This 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.
Governments 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.
Tesco 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.”
And 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 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.
Entry 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 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.
The 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%.
Edie.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.