Tag Archives: WRAP

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President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama

The Guardian reports that President Obama’s special envoy for climate change has warned Republican presidential hopefuls including Donald Trump and Ted Cruz that any attempt to scrap the Paris climate agreement would lead to a “diplomatic black eye” for the US. Speaking to journalists in Brussels, Todd Stern also said that a recent supreme court decision to block Barack Obama’s clean power plan would not affect US climate pledges, or plans to formally sign up to the Paris agreement later this year. Republican candidates such as Trump or Cruz who query climate science on the presidential stump would in practice be “very loathe” to set off the storm that would follow any ditching of the Paris accord, Stern argued. Republicans’ favorite climate chart has some serious problems: As usual, cherry picking and misrepresentations are used to oppose climate policies

In the UK  DECC and Defra have said they will “deliver an energy infrastructure fit for the 21st century”, “champion the environment”, “tackle air pollution” and “provide security against floods” in their new five-year plans. The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM)  criticised the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) for delivering a “highly disappointing” five-year environmental policy plan which they say contains a distinct lack of commitments on the reduction of UK waste.

DGTL has announced a major decision regarding its culinary offering at its next festival on Easter weekend. The organisation, already known for their ‘Revolution’ concept through which they commit to making massive festival productions more sustainable, have now made the bold decision to be completely meat-free!

BBChuwThe Scottish Government has pledged to reduce the nation’s food waste by one third over the next nine years – a plan that would save businesses and households across the country more than £500m if successful.

Edie.net reports that Jaguar Land Rover will incorporate a sustainable aluminium alloy that contains up to 75% recycled content into the manufacturing of all of its vehicles, thanks to a successful collaborative project between the British carmaker and US aluminium can recycler Novelis.

The El Niño that caused record temperatures, drought and floods over the last year has passed its peak strength but will continue to have humanitarian impacts for months to come, the UN has said. The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) said the event, which plays havoc with weather systems around the world, was still strong and its impacts on communities in southern Africa, the Horn of Africa and Central America were becoming increasingly apparent.

plasticbagPlastic pollution in the marine environment is a “critical problem” for global ecosystems and for human health as microscopic pieces of waste enter the food chain, an Australian Senate inquiry has been told. The warning came as Guardian Australia learned the federal health minister has the power to instantly ban controversial plastic microbeads from products like soap and toothpaste without any new legislation, according to official parliamentary advice.

The UK Government’s Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has kick-started phase two of its collaborative, cross-industry plan to bring greater consistency to household waste and recycling collections in England.  Working with Resources Minister Rory Stewart and representatives from local authorities, waste managers, producers and retailers, WRAP is now investigating a range of potential waste collection models across the country “We are looking to develop a vision for England that will offer local authorities a way to recycle greater volumes of higher quality materials whilst reducing costs, delivering good services to residents and supporting growth in the recycling sector,” said WRAP’s director Marcus Gover. “It won’t be a one-size-fits-all solution and we want to work with local authorities, to demonstrate the business case for change. This is not just about what local authorities do though; all parts of the value chain have a role to play in achieving greater consistency and improving recycling.” More here.

Europe’s car industry has suggested that the continent’s entire road network be resurfaced at a cost of hundreds of billions of euros as a “climate initiative” so that it does not need to make mandatory car emissions cuts by 2030. The lobbying document produced by the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) and seen by the Guardian also advocates for greater use of biofuels; “smart transport” infrastructure; and “eco-driving” lessons for motorists. The Guardian says that its cornerstone is the audacious suggestion for a huge infrastructure project which the car-makers suggest could substitute for planned EU targets for reducing emissions.

RJFPSainsbury’s has announced that it is scrapping multi-buy promotions across its food retail outlets in an effort to ease growing customer concerns about food waste and price logistics.  As the first UK retailer to announce a promotional change at this scale, Sainsbury’s will combat the multi-buy and buy-one-get-one-free (BOGOF) phase-out in August 2016 by lowering regular prices. Sainsbury’s marketing director Sarah Warby, said: “Careful management of household budgets, a growing awareness of the cost of food waste and more health-conscious living has driven a trend away from multiple product purchasing towards more single item purchasing. “We have listened to our customers who have told us that multi-buy promotions don’t meet their shopping needs today, are often confusing and create logistical challenges at home in terms of storage and waste.”

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airpollutionThe Guardian tells us that pledges by most of the world’s countries on climate change are likely to lead to less than 3C of global warming over the century. The UN praised governments for coming forward with plans to limit their greenhouse gas emissions, to kick in from 2020 when current commitments expire. The plans from 146 countries that cover nearly 90% of global emissions, known as INDCs or Intended Nationally Determined Contributions in the UN jargon, will form the centrepiece of the make-or-break Paris conference on climate change this December. However, while the plans represent a significant advance on current trends, which would result in as much as 5C of warming if left unchecked, they are not enough in themselves to limit global warming to the 2C threshold that countries are preparing to agree on. This is widely regarded scientifically as the limit of safety, beyond which many of the effects of climate change – floods, droughts, heatwaves, sea level rises and more intense storms – are likely to become much more dangerous. However Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Venezuela are among the 40 countries who have failed to make their pledges.

The World faces a looming and potentially calamitous “cold crunch”, with demand for air conditioning and refrigeration growing so fast that it threatens to smash pledges and targets for global warming. Worldwide power consumption for air conditioning alone is forecast to surge 33-fold by 2100 as developing world incomes rise and urbanisation advances. Already, the US uses as much electricity to keep buildings cool as the whole of Africa uses on everything; China and India are fast catching up. By mid-century people will use more energy for cooling than heating. And since cold is still overwhelmingly produced by burning fossil fuels, emission targets agreed at next month’s international climate summit in Paris risk being blown away as governments and scientists struggle with a cruel climate-change irony: cooling makes the planet hotter.  How America Became Addicted to Air Conditioning.

food wasteFrance’s National Assembly has unanimously passed a measure requiring all supermarkets 400 square feet or larger to donate unsold food to charity, for animal feed, or for farming compost. All grocery stores are banned from purposefully ruining food. “It’s scandalous to see bleach being poured into supermarket dustbins along with edible foods,” said Guillaume Garot, the Socialist deputy who sponsored the bill. In the UK supermarket chain Morrisons has become the first supermarket chain to donate all of its surplus edible food to local community groups. The chain will appoint a supermarket ‘champion’ at each store to liaise with local community groups. A trial in 112 stores showed up to four trolley loads of perfectly safe and edible food a week from each shop could be salvaged. Last year supermarkets threw away 180,000 tonnes of food – although up to 100,000 tonnes is turned into biogas.

Check out some shower gel, and it might have lots of little bits in it. Most of the time, these are tiny spheres of plastic called “microbeads.” Designed to scrub your body and remove dead skin, they’re not just found in shower gel – cleaning products, facial scrub, and even toothpaste often contains them too. They might seem harmless and insignificant, but collectively trillions are being washed into our sewers and polluting our rivers and oceans every day. And now scientists want them banned – as the world’s oceans are being filled with microplastic, which is any piece of polymer less than 5 millimeters in size. Normally, these result from the break down by UV light of larger pieces that are floating in the oceans, but microbeads are a separate, distinct issue. No bigger than a grain of sand at around 1 millimeter, microbeads are not something our water treatment plants were designed to filter out from waste water and trillions and trillions are getting into our sewage and water waste and polluting our seas and oceans. MORE HERE.

flickricelandDavid Cameron is poised to launch an ambitious project that could see Britain harnessing the power of Iceland’s volcanoes within the next 10 years.The plan would involve the construction of 750 miles of undersea cabling, allowing the UK to exploit Iceland’s long-term, renewable geothermal energy. Teeming with volcanic activity, Iceland reportedly meets around 95 per cent of its own electricity needs using geothermal sources – but its remote location has made exporting it almost impossible. British officials told the Press Association that the new “UK-Iceland Energy Task Force” had been set up to examine the feasiblity of the scheme and told to report back in six months.

Installation has started  on Europe’s largest floating solar power system which will generate 2.7GWh of renewable, zero carbon energy each year on a reservoir near Manchester. The 12,000-panel system is being developed by water giant United Utilities at the cost of £3.5m. The 45,500 sq.m project will float on the Godley reservoir in Hyde. Chris Stubbs, head of renewable energy at United Utilities, said: “We have a target to generate 35% of our power requirements by 2020 and this project will make a significant contribution to that aim.

Puffin and turtle dove numbers across the globe have plummeted so rapidly the birds now face the same extinction threat as the African elephant and lion, say conservationists. Atlantic puffins and European turtle doves have been added for the first time to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list of species at risk of being wiped out. In total, four UK bird species have been added to the new list, doubling to eight the number of bird species commonly seen in Britain now given official “vulnerable” status. A further 14 UK species are considered “near threatened”.

Edie.net reports that business leaders have welcomed the recognition of carbon pricing within the latest draft text of the climate agreement, but concerns remain over the lack of progress on climate finance from richer nations. The final round of preliminary climate negotiations came to a close in Bonn ahead of the crucial Paris Summit in December. A 20-page negotiating document was expanded to 63 pages over the course of the five days. Green groups have commended the progress, considering that at same point before the Copenhagen climate summit in 2009, 180 pages of negotiating text had been drawn up.

SOLAR POWERA plan to ‘save the solar industry’ by adding £1 on to UK consumer energy bills has received support from a cross-party coalition of 30 MPs. The plan, proposed by the Solar Trade Association, would significantly reduce the cuts suggested by the Government in its consultation on the Feed-in Tariff. The review seeks to reduce subsidies for small-scale solar to around £7m over the next three years.

The UK’s budget squeeze will mean safe cycle lanes will not be guaranteed by the UK Government, losing out to road building and the new UK rail links and upgrades over the next five years.

Working on an allotment once a week can help tackle band moods, dispel tension and encourage weight loss, a new study has suggested.  The Universities of Westminster and Essex say that allotments provide both physical and mental health benefits – boosting self esteem – and researchers say local authorities should provide more space for allotments.

A new initiative launched has been launched by WRAP to reduce the carbon, water and waste footprints of the textiles industries across 11 European countries. In partnership with the London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB), WRAP’s European Clothing Action Plan (ECAP) has received a €3.6m fund from the European Union’s environmental financial support instrument, EU Life. It aims to divert over 90,000 tonnes of clothing away from landfill each year in Europe by 2019. WRAP chief executive Liz Goodwin said: “Finding more sustainable ways to work with textiles is an area set to deliver huge benefits – both economic and environmental.

A controversial €100m (£71m) dam project in a Macedonian national park is expected to be scrapped after independent experts called for a halt to all funding and construction work because of risks to critically endangered species, including the Balkan lynx. A Bern Convention mission to the Mavrovo national park reported that the planned hydropower dam there was “not compatible” with protection of the park’s status, ecosystems or species. The European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has put up €65m in loans for the project but its environmental guidelines forbid the funding of projects prohibited by the Bern Convention, a legally-binding pact between 51 states. MORE HERE.

The Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) is calling on Britain’s fleet operators and local authorities to band together to create a new low-carbon market for heavy goods vehicles. The LowCVP has stated that independent testing of retrofit technology, a switch to natural gas and biomethane and supporting the transition to hybrid and pure EVs in urban environments are the three main opportunities the HGV market has to adopt a low carbon ethos. LowCVP managing director Andy Eastlake said: “In terms of road transport, most of the focus in recent years has been on cutting emissions from cars and buses.

Green energy provider Ecotricity has announced plans to build three new ‘hybrid’ renewable energy parks, combining wind and solar power generation in the same project. Hybrid renewable energy parks combine wind and solar power generation using the same grid connection to maximise efficiency and reduce initial costs.

The Gulf in the Middle East, the heartland of the global oil industry, will suffer heatwaves beyond the limit of human survival if climate change is unchecked, according to a new scientific study. The extreme heatwaves will affect Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Doha and coastal cities in Iran as well as posing a deadly threat to millions of Hajj pilgrims in Saudi Arabia, when the religious festival falls in the summer. The study shows the extreme heatwaves, more intense than anything ever experienced on Earth, would kick in after 2070 and that the hottest days of today would by then be a near-daily occurrence. “Our results expose a specific regional hotspot where climate change, in the absence of significant [carbon cuts], is likely to severely impact human habitability in the future,” said Prof Jeremy Pal and Prof Elfatih Eltahir, both at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, writing in the journal Nature Climate Change.
chinaHMteasueryThe UK and Chinese governments have signed an agreement to share knowledge and encourage investment in clean energy technologies in both countries. The Clean Energy Partnership will enable UK companies share their expertise in low-carbon innovation and secure new business in the Chinese energy market, the largest in the world. It is also hoped that the deal will encourage more investment in clean technologies, helping reduce costs to consumers in both countries. The deal came as part of a state visit by Chinese president Xi Jinping in which a number of other collaboration agreements were also announced, including investment in UK nuclear power, the first ever Chinese investment in the UK offshore wind market, and the establishment of joint offshore wind industry advisory groups. It has been pointed out that investment by the UK in its own renewables might be a wiser option …….

Construction of a £1.5bn windfarm off the Suffolk coast is to go ahead in November with the creation of nearly 800 jobs, after three new partners were found to back the project. The future of the Galloper windfarm was left in doubt last year when energy company SSE pulled out of the project, blaming the cost, and the subsidy regime. The remaining partner, RWE Innogy, halted work. But RWE Innogy announced on Friday that Siemens Financial Services and the investment and financial services group Macquarie Capital, along with the UK government’s Green Investment Bank, had become joint 25% equity partners. Offshore wind is one of the few parts of the UK renewable energy sector to have emerged unscathed after a round of cuts to onshore wind and solar power subsidies since the majority Conservative government  took power in May.

 

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parigi-570x350The Guardian view on Paris 2015 back in January – still worth a read: COP21 – the world’s last best chance to reach an agreement on cutting carbon emissions: The Pope, President Obama and President Xi are all on the same side. But it doesn’t guarantee victory:

This time last year the water was lapping at front doors from Godalming in Surrey and Tonbridge in Kent, they were still clearing up after a tidal surge along the east coast in early December, the Scottish lowlands were on full flood alert and there were ominous signs of the catastrophe looming for the Somerset levels. No single weather event is evidence of climate change, but the freak weather of those months left no one in any doubt of what an extreme weather event would look like. There was nothing more for the climate change scientists to add.

This time next year, the Paris summit that holds out the best hope for a broad, UN-brokered agreement on cutting carbon emissions will be over. It is of universal importance that a deal is struck that is ambitious and achievable. There are several reasons why that looks more possible now than it has done for years. President Barack Obama clearly hopes that he can make climate change part of his legacy. He is reportedly ready to use his powers to override Congressional opposition to his proposal for a cut in carbon emissions, by 2025, of between 26% and 28% over the 2005 level. The US readiness to make a commitment was matched by China’s president Xi Jinping, for the first time, offering a date for “peak” carbon emissions of 2030. The agreement, announced in November after the two leaders met in China, was welcomed by the UN’s climate change chief, Christiana Figueres, who said it would make a real contribution to the success of the Paris conference. And the EU has agreed to a 40% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared with 1990, as well as to new targets for the generation of renewable energy.  READ THE WHOLE EDITORIAL HERE.

The UN climate talks in Bonn have been “painstakingly slow” according to some observers, but the final day generated some optimism, particularly with regards to funding for poor countries dealing with extreme weather. Negotiators gathered in Bonn over the past four days to work on the text of a climate deal that can be presented to heads of state in Paris in December. The negotiators’ role is to simplify and streamline the text into a document that can be easily debated and hopefully agreed upon

SOLAR POWERThe cost of generating electricity from renewable resources such as solar and wind has more than halved in the last five years according to the International Energy Association. The group’s new report, entitled ‘Projected Costs of Generating Electricity: 2015 Edition’, suggested that the median cost of producing baseload power from solar power, fell from around $500/Mwh to $200/Mwh over five years. Likewise, the cost of onshore wind fell to around $100/Mwh. And onshore wind could be cost-competitive with new gas generation by 2020 but needs continued Government support to get there, a new report from centre-right think-tank Policy Exchange has found. The report, Powering Up: The future of onshore wind in the UK, claims that onshore wind is the cheapest form of low carbon energy and “should logically continue to play a role in cutting carbon emissions”. In June, the Government announced plans to end the Renewables Obligation (RO) subsidy for onshore wind from March next year. It also mooted the possibility of banning onshore wind from the RO’s replacement subsidy scheme – the Contracts for Difference auction. As many as 73% of manufacturers want to see legislative reform of the UK’s current environmental and climate change policies, according to a new survey by the manufacturers organisation EEF. Respondents claimed that existing regulations are harming their international competitiveness.
There are at least 10 pieces of legislation affecting manufacturers on waste alone, with another five key pieces of legislation that relate to energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. More on Edie.net here.

badgersBadger culls in Dorset, Somerset and Gloucestershire have got under way, the UK government has confirmed. The  UK’s Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) has not said exactly when the culls began in the three counties. Dorset is a new area for the pilot cull, but it is the third year for Somerset and Gloucestershire. It is thought 2,000 badgers will be killed and ministers and farmers insist culling is necessary to tackle the spread of bovine TB, which results in thousands of cattle being slaughtered every year. The Badger Trust has said that figures obtained under a Freedom of Information request from Defra showed that the last cull cost the British Public £6,100 for each badger killed. Wendy Higgins, from Humane Society International, said: “The point of the culls was to find out if the culls were feasible, safe and humane to shoot a specific number of badgers over a particular period of time. The culls of year one and year two have shown a spectacular failure… We don’t need to carry on pointlessly shooting badgers in order to prove what we have already seen which is that culling badgers is a pointless failure.”

Gibraltar, don’t let go on National Day on September 10th. The mass release of balloons will kill more than your good reputation – it will kill far too many sea birds.

India’s Ministry of Power has announced it will replace all conventional lightbulbs in streetlights and the domestic sector with LED bulbs by 2017. The programme will reduce power load by 5 GW, saving 10.5bn kWh every year, translating to savings of £581m. Twenty million bulbs will be replaced by LEDs at an estimated cost of £250m. The plan was first mooted back in January, but the Minister of Power Piyush Goyal announced on Friday that it would be completed in the next two years. And Japanese solar firm Kyocera has completed the installation of 4,300 solar streetlights along Brazils new motoring artery, the Arco Metropolitano do Rio de Janeiro. More than half of the newly-built 145-km road, which connects the five main highways crossing Rio de Janeiro, will be lit by solar lights. The entire project will produce around 2.8GWh of solar energy per year, equivalent to the amount of power used by 1,500 average homes and equal to the carbon dioxide emissions that 1,583 acres of forest would offset. Rio de Janeiro has become the first city to reach full compliance with the Compact of Mayors, a global coalition of city leaders dedicated to making their cities more resilient to climate change.

Researchers in Brazil have finished constructing a 325-metre high tower that will analyse the Amazon rainforest’s gas emissions, to help understand climate change. The €8.4m Amazonian Tall Tower Observatory (ATTO) is taller than the Eiffel Tower and will start collecting data on heat, water, cloud formation, carbon absorption and weather patterns over the rainforest later this year. It will link up with two smaller towers to collect data for 20 to 30 years.

The Times reports that Soma Oil & Gas, the oil company chaired by Lord Howard, the former Conservative leader, did not tell the Somali government that it was paying a Canadian lawyer who was allegedly advising the Somali oil ministry. The company is under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office in the UK.

droughtEdie.net reports that countries from the Middle East will likely be be exposed to ‘extreme water stress’ by 2040, threatening national security, the World Resources Institute has found. WRI scored future water stress—a measure of population and surface water depletion—in 167 countries using their Aqueduct analysis. The report suggested that 33 countries would be at risk from water-stress, 14 of them from the Middle East. Bahrain, Kuwait, Palestine, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Lebanon all scored 5.00 out of 5.00 in analysis highlighting countries at continuous risk from water scarcity in the next 25 years. The deterioration of the Middle East, home to over 350m people, will threaten economic growth and national security, according to the report. It will likely see more people move to increasingly overcrowded cities, and some of the effects are already being seen with the ‘death’ of the Dead Sea.

smansshpwThe Showman’s Show have said that numerous exhibitors  at the outdoor events exhibition event on the 21st and 22nd October will be showcasing their environmentally friendly credentials.  From fuel-saving power solutions, re-useable plastic cups and lithium LED towerlights to collapsible toilets and fully recyclable carpet there are a host of innovative products on display for visitors to browse. The Showman’s Show have also introduced a new category to the Show’s stand awards – the Green Supplier and Innovation Award. It will recognise and reward the exhibitor who best demonstrates that they are making a special effort toward environmentally sustainable practices, products and services. The submissions will be judged by event sustainability champion, Chris Johnson of Powerful Thinking, who has also set the criteria. More here.

Screen-shot-2015-09-07-at-15.29.01Kambe Events have announced a master class for event professionals has been announced in Bristol on 19 November 2015. Bristol is the European Green capital in 2015. The day will include presentations by waste experts, behaviour change experts and festival directors, followed by a practical workshop to create your own action plan for 2016. Kambe Events, the company behind the award-winning Shambala Festival, will be joined by leading experts for an all day practical workshop on how to improve your audience experience, change behaviours, manage costs and minimise your environmental impact by approaching waste management in a holistic way. In a statement Kambe said: “Imagine: A festival site where all you can see is grass rather than litter; an audience which recycles without thinking; being clear about the best options for managing your waste, and knowing what happens to your waste when it leaves site. It’s possible, but why learn the hard way when you can gain insights from leading industry experts with over a decade of specialist experience”. The event will cost £195 + VAT per participant (Earlybird, AIF and AFO member discounts available). Earlybird Discount: 25 per cent until 30 September 2015. More here.

sla-logoedie have nnounces the Sustainability Leaders Awards 2015 finalists – and you can find them all here !

More than three quarters of UK households would support renewable energy projects such as wind turbines and solar farms if the profits generated benefitted the local community, a poll has found. Co-operative Energy polled 2000 UK adults in order to reveal public attitudes on community projects in the wake of the Government’s decision to consult on subsidy withdrawals for community energy generation investment. Co-operative Energy general manager Ramsay Dunning said: “The overwhelming picture from our poll is that the British public support renewable, and most importantly, community energy generation. Therefore the Government’s decision to withdraw its support from the renewable sector is extremely disappointing and at odds with popular opinion.

Ed Davey, the former energy and climate change secretary, has accused George Osborne of putting tens of billions of pounds’ worth of private sector investment at risk with an assault on the green agenda he pioneered. The Liberal Democrat said the chancellor was pursuing “bonkers economics” and an ill-advised and ideologically driven campaign against renewable energy that risked leaving the UK hopelessly dependent in the longer term on fossil fuels such as gas. Phasing out aid for zero-carbon homes, onshore windfarms and solar arrays are among a raft of measures introduced by the Tories which represented “disastrous” economics, said Davey in his first interview since losing his seat in parliament.

In better news, whisky, forestry and household by-products will be turned into biofuels thanks to new funding awarded today by the Department for Transport. Three UK companies will share a £25 million fund to help them turn waste products into green fuel. And the Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) has launched a £775,000 fund to help local authorities improve the collection, re-use and recycling of electrical goods. Councils are being urged to bid for a portion of the funding, with £40,000 available for individual local authorities, and up to £100,000 available for consortia bids.  also in the enws, the Environment Agency will use €640,000 in funds from the European Union to develop a network aimed at stopping the illegal international shipping of waste. The fund, which comes from the European Union’s ‘LIFE’ programme, will help develop the European Network of Prosecutors for the Environment (ENPE).

windturbines_300Still in the UK, The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has rejected four planned onshore wind farms in mid-Wales with a potential capacity of more than 350 MW. The reasons behind the refusals included adverse visual effects, local wildlife damage and a negative impact on tourism. A DECC spokesperson said: “Careful consideration has been given to each application, and the planning and energy issues involved.” A fifth windfarm was granted consent, but denied permission to build an overhead power line, putting its feasbility in doubt. However, plans to expand Scout Moor onshore wind farm in Lancashire have been given the green light by the local council. Developers Peel Energy and United Utilities want to add a further 16 turbines to the 25 existing turbines; effectively bringing the total capacity of Scout Moor to 101.8MW – making it England’s largest wind farm, ahead of SSE’s 68MW Keadby project in Lincolnshire which has 34 turbines supplying 2MW each. The UK’s largest is Whitlee wind farm on Eaglesham Moor, south of Glasgow in Scotland, with 140 turbines and an installed capacity of 322MW. More on edie.net here.

Putting cities on a course of smart growth – with expanded public transit, energy-saving buildings, and better waste management – could save as much as $22tn and avoid the equivalent in carbon pollution of India’s entire annual output of greenhouse gasses, according to leading economists. The Global Commission on Climate and Economy, an independent initiative by former finance ministers and leading research institutions from Britain and six other countries, found climate-smart cities would spur economic growth and a better quality of life – at the same time as cutting carbon pollution. If national governments back those efforts, the savings on transport, buildings, and waste disposal could reach up to $22tn ($14tn) by 2050, the researchers found. By 2030, those efforts would avoid the equivalent of 3.7 gigatonnes a year – more than India’s current greenhouse gas emissions, the report found. The finding upends the notion that it is too expensive to do anything about climate change – or that such efforts would make little real difference. Not true, said the researchers.

Amazon burningInternational governments could be unwittingly driving deforestation through misguided agricultural subsidies, a new UN report has found. The report examines the forest-food nexus, which is becoming evermore strained by the need to increase food production by up to 70% by 2050. However, current subsidy support systems are ineffective for increasing crop yields and harmful for forests, the report claims. “The negative impact of subsidies on forest cover is often caused by outdated and incoherent policies,” explained United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) executive director Achim Steiner. And the first ever worldwide waste report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) says immediate action is required to shift from ‘take-make-use-waste’ to a circular economy. Global Waste Management Outlook – a report from UNEP and the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) – found that seven to 10 billion tonnes of urban waste is now produced each year, with three billion people across the globe still lacking access to efficient waste disposal facilities.  And volumes of waste are likely to double in lower-income African and Asian cities by 2030, fuelled by population growth, urbanisation and rising consumption, according to the report.

A European transition to the circular economy could create three million extra jobs by 2030 and reduce unemployment by 520,000, a new WRAP study has claimed. The report, Economic Growth Potential of More Circular Economies builds on previous WRAP studies of the employment potential of closing the loop and extrapolates the findings across all 28 EU member states. The report found that there are already 3.4 million people employed in circular economy jobs such as repair, waste & recycling and rental & leasing sectors across the European Union. On the current development path, the circular economy is expected to create an extra 1.2 million jobs; and reduce structural unemployment by around 250,000. However WRAP claims both of these figures could be more than doubled by an ambitious development plan. In the charity’s own response to the EU’s public consultation on the circular economy, WRAP called for a specific food waste policy, greater encouragement of resource efficient business models, and the creation of a ‘target vision’ of what the ideal EU circular economy would look like.

The number of single-use carrier bags (SUCBs) has fallen by over 70% in Wales since a 5p charge was introduced, a new report has found, just weeks before the scheme is launched in England.

Some of the world’s largest food, beverage and tobacco brands are missing out on significant financial and production quality gains by failing to mitigate climate risks and reduce carbon emissions, a new report has warned. The report from CDP, titled ‘The forgotten 10%: Climate mitigation in agricultural supply chains’, collected data from 97 global companies on behalf of 822 investors that represent over a third of the world’s invested capital. It looked specifically at the agricultural production portion of producer’s supply chains, which is now responsible for 10-14% of global emissions. CDP concluded that food and beverage companies must widen their focus beyond their own operations to realise ‘significant opportunities’ from working with suppliers to cut emissions. “Collaboration with stakeholders holds the key for brands seeking to unlock opportunities to become resilient to climate change,” explained CDP’s co-chief operating officer Frances Way. “Our data shows that companies who engage with one or more of their stakeholders are more than twice as likely to see returns from emissions reduction investments as companies that don’t.” More here.

Namibian lionThe Black Mamba Anti-Poaching Unit, a South African ranger group consisting mostly of women, has been named as one of the winners of the top United Nations environmental prize. By bestowing its Champions of the Earth award to the Black Mambas, in the Inspiration and Action category, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) is recognizing the “rapid and impressive impact” the unit has made in combatting poaching and the courage required to accomplish this task, the agency said in a news release.

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Namibian lionThe Zimbabwean environment minister has called for  Walter Palmer, the 55 year old extraordinarily odious dentist who killed Cecil the beautiful and iconic  lion, to be extradited from the US to face trial for financing an illegal hunt. Oppah Muchinguri told a news conference that Palmer, 55, was a “foreign poacher” and said she understood Zimbabwe’s prosecutor general had started the process to have him extradited. Two men in Zimbabwe are already facing charges for illegal hunting and poaching: Theo Bronkhurst has said he believed he had the correct permit for the hunt. Zimbabwean wildlife authorities say they have suspended the hunting of lions, leopards and elephants in an area favoured by hunters following the killing of a lion popular with tourists. The National Parks and Wildlife Authority said  that bow and arrow hunts have also been suspended unless they are approved by the authority’s director. The authority says it is also investigating the killing of another lion in April that may have been illegal. The Independent  newspaper named 68 year old US surgeon Dr Jan Seski as the person who killed another lion with an advanced bow. He is based in Pittsburgh. Dr Seski, of Murrysville said in statement issued by his attorney that he had complied with rules and regulations. A local man, Headman Sibanda, has also been arrested in connection with that killing. Other reports says that Cecil’s brother Jericho has been shot dead by poachers in Zimbabwe, but local reporters believe this could be another lion.  Reports added that contrary to earlier fears, Jericho was protecting Cecil’s lion cubs after Cecil was killed by Palmer. Delta, United and American Airlines have banned the shipment of big-game trophies on flights after the illegal killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe. The airlines announced that they would no longer transport lion, rhinoceros, leopard, elephant or buffalo remains.

France’s top climate ambassador has said she is very concerned at the slow rate of progress on a negotiating text that will form the basis of a new international deal on global warming in Paris later this year. But Laurence Tubiana also said that negotiators from nearly 200 countries were making headway on the document, and made clear that the French government wanted to see serious progress on the text by October. The comments, in an interview with the Guardian, came as climate ministers met last week to advance international climate talks before a crunch UN summit in Paris this November and December. The UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon said in June that the negotiations were proceeding at “a snail’s pace” after a fortnight of talks in Bonn cut the 90-page text by just four pages. Last Friday a new streamlined version was published, with the two officials overseeing it warning the “pace was slow” and there was an “urgent need, owing to serious time constraints, to accelerate the work”.

Sheringham_Shoal_Wind_Farm_2012Europe’s offshore wind power industry has set a record for its biggest ever year just six months into 2015. The biggest factor was a huge jump in turbines in German waters connecting to the grid, with Germany installing three times more electricity-generating capacity than the continent’s current leader, the UK.

Authorities have forced protesters in kayaks from a river in Portland, Oregon, where they were trying to stop a Royal Dutch Shell icebreaker from leaving dry dock and joining an Arctic oil drilling operation. Police also tried to lower protesters who were dangling from a bridge into the water below. Sergeant Pete Simpson said safety was the main priority, and police and coast guard officers were joined by firefighters and a rope-rescue team. A federal judge in Alaska had earlier ordered Greenpeace USA to pay a fine of $2,500 for every hour that protesters continued to block the icebreaker from leaving for the Arctic.

beesThe manufacturers of controversial pesticides took part in a key meeting on whether a Europe-wide ban on their chemicals should be lifted in the UK, according to newly published documents. The record of the meeting of the UK government’s expert committee on pesticides (ECP) had previously been suppressed. Neonicotinoids, the world’s most widely used insecticide, have been linked to serious harm in bees, including a drastic reduction in queens, and were banned across the EU in 2013. Bees and other pollinators are essential for many crops but are in decline due to the impact of pesticides, loss of habitat and disease. The National Farmers Union (NFU) applied for an “emergency” suspension of the neonicotinoid ban for oil seed rape fields in the UK, which they said were under attack from pests. The newly released record of the meeting on 20 May shows manufacturers Bayer and Syngenta were the only external representatives invited to answer the ECP’s questions. More here and also take a look at theSumofUs’s report that “Bayer, BASF and Syngenta are suing the European Commission to overturn a ban on the pesticides that are killing millions of bees around the world” and theSumofUs add “A huge public push won this landmark ban — and we can’t sit back and let Big Pesticide overturn it while the bees vanish.” The EU banned these bee-killers in May 2013, after a massive public campaign and a clear scientific finding from the European Food Safety Authority that neonics pose huge risks to bee populations: “Let’s defend this landmark ban for the bees and our food supply.” Interestingly the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board has said that their research shows that the oil seed rape harvest this year looks like being a record breaking success, somewhat undermining the NFU’s allegations that the neonicotinoid ban has damaged harvests – and prompting the question – WHY do the chemical companies and the NFU want this ban overturned and why do they want to put our bees at risk? Interesting theories here – and let’s not forget the recent debate about Monsanto and others creating genetically modified plants that have sterile seeds – so called ‘terminator seeds‘ – so you always have to buy your seeds from the chemical companies –  and more here.

shell
lneLive Nation Entertainment and Shell Oil have formed a marketing alliance making Shell the official fuel and Pennzoil the official lubricant sponsors at eight of LN’s North American amphitheatres. The pact extends Pennzoil’s collaboration with Live Nation, with Backseat Pass – a video series on a customized website that will feature artists performing in the back seat of a moving vehicle. The deal also gives Shell and Pennzoil naming rights on VIP pavilion decks and parking lots, according to the announcement. The sheds included in the sponsorship are PNC Music Center in Charlotte, N.C.; First Midwest Bank Amphitheater in Chicago; Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, N.J.; Gexa Energy Pavilion in Dallas; Irvine Meadows Pavilion in Irvine, Calif.; Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood in Atlanta; Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, Calif.; and Molson Canadian Amphitheatre in Toronto.

A London-listed mining giant Vedanta Resources has been polluting the drinking water and poisoning farmland in villages in Zambia and threatening a wider health disaster with its copper mining activities, the Observer has found. London law firm Leigh Day has issued proceedings in the High Court in London on behalf of 1,800 people who claim to have been affected by the company’s copper mining pollution. “The case could take three years to resolve,” said Leigh Day senior partner Martyn Day, recently returned from Zambia, where lawyers and paralegals have been taking witness statements from people living near the rivers and the company’s operations. A Vedanta spokesman said: “All Vedanta’s operating subsidiaries take the health of their employees, the wellbeing of surrounding communities and the environment very seriously. Our subsidiaries are committed to ensuring they operate in a safe and sustainable way.”

solarAs a senator President Obama had been in favour of coal subsidies to reduce the USA’s reliance on imported oil. Now the President’s Clean Power Plan is targeting coal in a move to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and global warming. Today in the USA the solar industry employs more people than coal and the Clean Power Plan is aimed at accelerating the move to renewables and is part of a major new White House initiative on climate change.  The measures will place significant emphasis on wind and solar power and other renewable energy sources. However, opponents in the energy industry have vowed to fight the plan. They say Mr Obama has declared “a war on coal”. Power plants fired by coal provide more than a third of the US electricity supply. The revised plan will aim to cut carbon emissions from the power sector by 32% by 2030, compared with 2005 levels.

Green groups in the UK have compared US President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan with the lack of UK Government action, claiming Prime Minister David Cameron needs to do more to meet climate change targets. Commenting on the announcement of the Clean Power Plan, Greenpeace UK’s executive director John Sauven said recent Conservative U-turns on environmental policy were making the UK look “parochial and small-minded.”

The Prince of Wales is planting 1,000 rare varieties of apple trees in a bid to create a ‘gene bank’ as the apple growing agribusiness sector moves towards a narrower and narrower range of commercial trees.

Lady Elliott Island, Great Barrier Reef by Jasmine ChallisAnd in Australia, the approval for Adani’s Carmichael coalmine has been overturned by a federal court. The case alleged environment minister Greg Hunt approved project without regard for conservation advice for two endangered species and the court ruled that  Hunt ignored his own department’s advice about the mine’s impact on two vulnerable species, the yakka skink and the ornamental snake.  Sue Higginson, the principal solicitor at the Environmental Defenders Office NSW, which ran the case for the conservation group, said: “This kind of error in the decision-making process is legally fatal to the minister’s decision” and “The conservation advices were approved by the minister in April last year, and describe the threats to the survival of these threatened species, which are found only in Queensland.” The court did not rule on the conservation group’s separate argument that Hunt failed to consider the impact of carbon emissions from burning of thermal coal from the Carmichael mine – which would exceed Australia’s annual emissions – or Adani’s “poor” environmental track record overseas.

There will be an international ‘megashift’ towards energy storage – batteries in particular – within the next 10 years, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has predicted. In a new study, ARENA forecasts that the cost of Li-ion batteries will fall 60% by 2020 and the cost of flow batteries will fall by 40%, leading to an installation boom. The report states: “The rapid uptake of solar PV provides a useful analogy to what could occur in the energy storage market, as technology prices have potential to reduce as technology development simultaneously improves.

China is set to begin the construction of what is expected to be the world’s largest solar thermal power plant. The Delingha plant, which will cover 25km of land in the Gobi desert, is slated to have a 200 MW capacity – enough to supply one million homes with electricity. Once fully operational, the plant will prevent the burning of 4.26 million tonnes of coal every year, reducing CO2 emissions by 896,000 tonnes.

football leagueThe sharing economy picked up an unlikely new advocate this week as the Football League announced a new partnership with Liftshare.com to encourage fans to travel to games as efficiently as possible. The partners have a launched a ‘Get to the Game’ travel platform, where fans can post details of their match day travel and offer their spare car seats to other fans for a split of the total petrol costs. More on edie.net here.

Leicester City Council is planning to add cycling to the city’s sustainable transport network using new Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycle (EPAC) hubs. The city council and sustainable travel experts Go Travel Solutions have submitted the full application for funding for the electric bike hubs as part of a bid for a share of £500,000 from the Department of Transport. The UK Government is aiming to develop electric bikes in cities and at tourism hotspots around England.

WRAP-1Recent UK Government spending cuts led to a 38% drop in income for the Waste & Resources Action Plan (WRAP) in 2014/15, despite the organisation delivering a five-fold return on its funding. According to WRAP’s latest annual report, total income for 2014/15 was £40.7m, down from £66.3m the previous year, with the drop “mainly due to reductions in central Government funding”. But the deep cuts appear overly punitive, given the success of the organisation. In the report, WRAP claims that for every £1 of funding spent on priority programmes like Love Food Hate Waste, it leveraged £2 of external contributions.

Supermarket chain Morrisons has announced it is working with charity FoodCycle to tackle UK poverty and food waste. Morrisons group corporate services director Martyn Jones said: “Our colleagues work hard to minimise waste every day and we know that our customers really care about this. “Our partnership with FoodCycle will allow us to find a good home for the small amount of unsold or used food in stores and support FoodCycle’s great work in the community.”

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XX-Powerful-Street-Art-Pieces-That-Tell-The-Uncomfortable-Thruth26__880This from the Guardian: The world’s least-developed countries have accused richer nations of failing to provide financial backing for a strong new global climate treaty. With little negotiating time left ahead of the UN climate summit in Paris later this year, diplomats from nearly 200 countries meeting in Bonn have reportedly made little progress, raising the possibility of a last-minute diplomatic fiasco, as happened in Copenhagen in 2009. The mistrust between countries that built up in Copenhagen now threatens the Paris talks, said Tosi Mpanu-Mpanu of the Democratic Republic of Congo, who is chairman of the 48-strong least-developed countries group. “The [UN] process is flawed by a complete lack of trust and confidence between rich and poor countries,” he said. “We need time. Because of this lack of trust we have no other way of proceeding. We have to go ahead with baby steps. We are not making much progress, but we are going in the right direction. There are so many issues. It’s a process of attrition. “Every year there is a watering down of the commitments. It feels every year that we are losing out. Twenty countries contribute 80% of emissions, the rest 20%. Yet we in Africa are being asked to cut emissions. OK, we say, but help us. Give us finance, technology.” With only around 10 days’ worth of negotiations remaining after the Bonn talks close next week, no discussion has started on three vital issues: whether rich countries should compensate poor ones for the loss and damage done by extreme weather events exacerbated by climate change; how deep the overall emission cuts should be; and how countries should fairly share the burden of cuts.

food wasteGovernments across the world should make reducing food waste an urgent priority in order to save as much as £194bn annually by 2030, according to a report. Cutting food waste leads to greater efficiency, more productivity and higher economic growth, it said, but achieving such an aspiration would involve consumers cutting their own food and drink waste by as much as half. One third of all food produced in the world ends up as waste, with food wasted by consumers globally valued at more than £259bn per year. But that cost could soar to £388bn as the global middle class expands over the course of the next fifteen years, according to new figures from the UK government’s waste advisory body Waste and Resources Action Programme (Wrap) for the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate.  Their new report, ’Strategies to achieve economic and environmental gains by reducing food waste’, also identifies significant opportunities to improve economic performance and tackle climate change by reducing the amount of food that is wasted at various stages in the supply chain – in agriculture, transport, storage and consumption. It highlights how practical changes, such as lowering the average temperatures of refrigerators or designing better packaging, can make a big difference in preventing spoilage. Approximately 25% of food waste in the developing world could be eliminated with better refrigeration equipment. More here. You can access the Report here.

food wasteTesco is to become the first British supermarket to launch a bold new scheme to donate leftover food to charity, as their CEO admitted they were “not comfortable” about throwing away thousands of tonnes of food every year which could have been eaten by people in need. Company chief Dave Lewis told The Huffington Post UK: “A number of years ago we identified that food waste was an issue for our business. ” Despite taking some measures to prevent food waste, Lewis said the company “didn’t feel good about” the fact that the fluctuating demand for different food in supermarkets meant “you’re left with food that passes its sell-by date but is still perfectly good for human consumption.” “This was something we didn’t feel comfortable about.”

the-food-waste-project-partnershipAnd  EighthPlate have teamed up with Formulate Media to make a short film about their ‎foodwaste‬ crusade, to be shown at the end of their year – collecting waste food from festivals in the United Kingdom and delivering it to those who need it. The team at A Greener Festival are proud to be part of  8th Plate: The Food Waste Project. 8th Plate is a project which aims to salvage 60 tonnes of festival food waste this summer, to make 143,000 ready meals for vulnerable people in society.

Thrifty habits of our forefathers key to reducing waste “Make do and mend” – it was a way of life for generations gone by. But while the consumer age gives us more choice than ever, the downside is we are creating more waste than the Scotland can handle.

Last month the Saudi oil minister said that he recognised that eventually the world won’t need fossil fuels pointing to 2040 or 2050 as a cut off date. It not that the oil will run out – nor fears of climate change – its just that solar and wind power are becoming increasingly cheap to produce. Renewable technologies have risen from 13% of global power to 22% in the last decade – and the cost of generating solar power has fallen 80% in six years and wind power is 40% cheaper.  Last year $150 billion was invested in solar power and $100 billion in wind – with Elon Musk’s moves to develop batteries to store sustainable power until it is needed seen as a key move forwards. Daimler in Germany are also developing new batteries alongside Tesla’s moves.  Cheap, clean energy. what’s not to like? Unless you are an oil, gas or coal company …….. and the former chairman of Shell has said that investors moving their money out of fossil fuel companies is a rational response to the industry’s “distressing” lack of progress on climate change. Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, who spent almost four decades at Shell and rose to be its chairman, also said the big oil and gas companies had been calling for a price to be put on CO2 emissions for 15 years but had done little to make it happen.

The value of Europe’s five biggest energy utilities dropped €100bn (£73bn) between 2008 and 2013 in part because of a dogged preference for coal over clean power investments, a new report says. The five firms – E.ON, RWE, GDF Suez, EDF and Enel – collectively lost 37% of their share value in the period, in part because of their increasing dependence on loss-making new coal generating capacity, according to the study by the Carbon Tracker Initiative. As the recession on the continent dampened power demand and the EU enacted new clean energy laws, Europe’s coal use fell by around 5%. At the same time, the ‘big five’ firms increased their reliance on coal by 9%. More here.

SLAemailHeaderEntry to the edie Sustainability Leaders Awards 2015 is now open with 13 categories to choose from. Long standing, distinguished categories such as the all-important Sustainability Leader Award are joined by some brand new categories, such as the Sustainable Business Models and the Sustainability Professional Awards, with all categories focusing on specific aspects of sustainability and the environmental and business improvements they drive. More here.

Norway’s parliament has formally endorsed the move to sell off coal investments from its $900bn sovereign wealth fund, the world’s biggest. It is the largest fossil fuel divestment yet, affecting 122 companies across the world, and marking a new success for the fast-growing and UN-backed climate change campaign. A new analysis said the fund would sell off over $8bn (£5bn) of coal-related investments as a result. The biggest single sell-off from Norway’s fund will be the UK utility SSE, in which the fund holds $956m of shares. The fund is also set to sell its $49m stake in Drax, which runs the UK’s biggest coal-fired power station. And the Royal Australasian College of Physicians has announced that it will divest about £1.2m (A$2.3m) of fossil fuel interests from its £45m (A$90m) endowment. The RACP is Australasia’s largest specialist medical college.

Shell_oil_croppedShell tried to influence the presentation of a climate change programme it was sponsoring at the Science Museum in London, internal documents seen by the Guardian show. The Anglo-Dutch oil group raised concerns with the museum that one part of the project “creates an opportunity for NGOs to talk about some of the issues that concern them around Shell’s operations”. The company also wanted to know whether a particular symposium at the museum was “invite only” – as that would ensure “we do not proactively open up a debate on the topic [of Shell’s operations]”.

Britain will be home to the world’s first ever tidal lagoon energy project as Energy Secretary Amber Rudd has granted planning permission for a giant tidal power plant off the coast of Wales. In what has been hailed as a “exciting step” towards harnessing untapped tidal energy sources, the Department for Energy & Climate Change (DECC) has confirmed that the £850m Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon project will be developed by British firm Tidal Lagoon Power. When fully operational, by the year 2023, the 320MW scheme could provide up to 8% of the UK’s electricity, adding up to £27bn to GDP by 2027.

The G7 summit of economic powers has thrown its weight behind a goal to phase out greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2100 in what has been hailed as an unequivocal sign on climate action. At the G7 Summit this week, the leaders of the US, UK, Japan, France, Canada, Italy and host nation Germany unanimously agreed to a full “decarbonisation of the global economy over the course of this century”.  Climate change topped the agenda for a series of session of the Summit, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel – once dubbed the ‘Climate Chancellor’ – making the official announcement on specific emissions goals: “We commit to doing our part to achieve a low-carbon global economy in the long-term including developing and deploying innovative technologies striving for a transformation of the energy sectors by 2050 and invite all countries to join us in this endeavor,” reads the official statement. “To this end we also commit to develop long term national low-carbon strategies.”

Approximately 425GW of energy storage will be needed to support the planet’s transition to 45% renewable energy by 2030, according to a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The Abu Dhabi-based have published a roadmap to building 325GW of pumped-storage hydroelec­tricity, and 150GW of battery storage. Currently pumped hydro – pumping water uphill into large reservoirs when power is abundant and then letting it flow down again to generate power when needed – accounts for 99% of the world’s 142GW storage capacity.

The Guardian reports that developing countries have the opportunity to leapfrog the west in economic development, if they go straight to clean technology while rich countries struggle to wean themselves off fossil fuels, president Francois Hollande of France said on Wednesday. “They are going to be skipping the stage where industrialised countries were stopped fro a long time, for many decades,” he said. “We were dependent on fossil fuel, which means we now have to concentrate on the transition in the medium to long term of abandoning fossil fuels. But they have the chance to move immediately to the new technologies.” He said clean technologies such as renewable energy were “dropping in price and will continue to drop”, while industrialised countries faced costs in having to scrap old infrastructure and rebuild it anew in a low-carbon fashion. Developing countries, many of which are constructing scores of new cities to house their burgeoning populations, would be able to build them in a low-carbon way, with better energy efficiency, he told the annual meeting of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, in Paris.

Global warming has not undergone a ‘pause’ or ‘hiatus’, according to US government research that undermines one of the key arguments used by sceptics to question climate science. The new study reassessed the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (Noaa) temperature record to account for changing methods of measuring the global surface temperature over the past century. The adjustments to the data were slight, but removed a flattening of the graph this century that has led climate sceptics to claim the rise in global temperatures had stopped. “There is no slowdown in warming, there is no hiatus,” said lead author Dr Tom Karl, who is the director of Noaa’s National Climatic Data Centre.

SOLAR POWERThe UK solar sector has seemingly become a victim of its own success, with big developers and investors now claiming they will not be making use of the Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme for large projects over the next year. According to a new survey conducted by PwC in conjunction with the Solar Trade Association (STA), the majority of developers who were responsible for adding more than 1GW to the grid in the past six months have said they will be focusing on smaller projects in the short-term, due to the recent closure of the Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROC) support mechanism for large-scale solar farms. As of April this year, solar schemes larger than 5MW in size are no longer eligible for ROCs, which oblige electricity companies to buy a certain amount of their electricity from renewable sources. The changes led to an industry ‘gold rush’, whereby developers hurried to connect large systems to the grid in time to qualify for certificates.

Eighty of the UK’s largest businesses have sent an open letter to David Cameron urging him to tackle climate change and support a low-carbon UK economy. Signed by firms including BT, John Lewis, Coke, Mars, IKEA and Marks & Spencer, the letter calls for the Prime Minister do three specific things: Seek a strong global climate deal in Paris in December which limits temperature rises to below 2°C. Set an ambitious 5th carbon budget to drive forward UK emissions reductions and Establish a long-term framework for investment in the low-carbon economy. “We are some of the businesses that will help create the UK’s future economy,” said the letter, published in the Financial Times.

Corporate fleet managers across Europe could cut millions of tonnes of CO2 and save £20bn a year by taking advantage of available green technologies and efficiency techniques. That’s the conclusion of a Greenpeace-commissioned report by sustainability consultants CE Delft. As well as simply switching to electric and hybrid vehicles, the report covers a wide variety of approaches to reducing fuel consumption. For example, drivers can be trained to drive more efficiently, cutting fuel costs and emissions by 20%, the report estimates. Retro-fitting vehicles with aerodynamic features, new tyres and weight reductions could also cut fuel consumption by up to 45%.

airpollutionEdie.net reports that investments in the coal and oil sectors will see annual losses up to 2% over the next 10 years, if the world’s governments commit to limiting global warming to 2C at Paris later this year. By contrast, returns from the renewables sector would be expected to double in the next ten years from 5.3% to 10.4%. Those stats are from a new report released this week by consultancy firm Mercer. The report warns that investors should consider moving away from fossil fuel sectors, which could see their profitability wiped out by concerted global action against climate change. Under a 2C pathway, Mercer predicts coal stocks to provide average returns of -2.0% a year for the next 10 years, and oil stocks to return -0.7% a year. Utilities’ returns are also expected to fall from 5.1% a year, to 1.2%. And that’s why the coal, gas and oil sectors lobyy and lobby and lobby.

Zero Waste Scotland has launched its first recycling superstore in the Scottsih Highlands. The Blythswood Care’s store – opened on June 5 – is the first of Zero Waste Scotland’s re-use ‘hubs’, which it hopes will popularise the concept of a circular economy. The shop in Dingwall will sell a variety of second-hand items ranging from furniture and kitchen appliances, to carpets, toys and clothes. The store also features a Repair Club, with staff demonstrating sewing skills and furniture repairs to customers.

World Environment Day: 10 things we should ALL be thinking about

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Invitación Física versión editableA message from Avaaz:  The world is about to sign up to a 100% clean energy future! But the goal to completely cut carbon is at risk at the Lima climate talks. Let’s flood negotiators with messages now to make sure they know the world is watching, and to stand strong for climate action! Right now, Ministers from all over the world are on their way to Lima, Peru to hammer out the agreement. But oil, coal and fracking companies, and countries that want to keep polluting are lobbying hard to pull this crucial target from the text. That’s where we come in. People power forced through this crucial goal, now we have to protect it! If we don’t, scientists are clear — catastrophic and runaway climate change is inevitable. Our best chance of blocking back-room deals with polluters is bombarding our Ministers with thousands of messages. If enough of us act, they’ll know they’re being watched and expected to stand strong for the goal of 0 carbon, and 100% clean energy. Send your message now! https://secure.avaaz.org/en/lima_summit_100_clean_uk/?bWaAcdb&v=49819

Edie.net have done a marvellous job with updates from Lima – on Moday they reported that for the first time since 2009, the environmental assessor Climate Action Tracker has calculated a lower projected warming over the 21st century thanks to the new proposed post-2020 actions from China, the US and the EU. However, it warned this is still not enough to limit warming below 2˚C. If China, the United States and the European Union, who together comprise around 53% of global emissions, fully implement their post-2020 plans, they would limit global temperature rise to around 3˚C by 2100.  On the preceding Thursday Japan prompted controversy at the conference by using $1bn of UN climate loans to fund coal power stations. Japan says these plants burn coal more efficiently and are therefore cleaner than old coal plants, but the transgression prompted a vociferous response from environmental groups. More than 250 NGO’s co-signed a letter to the Green Climate Fund – which will soon be the largest financier of green projects – warning that it cannot be used to fund fossil-fuel power generation.  Leaders from Latin American countries are expected to announce a major new initiative to restore forests and agricultural lands on Sunday in Lima. Initiative 20×20 is a country-led effort to restore 20 million hectares of degraded land in Latin America and the Caribbean. The plan is part of the Bonn Challenege – a global commitment to restore 150 million hectares of land around the world by 2020. And  the German Government injected some urgency into proceedings yesterday when it approved a broad new strategy designed to ensure it meets its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2020. The savings will be driven by deep cuts in emissions-from-buildings, and the waste, energy and transport sectors. The key elements of the plans include tax incentives for energy-related building renovations, an electric car rollout, and a clampdown on oil-and-coal power stations.  The UK Energy and Climate Change SecretaryEd Davey has called on countries at the UN climate talks in Lima to make carbon reduction pledges before the first quarter of next year. After his first day in Lima for COP 20,  Davey said ambitious pledges were needed to created momentum for a deal at Paris 2015 and Davey said: “At home and abroad the UK has led the way – more than doubling renewable energy since 2010 and securing an ambitious target to reduce EU emissions by 2030. The World Meteorological Organisation underlined the importance of the conference, announcing  that 2014 was due to be the hottest year ever recorded.

Also in Lima,  More than 100 cities from around the world have signed up to the testing phase of a new protocol which claims to be the first standardised international agreement to measure and report city emissions.  The Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories (GPC)  aims to help cities set mitigation goals, create more targeted climate action plans and track progress over time. The GPC is already supported by 100 cities that are home to 107 million people; emitting more than 1.1 gigatonnes of greenhouse gases.

A coalition of UK businesses with turnover of more than £280bn have thrown their weight behind a new macro-economic roadmap for Britain that prioritises sustainability and equality over growth. The campaign, called An Economy That Works, is based around a recent report of the same name from the environmental lobbyist group Aldersgate Group. The report warns that growth alone is unsustainable and the UK should instead focus on low carbon, high employment, equality of opportunity and preserving natural resources. The coalition – which includes Aviva Investors, BT, Friends of the Earth, Interface, Kingfisher, M&S, National Grid, Nestlé and Sky – will work with the UK Government to identify key policy levers for change and encourage wider uptake of innovative business practices.

food wasteSupermarket giant Morrisons binned of 10,000 Cornish pasties after their delivery driver arrived 17 minutes late for collection, according to a report on hunger in the UK. The report also found that 4.3 million tons of edible food is discarded annually. Only 2 percent of the waste food generated by supermarkets, restaurants and food manufacturers is given to the poor. The rest is left to rot in landfill sites. In extreme cases, like the Morrisons pasty incident, huge amounts of food is thrown away because it is misshapen or does not fit supermarket requirements. Don Gardner, a food bank manager from Cornwall, said he was offered 10 tons of tomatoes because they were “too big” for Tesco. The non-profit social enterprise Food Aware, which campaigns for the fair distribution of resources, estimates the annual value of food thrown away in the UK is £23 billion, two thirds of which comes from retail and producers. Speaking to RT, Sean Gibbons, the Director of Food Aware said “The current supermarket food waste problem is significant, sensitive and literally ‘a hidden world’. Although, there are some great examples of some supermarkets doing the right thing and donating surplus food to charities/community organisations, there is still much work to be done” adding “Our issue at Food AWARE is‎ that the food industry do no want to redistribute any food which is near or past its ‘Best Before’ date as this would affect them financially” he added.  A cross-party group of MPs has urged the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) to set food retailers and manufacturers a target of doubling the proportion of surplus food they redistribute to food assistance providers and other voluntary organisations to help eliminate hunger. The cross-party group of MPs published a report, funded by the Church of England, entitled ‘Feeding Britain’ , as part of a parliamentary inquiry into hunger and food poverty. It reiterates that more than 4 million tonnes of edible food is binned every year by the UK food industry – with just 2% donated to charity.

In the UK, three conservative MPs are blocking a private members bill to ban wild animals from circuses. Yes, stept forward Andrew Rosindale, Christopher Chope and Philip Davies who seem to think keeping wild animals in cramped quarters and vehicles and using them in shows is just fine and dandy. 90% of the British public think the practice is at best ‘outdated’ – and the bill has cross party support. But hasn’t passed into law yet. If you want to see how HAPPY two bears are after being released from the hell of  living in a circus truck ….. watch this https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=720899734649546&fref=nf

Double_PyramidThe Double Pyramid is an innovative way of portraying how the ecological footprints of our food compare to their nutritional value. The “Double Food-Environmental Pyramid” was designed and launched by the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition in 2010. Researchers from Italy wanted to combine nutritional guidelines with environmental issues, such as greenhouse gas emissions, water usage, and ecological footprints. The result is the Double Pyramid, which reveals an interesting fact: the most environmentally friendly foods are often the healthiest ones for human consumption, and many foods that are damaging to our bodies are also damaging to the environment. The inverted environmental pyramid shows ecologically-intensive foods at the very top, such as meat and cheese. As you look down the pyramid, you’ll find fish, olive oil, other dairy products, and legumes. At the bottom are the least ecologically-damaging fruits and vegetables. More on Treehugger here.

A couple of years ago, Microsoft revealed its plans to build a data center powered by biogas in Wyoming and now that plan has become a reality. The small data center is connected to the Supercomputing Center of the University of Wyoming and is not connected to the local power grid at all; it’s completely autonomous and powered by renewable energy. The data center holds 200 servers and is powered by methane that comes from biogas harvested from an on-site sewage treatment plant’s digestion tanks. A 300-kilowatt fuel cell converts the gas into electricity through an electrochemical process. The data center uses about 100 kW of that energy while the sewage treatment plant uses the other 150 kW to off-set its energy needs.

giant-tortoise-galapagosThe Española giant Galapagos tortoise, which can weight 250 kg (550 lbs) and live a century, was really in bad shape in the 1960s. The island of Española, which is part of the Galapagos ( only had 15 individual – 12 females and 3 males after the introduction of non native goats that went wild and competed for the tortoises’food. Now and thanks to a 5-decade conservation effort, the species now seems to have made a ‘miraculous’ and, most importantly, stable recovery with over 1,000 tortoises on the island.

2,400 hybrid buses, zero-emission taxis and 10,000 street trees will all be coming to London as part of new plans announced by Boris Johnson in a bid to tackle the capital’s air pollution problems. The Mayor of London confirmed around £330m of new funding – the majority of which will be spent on green buses and taxis – to assist with plans to create the world’s first ‘Ultra Low Emission Zone’ in central London in 2020.

SumatraRhinoHornbill (1)And finally back to Peru – where the Guardian reports that ther is a disaster being hidden from the environmental leaders gathered inside the walls of a military compound in Lima on their mission to fight climate change. Over the last few months – as Peru helped guide the United Nations climate negotiations – five separate oil spills along a main oil pipeline through the Amazon have spewed thick black clots of crude across jungle and swamp and carpeted local fishing lagoons with dead fish. For the indigenous peoples living downstream in clusters of tin-roofed and thatched houses on the banks of the Marañón river, it’s been a season of sickness and fear – on a good day, in the village of San Pedro, a Kukama Indian community, the villagers say they can find up to 30 species of fish in the lagoon. But what Bela and Castillo saw on that day left them shaken: a dead capybara (the world’s largest rodent), coated in crude and floating belly-up in the fishing ground that had been the villagers’ main source of food qwith one villager saying  “You could smell oil, and the leaves on the bank were black”. The state owned oil company blames te leaks on sabotage.  Indigenous peoples and campaigners reject the charge. They say the Peruvian regulators and the state-owned oil and gas company have not done enough to maintain the pipeline, which dates from the early 1970s. Peruvian officials estimated the first spill at 2,000 barrels. The most recent spill was several times larger, the villagers say.

 

ANOTHER PLANET?

burning questionThe five UK conservative MPs who rebelled against the UK’s Climate Change Act and the requirement for the UK to cut is greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 say the 2008 law should be revoked. Noting that there has been no binding global agreements on reducing Carbon dioxide emissions,  in a statement Christopher Chop, Ann Widdecombe, Philip Davies, Andrew Tyrie and Peter Lilley call the Act a ‘profound mistake’ and says the Act needs to be revoked to protect British households.

The 28 leaders of the European Union have committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030, despite deep divisions among some Member States over how to produce energy. As well as carbon emissions, two 27% targets were agreed – forrenewable energy market share and increase in energy efficiency improvement. The former will be binding for the EU as a whole (not for individual Member States), while the latter will be optional but could be raised to 30% after a review in 2020. All three targets are compared to 1990 levels. the energy minister Ed Davey has told the Guardian it was a  “historic moment” on the road to a global climate deal adding  “It is probably the most significant environmental agreement that a British government has ever been involved in.”

The National Trust has switched on a 100kW capacity hydro turbine in Snowdonia as part of the £3.5m pilot phase of its Renewable Energy Investment project. The £550,000 turbine, situated at Hafod y Porth, will generate electricity which will be sold to Good Energy through the National Trust’s trading company – National Trust Renewable Energy Ltd.

Edie.net reports that Global biopower installed capacity is set to increase from 87.6 Gigawatts (GW) in 2013 to 165.1GW by 2025 thanks to government support and environmental concerns. New statistics by consulting firm GlobalData reveal that the 165GW target could be enough to supply around 17% of the world’s electricity.  The predicted growth is representative of a boom period for renewable energy; wind power is expected to hit 200GW by 2030, while hydropower could reach 1700GW in the next twenty years. An unprecedented boom in hydropower dam construction is underway, with 3,700 major dams expected. The figures come from a University of Copenhagen study which found that renewables account for 20% of the global electricity production today, with hydropower contributing 80% of the total share.

UK businesses and universities will receive £5m funding to help them solve some of the world’s greatest agricultural challenges such as food security and sustainability. By 2050, the world’s population is estimated to grow to 10 billion. To feed everyone, food production will have to double, resulting in more food being produced over the next 40 years than in the last 6,000 years combined. This £5m subsidy is part of the government-sponsored £70m Agri-Tech Catalyst programme, which aims to make the UK a world leader in agricultural technology, innovation and sustainability.

FrackOffThere has been much attention to water pollution risks from fracking, but there has been less research into air quality around fracking sites. Now a new study, co-authored by CEH’s Research Director Caroline Cox and published in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health shines light on fracking air pollution risks. Along with the study, a report, Warning Signs: Toxic Air Pollution Identified at Oil and Gas Development Sites details the results from the sampling.

Oxford and Cambridge are among 10 of the world’s top universities to have published the ‘Green Guide for Universities’, helping universities worldwide become more sustainable. The Guide, by the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), identifies the challenges and opportunities of campus sustainability in terms of energy, waste, and water consumption.

In the UK, the National Grid has said that a series of fires and technical faults at power stations has reduced its spare capacity to the lowest for seven years at Christmas. Planned maintainance means that tere will be a real risk of ‘brown outs’ with reduced power output . Spare capacity (the difference between planned maximum use ad supply) of just 4.1% may not be enough if freezing weather comes to the UK – or two nuclear power stations which were closed for safety reasons fail to re-open on time.Some large industrial energy users ave agreed to shut down at critical times to reduce demand, in return for financial incentives. Gas supplies are also considered to be adequate, but may not meet demand if the winter is especially cold – or Russia shuts off gas supplies.

power station3The Jevons Paradox, which got its name from the economist William Stanley Jevons, predicts that “as technology progresses, the increase in efficiency with which a resource is used tends to increase (rather than decrease) the rate of consumption of that resource”. The canonical example of this is coal consumption in the early industrial era: As the machinery became more efficient at using coal, more coal was used because these efficiency gains made the whole process more economic and so it encouraged more use of the machines and more of those machines to be built. So – are we fighting a losing battle to reduce greehouse gas emissions by promoting energy efficiency ? More on Treehugger here

The world’s 10 greenest economies of 2014 may surprise you. Dual Citizen, a U.S. consulting group, has been ranking the environmental sustainability of national economies with its Global Green Economy Index since 2010. This year’s report includes data from 60 countries. They also measured the perception of green economies, or in other words, how green people think different countries are. Sweden, Norway and Costa Rica received the highest performance rankings for their economies – whereas Germany, Denmark and Sweden are perceived to have the greenest economies. More here.

pumpkinIn the run-up to Halloween, Sainsbury’s has launched a scheme to encourage customers to recycle their unwanted pumpkins locally through WRAP’s Recycle Now campaign. As part of the recycling initiative, customers will be able to bring their unwanted pumpkins back to 10 trial stores, to be turned into energy via anaerobic digestion through Sainsbury’s waste partner Biffa. The energy generated will, in some cases, be used to power Sainsbury’s stores.