more than half of its electricity from renewable sources by the end of the next decade if EU countries meet their climate pledges, according to a draft commission paper.A planned overhaul of the continent’s electricity grids will now need to be sped up, says the leaked text, seen by the Guardian. “Reaching the European Union 2030 energy and climate objectives means the share of renewables is likely to reach 50% of installed electricity capacity,” says the consultation paper, due to be published on 15 July. “This means that changes to the electricity system in favour of decarbonisation will have to come even faster.” The EU has set itself a goal of cutting emissions 40% on 1990 levels by 2030, and an aspiration for a 27% share for renewables across Europe’s full energy mix, which includes sectors such as transport, agriculture and buildings that do not necessarily rely on electricity. Around a quarter of Europe’s electricity currently comes from renewable sources.

renault-joins-formula-e-championship_pressshotformulaEBusiness leaders have thrown their support behind renewable power as the final two races of the Formula E season took place in London.
Sustainability chiefs from Formula E, IKEA, Marks and Spencer and Infosys – all partners of the Climate Group initiative RE100 – said renewable power was good for business and should be a priority for governments tackling climate change. Ahead of the weekend of racing, Formula E chief executive Alejandro Agag said powering the cars cleanly was vitally important to the racing series: “We know that to reach the full potential of electric vehicle benefits we need to use renewable energy.”

A pan-European transition to a circular economy would generate around €1.8trn of benefit for European economies every year, a major new report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation has claimed. The Growth Within report – the subject of a nine-month study – presents a vision of how the circular economy could look for three of Europe’s most resource-intensive sectors: food, mobility and the built environment.It claims that transition would generate a primary resource benefit of €0.6trn per year, with an additional €1.2trn in non-resource and externality benefits. This would be accompanied by better societal outcomes including an increase of €3,000 in household income, a 16% reduction in congestion, and a halving of carbon dioxide emissions.

chambersbayThe US Open golf championship has been held at a course labelled “the poster child of sustainable golf”, but not all players are happy with the new water-reduced playing surface. For the first time, the US Open was held at Chambers Bay golf course in Washington – a course with a strong sustainability focus. It uses a limited amount of water compared to many other golf courses in the US, which often rely on lush but incredibility water-intensive grass and water features. Chambers Bay is a walking-only course, meaning it doesn’t allow golf carts. This has allowed the course team to plant ‘fine fescue’ grass, which is highly drought-tolerant and requires far less water to maintain than many traditional US golf courses.

And finally …. This year’s Edinburgh International Fashion Festival will feature a new focus on sustainability, thanks to a new partnership with Zero Waste Scotland. From 23-26 July, the festival will focus on the issue of sustainability, engaging businesses and consumers in improving the environmental credentials of the fashion industry. The collaboration comes as part of the UK-wide ‘Love Your Clothes’ campaign which encourages people to better value their clothes and buy longer-lasting items. Zero Waste Scotland chief executive Ian Gulland said: “We’re delighted to be part of such a prestigious event with Edinburgh International Fashion Festival, focusing on an issue which will be crucial to the industry’s future – how best to embed sustainability in its practices.”

 

ANOTHER PLANET?

popefrancisThe most anticipated papal letter for decades will be published in five languages on Thursday. It will call for an end to the ‘tyrannical’ exploitation of nature by mankind and Pope Francis will call for an ethical and economic revolution to prevent catastrophic climate change and growing inequality. Could it lead to a step-change in the battle against global warming?  But leading figures in the US on the American right are launching a series of pre-emptive attacks on the Pope before this week’s encyclical, hoping to prevent a mass conversion of the climate change deniers who have powered the corps of the conservative movement for more than a decade with the likes of James Inhofe, the “granddaddy of climate change deniers in the US” and chairman of the Senate environment and public works committee telling the Pope to stick to his job as a religious leader and Rick Santorum, a devout Catholic and a long-shot contender for the Republican nomination, saying “The church has gotten it wrong a few times on science, and I think we probably are better off leaving science to the scientists and focusing on what we’re good at, which is theology and morality.” More on the Guardian website here and here .

FrackOffFracking should be allowed at one of two sites on the Fylde coast in Lancashire, a report has recommended. Lancashire County Council’s most senior planning officer was responding to an application by energy firm Cuadrilla to extract shale gas at Little Plumpton and Roseacre Wood. The application for Little Plumpton has been recommended for approval. Roseacre Wood has been recommended for refusal. The final decisions will be taken by councillors next week. Planning officers had previously said the site at Preston New Road should be turned down because of concerns over the impact of noise. But now they have recommended its approval if a number of conditions are met, including controlling time limits, hours of working and highway matters. Fears remain about water table pollution, environmental damage and the risk of earthquakes. You can see the work of the recently (peacefully) arrested Paul Mobbs on the links between the UK Government and the UK fracking industry here http://www.fraw.org.uk/mei/archive/fracktured_accountability/frackogram_2015-A3.pdf . Paul was arrested under the Terrorism Act (Highways section) for blocking the entrance to Downing Street in his attempt to make a citizens arrest of four key members in the government. He has acted in this way as he believes that members in government are guilty of Misconduct In Public Office in reference to fracking. The Department for Energy & Climate Change (DECC) has dismissed claims that it intends to “fast-track fracking without public consent”.The Government has come under fire due to an open consultation being held by the Environment Agency, which could remove some of the red-tape around testing for oil and gas reserves at potential fracking sites. Currently, the Environment Agency is required to visit each potential fracking site, and carry out an environmental audit before activities can start. The proposed changes would instead create a one-size-fits-all set of regulations for companys looking to test oil and gas wells.However, the move has been described by green campaigners as “reckless” and “irresponsible”.

An international coalition of clean energy groups have launched a new campaign asking for the nuclear power industry to be barred from the UN climate talks in Paris. The Don’t Nuke The Climate campaign is being led by the Netherland’s World Information Service on Energy (WISE), and supported by green groups from Germany, Russia, France, Austria and the US. WISE director Peer de Rijk explained: “We are calling on 1,000 civil society organisations to join us for a campaign to block the nuclear industry’s lobby activities at COP21 and instead ensure the world chooses clean energy. It is the only real climate solution.”

A £200m tidal energy project in Lancashire is going ahead after the developers obtained rights to use the land. Natural Energy Wyre Limited will now take their project forward to the funding and planning application stage, after obtaining the rights from the Duchy of Lancaster. The project, dubbed the Wyre Tidal Barrage, is said to be UK’s first tidal energy power station, boasting an installed capacity of 90MW/hr. Essentially, a dam will be built across the 600m mouth of the Wyre estuary, and six turbines will capture the energy of the river as the tide moves in and out. The predictable nature of the tides reportedly offers a consistent reliable source of energy. The project has a lifespan of over 120 years, and will provide electricity for up to 50,000 homes in the UK.

legoThe world’s largest toymaker is to build a new Sustainable Materials Centre in its search for more environmentally-friendly materials to be used in its products and packaging. Lego will invest a billion Danish Krone (around £100m) into the research and development of new raw materials for its trademark Lego blocks.

A record 9,000 new ultra low emission vehicles (ULEVs) were registered in the UK in the first quarter of 2015. The figures, published by the Department of Transport, represent a 366% year-on-year surge. The department said the increase was driven by more vehicles being eligible for grants, which subsidise up to 35% of the cost of a plug-in car and 20% of the cost of a plug-in van. The mo
dels accounting for the most registrations in the latest quarter were the Mitsubishi Outlander with 4,596 and the Nissan Leaf with 1,705. Transport Minister Andrew Jones said: “I am delighted to see such a huge rise in the number of people buying ultra low emission vehicles.

ben ainslieFour time Olympic gold winner Sir Ben Ainslie has called on the UK’s sporting organisations to raise the profile of sustainability, as the Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR) sailing team’s new energy efficient headquarters in Portsmouth reaches its final stages of construction. BAR team principal Ainslie called for sports teams to use their position in society to draw attention to environmental issues and help inform the public about the importance of sustainability. “As societal role models, sports teams are in a privileged position,” Ainslie said. “They have the power to drive positive change through setting an example and drawing attention to the issues that matter, such as sustainability.” “As a team we are striving to become a truly sustainable business, however our ambitions extend far beyond this. We want to lead the way be educating and inspiring younger generations to drive sustainability forward.”

The-InterceptorThe BBC’s new primetime police drama The Interceptor has achieved top ratings for sustainability standards in TV production thanks to a raft of green initiatives. The cast and crew of the eight-part BBC One series worked to reduce carbon emissions and waste materials across the set, with The Interceptor receiving a maximum three-star rating from industry sustainability certification scheme Albert+. During production, actors and crew used electric vehicles behind the scenes to save eight tonnes of CO2 emissions – enough to drive 50,000 miles. The sustainability measures also enabled reduced production costs and using the environmentally-friendly vehicles saved the BBC an estimated £10,000 in fuel and London’s congestion charge. During the filming, the construction team ensured materials for props, paints and timber were sustainably sourced and used low-level lighting in the studio. Other measures included sourcing sustainable food and reducing the team’s carbon footprint by using reusable bottles rather than plastic ones. The crew also ensured scripts were not printed to cut paper costs and reported that 92% of waste was recycled. The Albert+ certification programme is run by Bafta and aims to help production teams reduce their impact on the environment using a three star rating system. More on Edie.net here.

Britain, France, Netherlands, Malta and Luxembourg are projected to miss binding goal of getting 20% of energy from renewable sources by 2020
The UK, France and Netherlands are set to miss a key EU renewable energy target and should review their policies to get back on track, the European Commission has said. A progress report for all 28 member states said that those three countries plus Malta and Luxembourg should “assess whether their policies and tools are sufficient and effective” to meet the target. Adopted in 2009, the binding target requires the EU to source 20% of energy from renewables such as wind, solar and biomass by 2020. An EU source said: “There are still five years to go [to meet the target], there is still time. We are not saying they [those countries lagging now] are going to fail. We are saying look into your policies and adjust them.” The UK Government recently announced that it was withdrawing subsidies for onshore wind farms a year early – making the UK even less likely to hit 2020 renewable energy targets with an estimated 1,000 new windfarms now at risk. Speaking to business leaders in London, Energy and Climate Secretary Amber Rudd said it was time to shift subsidies from onshore wind to other technologies that needed them more. But she did not say what those technologies would be, and the government has not announced compensatory subsidies for other forms of energy.

ANOTHER PLANET?

rspbThe RSPB faces a whopping £9 million fine for allegedly chopping down 1000,000 trees without a licence.  RSPB is the UK charity working “to secure a healthy environment for birds” and the RSPB has aims to save wildlife, protect wild places and defend nature is thought to have broken the law when it cleared 100 acres of Highland forest, despite failing to renew its logging licence. The clearance was part of a scheme to clear bog and peatland to boost birdlife at the Forsinard Flows reserve in Scotland. Forestry Commission Scotland have launched an inquiry and if found to have felled trees illegally the fine levied could be up to twice the value of the trees cut down. The RSPB were recently involved in the controversial decision to grant T-in-the-Park a licence to hold the festival at the Strahallan Estate:  In its response to Perth and Kinross Council, the wildlife charity made it clear that while it didsn’t oppose the new venue in principle, it would object to the music festival unless a number of strict measures are implemented. These were to ensure that nesting ospreys next to the proposed site are not disturbed. These measures include restrictions on the use of fireworks and lighting, and permanent ‘no go’ buffer zones around the active osprey nest. These zones would measure 500 m until after mid-June; this covers the period when the birds are likely to lay eggs, incubate them, and raise small chicks. After this time the zones would reduce to 250 m. At no point would festival goers or T in the Park staff enter these buffer zones. The RSPB also said an ‘ornithological clerk of works’, a specialist qualified and experienced bird expert, must also be appointed who wouldbe able to overrule others on site to stop any activities that may cause disturbance. Some T in the Park infrastructure, like the Slam Tent, big wheel and funfair would also be moved 500 m away from the osprey nest.

A group of French MPs has tabled a draft law to make it compulsory for supermarkets to hand over all unsold food still fit for consumption to charity. Many supermarket chains in France already donate unsold produce to charities, but 63 MPs from across the political spectrum would like to see the practice enshrined in law. Late in July, they tabled a draft bill making it compulsory for supermarkets with 1,000 square metres (10,800 sq ft) of floor space to give their “unsold but still consumable food products to at least one food charity”. Belgium became the first European country to introduce a similar a law in May.

france_europa_stampsAnd a new law recently passed in France mandates that all new buildings that are built in commercial zones in France must be partially covered in either plants or solar panels. Green roofs, as they are called, have an isolating effect which helps to reduce the amount of energy needed to heat a building during the winter or cool it in the summer. They are capable of retaining rainwater and reducing problems with runoff, and also offer birds a place to call home in the urban jungle.

London could be set for a wave of ‘social supermarkets’ that reduce food waste by selling surplus stock at much lower prices than the high street, thanks to £300,000 of new funding from Mayor Boris Johnson. Boroughs across the capital can apply for a share of the fund, which will go towards the development of pilot supermarkets aimed at local families on lower incomes, in a bid to tackle the rising problem of food poverty. “I want to see more innovative schemes on our high streets that tackle food waste, help communities and offer access to a variety of good standard cheaper food,” Johnson said.

lobster-164479_640The Guardian tells us that the the East Yorkshire Coastline to the  North Sea is by far the UK’s most prolific lobster ground. Before the boats were barred from entering it, in mid-2013, to allow for the construction of a 35-turbine windfarm, it provided more than 15% of the 3,500 tonnes of lobster taken from UK waters every year. Landed at Bridlington, and the smaller neighbouring ports of Flamborough, Hornsea, Withernsea and Easington, the lobsters – and a large quantity of crabs and whelks – are mostly exported and are highly prized in France, Spain and Portugal. Now, as they prepare to return, fishing crews hope that there will still be shellfish under the waves to catch. “The questions we are asking are: can we safely fish among the turbines and is there anything left to catch?” said Mike Cohen, chief executive of the Holderness Fishing Industry Group, the UK’s largest association representing lobster fishers. Since construction started, the windfarm’s owner, Dong Energy, has been working with Cohen’s group to gauge the effects of the turbines on crustaceans and white fish in the North Sea. The intention is to publish the research annually, allowing both sides to study the long-term impact on marine stocks as the world pushes ahead with offshore wind – a technology that is becoming a major industry in the north-east of England.

Sea creatures are set to shrink as the world’s oceans become more acidic. That is the startling warning given by an international group of biologists who have charted the likely impact of rising carbon dioxide levels on marine life. The group reveals that not only are hundreds of marine species likely to be wiped out as more and more carbon dioxide is dissolved in the Earth’s oceans but also that creatures that do survive – in particular those with shells, such as clams, oysters and snails – will be left puny and shrunken as a result. “We have already seen this effect in commercial oyster beds in the US, where marine farmers have had to stop growing young oysters in sea water because their shells could no longer form properly in our increasingly acidic seas. Instead they have to grow them in tanks where water acidity can be controlled,” said marine biologist Professor Jason Hall-Spencer, of Plymouth University. “And as the oceans get even more acidic, the problem of species shrinkage – known as the Lilliput effect – will become more and more common. It is a clear warning of the extreme dangers we are facing as carbon emissions continue to rise around the planet.”

One of France’s most venerated winemakers, Thibault Liger-Belair, whose vineyards supply leading restaurants, including those owned by Heston Blumenthal and Gordon Ramsay, will this week risk a six-month prison sentence or a large fine for the sake of both his grapes and future generations by refusing to spray his vines with pesticide. He was ordered to spray his crop after an outbreak of flavesence doree 40km away. The disease kills young vines and reduces productivity in older plants.  Liger-Belair thinks that the pesticide damages the soil. He has been summoned to appear in court.

beesOkay this is super important so PLEASE read this and share it around: now that spring is in full swing and summer is approaching, if you see something like this do NOT call the exterminator. Call a beekeeper and they will relocate the bees for you. Bees are the most efficient and effective pollinators and they are unfortunately dying off because people keep trying to kill them. Bees are largely responsible for the pollination of most of the world’s fruits, vegetables and nuts so without bees we don’t have any of those foods. When bees swarm like this it’s because they’re about to relocate somewhere else and they are highly UNLIKELY to sting you in this state because they don’t have a hive or babies to protect. So TLDR; bees are your friend, don’t kill them, and call a beekeeper to RELOCATE them. Thank you.

hedgehogUK wildlife TV presenter Michaela Strachan has said that hedgehogs are declining so fast in the UK they could disappear in 10 years – despite the fact it would be relatively easy to protect the,m. Hedgehog numbers have declined from 30 million in the 1950s to 1.5 million in 1995 to less than a million now. Pesticides, busy roads and a loss of habitats are all blamed.  making urban parks and gardens for hedgehog friendly will really help – simple holes under garden fences to allow foraging is are a big help.

An Antarctic ice shelf called Larsen B Ice shelf which is the size of London is in the process of collapsing according Nasa scientists.

short-haired_bee_masterAccording to beekeeper Dave Schuit, who produces honey in Elmwood, Canada, he and his farm lost about 37 million bees (about 600 hives) once GMO corn started to get planted in the nearby area. “Once the corn started to get planted our bees died by the millions,” Schuit said. He and other beekeepers are blaming neonicotinoids, or “neonics” for the death of many of their bees. Although Europe has eliminated the use of neonicotinoid class of pesticides from its market, the USDA still hasn’t banned the chemical presently produced by Bayer CropScience Inc. The reason pesticides containing neonicotinoids are banned in other countries is because they contaminate pollen and nectar, which in effect damages and kills insects like the bees. Two of Bayer CropScience’s most popular pesticides containing neonics include Imidacloprid and Clothianidin. These drugs continue to be marketed, even though they have been linked with many large-scale bee ‘die-offs’ in both European and U.S. countries.

airpollutionFossil fuel companies are benefitting from global subsidies of $5.3tn (£3.4tn) a year, equivalent to $10m a minute every day, according to a startling new estimate by the International Monetary Fund. The IMF calls the revelation “shocking” and says the figure is an “extremely robust” estimate of the true cost of fossil fuels. The $5.3tn subsidy estimated for 2015 is greater than the total health spending of all the world’s governments. The vast sum is largely due to polluters not paying the costs imposed on governments by the burning of coal, oil and gas. These include the harm caused to local populations by air pollution as well as to people across the globe affected by the floods, droughts and storms being driven by climate change. The IMF estimate of $5.3tn in fossil fuel subsidies represents 6.5% of global GDP. Just over half the figure is the money governments are forced to spend treating the victims of air pollution and the income lost because of ill health and premature deaths.

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has shelved plans to place an emissions cap on the world’s shipping fleet. A meeting of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) discussed the plans for 90 minutes at a meeting in London this week before saying they would be reconsidered “at a future date”. A global target for greenhouse gas shipping emissions was proposed in April by the foreign minister of the Marshall Islands, Tony de Brum. The island nation is reportedly under threat from rising sea-levels which it attributes at least partially to shipping emissions.

windturbines_300New UK Energy Secretary Amber Rudd has confirmed the Conservative Party’s controversial plans to stop subsidies for onshore wind farms, claiming it is top of her agenda at the Department for Energy & Climate Change (DECC). In an interview with the Sunday Times this week, Rudd reiterated the Tories’ manifesto pledge to effectively bring an end to the development of new wind farms on UK land, outlining her hopes for the new measures to come into force by May 2016. The Hastings and Rye MP said: “It will mean no more onshore wind farm subsidies and no more onshore wind farms without local community support. This is really important. I’ve already got my team working on it. That’s going to be one of the first things we’re going to do.  “It’s not going to be an easy ride” for the new ministerial team at the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), with the Levy Control Framework (LFC), domestic energy efficiency policies and Paris climate talks all posing significant challenges within the next year. That’s the warning of former Climate Minister Greg Barker, who believes Amber Rudd was a “fantastic choice” as the new Secretary of State at DECC, but a number of pressing matters will make for a challenging time in office, with the LCF budget sitting top of the pile.

The UK Green Investment Bank has today (18 May) taken a £236m stake in in the first offshore wind farm off the south coast of England, in a joint venture with energy giant E.ON. The 400MW Rampion Offshore Wind Farm on the Brighton coast will now commence construction and is scheduled to be operational by September 2018. The scheme will comprise 116 turbines, generating a total of 1,333GWh of renewable energy each year – enough to power 300,000 homes. It is also forecast to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 4,215 kt CO2e across its 25-year lifetime, equivalent to taking 75,000 cars off the road. Prime Minister David Cameron has underlined his support for the UK Green Investment Bank during a visit to the organisation’s headquarters in Edinburgh. The visit, made by Cameron a week after his Conservative Party won the General Election, comes five years after the Green Investment Bank was launched to accelerate the UK’s transition to a greener economy.

Greenpeace and Amazon have become embroiled in a public spat after the charity claimed the online retailer’s renewable energy commitments “lacked basic transparency”. In its new ‘Clicking Clean’ report released this week, Greenpeace analysed the transparency, efficiency and renewable energy commitments of 17 tech giants, including Google, Facebook Amazon, IBM and Yahoo. Amazon was awarded an ‘F’ grade for its energy transparency, after failing to respond to a Greenpeace request for energy data.

Edie.net reports that Scotland has moved a step closer to implementing a nationwide bottle-deposit scheme with the publication of new feasibility report by Zero Waste Scotland. The report, published today (14 May), assesses the benefits of introducing a system where customers pay 10p or 20p deposit when they buy a drink in a can or bottle, and get the money back when they return the item to a collection point. The findings are broadly positive, with Eunomia – the consultancy that carried out the study – claiming that such a system would save local authorities £13m in collection and disposal costs.

Indian SummerThe new Conservative Government is being urged to work closely with the waste-management sector to counteract an anticipated downturn in recycling rates across England. Government figures released this week showed that English recycling rates increased from 43.9% to 45% in the 12 months to September 2014, but quarterly recycling rates rose just 0.1% year-on-year. And Jakob Rindegren from the Environmental Services Association (ESA) believes recycling rates may have actually dropped since the figures were collected, jeopardising progress towards an EU target of recycling half of household waste. Rindegren said: “Given recycling market turbulence in the last 6 – 9 months, it may be the case that we haven’t been able to sustain this improved performance since September.

One of France’s most venerated winemakers, Thibault Liger-Belair, whose vineyards supply leading restaurants, including those owned by Heston Blumenthal and Gordon Ramsay, will this week risk a six-month prison sentence or a large fine for the sake of both his grapes and future generations by refusing to spray his vines with pesticide. He was ordered to spray his crop after an outbreak of flavesence doree 40km away. The disease kills young vines and reduces productivity in older plants. Liger-Belair thinks that the pesticide damages the soil. He has been summoned to appear in court.

deepgreenSwedish company Minesto has been awarded a £9.5m EU grant to set up a marine power plant in North Wales. Minesto will use the money to establish a UK headquarters and install its ‘Deep Green’ turbine system off the coast of Holyhead. The so-called Deep Green, operates like an underwater kite, and claims to be the only proven marine power plant to generate electricity from low velocity tidal currents. Cleverly, the kites can reach speeds up to 10 times higher than the water current.

California’s drought continues, now with increasing worries that the water shortages will began to effect the state’s agriculture which uses 80% of the state’s increasingly scarce supply water – with almonds being singled out as a the 150,000 new acres of almond trees guzzle up water – the almonds in California use more water than all indoor residential uses: to produce 16 almonds, 58 litres of water are needed. Three mandarins need 161 litres and a bunch of grapes 91 litres of water.

Barclays Bank owned Third Energy has submitted an application to North Yorkshire County Council to frack at Kirby Misperon, 20 miles west of Scarborough. Local Bowland shale rock formations need to be hydraulically stimulated to release gas.

Esc2015logoAnd finally, the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna will be a Smart Green Event. The World’s biggest TV Entertainment Event with more than 200 Million viewers and participants from 39 countries will set the standard for future shows with attention paid to Energy Efficiency, Waste Reduction, Mobility, Inclusion, Regional and Organic Catering (still some meat…) and Resource Management . The Green Music Initiative and it’s partners Elevate Festival, EE Music, ORF, Vienna, Austria and others are working hard to make this happen. Well done to SWEDEN for winning on the night.

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

 

ANOTHER PLANET?

labourWith the UK’s general election fast approaching on May 7th, Labour has  launched a ‘green manifesto’ outlining a wealth of agenda on environmental issues. Labour has committed to the decarbonisation of the UK energy mix, has pledged to lead increased global climate change ambition, and will improve energy efficiency in it’s Green Plan. With the plan Labour intends to separate itself from the pack of political parties whose election manifestos contained few mentions of climate change or green policy.  One area Labour is keen to differentiate itself on is a decarbonisation target for 2030 for the UK’s electricity supply, giving business ‘certainty to invest’ in green technology and infrastructure, it says. It is quick to point out that conversely both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrat parties have blocked such a target in the last Parliament, and the Conservative manifesto explicitly rules one out for the next. Labour would stick to Climate Change Act (CCA). Put climate change “at the heart of foreign policy” as the “most important thing we can do for our children”.  Five Green Laws made up the environmental heart of the Liberal Democrat’s election manifesto, launched by Nick Clegg in London.  The laws are not quite “nailed to the front of the manifesto” as Energy Secretary Ed Davey promised in March, but they do mark the strongest commitment to the green economy issued by any of the three major parties. The Lib Dems say “The successful economies of the future will be ‘circular'” and they will set a statutory target to recycle 70% of waste in England.  They plan to make Britain carbon-neutral by 2050 and have a target of 60% of electricity from renewable sources by 2030.  The Lib Dems say nuclear power stations “can play a role in building a sustainable economy”. Shale can also contribute to a low carbon economy, so a Low-carbon Transition Fund will be set up with shale profits.  The Green Party propose 90% reduction in emissions in the next 15-20 years, spend £35bn over the next parliament on renewable generation and adapting the national grid. The Greens will expand energy storage and biomass, “where sustainable” and would ban fracking and phase out nuclear in ten years. The Conservatives say they would stick to the Climate Change Act (CCA) and “cut emissions as cost-effectively as possible” and provide start-up funding for promising new renewable technologies and research, but only give significant support to those that “clearly represent value for money”. They would end support for new onshore wind farms .  The Conservatives would create a Sovereign Wealth Fund for the North of England, to reinvest shale profits. Support nuclear.  13800_10153768797716002_2061555411241677932_nUKIP would repeal the CCA – “the most expensive piece of legislation in British history”, having done “untold damage”. They support fracking and “UKIP supports and will invest in renewables where they can deliver electricity at competitive prices.” Only hydro meets this criterion, so the party will withdraw taxpayer and consumer subsidies for new wind turbines and solar PV. They say WRAP is “an unnecessary quango” – and it would be axed to apparently save the country £15.5m.  Finally on politics and politicians ….. a film consisting of promotional footage of David Cameron with a flaming seat to his trousers and set to Blondie’s 1988 hit ‘Liar Liar’ has been unveiled by green energy company Ecotricity on YouTube .  The #PantsOnFire film aims to highlight what it sees as a u-turn in Conservative ‘green’ policy by mocking the Prime Minister’s environmental record. The film includes Cameron’s various green ‘stunts’ including hugging huskies nine years ago, cycling across London and claiming to want to be the ‘greenest government ever’.  Its all here and more here. More than one in five Liberal Democrat and Labour election candidates have pledged to oppose fracking in defiance of their parties’ promises to foster the industry during the next parliament.  Seven of the Lib Dem front bench team, including spokespeople for the environment and energy, voiced their opposition to the party line. The pledge, circulated by Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, asked candidates to promise: “If my constituency is at risk of fracking, I will oppose it. If my constituency is not at risk, I will oppose fracking nationwide.”

The amount of discarded electrical and electronic equipment (e-waste) globally reached 41.8 million tonnes in 2014, with the vast majority neither re-used nor disposed of in an environmentally friendly way.  A new United Nations University (UNU) report says the e-waste represents $52 billion worth of potentially reusable resources, but thinks that less than a sixth was recycled properly or made available for re-use. According to the report the United States and China together produced nearly a third of the total sum alone. In the European Union 8% of its e-waste will just be thrown into waste bins – amounting to 0.7 million tonnes.

Humpback_Whale_underwater_shotThe National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has proposed removing more than two-thirds of the world’s humpback whale population from the endangered species list. Humpback whales were first classified as in need of protection under the Endangered Species Act in 1970. The NOAA’s proposal would remove 10 of the 14 recognized whale populations from the endangered species list, while two would be listed as endangered and the remaining two would be classified as threatened. Critics say that the move is to appease fishermen in Hawaii.  Protection and restoration efforts have been taking place over the last 40 years after a dramatic reduction in humpback whale numbers.

whales killedUntil the International Whaling Commission gave them protection in 1966, more than 200,000 were killed by commercial whalers.  The International Whaling Commission put a stop to all commercial whaling in 1986. All the whales remain protected under the Marine Mammals Protection Act, and the US is still an active member of the International Whaling Commission. Environmental groups have said North Pacific whales continue to be vulnerable to factors including increased shipping, climate change and ocean acidification, which affects the prey stock.  The world’s leading zoo organisation has suspended its Japanese member over its involvement in the controversial dolphin hunts in Taiji. The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (Waza) has suspended the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums (Jaza) following a unanimous vote by its council.

The monetary value of the world’s oceans has been estimated at US$24tn in a new report that warns that overfishing, pollution and climate change are putting an unprecedented strain upon marine ecosystems. The report, commissioned by WWF, states the asset value of oceans is $24tn and values the annual “goods and services” it provides, such as food, at $2.5tn. This economic clout would make the oceans the seventh largest economy in the world although the report’s authors, which include the Boston Consulting Group, say this is an underestimate as it does not factor in things such as oil, wind power and intangibles, such as the ocean’s role in climate regulation. The economic value is largely comprised of fisheries, tourism, shipping lanes and the coastal protection provided by corals and mangroves. More on the Guardian here.

bpThe BP archive containing scientific knowledge on renewable energy projects collected over decades as a result of a multi-billion-pound research programme is still closed to the public despite promises to the contrary. Critics said BP’s integrity was at stake and the archive held next to the Modern Records Office at Warwick University must be opened immediately. The oil company told its shareholders at the annual general meeting last week that BP shared all the information it had held on to – unless it was particularly commercially sensitive. Carl-Henric Svanberg, the BP chairman, was specifically asked about the store of research material kept under wraps in a corporate archive at Warwick University: “Nothing is locked away. We share everything happily.” But a spokesman at the company’s headquarters later confirmed what the Guardian had already reported: that no material for the last 40 years was available to the public.

And the overwhelming majority of BP shareholders have backed a resolution forcing the company to be more transparent about its impact on climate change.  Resolution 25, tabled at the BP AGM by a £170bn coalition of investors, was passed with 98% support and the backing of BP’s chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg. The company has committed to publishing more information on its resilience to climate action, including whether limits on carbon emissions will damage the value of its oil and gas. HOWEVER – while BP has agreed to transparency, Svanberg made it clear to the Guardian that it would not be setting targets for its own greenhouse gas emissions any time soon, saying such targets could be “counter-productive”.

Three-quarters of known fossil fuel reserves must be kept in the ground if humanity is to avoid the worst effects of climate change, a group of leading scientists and economists have said in a statement timed to coincide with Earth Day. The Earth League, which includes Nicholas Stern, the author of several influential reports on the economics of climate change; Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, a climate scientist and adviser to Angela Merkel; and the US economist Jeffrey Sachs, urged world leaders to follow up on their commitments to avoid dangerous global warming. Spelling out what a global deal at the UN climate summit in Paris later this year should include, in its ‘Earth Statement’ the group demanded governments adopt a goal of reducing economies’ carbon emissions to zero by mid-century, put a price on carbon and that the richest take the lead with the most aggressive cuts.

London_smog-_UKEdie.net reports that the UK Supreme Court will hear ClientEarth’s case against the UK Government over its ‘failure’ to meet deadlines for legal limits on air pollution in what will be the culmination of a four year battle.  ClientEarth, a group of activist lawyers, want the Supreme Court to order the Government to produce a new plan to deliver urgent cuts to illegal UK air pollution levels. Under current EU Directive, member states had to comply with air pollution limits for nitrogen dioxide by 2010. But the UK Government does not plan to meet these limits until after 2030 in 16 cities and regions across the country, including London, Leeds, Birmingham and Glasgow. That’s despite scientists estimating that at least 29,000 people die early in the UK from air pollution and Nitrogen Dioxide, mainly produced by diesel vehicles.

Edie.net reports that the proportion of a business’ energy bill that comes from the energy itself will drop below 50% by 2050. Currently, the cost of wholesale electricity currently makes up 65% of an energy bill but, according to Gavin McCormick, the business development manager at energy consultancy EnergyQuote, this will drop to 49% by 2050.

The National Trust has taken another step closer to reaching its ambitious renewable energy targets by installing an innovative hydro-electric scheme at one of its properties in Cheshire.  Quarry Bank, an 18th century cotton mill on the banks of the River Bollin, will switch on the new Kaplan turbine this week, generating 55% of the site’s on-site energy requirements. The National Trust – which has a target of generating half of its energy from renewable sources by 2020 – says it has taken inspiration from Quarry Bank’s past for the installation of this new energy scheme.