Tag Archives: greenpeace

ANOTHER PLANET?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cholita - the spectacled bear

Cholita – the spectacled bear

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

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

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ANOTHER PLANET

power station3The world must cut CO2 emissions to zero by 2070 at the latest to keep global warming below dangerous levels and prevent a global catastrophe, the UN has again warned. By 2100, all greenhouse gas emissions – including methane, nitrous oxide and ozone, as well as CO2 – must fall to zero, the United Nationals Environment Programme (Unep) report says, or the world will face what Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change scientists have described as “severe, widespread and irreversible” effects from climate change.

Britain will face a disaster if it adopts an “isolationist approach” to the environment, the energy secretary, Ed Davey, has warned as he announced the UK is to give £720m to an international fund to help poor countries cope with climate change. In remarks aimed at rightwing Tories and Ukip supporters, as voters go to the polls in the Rochester and Strood byelection, Davey said a “little Englander approach” would be self defeating as climate change does not recognise borders. Davey was speaking to the Guardian on the eve of an announcement that Britain is to donate more than France and Germany to the UN’s Green Climate Fund which has a target of $10bn (£8bn) with the UK contributing up to 12%. Nearly three-quarters of Britons want to see international leaders agree a deal to tackle climate change ahead of the Paris 2015 conference. The Populous poll of 2000 people also revealed that the demand for action is immediate, with only 20% saying action can ‘wait a few years’. Likewise 72% said they are aware of the benefits of tackling climate change.

edison-LED.jpg.650x0_q85_crop-smartAustralian lighting company Edison Light Globes has introduced a line of LED bulbs that look like an old-fashioned Edison incandescent, burning 5 watts instead of 45. whilst at 375 lumens these are decorative rather than effective light sources, they have a color rendition index of a high 94.9. The shaped glass is exactly like a traditional standard round and fits regular light fittings with good representation of colors. Therefore the bulb is fantastic for atmospheric lighting, in a multi-bulb pendant light, as well as discreet lighting.

A “historic” deal to cut Europe’s throwaway plastic bag culture is expected to be approved, which would cut the number of bags Europeans use each year by more than three quarters in just over a decade’s time. After fractious negotiations that pitted the UK against most of the EU, the European commission has agreed to accept a compromise which should see the new regulation sent to MEPs on Friday for a rubber-stamping vote in Strasbourg early next week. Under the new proposal, EU states can opt for mandatory pricing of bags by 2019, or binding targets to reduce the number of plastic bags used annually per person from 191 now to 90 by 2019 and 40 in 2025. Measures such as bag taxes could also be considered as equivalent.

SumatraRhinoHornbill (1)The Times reports (22.11.14) that US oil and gas company Camac Energy has abandoned plans to cause widespread environmental damage in the Arabuko Sokoke coastal forest in Kenya in a mission to find fossil fuels. The forest is home to rare wildlife including forest elephants – three endangered mammals and six endangered bird species including the Sokoke Scops Owl. It is a UNESCO biodiversity  hotspot. The seismic survey would have involved laying charges every 60m to send shockwaves 4km underground. The Times says that an impact survey for the seismic survey , written by Earthview Consultants, was now doubted as ‘large tracts of text appear to have been copied from the internet’ and it contained important factual inaccuracies. Kenya’s National Environmental Management Agency, which issued Camac’s licence and Earthview declined to comment to the Times.

Spanish navy boats protecting an oil drilling ship rammed Greenpeace boats during a protest, leaving one activist with a broken leg and another with minor cuts. Dramatic footage filmed off the Canary Islands of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura on Saturday shows the moment when a navy rhib – a fast rigid hull inflatable boat – appeared to deliberately collide with a Greenpeace rhib which was approaching the oil ship Rowan Renaissance.

elephantA record 1,020 rhinos have been poached in South Africa this year, the government said Thursday, undermining multiple efforts by authorities to curb the slaughter of the endangered species. The vast Kruger National Park, has been hit the hardest by poachers, with 672 killed inside the park, which is roughly the size of Wales. “To date, a total of 1,020 rhino have been killed for their horn since 1 January 2014,” the department of environmental affairs said in a statement. The poaching crisis has forced the authorities to move a number of rhinos to “safety zones,” some in neighbouring countries. The slaughter of elephants across Africa has been similarly catastrophic – 95% down on the beginning of the 1900s.

Reindeer living in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard are suffering from the increase in winter rain – which then freezes and forms an impenetrable barrier between the reindeer and its food.  whilst used to permanently frozen ground, they cannot graze through ice and November and December rainfall replacing snowfall causes significant problems with the ice formed lasting for many months according to the Norwegian Institute of Science and Technology in Trondheim.

The international body in charge of sea safety adopted measures on Friday to protect people and the environment during a predicted shipping rush in the Arctic. But environment groups and insurers said the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Maritime Safety Committee had failed to address key issues including a proposed ban on heavy fuel oil and how to safeguard against cowboy operators. The committee, which met in London this week, signed off on the Polar Code and various amendments to the Safety of Life at Sea (Solas) convention. These changes, which include mandatory requirements for ship design, crew training and search and rescue protocols, are expected to be ratified by the full IMO next year and come into force in 2017.

sea_ice_polar_bearLast weekend’s Observer newspaper had a four page spread headed up “Climate change is not just about science – it’s about the future we want to create Climate scientist Chris Rapley and his co-author of the acclaimed play 2071 explain why the 2015 Paris climate summit cannot be allowed to fail – for all our sakes”.   Chris Rapley CBE is professor of climate science at University College London and previously director of the Science Museum, London, and director of the British Antarctic Surve

Next December, 196 nations will meet in Paris to agree a course of action to respond to climate change. They will do so under the auspices of the UN framework convention on climate change. This is an international treaty negotiated at the Earth summit in Rio in 1992 with the objective to “stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system”. The discussions in Paris in 2015 will be informed by the latest climate science. In our play 2071, which recently completed its inaugural run at the Royal Court theatre in London, directed by Katie Mitchell, we explore the science, its implications and the options before us. A key aim is to leave the audience better placed to participate in the public discourse, in which we all need to play a part.MORE HERE – IT’S WELL WORTH A READ!

Even ambitious mitigation action taken today will not change the fact that the Earth is locked into warming 1.5C above pre-industrial levels by mid-century, meaning climate change impacts such as extreme heat events may now be unavoidable. That’s according to a new report commissioned by The World Bank Group – Turn Down the Heat: Confronting the New Climate Normal – carried out by scientists at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey has fended off criticism of the Government’s impending Energy Saving Opportunity Scheme (ESOS), insisting that a regulatory approach to improving the nation’s energy efficiency is the right one. Speaking to edie.net  at an ESOS business event in London, Davey said the implementation of the mandatory scheme for all large businesses is ‘completely necessary’ and will have an ‘important impact’ on the UK’s energy future, despite some aspects of the scheme overlapping with similar efficiency regulations.

The solar panels at Worthy Farm

The solar panels at Worthy Farm

UK farms offer 10GW of untapped renewable energy potential, and could be pivotal in creating a secure low-carbon energy system, according to a new report commissioned by the Farm Power coalition. The bulk of this predicted energy output – three times that of the planned Hinkley Point nuclear plant – will come from ground-based solar and wind, with a smaller proportion from anaerobic digestion. The report, carried out by non-profit Forum for the Future, claimed that new energy installations would complement food production, benefit farmers financially and help biodiversity.

British industry squanders a staggering £3.2bn and emits almost 58 million tonnes of CO2 every year by using out of date off-mains energy sources.  That’s according to a report from LPG supplier Flogas – the Flogas Energy Expenditure Report – which reveals that, despite falling oil prices, the £12bn per year currently spent on oil can be cut to £8.7bn. Edie.net reports that oil is expensive, inefficient and dirty to burn. By switching to energy sources such as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), Flogas suggests that companies could cut CO2 emissions by 13.2 million tonnes per year, saving up to £2.6bn in energy costs. When oil burning equipment is replaced by more fuel efficient LPG burners, this saving rises to over £3.2bn.

Air pollution from Europe’s largest industrial facilities cost society €189bn in 2012, with half the damage costs caused by air pollutants and CO2 emitted from 1% of plants. That’s according to an assessment by the European Environment Agency (EEA) – Costs of air pollution from European industrial facilities – published today (25 November) which suggests that, between 2008 and 2012, the cost of air pollution may have been as high as €1,053bn.

Orangutan3-226x300Pepsi True was temporarily removed from Amazon last night after environmentalists left thousands of bad reviews because of PepsiCo’s palm oil policies which “encourage deforestation and modern slavery”. The new soft drink, which is sold exclusively on Amazon.com, has been reinstated on the website but the product now has more than 3,000 one-star ratings – making up 96% of all product reviews.  By 2020, ‘the palm oil market will be transformed and the entire industry will move to 100% sustainable palm oil’. well that’s the vision expressed by Unilever in its Sustainable Palm Oil Progress Report 2014, which states that all palm oil directly sourced for its European Foods business will be 100% traceable and certified sustainable by the end of 2014. And whilst we are with consumer goods – and fizzy drinks – The Indian government authorities have declared that Coca-Cola is ‘over-exploiting’ the groundwater around its controversial bottling factory in Mehdiganj, Northern India. More water is being extracted from the underground water source than is being replenished. The area around the factory is the most water stressed area in the entire district.  A fully-built $25m expansion to the plant will never be operated, following activist and government opposition.

ANOTHER PLANET?

rainbow warrior2After Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior, along with inflatables and paragliders, surrounded Russian oil tanker Mikhail Ulyanov to protest against first shipment of Arctic oil in Rotterdam, 10 Dutch armed anti-terror police boarded the environment group’s flagship boat outside Rotterdam port and arrested 44 activists trying to stop a Russian tanker from unloading its shipment of Arctic oil. Although the activists were taken to several Rotterdam police stations and the Rainbow Warrior towed ashore, the ship and most of the protesters were released without charge within a few hours.

Almost half of Americans live with unhealthy levels of air pollution. A new report American Lung Association (ALA) found that 148 million people were living in areas where smog and soot particles are health risk with climate change likely to worsen conditions – The report, which is based on data collected between 2010 and 2012, found smog, or ozone, had worsened in 22 of the 25 biggest US metropolitan areas, including Los Angeles, Houston, Washington-Baltimore, New York City and Chicago – and said there was a high risk of more high-ozone days because of climate change.

Climate change ‘making extreme rainfall in England is more likely: New Oxford University research shows rising temperatures mean intense rainfall now one in 80 year event rather than one in 100 year. More here

In our last ‘Another Planet’ we looked at the policies the Green Party and UKIP were putting froward for the May 22nd European Parliament Elections. This time we will take a look at the Liberal Democrats and in particular North West MEP Chris Davies. Chris leads by saying he has campaigning strongly to change the tax laws so rescue volunteers like mountain rescue teams are exempt from VAT – and has met the EC Commissioner Algirdas Sementa on the issue. Chris also highlights reforming EU law to protect the environment and that the Lib Dems have a track record in fighting climate change –  he has been active in seeking the reform of EU fishing policies – protecting jobs in the fishing industries and helping fish stocks to recover – and has a pro-EU stance on cross border crime – noting quite sensibly that criminals don’t respect borders! On the economy the Lib Dems point out that 86% of businesses say that leaving the EU would harm them – and that the EU brings in billions of pounds in foreign investment every year and leaving the EU would threaten our economy and 3 million jobs.

And what of the Conservative party? Well they are campaigning under the banner “Real Change in Europe” and  “Putting you back in control” and “Fighting Britain’s corner” with promises to fundamental change the UK’s relationship wit Europe – securing more trade but not an ever closer union – and getting a better deal for UK taxpayers.  The Conservatives point to their success in cutting the deficit and creating more jobs – as well as tax cuts and a cap on welfare – and new controls on immigration – although this limited by current EU agreements. The Conservatives want to bring power “back to Britain and away from Brussels” and plan to further reduce the deficit, create more jobs, cut income tax and fuel duty and deliver the best schools and skills for young people. In our next Another Planet? We will take a look at the Labour Party and what they are campaigning for.

Scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Research have warned that part of the ice sheet of East Antarctica, which collectively holds enough water to raise global sea levels by 53 metres should it ever melt – could have begun an irreversible slide into the sea which will be completed this century – causing an unstoppable process of global destruction. In a study published in Nature Climate Change the scientists say that whilst it had long been thought that the Eastern ice sheet would be stable even with global warming – “this may not be true” and that it may contribute significantly to future sea levels.

The US Supreme Court has endorsed the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to deal with air pollution blowing across state lines on Tuesday, in an important victory for the Obama administration as well as downwind states. The court’s 6-2 decision unblocks a 2011 ruling requiring 28 eastern states to reduce power-plant emissions that carry smog and soot particles across state lines, hurting the air quality in downwind states. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing the court’s majority opinion, said the EPA’s formula for dealing with cross-state air pollution was “permissable, workable and equitable”. Justice Samuel Alito recused himself, and justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented.

In the UK, home owners will be able to claim grants of up to £7,600 to insulate their homes and install new efficient boilers and install double glazing – as well as a £100 refund against the cost of an assessment of their homes energy efficiency. However critics say that the Green Deal home improvement scheme is flawed  as customers can only use installers approved for the Government run scheme – and as that costs £2,000 to obtain many qualified builders and heating engineers  will be excluded – leaving home owners restricted in their choice and often unwilling to take on new and untested trades people. There are 2,800 registered installers out of an estimated 120,000 qualified tradesmen.

Amazon burningIn Equador, indigenous people, environment groups and others hoping to force a national referendum on whether one of the world’s most biodiverse regions should be exploited by oil companies fear that the Ecuadorean government is manipulating the results of a petition in order to support the President. Ecuador’s proposal to leave an 846m barrels of oil in the ground under the Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini (ITT) area of the Yasuni national park in the Amazonian rainforest and ask the world to compensate it with half its monetary value was hailed as a revolutionary new conservation idea when it was agreed by President Rafael Correa in 2007. But when only around $300m had been formally pledged by August 2013, Correa reversed his decision, saying the estimated $7bn that the country could eventually earn from the oil was needed to alleviate poverty.

Here’s a new eco-diet vocab word: demitarian. It means cutting your consumption of animal products in half. It was coined by Mark Sutton, an author of a new United Nations report that models how reducing Europe’s meat and dairy consumption would impact human health and the environment. Similar to flexitarian or weekday vegetarian, the concept of demitarian is another formula for reducing animal products in our diets without giving them up entirely. The report finds that if Europeans ate half as much meat, dairy and eggs, they could lower agricultural greenhouse gas emissions by 25 to 40 percent. There would also be a 40 percent drop in nitrogen pollution, which can lead to poor air quality and decrease oxygen levels in water. More on Treehugger.

northsideTraders at Denmark’s NorthSide festival are being given financial incentives to be more ecologically friendly, as part of a wider campaign to improve the event’s environmental credentials. Only vendors which achieve nationally-recognised Ecological Society of Denmark’s bronze, silver or gold standards will be allowed to trade at the event; those which achieve silver or gold will be eligible for a greater proportion of the profit share than those with the bronze standard. “This is part of a larger effort to be a more environmentally-friendly festival,” explains NorthSide booker John Fogde. “It reflects the type of festival we want to make, as well as being something which we’re seeing more in Danish society – people are much more eco-conscious than they were in the past.” Since 2012, NorthSide has been engaged in a concerted effort to make the event more “green”. Fogde says the event has been inspired by the hard work carried out by Norway’s Øya Festival, which won the Green n Clean award at the European Festival Awards in 2010 and holds the ‘Outstanding’ A Greener Festival Award and has carried out extensive and market-leading initiatives to be eco-friendly.

 

A message from Greenpeace – Please PROTECT INDONESIA’S RAINFORESTS

greenpceThe last home of the Sumatran tiger is being destroyed to make the palm oil in products we use every day.

Yes! Let’s protect Indonesia’s endangered animals from deforestation – 

Sign up to join the Greenpeace movement today. Help grow the movement to save the home of rare animals like the Sumatran tiger, elephant and orangutan.

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Westwood steps up for sustainability

Vivienne WestwoodVivienne Westwood, the fashion designer, has said that she will make her fashion business smaller, to promote ‘quality rather than quantity’ and promote her pro-green politics. Despite profit surge and recent success in China and US, Westwood wants to make her business more sustainable and efficient. Her company made a £5m profit in 2012. Dame Vivienne has also launched a new climate change campaign focussing of promoting Greenpeace’s work towards saving the Arctic – fronted by a host of stars including Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Paloma Faith, Terry Jones,  Georgia May Jagger, Jerry Hall and George Clooney.VIV5VIV6VIV2

ANOTHER PLANET?

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The UK Climate Week Awards 2014 are now open and you have until 7th February to enter! It is completely free, and all you need to prepare is a description of your project, initiative or product in less than 700 words. Click here for more information.

Treehugger suggest “Why it’s a good idea to stop eating shrimp” explaining shrimp is the most popular seafood in the United States, with Americans eating an average of 4.1 pounds per person annually. As delicious as shrimp may be, we actually should not be eating them. The process that delivers bags of frozen shrimp to your grocery store at cheap prices has devastating ecological consequences, and you’ll probably not want to touch that shrimp ring ever again after reading what’s really happening behind the scenes. Farmed shrimp are kept in pools on the coast, where the tide can refresh the water and carry waste out to sea. Ponds are prepared with heavy doses of chemicals such as urea, superphosphate, and diesel. Then the shrimp receive pesticides, antibiotics (some that are banned in the U.S., but used overseas), piscicides (fish-killing chemicals like chlorine), sodium tripolyphosphate, borax, and caustic soda. Shrimp farmers have destroyed an estimated 38 percent of the world’s mangroves to create shrimp ponds, and the damage is permanent. More on Treehugger here.

More from Treehugger who list 10 Low-tech and simple tactics for living more sustainably including Solar and indoor clothes drying, Shorter showers and flushing less, insulating or shading windows, and reuse of household greywater and rainwater catchment. More here.

Human response to climate change is unfolding as a political tragedy because scientific knowledge and economic power are pointing in different directions, a new report claims.  The RSA Action and Research Centre report, A New Agenda on Climate Change: Facing Up to Stealth Denial and Winding Down on Fossil Fuels, suggests that the challenge is being intensified by mischaracterising the climate problem as an exclusively environmental issue, rather than a broader systemic threat to the global financial system, public health and national security.  According to the RSA, Britain can take a leading role in addressing the global climate problem, but only if it draws up a new agenda that “faces up to pervasive ‘stealth denial’ and the need to focus on keeping fossil fuels in the ground”.

Adidas has hit back at Greenpeace after the environmental group accused the brand, along with several other clothing companies, of using hazardous chemicals in children’s clothes and shoes.  An Adidas spokesperson told edie.net that the company is concerned with the “manipulative reporting of Greenpeace, as they on purpose report about additional chemicals which were not even found in the products”.  The spokesperson said that this wrongly suggests that the tested products pose a health hazard to the consumer and that this approach “lacks any scientifically sound basis”.  More on edie.net here.

euflagBinding EU targets on greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction, renewable energy and energy efficiency have been supported by the European Parliament’s Environment and ITRE committees. MEPs have voted for a 40% reduction in energy use, a 30% renewables target and a 40% reduction in GHG by 2030. The targets received 66 votes in favour, 50 against and four abstentions.

Edie.net reports that more than 20 landfill sites have closed in the past 12 months, bringing the total number of site closures to over 150 since the UK first went into recession in 2008. The market has seen a further drop in waste that is landfilled – a recent study carried out by BDS Marketing Research estimates that landfill sites now take less than 30 million tonnes of waste a year.  This is the first time that the sector has taken less than this amount, and is due to several reasons – the landfill tax escalator, moves to divert materials into alternative treatment routes, and a lack of granted site extensions.

recycle 9781907317026nhe growing trend of consuming media on tablet devices such as iPads could have “profound consquences” for municipal recycling figures, a leading waste analyst has warned. James Fulford, a director with Eunomia Research & Consulting, argues that as electronic media starts to overtake that of printed, local authorities and MRF operators could suffer financial repercussions due to falling newsprint volumes in recycling collections.  Writing in his latest blog for Isonomia, Fulford said that newsprint has been “fundamental” to council recycling collection schemes since they were first established, being relatively cheap to collect and commanding a healthy resale price.

The Co-operative Group is rolling out compostable carrier bags to hundreds of its stores nationwide. The bags can be reused as food waste caddy liners.

UK fashion designer Vivienne Westwood has criticised business leaders and politicians for large-scale environmental damage, which she says is the result of an “exaggerated focus on profits rather than nature”. Calling for a new law that holds decision-makers in business and government accountable for their role in environmental disasters, Westwood says “Our financial rulers and the politicians who help them are playing a giant game of Monopoly with the world’s finite resources – completely abstract from reality – even though they accept the facts of Climate Change, adding “and yet, you can’t play Monopoly when everybody’s dead. They imagine they’ll be the last people. They don’t care so long as they win”.  Westwood is backing environmental campaign End Ecocide in Europe, which is calling for severe cases of environmental destruction to be recognised as crime for which “those responsible can be held accountable”.

Google has committed to invest $75m in a 182 megawatt (MW) wind farm in Carson County, Texas.

Women are far better at separating out their household waste for recycling than their male partners, according to a household survey. The research, carried out by BusinessWaste.co.uk, showed that while women in traditional relationships were more likely to make sure that the right materials went into the right bin, it is generally the man who is more likely to put the bin out.  More than a third (39%) of households surveyed said females were taking the lead in ensuring their rubbish was correctly sorted, compared to males (19%).

The German wind energy company Prokon  has filed for bankruptcy  after investors pulled out more than E220 million.

Convictions against 29 campaigners who ‘ambushed’ a train taking fuel to the Draw coal power plant in Yorkshire in 2008 have been quashed after it emerged that a undercover police officer, Mark Kennedy, had driven protesters to the train. Kennedy infiltrated environmental groups over a number of years and lawyers say the ambush might not have happened without him. The Lord Chief Justice said “there was a complete failure to make a disclosure fundamental to the defence”.

Los Angeles smog is being worsened by polluted air drifting over the Pacific from China – which has suffocating air pollution – although China’s increased emissions themselves are based on supplying goods for America’s unstoppable consumerism – so the pollution is just a ‘boomerang’ effect. Pollution caused by China’s manufacturing industries contribute between 12% and 24% of the daily sulphate levels in the Western US.

Whale meat has been confiscated from a Norwegian stand at an agricultural fair in Berlin. Selling or importing whale meat in Germany is illegal – but legal in Norway. Authorities are considering a prosecution.

elephantHong Kong will destroy 28 tonnes of stockpiled ivory. The Endangered Species Advisory Committee has said. 6 tonnes of ivory were destroyed in Guangzhou in China last month.  But Tanzania has been hit by a sharp upsurge in poaching, with at least 60 elephants killed in the two months since the government was forced to halt a controversial crackdown, a senior official said. Four cabinet ministers, including the Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Khamis Kagasheki, have been sacked by the President Jakaya Kikwere over allegattions that they blocked efforts by the anti poaching campaign to reveal police corruption and involvement in poaching. http://phys.org/news/2013-12-major-upsurge-tanzania-elephant-poaching.html

Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recyle, Rot. It all makes sense.

Russia’s amnesty law gives new hope for Greenpeace activists

free the arctic 30Russia’s state Duma has unanimously agreed to a new ‘amnesty’  law which proposed by president Vladimir Putin to mark the 20th anniversary of Russia’s post-Soviet constitution. The amnesty bill looks to free prisoners who have been jailed for certain non-violent crimes, women with dependent children, juveniles, veterans, invalids and first time offenders and is likely to include the 30 Greenpeace crew and journalists from the Arctic Sunrise, currently on bail on charges of hooliganism in Russia after boarding a drilling rig. The bill specifically included the charge of hooliganism, which was used to prosecute 28 Greenpeace activists and two journalists, among them six Britons, over a protest at Russia’s first offshore oil platform in the Arctic. The 30 will still need exit visas to leave Russia. Others who may be freed include some, but not all, of the political protesters arrested during clashes with police after Vladimir Putin’s inauguration as Russian president for a third term last year.

pussy_riotThe ruling is also likely to prompt the release of the two members of Pussy Riot jailed for religious hooliganism.  Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova were each sentenced to two years in prison after the band staged a provocative performance that criticised the Russian government  in a Moscow cathedral in August 2012. The sentence was recently criticised by Russia’s Supreme Court. The court said last week that the prosecution in their case had failed to demonstrate that the three musicians charged were motivated by hatred towards one specific group, which is required in cases of this kind.

The law is being seen as an attempt to ease Western concerns about Russia’s human rights record, with the Winter Olympics in Sochi coming up early next year. But critics point out that it does not change the underlying system, which allows for the jailing of protesters in the first place. Ruling party MPs said the amnesty would free up to 3,500 people in all. It is expected to could go into effect as soon as the bill is published in the government gazette today, but the wording allows prosecutors a six-month enactment period, meaning some of the prisoners could in theory wait weeks or months before being released.