Tag Archives: oil

ANOTHER PLANET?

droughteastafrica2016 was the hottest year on record, setting a new high for the third year in a row, with scientists firmly putting the blame on human activities that drive climate change. The final data for 2016 was released on Wednesday by the three key agencies – the UK Met Office and Nasa and Noaa in the US – and showed 16 of the 17 hottest years on record have been this century. Direct temperature measurements stretch back to 1880, but scientific research indicates the world was last this warm about 115,000 years ago and that the planet has not experienced such high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere for 4m years. More on the Guardian here.

The world must not allow the Paris climate deal to be “derailed” or continue to inflict irreparable damage on the environment, Chinese president Xi Jinping has said, amid fears the rise of Donald Trump could strike a body blow to the fight against global warming. Trump, who will be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States, has threatened to pull out of the historic Paris agreement and dismissed climate change as a Chinese “hoax” and “expensive… bullshit”. But in an address to the United Nations in Geneva on Wednesday, which observers saw as a high-profile bid to bolster China’s image as a reliable and dedicated climate leader, Xi issued a direct challenge to those views, warning “there is only one Earth in the universe and we mankind have only one homeland”.

Radiation levels inside a damaged reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station are at their highest since the plant suffered a triple meltdown almost six years ago. The facility’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), said atmospheric readings as high as 530 sieverts an hour had been recorded inside the containment vessel of reactor No 2, one of three reactors that experienced a meltdown when the plant was crippled by a huge tsunami that struck the north-east coast of Japan in March 2011.

Scotland is seeking to dramatically cut its reliance on fossil fuels for cars, energy and homes after setting a radical target to cut total climate emissions by 66% within 15 years. In one of the world’s most ambitious climate strategies, ministers in Edinburgh have unveiled far tougher targets to increase the use of ultra-low-carbon cars, green electricity and green home heating by 2032. The Scottish government has set the far higher target after its original goal of cutting Scotland’s emissions by 42% by 2020 was met six years early – partly because climate change has seen winters which are warmer than normal, cutting emissions for home heating.

babyorangMore than half of the world’s apes, monkeys, lemurs and lorises are now threatened with extinction as agriculture and industrial activities destroy forest habitats and the animals’ populations are hit by hunting and trade. In the most bleak assessment of primates to date, conservationists found that 60% of the wild species are on course to die out, with three quarters already in steady decline. The report casts doubt on the future of about 300 primate species, including gorillas, chimps, gibbons, marmosets, tarsiers, lemurs and lorises.

Donald Trump by Gage Skidmore

Donald Trump by Gage Skidmore

The Trump administration is mandating that any studies or data from scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency undergo review by political appointees before they can be released to the public. The communications director for Donald Trump’s transition team at the EPA, Doug Ericksen, said the review also extends to content on the federal agency’s website, including details of scientific evidence showing that the Earth’s climate is warming and manmade carbon emissions are to blame. Former EPA staffers said on Wednesday the restrictions imposed under Trump far exceed the practices of past administrations.  And Donald Trump was sharply criticised by Native Americans and climate change activists  after he signed executive orders to allow construction of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL oil pipelines. Both pipe projects had been blocked by Barack Obama’s administration, partly because of environmental concerns. But Trump has questioned the science of climate change and campaigned on a promise to expand energy infrastructure and create jobs.  The environmental movement is “the greatest threat to freedom and prosperity in the modern world”, according to an adviser to the US president Donald Trump’s administration. Myron Ebell, who has denied the dangers of climate change for many years and led Trump’s transition team for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) until the president’s recent inauguration, also said he fully expected Trump to keep his promise to withdraw the US from the global agreement to fight global warming. The Republicans have backed off bill to sell 3.3m acres of public land after an outcry. Congressman Jason Chaffetz withdraws House bill 621 as conservationists and outdoorsmen vowed to continue fight over similar legislation. Chaffetz, a representative from Utah, wrote on Instagram that he had a change of heart in the face of strong opposition from “groups I support and care about” who, he said, “fear it sends the wrong message”.

Falling costs of electric vehicles and solar panels could halt worldwide growth in demand for oil and coal by 2020, a new report has suggested. A scenario that takes into account the latest cost reduction projections for the green technologies, and countries’ pledges to cut emissions, finds that solar power and electric vehicles are “gamechangers” that could leave fossil fuels stranded. Polluting fuels could lose 10% of market share to solar power and clean cars within a decade, the report by the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London and the Carbon Tracker Initiative found.

Shell_oil_croppedBut ……. global demand for oil will still be growing in 2035 even with an enormous growth in electric cars in the next two decades, with numbers on the road rising from 1m to 100m, BP has predicted. The oil and gas giant predicted that despite electric cars spreading rapidly and renewable energy recording exceptional growth, oil demand would still rise because of rising prosperity in the developing world. BP said electric cars would not be a “gamechanger” for the oil industry. “It’s not Teslas and the US. It’s the fact that 2 billion people, much of that in Asia, are moving to middle incomes, can buy their first motor car and that drives up oil demand. It’s that stuff that really matters,” said Spencer Dale, BP group’s chief economist.

In the final week of January London was put on “very high” alert as cold and still weather, traffic, and a peak in the use of wood-burning stoves combined to send air pollution soaring in the capital – and across swaths of the UK. According to data from King’s College London, areas of London including Camden, the City of London and Westminster all reached 10 out of 10 on the air pollution index, with many other areas rated seven or higher.

ANOTHER PLANET?

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.

wowFood 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.

orcaSeaWorld 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.

sea_ice_polar_bearA 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.

Sheringham_Shoal_Wind_Farm_2012Last 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.

dolphin-203875_1280Scientists 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.

airpollutionCarbon 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.

V20Finance 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.

 

ANOTHER PLANET?

sla-logoEdie.net’s Sustainability Leaders Awards 2015 have broken the record for the highest amount of entries ever received in the awards’ 8 year history. Edie say they are all thrilled about the huge number of entries received – it is a sure reflection of how many of you are continuing to put the spotlight on sustainability And of course, it should also make for a great awards ceremony! With entry levels at an all time high, the 2015 awards promise to be something really special and Edie say “we cannot wait to get all leaders of sustainability under one roof to celebrate their achievements. More information here.

Twenty seven blocks of land across the UK have been formally offered to energy companies by the UK Government for the extraction of onshore oil and gas. The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), which allocated the land, said that a further 132 blocks were still undergoing environmental assessments, with the results expected “later in the year”. The first 27 blocks, each around 10km2 , are located mainly in the North East, North West and East Midlands. The second tranche is also largely clustered in the North of England. UK Energy Minister Lord Bourne said that onshore oil and gas – often recovered by fracking – would “play a key part in providing secure and reliable energy to UK homes and businesses for decades to come”.

arcticAnd Shell has received final permission from the US Government to drill for oil and gas in the Arctic Ocean for the first time since 2012. Having been granted permission by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) yesterday (17 August), Shell can begin exploratory operations into potential oil bearing zones in the Chukchi Sea of the coast of Alaska.The move comes after the icebreaker ship Fennica, which carries emergency well-capping equipment, arrived at the site.

Scottish Power has announced that its coal-fired Longannet power station will be closing on 31 March 2016 after 46 years of service . The closure was first announced back in March 2015, reportedly thanks to high carbon taxes and the high cost of connecting to the grid. Neil Clitheroe, the CEO of retail and generation at ScottishPower, said it was a sad day for the company, but green groups hailed the closure as a ‘historic step’ in Scotland’s energy transition.

Renewable power billionaire Elon Musk has introduced to the world his sleek new Powerwall – a wall-mounted energy storage unit that can hold 10 kilowatt hours of electric energy, and deliver it at an average of 2 kilowatts, all for US$3,500. That translates into an electricity price (taking into account installation costs and inverters) of around US$500 per kWh – less than half current costs, as estimated by Deutsche Bank. Read more here.

Leading representatives of Islam have called for action to tackle climate change across the world, at a symposium in Istanbul. Islamic representatives from the United Nations, the Middle East, the Far East, Africa and the UK set out a climate declaration for the world’s 1.6bn Muslims. The Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change says: “God created the Earth in perfect equilibrium … the present climate change catastrophe is a result of the human disruption of this balance.” The declaration from the leaders calls on the nations meeting in Paris in December later this year at the Conference of the Parties (COP21) talks on climate change to set clear targets, stressing the part well-off nations and oil-producing states have to play to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

birdsneonictonoidsThe bee-harming pesticides we’ve been fighting for years are worse than we imagined. Research suggests that neonicotinoids aren’t just decimating bee colonies — they’re hurting birds too. Researchers found that in areas with high concentrations of neonicotinoids, bird populations declined every year. This means our worst fears are coming true — neonicotinoids may be moving up the food chain and killing our birds and our bees. For the sake of the birds, the bees, and the whole food chain, THESUMOFUS are challenging one of the biggest neonicotinoids producers of them all: Bayer. “In two weeks, we’re going straight to Bayer’s door with our massive petition — and we hope to have your name in our massive petition box.” It’s not just the bees anymore. Neonicotinoids are killing our birds too. It’s time to get Bayer to stop producing these chemicals.

A new app that can reportedly cut household energy use by 10% is being rolled out to 200,000 Swedish homes. The Energy Tree app analyses data from the smart power grid to discover households’ energy trends and encourages users to consume less energy through personalised feedback and guidance. “The Energy Tree combines behavioural science and gamification with data analytics to engage and motivate households,” said a statement from the app developers Greenely. “By entering their energy consumption data into the user-friendly and accessible app consumers can realise a potential 10% reduction in energy use.” More here.

fde1Efficient recycling of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) could be worth €3.7bn to the European economy by 2020, a new study has found. Researchers from the University of Sheffield found that recycling electronic waste was already worth €2.15bn in 2014 and could rise to €3.67bn by 2020. On top of the significant revenue gain, more effective recovery of materials could be environmentally beneficial by reducing manufacturers’ reliance on natural resources. The paper, entitled ‘Recycling of WEEEs: an economic assessment of present and future e-waste streamswas published by Professor Lenny Koh from the University of Sheffield and Federica Cucchiellaa, Idiano D’Adamoa  and Paolo Rosac  (University of L’Aquila, Italy). Professor Koh said: “This research has strong relevance to addressing global issues of materials availability and security, reducing reliance on unused non-renewable materials, especially precious, critical and rare earth materials in manufacturing for sustainability and for consideration for substitution.”

litterA survey has shown that 30% of people in the UK believe that more should be done to educate school children about recycling. Conducted by Direct365, the research highlighted that more needs to be done to inform future generations on how to minimise waste and promote eco-friendliness. As part of their Green365 campaign, which aims to help industries reduce their environmental impact, Direct365 asked 750 people a range of questions as to what measures schools can take to improve waste management. The survey showed that almost 30% want to see schools teach kids how to prevent food waste, while 25% stated that energy-saving lessons should be on the National Curriculum. 11% felt that children need more guidance on saving water

whales being mudreredThe horrific mass slaughter of whales in the Faroe Islands has sparked a reaction from two cruise lines, who announced they will no longer send their ships there. The latest move against the annual bloody massacre announcing means that Hapag-Lloyd and AIDA cruise lines are looking at alternative destinations for their vessels.  Both AIDA and Hapag-Lloyd were contacted by Netherlands-based charity Sea Shepherd to immediately postpone cruises to the Faroe Islands in the face of the on-going slaughters. Dr Monika Griefahn, a director at AIDA, confirmed the re-routing of the company’s ships in a letter to the charity. She said: “In the interest of our crew and our guests as well as for reasons for species protection AIDA Cruises has decided to stop making port calls to the Faroe Islands until further notice.”

handgunIn Culiacán, Mexico, the city with the highest rate of gun deaths in the nation, many people know the devastating consequences these weapons can contribute to. That’s where creative activist Pedro Reyes comes in. Reyes is an inspired artist who likes to focus on the failures of modern culture in a positive light. He doesn’t believe in failure but instead believes that failure is the outcome of a certain perspective. he has melted down  1,527 guns and turns them into shovels for planting trees. Reyes is an inspired artist who likes to focus on the failures of modern culture in a positive light. He doesn’t believe in failure but instead believes that failure is the outcome of a certain perspective. With this unique perception, he transforms things people see as broken and models them in a new way. He encouraged local residents to swap their guns for household and electronics goods vouchers before re-making the metal into shovels. Read More: http://www.trueactivist.com/artist-melts-1527-guns-and-turns-them-into-shovels-for-planting-trees/. Let’s be honest – of we divered all the vast amount of money spent on wars and weapons into food, medicine, education, culture and housing we would ALL be well fed, healthy and well educated.

Indigenous communities in Brazil are using a new project called Tribal Voice to publicise how their homes and lands are being destroyed by loggers, ranchers and miners. The peoples, from some of the remote areas of the world, use Tribal Voice to air their voices o the internet. In Brazil the powerful farming lobby is trying to persuade the Brazillian government to clear;ly map out tribal lands – something the agribusinesses want to control themselves. They are lobbying the Brazilian government to turn over control of the mapping from a independent agency to Congress itself – something tribespeople say would be a disaster. Tribal Voice (not to be confused with the UK based sustainable tourism consultancy or the clothing company both of the same name) say “Ever wondered what life’s like in a remote tribal community? What tribal people have to say about the world? Tribal Voice, a project by Survival International, brings the thoughts and experiences of some of the most diverse societies on earth direct to your screen in real time. We’re kicking off the project with two tribes in Brazil. The Guarani, whose land has been stolen and destroyed by plantations and ranches, are now sending regular updates about their lives, and their struggle to survive. It’s time to listen.”

The Guardian reRIOports that the world governing body of sailing is threatening to move events for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics out of the city’s polluted Guanabara Bay unless “a whole lot more is done very quickly” to clear the venue of floating debris and sewage. Alastair Fox, head of competitions for the governing body, ISAF, said: “We’ve got quite frustrated with it all,” adding that Brazilian “politicians and the government must get going”. Fox suggested two sailing courses located just outside the bay in the open Atlantic – and a third being planned there – could be used for all races. Three other courses have been planned inside the bay but may not be used. The enclosed bay is heavily polluted and has been described as an “open sewer” by Olympic sailors. The Rio state government promised to reduce the amount of raw sewage flowing into the bay by 80% but has since admitted that goal is unlikely to be met.
Gyre ocean rubbishA giant mass of floating plastic rubbish in the Pacific Ocean is believed to be far larger than previously feared — even though it was first estimated to be twice the size of Texas. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is much more than patch now – its a vast toxic ‘ocean fill’ of rubbish dumped from ships and washed out from the West Coast of North America. Julia Reisser, the main oceanographer on the “mega expedition” made up of 30 ships that surveyed the Patch, said that they had found much more plastic than expected, “perhaps an order of magnitude more”. The Ocean Star, the 171ft mother ship of the expedition, docked in San Francisco carrying huge white bags and freezers filled with plastic samples taken from 80 separate locations in the patch. “The trawls we did found little marine life, but lots and lots of plastic,” Dr Reisser said. “I would say that we had hundreds of times more plastic than organisms on our catch.” The Great Pacific Garbage Patch was first discovered by Charles Moore, a sailor and oceanographer, in 1997 as he returned home from the Transpacific Yacht Race, which starts in Los Angeles and ends in Honolulu. More here and more on Plastic Soup News here.

An American solar firm has launched a new liquid technology that turns regular windows into solar panels which could be up to 50 times more productive than regular roof-based photovoltaics. The solar windows, designed for skyscrapers, are created by applying ultra-thin layers of liquid coatings on to glass and flexible plastics. These liquid coatings produce ultra-small solar cells and form groups called ‘arrays’.  Solar Window Technologies revealed its innovation via a webinar, with a video demonstrating the windows collecting electricity, which was then used to charge a monitor.

orangsStarbucks has become the latest major brand to come under fire from campaign groups for its palm oil policy, with a new video urging consumers to boycott the coffee shop chain. The video is part of an ongoing campaign from the SumOfUs group, which has almost reached its petition goal of 200,000 signatures calling on Starbucks to cut conflict palm oil from its supply chain. The video highlights that, while 99% of Starbucks coffee is ethically sourced and sustainably produced, the company is still implementing “environment-wrecking” palm oil in its other commodities, such as baked goods

The private sector could cut more than five hundred megatons of greenhouse gas emissions in the next five years, simply by scaling up existing green initiatives, according to a new report. Researchers from the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) and energy consultancy Ecofys, analysed five current initiatives, such as the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 and En.lighten. The report found that expanding these schemes could save emissions equivalent to one years’ worth activity from 130 coal power stations. The report focuses in particular on so-called ‘cooperative initiatives’ between businesses, Governments and NGO’s. One of the programmes looked at is WWF’s Climate Savers, which aims to help companies develop zero-carbon business models.

In the USA President Obama has unveiled  a package of programmes to help America switch to cleaner energy, including $1bn in loan guarantees to boost ‘innovative’ technologies, like smart grids and solar rooftops. The funding will also go towards installing solar panels on military housing and helping low-income families become more energy-efficient The initiatives aim to boost innovation, ensure grid reliability and ‘help the country towards a low carbon future’.

Edie.net reports that Rebuilding Scotland’s energy sector around green technology could generate 44,000 additional jobs compared to the current oil-and-gas status quo. That’ s according to a new report – Jobs in Scotland’s new economy – published by the Scottish Greens.  The report states that 200,000 new jobs could be created by adopting more renewable energy, compared to the 156,000 people currently employed in the country’s fossil fuel industry.

Audi2018Audi has unveiled concept designs for its first all-electric SUV, with a full reveal expected at the International Motor Show 2015 in Frankfurt next month. The concept car – the Audi e-tron Quattro – would have a battery range of more than 310 miles. Audi says the E-tron Quattro would come somewhere between Audi’s current Q5 and Q7 models in terms of size, and a production model for the SUV could be expected from 2018. The German carmaker said the electric model was constructed using Audi’s experience of its electric Audi R8 e-tron sports car, which entered a highly limited, on-demand production run this year.

And a French start-up claims to have developed the world’s first Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) for road freight vehicles. Popularised in Formula 1, a KERS system recovers the kinetic energy usually lost under braking, and uses it to power a small electric motor. French firm Adgero, working with German company Skeleton Technologies, claims to have developed a KERS system that can be used with trucks and lorries, reducing associated emissions by up to 25%.

deforestationbrazilgreenpeaceAnd finally back to Brazil: Germany has pledged €550m to help Brazil’s deforestation and energy efficiency programmes as part of a new climate change agreement between the two countries. Following Angela Merkel’s state visit to Brasilia on Thursday, the two countries issued a joint statement calling for an ambitious agreement at the Paris climate talks in December. Brazil President Dilma Rousseff promised to end deforestation by 2030, while Germany also donated €23m to help Brazil establish a rural land registry aimed at increasing monitoring of the Amazon. “Brazil is the key to all goals related to the climate,” said Merkel. She added that the biodiversity of the rainforest was as important as its carbon absorption. “What gets destroyed here cannot be replaced,” she said. More on Edie.net here.

ANOTHER PLANET?

tigetwikiFinally some good news for tigers – one of our most beautiful and most endangered species. Hunting and poaching (to feed the demands of chinese ‘medicine’) has decimated the tiger population across Asia, but now India has said that there has been a 30% increase in wild tiger numbers – up to 2,226 this year from 1,706 in 2010. Still woefully tiny, but better and India’s environment minister Prakash Javadekar called the rise a ‘huge success’ after intensifying efforts to stamp out poaching and re-introduce tigers to areas where they had been wiped out, and halt the steady destruction of their natural habitat.

And in South africa, 100 rhinos have been moved to new and secret locations in neighbouring states. South Africa has some 80% of the world’s remaining rhino population and is at the epicentre of the poaching crsis – it lost 1,215 animals last year, a 20% rise on 2013.

Climate change may be wiping out California’s famous big trees which are dying off faaster than ever. More than half of the state’s redwoods, ponerroas pines and other giant trees have died in less than a century. The trees are more susceptible to high temperatures and water shortages than smaller trees.

The symbolic doomsday clock moved to three minutes before midnight because of the gathering dangers of climate change and nuclear proliferation, signalling the gravest threat to humanity since the throes of the cold war. It is the closest the clock has come to midnight since 1984, when arms-control negotiations stalled and virtually all channels of communication between the US and the former Soviet Union closed down. The scientists who set the clock say world leaders have failed to face up to the dangers of climate change and the risk of a ‘potential catastrophe’. US scientists say 2014 was the hottest on record. Nasa and Noaa scientists reported that 2014 was 0.07F (0.04C) higher than previous records and the 38th consecutive year of above-average temperatures. That didnt stop the US Senate from viting that climate changeis NOT caused by human activity. The Senate voted virtually unanimously that climate change is occurring and not, as some Republicans have said, a hoax – but it defeated two measures attributing its causes to human activity. Only one Senator, Roger Wicker, a Republican from Mississippi, voted against a resolution declaring climate change was real and not – as his fellow Republican, Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma once famous declared – a hoax. That measure passed 98 to one. But the Senate voted down two measures that attributed climate change to human activity. “Climate is changing and climate has always changed and always will,” Inhofe told the Senate. “The hoax is that there are some people who are so arrogant to think they are so powerful they can change climate. Man can’t change climate.” CLIMATE CHANGE IN PICTURES.

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The Guardian reports on illegal fishing in the Southern Ocean: “Staying hidden behind sea ice and large waves, sailors aboard a navy patrol boat from New Zealand sneaked up on three suspected poaching ships, then took photos and video of the fishermen hauling in prized fish in banned nets from the ocean near Antarctica. Seemingly caught red-handed, the crews of the rusting vessels just kept on fishing. Authorities say this month’s high-seas confrontations, and the detailed evidence collected, mark a first in Antarctic waters, where regulators have long suspected poaching activities but have found them difficult to police in an area that’s roughly the size of the continental United States. It is a huge illegal business. Each of the ships could hold more than $1m worth of Antarctic toothfish, marketed in North America as Chilean sea bass.” More here.

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Fossil fuel companies have taken up majority positions in key renewables trade groups steering them towards a pro-gas stance that influenced Europe’s 2030 clean energy targets, industry insiders claim. Big energy firms such as Total, Iberdrola, E.On and Enel have together adopted a dominant position in trade bodies such as the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) and European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA). Their representatives now constitute a majority on both group’s boards. Officials in EPIA were told to argue for a renewable-gas alliance as the answer to Europe’s energy security concerns, while EWEA lowered its 2030 clean energy ambitions by a third, according to ex-staffers, renewables experts and policy insiders. They argue that the more pro-gas stance influenced the 2030 climate targets adopted by EU governments last year.

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The former Tory environment secretary, Caroline Spelman, has called for a ban on fracking in the UK ahead of a report by an influential committee of MPs that is expected to conclude fracking could derail efforts to tackle climate change. The intervention by Spelman, a member of the Environmental Audit Committee, comes as the UK government’s drive for fracking came under heavy political attack.

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ANOTHER PLANET

You can be sure of Shell? Probably not. The multinational oil company has come under intense criticism for only the most limited testing of a key piece of equipment aimed at preventing a Gulf of Mexico style blow out in its expected exploration in the Chukotka Sea off Alaska. Shell has said that it would use a  ready-made containment dome that could cap off a well if anything went wrong, but Ben Aycliffe, a senior Greenpeace Campaigner for the Arctic said “The only option now is for the US Government to call a halt to Shell’s plans because the company is so clearly unable to operate safely in the planet’s most extreme environment”.  It seems Shell spent just two hours (yes, ypu read that right, 2 hours) testing the system. Shell said that the containment dome was just one of a number of  pieces of equipment that could be used in an emergency. Other scientists have warned that they are even more worried about  drilling methods in the Russian Arctic, where environmental concerns were lower down the agenda.

Keep an eye out for the new docu-feature TRASHED, produced and directed by British filmmaker Candida Brady and fronted by Jeremy Irons which has been selected to receive a Special Screening at the Cannes Film Festival this month. The film  sets out to discover the extent and effects of the global waste problem – especially on places of natural beauty. You can find out more at http://www.trashedfilm.com/

Stack-Cup™ is washable, durable, and reusable cup for live events  – a green solution for contributing to today’s growing revolution against a throw-away society – and it boasts a unique patented handle design that enables spiral-pattern stacking for easy portability. More at  stack-cup.com/.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Canteen in Plymouth has been rated the UK’s most sustainable restaurant by the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA). The Canteen narrowly beat Dixcart Bay Hotel, Sark, which scored 88% in its rating in July.

Energy-from-waste companies are sitting on a lucrative “gold mine” of valuable metals in incinerator bottom ash which they could profit from if these materials were recovered.

The UK Government must begin planning against the increased health risks that climate change could bring to the UK, according to a report published today by the Health Protection Agency (HPA). The study, Health Effects of Climate Change in the UK 2012, looks at the effect of temperature rises on death rates in hot and cold spells and the impact a changing climate will have on pollen production, outdoor and indoor air pollution, floods, ultraviolet radiation, food, water and insect-borne diseases.

The European Commission has launched an anti-dumping investigation into imports of solar panels  from China. More on Edie.net

Edie.net reports that seabed pollution at almost two thirds of Scottish salmon farms is either unsatisfactory or borderline. A Salmon and Trout Association (S&TA) study reviewed 311 reports of seabed self-monitoring by farms between 2009 and March 2012. Of these, 44% were deemed by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) as “unsatisfactory,” 21% were considered “borderline” and only 34% were considered satisfactory.

Particle physicist, ex-D:REAM keyboard player and now TV star Professor Brian Cox has calculated the cost of sending waste into space based on current space technology capabilities

According to Cox, the cheapest rate a rocket could launch mass into the lower earth orbit would be $2,000 per kilogram – and to blast it further out of the earth’s orbit would cost even more!

Tesco expects to make 30% energy savings at its first store run solely on LED lighting, as it continues to move towards its target of being carbon neutral by 2050.

Fujitsu has developed what it claims is the industry’s first system for recycling used CDs and DVDs into new notebook PCs.  The Japanese manufacturer will embark on a pioneering closed loop venture to collect the CDs and DVDs at its own recycling centres across the country and reuse them by incorporating the plastic into the bodies of its notebook products.

The UK’s Environment Agency has launched an initiative to encourage debate and discussion on what it takes to achieve greener businesses in economically challenging times.  The initiative aims to highlight hundreds of organisations driving greener business approaches and to recognise the SMEs, entrepreneurs and other businesses helping to improve the environment and reduce carbon emissions.  A wide range of organisations including Waterwise, Keep Britain Tidy, the Carbon Trust, the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) will be joining the Environment Agency to carry out the initiative and the publication of the new Greener Business Report this autumn.

ANOTHER PLANET

Glyndebourne Productions have installed a wind turbine at the famous opera site, despite protests from local people who say that the sound of the turbine may affect performances. The Glyndebourne  turbine is supported by opera fan Sir David Attenborough who said that any noise issues were ‘trivial’ when compared to health and pollution issues from fossil fuels, and that the turbine was ‘elegant’ and ‘in harmony with nature’.  The Company said that 90% of the electricity required to run the opera house will now come from  renewable energy.

BP may pay out up to $25 billion to settle actions brought by the US authorities, local businesses and its own workers arising from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. It is thought BP is keen to avoid a court action, scheduled to start on February 27th in New Orleans. BP has already spent $15 billion cleaning up after the massive spill and has paid $10 billion into a Gulf compensation scheme. analysts say if BP lost the court case its potential liability could be up to $69 billion.

Meat production is one of the major contributors to global environmental degradation especially deforestation, water scarcity and loss of bio-diversity – as well as on fifth of the World’s greenhouse gas emissions – so its interesting to see that a Dutch scientist says he is close to producing laboratory grown meat – or ‘cultured’ meat.  It sounds like science fiction but Mark Post from Maastricht University claims he will be able to produce a cultured burger by the end of the year. PETA, the animal welfare group, have a separate $1 million prize available until 30th June 2012 for the first scientist to provide cultured chicken that can be grown in quantity and cannot be distinguished from real chicken. Post hopes celebrity chef Jamie Oliver will cook his first commercially produced burger.

Oil and gas company Cuadrilla felt the wrath of furious local residents at a public meeting to discuss its proposed plans to drill test for shale gas in the South East of the UK. During the meeting, held in West Sussex on January 11,, Cuadrilla’s chief executive Mark Miller met with about 200 local residents and anti-fracking protestors to discuss plans for fracking work in the area.

New Research aims to look at the local options in power grids to reduce peaks and dips associated with renewable energy and cut fossil fuel use. Work by Australia’s Queensland University of Technology (QUT) will aim to overcome one of the ‘main hurdles’ to increased use of wind and solar energy. QUT’s chairman in power engineering, Professor Gerard Ledwich, said because renewable generation ‘was not predictable’ other power sources had to be used to supplement it but says he hopes to develop storage and demand management systems to make sure renewably generated power can be better stored during low usage times for use in peak periods.

The European economy could save €72bn a year if member states implemented EU waste legislation in full, according to a European Commission (EC) study. Such a move would also increase the annual turnover of the EU waste management and recycling sector by €42bn and create over 400,000 jobs by 2020.

Luxury London hotel The Langham is looking to raise recycling levels from 35% to 75% over the next 12 months and make significant cost savings in the process. The five-star hotel has appointed waste management company SWR to manage all of its waste. This will involve greater source-segregation with the installation of new bins, a cardboard baler, a bin press and a glass crushing machine.

Uncertainty continues to dog the solar industry as the Government drags the fights over subsidy cuts back to court. The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is going back to London’s High Court to appeal the right, won by campaigners to have a judicial review over cuts to the Feed-In Tariff scheme (FITs). The court ruled last year the cuts, implemented durig a consultative phase, were ‘illegal’ . Ministers have made one minor concession saying that householders who installed panels after the 12th December will continue to  get the full Feed In Tariff, but only until March 2nd, when it will halve.

Boosting plastics recycling in the UK will be a “key focus” for 2012 as the sector continues to develop PET and HDPE bottles recycling technologies.  That is according to resource and recovery specialist Keith Freegard, who predicts further investment in technology and equipment capable of extracting a wider range of materials from mixed plastics collections.  And Reducing water use by 20% by 2020, compared with a 2007 baseline, in the production chain is the second key area flagged up in the British Soft Drinks Association’s (BSDA) Sustainability.

Budget airline Ryanair will add a small charge to every passenger’s costs after claiming new European emission cutting rules were ‘loony’.  The Irish based airline is furious over the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), which makes large organisations monitor and report emissions. No problem for me as I don’t and won’t ever use Ryanair if I can help it as I find most of their charges stark raving mad. And train’s are much nicer anyway.

Edie.net reports that Apple has extended its reuse and recycling programme to the UK, France and Germany in the form of a customer cashback scheme for old devices.  The service has been operating out in the US for some time, but hit European shores last week. The scheme, which is being managed by Dataserv, also accepts certain non-Apple products such as desktop computers. Under the scheme, customers can hand back their used iPads, iPhones and Macs – but not iPods.

A message from Greenpeace in the Arctic

Good morning, The sun is just coming up here in the Arctic and it’s been an exhilarating 24 hours.

Our activists are still hanging from the underside of the oil rig and they’re sleeping soundly. Early yesterday under the cloak of darkness we managed to evade Danish navy commandos and our climbers successfully scaled the legs of Cairn Energy’s Stena Don rig, bringing the company’s Arctic drilling project to a grinding halt. If you haven’t emailed him yet, please email Cairn’s boss Bill Gammell and tell him to stop drilling in the Arctic. So far, 12,000 of you have sent messages to Cairn’s boss Bill Gammell telling him to stop Arctic drilling. Thank you – it’s already had an impact.

We heard that we’ve scared BP off drilling in the Arctic. According to the Guardian, a senior source said: “With the Greenpeace ship already harassing Cairn off Greenland – a company which has an exemplary safety record – everyone realised it would be political madness to give the green light to BP.” But that’s not enough. While we’re happy to have stopped BP drilling in the Arctic for the moment, Cairn Energy is drilling here now. And we have to stop them. It doesn’t matter which company’s logo is on the rig, it’s the drilling for oil that’s the problem. And that’s exactly why our climbers are still on Cairn’s Stena Don rig today. If we can hang on long enough, Cairn will miss their summer drilling window and have to head home until the ice melts next year. The situation is still tense – we’re getting reports that the Greenlandic police and Danish navy are planning their next move, as they certainly didn’t expect us to get past their warship and patrol boats so quickly. Our climbers have food to last for days in their suspended tents, but we can’t predict what the response from either Cairn or the authorities will be.

We’re prepared for every eventuality though. I’ll keep you up to date with developments as they happen. You can also follow what’s happening live and listen to updates we made yesterday. I also want to say a big thank you for all of your messages of encouragement, supporting us and for calling on Cairn to stop their drilling. If you haven’t already, please email Cairn’s boss Bill Gammell and tell him to stop drilling in the Arctic. Thanks, Lisa – on board the Esperanza

Email Bill via this link http://e-activist.com/ea-campaign/clientcampaign.do?ea.client.id=18&ea.campaign.id=7593&utm_source=ebulletin20100901espyactionupdate&utm_medium=email&utm_term=oil&utm_campaign=climate

Live updates at  www.GoBeyondOil.org

News at  http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/blog/climate/hanging-there-still-rig-20100901?utm_source=ebulletin20100901espyactionupdate&utm_medium=email&utm_term=oil&utm_campaign=climate