van-gogh-starry-night-glowing-bike-path-daan-roosengaarde-1Dutch artist and designer Daan Roosegaarde has created a beautiful and innovative glowing bike path that, when illuminated at night by glowing pebbles and LEDs, looks like Van Gogh’s famous Starry Night painting.

And in related news, the bike path that connects the Amsterdam suburbs of Krommenie and Wormerveer is popular with both school children and commuters: around 2,000 cyclists ride its two lanes on an average day. But Krommenie’s cycle path has now become even more useful: a 70-metre stretch will become the world’s first public road with embedded solar panels. Costing around €3m (£2.4m) and funded mostly by the local authority, the road is made up of rows of crystalline silicon solar cells, encased within concrete and covered with a translucent layer of tempered glass. But will produce power for just three homes, something Lloyd Alter on Treehugger was less than impressed by.

The United States and China  deal to reduce their greenhouse gas output, hailed as a ‘historic milestone in the global fight against climate change’ which adds to the already agreed EU targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, makes the 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 look  somewhat silly. The quintet said the UK’s 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. Shame on them. Where once we led, now the UK is led by donkeys. The United States has pledged to cut its emissions to 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025. China, the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, has agreed to cap its output by 2030 or earlier if possible. The European Union has already endorsed a binding 40% greenhouse gas emissions reduction target by 2030.

And …. every branch of the United States Military is worried about climate change. They have been since well before it became controversial. In the wake of an historic climate change agreement between President Obama and President Xi Jinping in China the military’s perspective is significant in how it views climate effects on emerging military conflicts. As Forbes says – this is not a group normally considered to be liberal activists and fear-mongers.

Food waste recycling specialist ReFood has unveiled the industry’s first dedicated scholarship programme to inspire the next generation of sustainable students.  From agriculture and logistics, to manufacture, retail and hospitality, the project will see hundreds of students competing in order to win a £5,000 bursary to progress their studies, according to ReFood. Organisations such as Sheffield Hallam University, Moulton Agricultural College and Leith’s School of Food & Wine have joined as partners and have offered to support the project.

?????B&Q scored a hat-trick and Sainsbury’s, AkzoNobel and Cap Gemini were among the other big winners at the 2014 Sustainability Leaders Awards.  The great and the good of the sustainability sector descended upon the Grand Connaught Rooms in London  for the eighth year of edie’s Awards which celebrate the very best in sustainable business. The Energy Efficiency awards went to the University of Reading, Sustainable Packaging was won by B&Q, and Waste & Resource Management award went to DHL Supply Chain & JD Wetherspoon. The full list of winners can be found here.

First vacuum cleaners ……  now the amount of energy that big screen TVs can use will be capped under an EU energy efficiency drive which the European commission expects will cut consumers’ energy bills by around €8bn a year.  The energy-saving rules for vacuum cleaners provoked a storm of criticism from UK newspapers last autumn, the planned TV rules may be a test case for new ‘ecodesign’ formulas for kettles, toasters and hairdryers, due to be announced next year. The new TV standards, which could come into effect as early as June 2016, would set more challenging energy use requirements for larger TV screens, which currently benefit from a ranking methodology that only measures internal components for energy efficiency. reports that global electrical powerhouses including Panasonic, Samsung and LG Electronics are among 50 major players in the electricals sector who have signed up to a new green commitment that focuses on reducing the environmental impact of the products they manufacture. The new commitment, called Electrical and Electronic Sustainability Action Plan (ESAP), was launched at WRAP’s Resources Limited conference in London.

Surrey hast beaten recognised areas of forests in the UK for having the most squares per square mile. With modern agriculture blamed for extensive tree clearance of the once wooded British Isles the most densely wooded areas are now these where gardens and parks are home to trees – with aerial mapping showing that seven of the country’s top ten wooded areas being in Surrey, including the verdant spaces of Mole Valley. Surrey Heath and Waverley.  Bracknell Forest in Berkshire and the New Forest are the only forests to feature in the National Tree Map top ten that plots our 280 million trees. Two heavily farmed Lincolnshire districts, Boston and South Holland have only 2% tree coverage – the nations lowest.

wcA new bus service has been launched that runs on sewerage and food waste – and says that the annual waste produced by 5 humans can send a bus off with a full tank – some 186 miles of travel. The fuel is generated by Geneco and the bio-bus will be used by the Bath Bus company for its A4 shuttle service later this month which is expected to have up to 10,000 passengers a mont travelling from Bat to Bristol airport. Bristol is European Green Capital in 2015.

A new European Court of Justice ruling should speed up curbs on diesel cars in the UK as courts must now ensure that the UK government complies with EU limits on air pollution. Tbe case. nrpought by a team of environmental lawyers called ClientEarth,  highlights dangers from air pollution from Nitrogen Dioxide in cities such as London, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Sheffield, Bristol, Southampton, Birmingham and Leeds and the need for the UK to meet the EU air quality directive which has been repeatedly breached. London mayor Boris Johnson plans to impose a levy of £12.50 on polluting diesel cars fro 2020. Johnson said he now accepts scientific evidence from Britain’s leading air research group that Oxford Street has some of the world’s highest recorded levels of nitrogen dioxide, the majority of which comes from diesel fumes. ECJ  ruled that Member States must use all measures available to meet air pollution targets within an agreed date, regardless of economic or other considerations. The decision was welcomed by the British Heart Foundation. The World Health Organisation had previously said that almost anyone living in a European city was exposed to unsafe pollution levels.

unepMore than six million square kilometres of land has been ‘protected’ in the past four years, but a new UNEP report has argued that better funding and management would help these areas boost local economies and mitigate the impact of climate change.  Protected areas reduce climate risks by providing carbon sinks and reducing the danger from natural hazards such as floods droughts and avalanches. Maintaining such areas has been given added significance by the recent IPPC Synthesis report which confirmed that climate change – caused unequivocally by humans – will have a palpable degenerative effect on the planet.

Generating electricity from solar PV could be cheaper than burning gas as early as 2018, as long as the Government provides stable policy support. That’s according to a new report from the Solar Trade Association (STA) – Cost reduction potential of large-scale solar PV – which suggests that solar will be cheaper than the wholesale price of electricity sometime between 2025 and 2028, while the cost of generating electricity from gas will increase.

The Royal Household – which operates at Buckingham Palace, St James’s Palace, Kensington Palace, Windsor Castle, The Palace of Holyroodhouse and the Queen’s Galleries – has become the latest organisation to sign up to the not-for-profit network, Fit for the Future. Fit for the Future Network celebrates its one-year anniversary this month, having been launched by the National Trust and sustainable energy charity Ashden in November 2013. The network now has an international membership of 85 land-owning, charitable and sustainability organisations which include the Church of England, RSPB, Oxfam, YHA (England and Wales), Northern Rail, the University of Oxford and Trinity College, University of Cambridge.

The UK’s first straw-powered renewable energy plant is set to to open in Lincolnshire later this month.  The 38MW Sleaford Renewable Energy Plant, which could provide enough electricity to power 65,000 homes, creates energy through the clean and efficient combustion of straw – the by-product of wheat production, taken mainly from farms within a 50-mile radius of Sleaford. Ash produced by the plant will be recycled as crop fertiliser, effectively creating a local circular economy.

Barack Obama will make a substantial pledge to a fund to help poor countries fight climate change, only days after his historic carbon pollution deal with China. In a one-two punch, the US plans to pledge a maximum of $3bn over the next four years to help poor countries invest in clean energy and cope with rising seas and extreme weather, according to those briefed by administration officials.

Lloyd Alter also has a bit of a rant on Treehugger against America Recycles Day (which was on November 15th) which he criticises as a “bit of corporate greenwashing”. The sponsors of this grand event have a new campaign, “I want to be recycled” in which a plastic bottle cries out “I want to be a bench” with Lloyd saying “the campaign is brought to you by the usual gang, Alcoa and the American Chemistry Council who make the containers that get thrown away; Anheuser-Busch and Nestle Waters who sell them, among others who are patting you on the head for picking up their crap and and sorting it into neat little piles so that you can then pay your city or town to take away and ship across the country so somebody can melt it and make another bench. But only a little more than a quarter of those bottles do make it that far, because the economics aren’t there and many towns find it cheaper to just dump it in a hole in the ground. And that’s exactly what happens to 30 million tons of the stuff every year, which is the real story behind America Recycles Day.”

Peru, the host for December’s UN climate change summit, stores nearly seven billion metric tons of carbon stocks, mostly in its Amazon rainforest. That’s more than US annual carbon emissions for 2013 which were calculated at 5.38 billion tons, new research by the Carnegie Institute for Science  shows.

Flavio Briatore, the ex Formula 1 boss and ex owner of Queens Park Rangers football club is like;y to be forced to remove a gigantic 100m long wall he constructed to protext his beachfront guests at his Billionaire’s Reort in Kenya. Officials from the Kenya Wildlife Service and National Environment Agency say the wall robbed the rare sea turtle from reaching nesting sites at the Malindi Marine National Park , increased erosion and spoilt the beach. The wall was meant to be constructed to allow the turtles to scale it.

One of Kenya’s largest bull elephants has been treated for a spear would after it was seen limping. The tusker, Tim, was speared in the rump possibly by a poacher ot a farmer trying to protect their crops. 33,000 elephants were killed for invory last year according to the charity Save The Elephants.

Rich countries are subsidising oil, gas and coal companies by about $88bn (£55.4bn) a year to explore for new reserves, despite evidence that most fossil fuels must be left in the ground if the world is to avoid dangerous climate change. The most detailed breakdown yet of global fossil fuel subsidies has found that the US government provided companies with $5.2bn for fossil fuel exploration in 2013, Australia spent $3.5bn, Russia $2.4bn and the UK $1.2bn. Most of the support was in the form of tax breaks for exploration in deep offshore fields. The public money went to major multinationals as well as smaller ones who specialise in exploratory work, according to British thinktank the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and Washington-based analysts Oil Change International. More on the Guardian website here.

orcaTwo orcas, a 7-year-old female named Narnia and an unnamed 5-year-old male, have been held captive in tiny covered tanks for the past 10 months, according to Russian animal rights group Vita. The orcas’ cries can be heard outside their concrete prison cells at the VDNKh exhibition centre in Moscow, Vita says. The animals are apparently being held in these temporary facilities pending the opening of a new aquarium under construction, which has been delayed until 2015. Experts warn that the whales could go deaf or insane in the meantime from the intense solitary confinement. Wild orcas live in close-knit social groups and swim up to 150 kilometres a day. Vita says that these captive orcas are being kept in individual holding tanks in a facility that is just 65 metres long. Ask Russia to Release Two Wild Orcas Captured for New Moscow Aquarium

France’s constitutional court has upheld a ban on hydraulic fracturing, ruling that the law against the energy exploration technique known as “fracking” is a valid means of protecting the environment.The court in Paris said on its website on Friday that the 2011 law “conforms to the constitution” and is not “disproportionate”. France banned fracking in 2011 and cancelled exploration licences held by companies including Schuepbach and Total SA, the country’s biggest oil company, after protests by environmental groups.



More on Deauville here

ctdlogoIt’s cold and wet and there is a serious energy squeeze on the UK, but plenty of shop doors are wide open and blasting out heat on to the street again !!! We all pay for this pure waste in the price of goods. Why are we letting it happen? Close those doors and speak (politely!) to shop staff. You will not be alone. You can make all the difference. Remember – the customer is always right.


By |2016-11-01T15:04:04+00:00November 20th, 2014|AGF Blog|