“We are a plague on the Earth. It’s coming home to roost over the next 50 years or so. It’s not just climate change; it’s sheer space, places to grow food for this enormous horde. Either we limit our population growth or the natural world will do it for us, and the natural world is doing for us right now.” David Attenborough, Population Matters Patron
2015 is likely to be the hottest year ever recorded, with averages temperatures between 0.8 and 0.9C above normal. The figures from the UK’s Met Office, NASA and the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration will be formally published this week. Separate research also whowed that CO2 levels averaged 401 ppm (parts per milllio) this year, the first time it has topped 400ppm, and up from 250ppm in pre-industrial times. Temperatures around the world have averaged 1.02C above the 1850-1900 period between January and September this year, the Met Office said. With an “El Nino” climate phenomenon in the Pacific, which pushes up temperatures, developing on top of warming caused by greenhouse gases put into the atmosphere by humans, 2015 as a whole is set to be 1C above pre-industrial levels.
Britain should put its clocks forward by two hours, thats according to Lord Debden, chair of the giovernment’s committee on climate chage. The move would align the UK more closely with the rising and setting of the sun, and so save considerabkle energy, and would also mean the UK was NOT aligned with Europe, meaning it could benefit from ‘spare’ energy as times of peak demand would not overlap with the mainland – in an increasingly interconnected energy market.
Academics at Western Sydney University say that global warming will inflict far more suffering on women than on men because they are more vulnerabke to floods, droughts and diseases that are expected to increase with global warming. On reason is that in developing countries, social structures mean women are more likely to be in their homes when disaster strikes, and women are less likely to have learned to swim in poorer countries and in some patriachal societies women may not be able to leave home without a male. Women also suffer more when there is famile and water shortages, and women are also deprived of education which may save lifes. 90% of the 150,000 pepole killed in the 1991 Bangladesh cyclone were women.
Edie.net reports that banking giant Goldman Sachs has announced it will leverage $150bn into clean energy financing and investments by 2025 as it also aims to become the first US investment bank to be carbon-neutral across its operations. The bank has unveiled an ambitious new roadmap for its continued environmental progress that will develop a number of new sustainability targets as part its Environmental Policy Framework. The $150bn investment expands on the existing $40bn target set in 2012.
A new system of ivory fingerprinting will help track down poachers who are slaughtering huge numbers of Africa’s elephant population. Kings College London and University College London have created a new technique to retrieve fingerprints using an advanced for of powder.
The Scottish Government has granted consent for the world’s largest floating offshore wind farm to be developed off the coast of Peterhead. Oil and gas giant Statoil will build a 30MW pilot park consisting of five floating 6MW turbines. The project could eventually generate 135GWh of electricity a year, enough to power nearly 20,000 homes. The project will be the UK’s first ever floating wind farm development, with construction set to start next year. And permission has been granted to put steel in water for what will be the world’s biggest offshore wind farm off the coast of Cumbria. Danish utilities DONG Energy has received the final investment decision from authorities to construct the 660MW Walney Extension Offshore Wind Farm in the Irish Sea, which will deliver electricity to more than 460,000 UK homes. DONG Energy’s executive vice president Samuel Leupold said: “Walney Extension will deliver clean electricity to more than 460,000 UK homes and I’m very glad that we can now start construction of what will be the world’s biggest offshore wind farm when completed. More here.
The Scottish Government initiative Wave Energy Scotland (WES) has announced the eight successful applicants that will share a £2.5m fund to advance their technologies in the build up to commercialisation. A tube-like wave train, an automatically inflatable conversion machine, and an anaconda-like tube are among the projects receiving around £300,000 each to improve performance and efficiency levels.
The Guardian reports that the number of wild animals on Earth has halved in the past 40 years, according to a new analysis. Creatures across land, rivers and the seas are being decimated as humans kill them for food in unsustainable numbers, while polluting or destroying their habitats, the research by scientists at WWF and the Zoological Society of London found. “If half the animals died in London zoo next week it would be front page news,” said Professor Ken Norris, ZSL’s director of science. “But that is happening in the great outdoors. This damage is not inevitable but a consequence of the way we choose to live.” He said nature, which provides food and clean water and air, was essential for human wellbeing. “We have lost one half of the animal population and knowing this is driven by human consumption, this is clearly a call to arms and we must act now,” said Mike Barratt, director of science and policy at WWF. He said more of the Earth must be protected from development and deforestation, while food and energy had to be produced sustainably. The report concludes that today’s average global rate of consumption would need 1.5 planet Earths to sustain it. But four planets would be required to sustain US levels of consumption, or 2.5 Earths to match UK consumption levels.
A global shift to 100% renewables is not just cleaner – it’s about equality: Thisis what the fossil fuel lobby does NOT want you to know. Communities in Germany, Canada and Uganda are already reaping the benefits of moving away from fossil fuels to more decentralised energy systems. And these include ECONOMIC benefits. “As the world’s energy system shifts from fossil fuels to renewable sources, the question is no longer if the world will transition to sustainable energy, but how long it will take and whether the transition can be made in ways that maximise the benefits today and for future generations. Changing our energy system is about more than replacing fossil resources with sun and wind. In fact, the economic model for renewables is completely different: 100% renewable energy can lead us to a more equal distribution of wealth. The differences start in the way our energy system is structured. The fossil fuel-based energy system is characterised by complex, centralised infrastructures where the fuel is transported to the power plant, and energy production and distribution is controlled by very few entities. The supply chain is vertical, and the benefits are shared only among a few stakeholders”. Read the article on the GUARDIAN here.
Apple, Google, SABMiller and Unilever have been ranked as some of the best-performing companies in promoting low-carbon outputs, according to a new report from the international non-profit CDP. With just three weeks to go until the COP21 talks in Paris, CDP released its Climate Change Report on behalf of 822 investors representing $95trn. The report also includes the 2015 A-List, which highlights companies identified as A-grade for their actions to combat climate change. Large British-based companies Diageo, Sainsbury’s and Carillion all received the highest grade on the list, based on their carbon initiatives and the transparency of their reporting. Edie.net says that notable by its absence in CDP’s analysis is Facebook, which failed to disclose information to investors. Around 55% of listed companies did not respond to CDP’s disclosure request.
G20 and EU finance ministers have been urged to ‘step-up’ their efforts to arrange a strong agreement at the COP21 UN climate conference next month, by a group of leading international business organisations. A letter penned by the Prince of Wales’ Corporate Leaders Group has urged ministers to play an active role in supporting the negotiations by creating conditions that allow for a smooth and rapid transition into a low carbon and climate resilient economy. The signatories wrote: “As ministers of finance and the economy, you play a critical role, both in delivering a robust deal at the COP21 summit in Paris and in successfully translating the deal into domestic action. We are therefore asking for your personal support.” French president François Hollande claimed China and France had taken a “historic” step towards tackling climate change after the two countries agreed any deal reached in Paris next month should include checks on whether signatories are keeping their commitments to reduce emissions. In a joint statement released weeks before the United Nations Climate Change Conference, China and France said such progress should be reviewed every five years in order to “reinforce mutual confidence and promote efficient implementation”.
In the year’s biggest victory for U.S. environmentalists, President Barack Obama announced that he will reject an application from Canadian company TransCanada to construct the Keystone XL pipeline. The pipeline, which would allow crude oil from Canada’s oil sands to reach ports and refineries in the US, has been a major controversy for Obama ever since he took office. The White House spent years deliberating on the issue. During that time, environmental groups accused Obama of not backing up his rhetoric on climate change with real action, and Republicans in Congress accused him of blocking a job-creating infrastructure project. In his announcement today, the president said the State Department’s analysis had shown the pipeline would not significantly benefit the US economy: “The State Department has decided that the Keystone XL pipeline would not serve the national interests of the United States. I agree with that decision,” Obama said. Dallas Goldtooth, Indigenous Environmental Network KXL Campaign Organizer said: “This is a tremendous victory for all the pipeline fighters who have spent several years fighting the TransCanada “black snake”, Keystone XL! The President’s decision is a clear affirmation of our struggle to defend the sacredness of Mother Earth and to protect the future generations of all our relatives, human and non-human alike. We celebrate this as a win and a powerful step to the greater goals of keeping fossil fuels in the ground and shutting down the tar sands at the source!” Harold Frazier, Chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, said “On behalf of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe we are grateful to President Obama for rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline and give thanks to everyone who helped make this happen. We must continue to fight this war against tar sands. We need to stay united with all our Native brothers and sisters here in Canada, and around the world to stop the pollution of our water so our young people can grow up to live good healthy lives.”