DRAX POWERCoal overtook gas to become the UK’s dominant fuel in 2012 as cheap US coal imports meant that 39% of UK electricity came from coal – up from 29% in 2011, and gas dropped from 40% to 28%. US coal prices have dropped in the wake of the shale gas boom. Coal is a far ‘dirtier’ fuel and produces twice the greenhouse gas emissions of gas.

Wildfires have forced the evacuation  of holidaymakers and residents from two villages on the Greek island of Serifos.

The UK’s long hot summer has meant that solar power has finally overtaken wind power as the leading source of renewable energy.

Wylie has called festival goers at CockRock in Cumbria ‘pagans’ after he was booed off stage. The grime rapper had been tweeting negative comments about the festival prior to his arrival, saying “Just the name makes me not wanna go”  and telling his agent he was a ‘yardie’ and didn’t want to play on farms – and lasted just 15 minutes on stage. The festival may sue to have the fee returned. In April Wylie (real name Richard Kylea Cowie)  tweeted that he was leaving his record label Warners, following a dispute about his new album The Ascent. Admitting he was unhappy with their choice of next single from the record, he tweeted: “My label are doing ‘Lights On’ next but I do not like that so you will not see me in the video”. Wylie had previously pulled out of Glastonbury claiming it was raining and tweeting “Please cancel me I do not want to play for you ever again… please cancel me without sueing I would like that”  and  “Fuck it life goes on but I am pissed. Glastonbury ain’t paying me enough to leave my comfort zone …tight bastards.”  That said, after weeks of glorious weather, the UK’s long hot summer came to an abrupt end at the end of July with a band of heavy rain and storms crossing the country with Womad and Kendal Calling both hit by heavy rain.

Villagers in Nepal are fighting back against poachers who are threatening the tiger population with extinction.  It is estimated there are only 3500 tigers left in the world – 95% of their numbers have vanished,  and hunting and habit destruction continue to fuel the decline – and the poaching is driven by a huge demand for body parts in traditional Chinese medicine.  WWF in Nepal is working with the newly established police wildlife unit, local rangers and local people to curb the trade in wildlife – and catfood brand Whiskas has donated £500,000 to the appeal for funding.  WWF is also paying for a gun amnesty and working with villagers to run anti poaching patrols, in the hope tiger numbers will rise. Less good news for Mars: One of the food giant’s subsidiaries, Royal Canin, has been revealed by animal charity Four Paws as a sponsor of bear baiting in the Ukraine. The unspeakably cruel practice of de-clawing brown bears, chaining them  up and then attackimg them with dogs is hideous – why a dog and cat food manufacturer would want to sponsor this is beyond us, although the company says it is ‘horrified’. More in the Observer here (the video is VERY upsetting).

Following a naked mass ‘skinny dip’ on West Beach, organisers of a naked bicycle ride in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, are looking at other naked activities including a nude fun run. The bike ride was organised as a protest against the car culture and to  to highlight the environment. 36 riders made the 17km ride – 150 riders are expected nest year.

large-blueWriting in the Times Simon Barnes says “Butterflies frighten the hell out of me – especially when they are not there” explaining that the 59 species of breeding butterfly in the UK are in a state of catastrophic decline – and as they indicate ow good (or bad) the state of our environment is – their ongoing decline must be a serious worry.

The President of the National Farmers Union in the UK, Peter Kendall, has said that extreme weather caused by climate change is the biggest threat to British farming.  Dramatic switches from floods to drought and heat waves have seen many harvest decimated in the last decade, and the UK has now become a net importer of wheat in 2013.  Whilst understanding the need to reconcile the need to feed an ever increasing population with the need to protect the environment and wildlife, Mr Kendall still felt that the EC’s decision to ban the bee killing neonicotinoid pesticides was ‘political’ although added that farmers had a vested interest in making sure we don’t damage our natural resources for the long term.

The global economic crisis, soaring commodity prices and growing awareness of humanity’s impact on the environment have pushed the ‘green economy’ concept into mainstream policy debate, says the European Environment Agency (EEA). According to a new report by the EEA, this increased awareness has enabled EU policy makers to successfully agree a wide range of ‘green’ policies.  However, the report, ‘Towards a green economy in Europe‘, highlights how implementing these policies is creating a barrier to future progress.

The UK Government’s flagship retrofit scheme the Green Deal will only succeed through action by the commercial sector, says the Institute for Sustainability. Head of resource efficient buildings at the Institute for Sustainability, Terry McGivern, told that in addition to allowing the Green Deal time to gain momentum, the Government’s should act as facilitator rather than leader of the movement.

euflagThe European Investment Bank (EIB) has adopted new guidelines to reinforce support for investment in renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy grids. Following a review to ensure that its energy lending criteria reflects EU energy and climate policy, as well as current investment trends, the EIB will focus on financing energy efficiency, renewable energy, energy networks, as well as related research and innovation.  According to the bank, these sectors are expected to require the most significant investment in coming years.

The role that recycling incentive schemes can play in delivering more cost-effective waste services is to be explored in a new piece of research that will help inform government strategy going forward. Serco has appointed Eunomia Research & Consulting to undertake the research, which has been designed in collaboration with Defra. It is intended to compliment work that the department is carrying out separately looking at the impact of Defra-funded trials of recycling incentives.

By |2016-11-01T15:04:32+00:00August 1st, 2013|AGF Blog|