Tag Archives: lancashire

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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.”

 

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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.

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FRACKEDPlanning decisions on the UK’s full scale fracking have been deferred for eight weeks by Lancashire county council (LCC), which was due to decide this week on two proposals from shale gas explorer Cuadrilla. But after council planning officers recommended last week that permission should be refused on the grounds of “unacceptable” noise and heavy truck traffic, Cuadrilla submitted revised proposals. LCC’s chief legal adviser said on Wednesday that these proposals were “substantive” and therefore had to go out to public consultation.

Our good friend Bruce said this on Face Book about the recent fracking vote which was substantially won by David Cameron and George Osbourne’s need for greed : “Well the vote has come through in favour of Fracking! So now it is going to be financed by our taxes, profits going to the shale companies and commissions going to their corrupt MP’s, local councils will have to support shale requirements to suppliment their annual budgets and/or face being sued for lack of profit by shale companies if the don’t let fracking happen in their council!!!”. He is SO right.

scotlandnofrackBut Fergus Ewing, the Scottish minister for energy, has now told the Scottish Parliament “I’m announcing today a moratorium [open-ended ban] on the granting of planning consents for all unconventional oil and gas developments.” There’s still work to do to turn this temporary ban into an outright ban, but for now this is brilliant news! Well done safe and sensible Scotland!

shellShell, the Anglo-Dutch oil company, will cut its spending by $15 billion over the next three years – but not because of any public understanding of the problems caused by greenhouse gas emissions and climate change – just because the price of crude oil has collapsed by 60%. The group will scale back or cancel 40 planned oil and gas projects – but will spend another $1 billion on its first drilling programme in the Arctic – which has been marred by environmental fines and accidents.  Shell is also set to confront the risk that climate change may pose to its future, after backing a resolution from activist shareholders. The resolution, filed by 150 investors who control hundreds of billions of pounds, requires the oil major to test whether its business model is compatible with the pledge by the world’s nations to limit global warming to 2C. The 2C target means only a quarter of existing, exploitable fossil fuel reserves are burnable, according to a series of recent analyses. That implies trillions of dollars of oil, gas and coal held by investors could become worthless and that continuing exploration for fossil fuels may be pointless.

A new global pact on climate change, due to be signed this year in Paris, should be a “Magna Carta for the Earth”, Prince Charles has urged. He said this year marked potentially the “last chance” to save the world from the perils of global warming, with the Paris conference and the United Nations’ plan to replace the millennium development goals with a new set of sustainable development targets. “We simply cannot let this opportunity go to waste. There is just too much at stake, and has been for far too long.” He told a meeting of forestry and climate experts in London: “In the 800th anniversary year of the Magna Carta, perhaps this year’s agreement of the new sustainable development goals and a new climate agreement in Paris should be seen as a new Magna Carta for the Earth, and humanity’s relationship with it.”

The world can enjoy higher standards of living and more travel, while drastically cutting emissions to avoid dangerous climate change – but only with sweeping changes to our infrastructure, the natural world and agriculture, a new analysis has found. The UK government analysis also assumes that billions of people will remain in dire poverty at mid-century, despite efforts to lift them to greater prosperity, as the population rises to an estimated nine billion people. Dealing with greenhouse gas emissions will require a transformation of electricity generation, including an expansion of renewable energy and nuclear power, as well as more public transport and changes to the built environment, according to the key findings of the Global Calculator, an online software tool developed by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), with partners. DECC says the UK has reinforced its ‘leading position’ on climate change ahead of Paris 2015 with the launch of the  new tool to help businesses and governments understand the environmental impacts of energy and emissions policies.

suslive-headFor the first time, edie will be hosting an Innovation Zone at Sustainability Live 2015 to showcase the best emerging, pre-commercialised sustainability solutions.   The Innovation Zone will showcase 16 selected entries to an invited audience of potential investors and venture capitalists along with the show’s visitors from the business and public sectors.  Edie are looking for emerging products, technologies and solutions in the energy, waste, water and cleantech space which are yet to be commercialised but have reached trial or prototype stage. ENTER ONLINE HERE.

The number of monarch butterflies that reached wintering grounds in Mexico has rebounded 69% from last year’s lowest-on-record levels, but their numbers remain very low, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

The impact of China’s clean air and renewable energy policies are beginning to have an impact on the country’s coal industry, according to reports suggesting domestic coal production fell last year. State media reported that coal production fell in 2014 for the first time this century, with production totalling 3.5bn tonnes between January and November representing a 2.1% fall on the same period in 2013.

australiatemprpedictionsThe Guardian reports that Australia could be on track for a temperature rise of more than 5C by the end of the century, outstripping the rate of warming experienced by the rest of the world, unless drastic action is taken to slash greenhouse gas emissions, according to the most comprehensive analysis ever produced of the country’s future climate. The national science agency CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology have released the projections based on 40 global climate models, producing what they said was the most robust picture yet of how Australia’s climate would change. The report stated there was “very high confidence” that temperatures would rise across Australia throughout the century, with the average annual temperature set to be up to 1.3C warmer in 2030 compared with the average experienced between 1986 and 2005.

The UK’s Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey has admitted that the UK is in danger of missing renewable heat and renewable transport targets for 2020. In an effort to comply with a legally binding EU target to source 15% of energy from renewables, the UK has set itself subtargets of 30% of electricity from renewables, 12% of heat, and 10% of transport fuel. While the UK is on track to hit its electricity targets, Davey said there was work to do on heat and transport.  Renewables supplied just less than 18% of electricity in the first three quarters of 2014, while biofuels accounted for around 4% of all road fuel in the same period. The most recent figures edie could find for heat (2012) suggested that just 2.3% of the UK’s heat comes from renewable source

Edie.net reports that European countries should be given binding targets for installing technology to capture and store carbon emissions, according to a new report for the European commission The UN’s climate science panel says such technology could have to account for over a fifth of the world’s carbon cuts by 2050 and the new paper, produced by consultants for the EC, says there is a “genuine and urgent” need for it in Europe.  Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is an experimental technology that traps emissions produced at power plants to reduce their contribution to climate change.

FOOD WATE2A cross-party group of MPs has urged the UK Government to provide WRAP with ‘sufficient public funding’ for it to maintain momentum in its food waste reduction programmes. The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (EFRA) made the announcement in a report it published, today (22 January), entitled ‘Food security demand, consumption and waste’.  Due to the Government’s Spending Review, WRAP has seen its funding cut from £48.1m in 2010-11 to £17.6m in 2014-15. Funding for 2015-16 is anticipated to be £15.5m. However, WRAP has recently achieved charitable status, which could allow it access to wider funding such as from trusts and charities.  WRAP’s Courtauld Commitment Phase 3 has seen 80% more food being redistributed by retailers and food manufacturers, and a 4.5% reduction of the carbon impacts of packaging in its first year. The organisation released the first-year results of the Courtauld Commitment Phase 3 – a voluntary agreement supporting retail businesses to improve their overall performance and reduce their environmental impact.   Food waste prevention efforts have seen food donations rise from 21kt in 2012 to 38kt in 2013, and companies are well ahead of a 2015 target of zero increase in the carbon impact of packaging; through reductions in packaging, an increase in recycled content and the use of different materials.

UK wind energy broke new records for monthly, weekly and half-hourly generation in January, providing enough energy to power almost nine million UK homes.  New official figures from the National Grid reveal that 14% of Britain’s energy (4.1TWh) came from wind turbines last month. The weekly record was also broken with 1.119GWh generated, and the half-hourly record was exceeded on 2 January, when wind supplied 31% of the nation’s energy demands. Wind power output in Scotland got off to a “flying start” last month, generating enough energy to supply the electrical needs of 146% of Scottish households.

Sunday’s Super Bowl match, which was watched by more than 100 million people worldwide, was the first to be lit entirely by energy-efficient LED lights.  New York-based LED company Ephesus installed 312 new LED fixtures at the 72,000 seat University of Phoenix stadium, which played host to the Super Bowl XLIX between the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots. The stadium’s new lighting system replaced 780 metal halide bulbs, saving 75-85% of power – almost a million watts. Ephesus Lighting’s president Mike Lorenz said the Super Bowl’s estimated global audience of 110 million people provided the perfect platform to showcase the LED technology.

Edie.net reports that  US President Barack Obama has released his budget proposal for the fiscal year 2016, featuring a $450m spending bump for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and a new $4bn fund to encourage states to cut emissions from power stations. More than half ($239m) of the EPA funding boost will go towards the EPA’s Clean Power Plan which also tackles power plant emissions.  On renewable energy, the plan proposes to permanently extend a tax credit for wind energy and a tax credit for solar power, which together would cost the government $31.5 billion over the next decade. The President also pledged $7.4bn for clean energy and efficiency developments at the Departments of Energy and Defence.

droughteastafricaBelief in the reality of climate change and its human causes is at its highest level amongst the British public since 2005, having significantly risen in the past year following the recent storms and flooding.  A report by Cardiff University – Public perceptions of climate change in Britain following the winter 2013/2014 flooding – focused on people’s responses to the series of exceptional flooding events that affected the UK in late 2013 and early 2014. “Our findings demonstrate that an association between last year’s winter flooding and climate change has been forming in the minds of many ordinary people in Britain, who also view these events as a sign of things to come,” Cardiff University’s School of Psychology’s Professor Nick Pidgeon told Edie.net.

And finally but hopefully not terminally …..  The European Union climate chief Miguel Arias Canete says talks at the next major climate summit in Paris this year will not be a failure even if governments fail to keep warming below the dangerous 2C threshold. The comments, downgrading expectations for a strong outcome at Paris, suggest that the architects of a global climate deal are already resigned to the prospect that governments will fail to aim high enough when setting out their targets for cutting greenhouse gas emission in the coming months.