Indur Goklany, a scientist and former US delegate to the UN’s intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) is to publish controversial claims that increased in CO2 in the atmosphere have boost crop yields and has little impact on global temperatures. His ‘Good News’ report on CO2 will be published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation an will say that rising CO2 levels boost crop yields by 10-15% and that the Earth is greener as a result of CO2 rising.
Food and grocery businesses across the UK are helping their employees to reduce their household food waste through a month-long campaign co-ordinated by WRAP and food research firm IGD. October marks the return of Working on Waste (WOW) month which uses the collective scale of the industry to talk directly to employees as consumers, driving behaviour change and engagement to take learnings about food waste beyond the workplace into households. Last year’s campaign reached over 650,000 employees from the food industry across 77 companies. Already this year, more than 100 companies from retailers to SMEs have signed up for the month-long initiative.
Tesla battery packs will be used to part-power 24 office buildings in California. The Irvine Company, a real-estate firm with properties throughout California, will install Tesla battery systems the size of five parking spaces, that will reduce peak grid energy consumption across the company’s entire portfolio by 25%. The storage system, the first of which will be installed later this year, will aim to reduce electricity costs and lower the reliance on power plants by charging the batteries during nonpeak hours. The stored energy will then be used when needed, or during power grid outages. The batteries can last between 4-6 hours without grid support.
SeaWorld has been banned from bringing wild killer whales to its water park in San Diego, America. It has also been told to stop breeding orcas in captivity in a ruling from the California Coastal Commission. They gave the Park permission to double to the size of its orca enclosures on the condition that breeding and bringing in new whales stopped. It comes after criticism of the way the whales are treated there, something SeaWorld has always rejected. Seaworldofhurt say orcas in the wild have an average life expectancy of 30 to 50 years—their estimated maximum lifespan is 60 to 70 years for males and 80 to over 100 for females. The average age of death for orcas who have died at SeaWorld is 13 years old. The commission’s decision to take the unprecedented step came after weeks of behind-the-scenes wrangling between Coastal Commission staff and SeaWorld attorneys over whether, in effect, the 1966 federal Animal Welfare Act gives the commission authority over the care and management of captive orcas, also known as killer whales. If, as the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper is urging, SeaWorld takes the Coastal Commission to court seeking to overturn the anti-breeding condition, the dispute over that 1966 law, and other legal arcana about the relative authority of state vs. federal agencies over marine mammals, will be central. The commission’s ruling has been applauded by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and other activist groups. including the Animal Legal Defense Fund. PETA has long asserted that the orcas are suffering in tanks that are too small and have been turned into circus performers. In 2012, PETA asked a federal judge in San Diego to rule that the orcas deserved protection under the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that banned slavery; the judge ruled that the amendment does not cover animals. More here.
UK Businesses that fail to meet the December deadline to comply with the Government’s new Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) may be granted a reprieve until at least the end of January, the Environment Agency (EA) has confirmed. The EA said that specified that ESOS-affected companies that have demonstrated a plan to comply with the policy and are making progress as of the 5 December 2015 audit deadline will be given an extension until 29 January 2016 to become fully ESOS-compliant.
A crucial meeting of the Arctic Council, in Anchorage, comes amid evidence that the polar region is warming faster than any other place on Earth and that sea ice coverage there has shrunk by nearly a third since 1979. Researchers now fear that new threats to climate stability are about to be unleashed in the Arctic. Warming in high latitudes is causing permafrost in Siberia and northern Canada to thaw and release plumes of methane stored there, they say. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas and these releases threaten to trigger secondary rises in global temperatures. The US is to host summit of polar nations as fears grow that factory andfam emissions mean that the Earth’s frozen wastes are losing their ability to deflect harmful rays and scientists in Alaska will raise the vexed issue of methane and “black carbon” pollution as they discuss tipping-point dangers posed by global warming in the Arctic. The Arctic Council is made up of representatives of the main north polar nations – Canada, Denmark (through its dependencies of Greenland and the Faroe Islands), Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States. In recent years, its work has come into sharp focus as the Arctic has warmed up and its sea ice cover has shrunk, exposing once inaccessible oilfields and sea routes.More on the Guardian here http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/17/arctic-alaska-global-warming-threatens-ice-cap .
Edie.net reports that the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has published its initial recommendations for the UK’s fifth carbon budget, suggesting a 54% cut in emissions by 2030 from a 1990 baseline. The Climate Change Act, which established a target for the UK to reduce its emissions by at least 80% by 2050, also called for five-yearly carbon budgets en route to that final target. The level of these budgets is recommended by the CCC and then voted on in Parliament. The CCC will publish its official recommendation for the fifth carbon budget – covering 2028-2032 – in November, with the Report marking its preliminary context assessment. The CCC wrote: “Our findings in this report suggest that a fifth carbon budget reflecting current international circumstances and EU commitments requires, on a best estimate, a reduction in UK emissions by 2030 of around 54% on 1990 levels.” The UK has broken records for national low-carbon growth and the country now tops PwC’s G20 Low Carbon Economy Index, but energy experts warn the results are largely due to “circumstance rather than policy”. According to analysis from PwC, the UK has seen 10.9% year-on-year declines in emissions from energy use – the highest reduction ever reported by PwC analysts in the past seven years. The main reason for the fall was a reduction in coal consumption of around 20%, due in part to the closure of a number pf coal-fired power stations. Strong economic growth and a warmer winter were among the other factors.
Rupert Murdoch, who never seems convinced by the overwhelming reality behind the science of climate change, has just bought National Geographic. Nort our words next but one opinion from TheSumofUs is this: “You read that right: one of the world’s most notorious climate change deniers, whose Fox media empire spreads misinformation on a massive scale, just got control of National Geographic. The National Geographic Society does incredibly important work on climate change — from publishing ground breaking stories to giving grants to scientists. But the new deal hands 73% ownership of its media operations to Fox.” Fox have been quite appalling in allowing platforms to climate change sceptics – so yes, a worry. More Fox nonsense here and on the Huffington Post here.
Sustainability is a strategic priority at just one quarter of UK further education institutions, a new survey from the Environmental Association for Universities & Colleges (EAUC) has revealed. The poll of 548 staff involved in sustainability in universities and colleges, also revealed that two fifths think their institutions are unlikely or very unlikely to meet emissions reductions targets. EAUC chief executive Iain Patton said, “Already this pioneering collaborative survey is flagging warnings that colleges in particular are struggling with sustainability adding “We won’t be waiting for next year’s survey to act and we will be supporting our Members across the UK to ensure sustainability is a critical agenda item at senior level.” A lack of financial and staff resources was identified as the biggest barrier to sustainability with support from the highest levels seen as the most important way of overcoming these barriers. A third of college sustainability staff and a fifth of university sustainability staff said they were expecting a decrease in budget. More on Edie.net here.
Last week ago, Denmark made the absolute most out of a particularly windy 24 hours by harnessing its power and producing not only all of its own electricity needs for the day, but enough extra to spread between three neighboring countries. To be exact, the sustainable wind-power technologies harnessed and collected 144% of one days electricity needs. Denmark had previously developed its wind-power plants but on that particularly windy day, it reached 116% of its domestic electricity demands through wind farms and then exceeded even that impressive surplus, reaching 140%, causing Denmark to export excess power to Norway, Germany, and Sweden. 80% of the excess energy surplus was given in equal parts to Norway and Germany and Sweden received the remaining 20%. Germany and Norway possess hydropower systems with storage capabilities and were thus able to store the extra away for later use. And last month’s unseasonably warm weather proved a boon for clean energy output in Scotland, with enough sunshine to provide more than 70% of the electricity and hot water needs of homes fitted with solar panels. Stronger winds throughout the month led to an 80% leap in wind energy output across the country – enough power to supply the average electrical needs of 64% of Scottish households.
The UK Green Investment Bank (GIB) has raised £355m in the second tranche of investment for its Offshore Wind Fund, bringing the total value to more than £818m.
A planned power plant in Wales may look like the Guggenheim Museum but its benefits far outweigh the beauty: it will use the rise and fall of ocean tides to generate enough renewable electricity to power 155,000 homes for 120 years.
When completed, the structure will produce electricity enough to displace more than a quarter million barrels of oil each year— while leaving virtually no carbon footprint.
Waitrose has given the humble egg box a green makeover with the launch of a revolutionary new packaging material made from ryegrass and paper. The supermarket’s Duchy Organic Range, which was founded by Prince Charles, will now be nestled in green-coloured boxes made from equal amounts of ryegrass and recycled paper – a UK first, according to Waitrose.
Scientists from the UK, the USA and Australia have suggested that noise free zones should be set up in the world’s oceans to minimise the impact of human activity in the oceans. Noise from fishing, shipping, water sports can affect marine animals acoustic signalling and Dr Christopher Clark from Cornell University said “Marine animals, especially whales, depend on a natrally quiet ocean for survival but humans are polluting major portions of the ocean with noise”.
UK supermarket giant Tesco has developed a new circular economy solution allowing it to turn its own back-of store-plastic waste, such as pallet and multi-pack wrapping, into plastic bags. The waste-plastic material is collected and sorted by recycling firm Eurokey then processed and turned into bags by plastics-recycling expert Papier-Mettler.
A new EU-funded project aims to explore the commercial opportunities for harvesting critical raw materials and precious metals from unwanted electronic products. The €2.1m project, called Critical Raw Material Closed Loop Recovery (‘CRM Recovery’), is a four-country collaboration, with the UK, Germany, Italy and Turkey all participating. WRAP research has shown that nearly 40% of electrical products go to landfill when they are disposed, while the United Nations University claims that this annual mountain of e-waste contains 16,500 kilotons of iron, 1,900 kilotons of copper, and 300 tonnes of gold.
Carbon pricing can significantly reduce emissions without harming the global economy, a new report from the influential New Climate Economy (NCE) think-tank has asserted. The NCE’s latest paper analyses existing carbon pricing schemes which cover around 12% of global emissions, and considers the impact of a global rollout. It found that the nine states in the United States’ Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) performed better than other US states economically, growing 0.4% more from 2009-2013, while reducing their emissions significantly. Likewise, the report claims Ireland’s carbon tax, introduced in 2010, raised much-needed revenues and avoided even harsher fiscal tightening measures during the global financial crisis. British Columbia’s carbon tax helped reduce emissions by 10% in five years with better economic growth than the rest of Canada.
The Scottish Government has brought its campaign on the future of renewable energy to Westminster as it renewed calls for the Conservative Party to rethink its recent subsidy cuts. Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing hosted a Renewables Roundtable event yesterday morning (12 October) to discuss the impact of recent UK Government decisions on renewables which Ewing says are “anti-business, anti-environment and anti-energy security”. “The impacts are spreading right across Scotland and the UK,” said Ewing. “It’s not just the renewables industry that is affected but also the wider supply chain, including ports and harbours, transmission and distribution, consultancy, communities and the civil engineering sector.” The Mark Group blamed recent government policy announcements for scuppering its turnaround plan. Almost 1,000 jobs were lost as one of the UK’s leading solar- panel installers went into administration.
Non-binding EU guidelines on shale gas exploration are “weak” and fail to protect the environment and health of citizens, a new report has claimed .
Jointly developed by Friends of the Earth Europe and Food & Water Europe, the report – ‘Fracking business (as usual)’ – claims the EU’s current recommendations rely too heavily on self-monitoring by the oil industry to be able to implement any regulation changes. Friends of the Earth’s shale gas campaigner Antoine Simon said: “The European Commission and EU Member States lack the political will and ability to strictly regulate the fracking industry.
A new £700m waste processing facility is expected to help five Scottish councils divert up to 90% of their waste from landfill. Viridor had been selected to design, construct, finance and operate the Clyde Valley Residual Waste Partnership project, with a contract worth up to £700m over 25 years. North Lanarkshire is the lead authority for the contract, and is joined in the project by East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, North Ayrshire and Renfrewshire. The facility will process approximately 190,000 tonnes of residual waste per year, helping Scotland towards national targets for recycling 70% and diverting 95% from landfill by 2025.
Finance ministers representing over 700 million people have announced a series of financial mechanisms to invest in climate resiliency and lower emissions for 20 of the world’s most vulnerable countries. Representatives from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Barbados, Bhutan, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Kiribati, Madagascar, Maldives, Nepal, Philippines, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Vietnam form the Vulnerable Twenty (V20). The V20 held its inaugural meeting on the 8th October in Lima, Peru, where the nations together committed to “foster a significant increase” of public and private finance for climate action from wide-ranging sources.