The planned new mall in Dubai

The planned new mall in Dubai

DesignBoom tells us that Dubai is about to build the world’s most biggest shopping mall ever –  connecting to 100 hotels and apartment buildings, with 7 kilometers (4.34 miles) of temperature controlled retail-lined streets, modelled after Barcelona’s La Rambla, complete with a streetcar system running down the middle, with a little Oxford Street and Broadway thrown in and a big dose of synthetic Main Street USA. There is also a 3 million square foot “wellness zone” devoted to the latest hot international trend- medical tourism.  Environmental madness – probably yes – although developers say this “The project will follow the green and environmentally friendly guidelines of the Smart Dubai model. It will be built using state-of-the-art technology to reduce energy consumption and carbon footprint, ensuring high levels of environmental sustainability and operational efficiency”. We remain unconvinced with Dubai planning  to fly 180 million tourists every year into an air conditioned city-sized pleasure palace.

Tesla is facing a renewed trade mark challenge over its name in China. When Tesla first made plans to sell electric cars in China, it came up against a businessman called Zhan Baosheng who had trademarked the Tesla name for automotive uses back in 2006, three years after Tesla formed in the U.S. The trademark was granted in 2009, for a period of ten years. Baosheng also set up a website, and trademarked the Tesla logo – hoping to profit from Tesla’s inevitable decision to sell in the country. Green Car Reports say that for a time, Tesla considered using the phonetic name Te Su Le to sell its cars. Baosheng eventually lost his trademark battle when the Chinese regulator sided with Tesla’s claims and ruled that his trademarks were invalid. Now it seems that Baosheng is appealing that decision, and has filed a lawsuit requesting that Tesla cease operations in the country, shut its showrooms, service centres and charging facilities, and pay him $3.9 million in compensation.

captura-de-pantalla-2014-07-11-a-las-18-19-24For those who speak Spanish: El verano es sinónimo de festivales. Entre los muchos que existen, hoy queremos fijarnos en aquellos que además de entretener, hacen un gran esfuerzo por ser sostenibles. Este post está dirigido tanto a promotores y organizadores, que queréis que vuestro festival sea sostenible; como a vosotros, asistentes-adictos a festivales, que queréis saber qué se puede hacer para disfrutar de la música a la vez que se cuida el Medio Ambiente OR in translatiom (by Google) “Summer is synonymous Among the many festivals in the world, today we look at those as well as entertain, make a great effort to be sustainable, this post is aimed at both developers and organizers, who want to keep their festival is sustainable….. as to you, attending festivals-addicts who want to know what you can do to enjoy music while Environment cares.” Mre here

Australia – ahhhhh Australia. Prime Minister Tony Abbot has had his way and the country’s two year old carbon tax has been dumped.  The PM says that the country has rid itself of ‘a useless destructive tax’ and will use an alternative direct action scheme using grants to promote carbon cutting.

In the UK we have a new Secretary of State for the Environment after Owen Paterson was sacked by the prime Minister – with Paterson blaming a lavishly funded set of ‘mutually supportive’ environmental pressure groups and renewable energy companies – and some public officials – for his demise in a lengthy article in the Telegraph that attacks the ‘green blob’.  Elizabeth Truss MP was appointed Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on 15 July 2014. Mind you, whilst this ‘green blob’ may have lobbied Paterson on fracking, renewable energy, bee killing pesticides and GM crops, he was pretty good at ignoring scientific consensus and listening to their opponents – pesticide manufacturer Syngenta, frackers Cuadrilla, the so called Agricultural Biotechnology Council (a GM lobby group) and the Shell and BP supported British Institute of Energy Economics – and the Guardian (22.07.14) tells us that he is also about to do a lecture for climate change deniers GWPF. Oh and Mr Paterson – we get NO money from government, other NGOs or green energy companies – we get no subsidies, grants or ‘lavish funds’ from any one, we are all volunteers – we just care about the planet and our long term sustainable future and the current lack of common sense in energy and environmental policy making. And the chancellor, George Osborne’s hopes of weakening the UK’s carbon budget for the next decade were quashed on Tuesday when Lib Dem energy secretary, Ed Davey, said the target would not be changed. The legally-binding target – of a 50% across 2023-2027 against 1990 levels, the most ambitious in the developed world – was agreed three years ago after a huge political battle between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, with David Cameron having to intervene in the target’s favour.

The Great Barrier Reef in Australia is in the worst state it has been since records began and will be ‘pretty ugly’ in decades to come say Australian scientists, blaming coastal developments including the massive port dredging project at Abbot Point.

Black_Rhinos_KenyaOngoing poaching in the Kruger national park in South Africa has prompted a plan from authorities  to move some of the rhino population away fro the area to ‘spread the risk’ although commentators say no habitat will be completely safe for the endangered species because of poaching.

The UK and Germany lead a list of the EU’s most polluting coal-fired power stations compiled by environmental campaigners, who say coal emissions are undermining efforts to combat climate change. Both countries have nine of the so-called “dirty 30” and the campaigners say coal burning is increasing due to the relatively low price of the fuel compared to gas. “Germany and the UK are the self-declared climate champions of the EU,” says the new report. “However, Germany uses more coal to generate electricity than any other EU country, while the UK comes third in absolute coal consumption for power after Poland.” The report argues current EU policy on climate, energy and air pollution in the power sector is not strong enough to achieve the switch from coal to renewable energy and energy efficiency. Poland’s Belchatow plant came top of the list, with annual CO2 emissions of 37m tonnes in 2013. The UK’s largest coal plant, Drax, was sixth, with four German plants occupying second to fifth place. More on the Guardian website here

The south-west may be home to some of the cleanest beaches in the UK, but the first survey of its kind in over 40 years by the University of Exeter  shows that it is also a thriving area for the country’s jellyfish. More jellyfish were spotted per kilometre along the south-west coast than anywhere else in Britain’s waters, with the south-east home to the fewest, according to an analysis of nine years of data collected by the public.

Any businesses that isn’t incorporating climate change adaption or water scarcity issues into its business strategy is taking a ‘very great risk’ in terms of its sustainability and resilience going forward. Those are the words of Paul Kelly, the vice president for corporate affairs at Asda, who stressed that the impact of climate change and extreme weather must be viewed by businesses as a financial and economic risk. “Climate change is a very real challenge and I think that any business that doesn’t have climate change adaptation written largely within its business strategy is really taking a very great risk in terms of its sustainability and resilience going forward,” said Kelly.

Scottish food waste has been transformed into compost and used in the development of Commonwealth Games venues in Glasgow, according to Zero Waste Scotland. The food waste was collected with garden waste from households in Glasgow City, East Renfrewshire and South Lanarkshire. The recycled waste has also been used in the development of Glasgow 2014’s Athletes Village.  According to Zero Waste Scotland, some of the 50,000 tonnes of food and garden waste that is sent to GP Plantscape’s in-vessel composting (IVC) facility in Blantyre every year has been used to help develop the facilities.

The BBC has cut thousands of tonnes of CO2 and reduced its energy consumption by 20%, according to the broadcaster’s Corporate Responsibility (CR). The closure of Television Centre in west London and the relocation of staff to MediaCityUK in Salford and New Broadcasting House in central London have helped the BBC reduce office-related CO2 emissions by more than 21,000 tonnes in 2013/14.  The BBC has seen a 20% energy consumption reduction, meeting its 2015/16 target early, and an absolute reduction in CO2 emissions of 19% compared with the 2007 baseline. Consumption per staff member fell by 11% due to concentrating staff into fewer buildings. reports that universities and colleges across the UK have signed an agreement with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to encourage sustainable innovation among future generations. The partnership will bring together members of the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC) and the UNEP’s Global Universities Partnership on Environment and Sustainability (GUPES) network as part of a three-year agreement.  The network will work on improving environmental education, training and networking to increase sharing of ideas and an understanding of what sustainability means across the globe.

The Government is to cut the amount of cash available under the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund by £2,000 per household after 12,200 applications with a value of more than £50m were received in the first six weeks of the scheme. More than £43m worth of vouchers for the fund have been issued with 7,925 households in England and Wales so far receiving vouchers under the scheme. The Home Improvement Fund has been seen as a boon for small businesses and contractors in the energy efficiency sector

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey has unveiled details of a new £20m fund to incentivise businesses, industry and other organisations to improve energy efficiency. Announced at the CBI’s Energy Conference, the Electricity Demand Reduction (EDR) auction will allow firms to compete for cash to fund projects that reduce electricity demand.  The positive impact that environmental policy can have on the green growth of a sector has been seen in the UK car industry, with increased investment contributing to a significant reduction in tailpipe emissions over the past 10 years. A new report from the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) found that more than £17bn had been invested in low-carbon vehicles between 2003 and 2013, which had revitalised the UK automotive industry. It also reported an average reduction in tailpipe emissions of 25% and a steady uptake in low-carbon buses, with 1,500 in operation in 2013.

A UK couple trying to live a sustainable lifestyle have been allowed to keep their ‘eco-home’ in Devon – built out of reclaimed materials but with  no planning permission. neighbours were initially supportive of  Jules Smith and Matthew Lepley’s project but the complained after plans emerged for workshops on green engineering at the two story home made of materials including pallets and lorry tyres. New planning laws allowed a inspector to allow the home – which has no mains electricity, draws water from a borehole and has a compost toilet. The couple have three years to  prove their home and small holding sustainable. However a number of commentators have noted that the home was built without planning and sets a worrying precedent for future projects in the countryside. 

The Norwegian Parliament has granted funding for an innovative, closed-loop business model which makes use of captured CO2 to produce the Omega-3 necessary to feed local fish farms. CO2BIO has been given $1bn to build a pilot plant which will use carbon captured at Technology Centre Mongstad (TCM) to produce marine algea using photosynthesis.  “Undertaking advanced marine microalgae production on the doorstep of the world’s largest single market for feed is important for long-term growth of the Norwegian aquaculture industry and for enhanced sustainability of marine raw materials,” said CO”BIO’s managing director Svein M Nordvik.

The Environmental Protection Agency has announced a set of restrictions that will in effect prevent the development of a controversial copper and gold mine in Alaska which many said would have been disastrous for the state’s largest salmon fishery. Pebble Mine, located in south-west Alaska near Bristol Bay, would have been one of the largest opencast mines in the world — more than a mile deep, the depth of the Grand Canyon. And the total impact of the mine – from the project itself to the huge waste ponds and piles it would have required – could take up an area the size of Manhattan, according to the EPA. That, the EPA’s regional administrator, Dennis McLerran, said on Friday, was unacceptable for the environment, for those who rely on the salmon in Bristol Bay for work, and for the Native community who have argued that the area is integral to their way of life. 



By |2016-11-01T15:04:08+00:00July 24th, 2014|AGF Blog|