droughteastafricaThe World is on course for the hottest year ever in 2014, the United Nations weather agency said on Wednesday, heightening the sense of urgency around climate change negotiations underway in Lima. Preliminary estimates from the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) found global average land and sea surface temperatures for the first 10 months of 2014 had soared higher than ever recorded. The findings – broadly in line with those of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) and other scientific agencies – indicate that by year-end 2014 will break all previous high temperature records. The steady escalation of greenhouse gas emissions, caused by the burning of fossil fuels, have seen a succession of record-breaking years for temperature since the dawning of the 21st century and 2014 promises to be no exception, the WMO said. More here.

The Guardian reports that  UN climate negotiations opening in Lima on Monday have the best chance in a generation of striking a deal on global warming, diplomats say. After a 20-year standoff, diplomats and longtime observers of the talks say there is rising optimism that negotiators will be able to secure a deal that will commit all countries to take action against climate change. The two weeks of talks in Peru are intended to deliver a draft text to be adopted in Paris next year that will commit countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions without compromising the economic development of poor countries. Diplomats and observers of the UN climate negotiations said recent actions by the US and China had injected much-needed momentum.

volcano1A new study has found that when particulates from small volcanic eruptions are properly accounted for, volcanoes may be responsible for much of the slowdown in global surface warming over the past 15 years. Sulfur aerosol particulates pumped into the atmosphere from volcanic eruptions cause short-term cooling by blocking sunlight. Until recently, climate scientists thought that only large volcanic eruptions had a significant impact on global temperatures. There haven’t been any big eruptions since Mount Pinatubo in 1991. However, studies published over the past few years have found that even moderate volcanic eruptions can pump significant amounts of aerosol particulates into the atmosphere. reports that energy supplier E.ON has announced that it wants to focus more heavily on renewable energy and transfer fossil fuel power generation to a new independent company – the New Company.  Through its publicly-listed company – the majority of which will be spun off to E.ON SE shareholders – E.ON will combine conventional power generation, global energy trading and exploration and production businesses. E.ON itself will further develop each of its three core businesses: renewables, distribution networks and customer solutions, to respond to ‘dramatically altered global energy markets, technical innovation, and more diverse customer expectations.’

The time has come: The 2degrees New Generation initiative, has reached its climax. Here are the top 25 under 25s currently working in sustainable business. More here

“The French city of Grenoble is banning billboard advertising. It will instead open community spaces and plant trees. City authorities say they have decided not to renew its contract with one of the world’s top outdoor advertising companies, JC Decaux. From January Grenoble will remove more than 300 ad locations. Fifty trees will take their place in time for spring.
The city’s deputy mayor Lucile Lheureux explained: “The business model of street advertising is down. Advertisers want to upgrade to digital screens. We don’t want to make that move. We don’t want our city’s children bombarded with animated advertising on TV screens in the street.”

cowsCurbing the world’s huge and increasing appetite for meat is essential to avoid devastating climate change, according to a new report titled Livestock, Climate Change’s Forgotten Sector. But governments and green campaigners are doing nothing to tackle the issue due to fears of a consumer backlash, warns the analysis from the thinktank Chatham House. The global livestock industry produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all cars, planes, trains and ships combined, but a worldwide survey by Ipsos MORI in the report finds twice as many people think transport is the bigger contributor to global warming. “Preventing catastrophic warming is dependent on tackling meat and dairy consumption, but the world is doing very little,” said Rob Bailey, the report’s lead author. “A lot is being done on deforestation and transport, but there is a huge gap on the livestock sector. There is a deep reluctance to engage because of the received wisdom that it is not the place of governments or civil society to intrude into people’s lives and tell them what to eat.”

In recent years there has been a sea change in the general public’s opinions on stupid claims from the corporates trying to befriend you by being ‘green’. Here’s 4 examples of greenwashing FROM 38 DEGREES you won’t want to imitate including a  look at the ludicrous ‘Red Tractor’ mark and the assertions made by American meat manufacturer Tyson  that its poultry products were  “100% Free from Antibiotics” . Greenwashing at its worst.

cyclistssolsticeThe UK Government will introduce a package of measures totalling £214m in a bid to help double the number of bicycle journeys made by 2020.  The largest single investment in cycling was announced by the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg at a cycling summit.

The amount of biomethane injected to the UK grid has doubled every year since 2011 and is set to more-than quadruple in 2014.  That’s according to data collected by the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA) from the UK’s four Gas Distribution Networks following a meeting at the Energy Institute. The figures show that there are now 10 biomethane-to-grid plants generating nearly 1TWh compared with just 0.16TWh last year.

tree-cathedral-cattedrale-vegetale-giuliano-mauri-1A British cleantech company has started a crowdfunding campaign to help launch a product which it claims can provide one billion people with water using only the power of the sun.The ‘Desolenator’ transforms seawater into pure distilled water without any other inputs, and lasts for up to 20 years. A crowdfunding campaign was launched for the Desolenator on 30 November at Indiegogo, looking for $150k to “accelerate the product development process and help us move from our current prototype to a finished product ready for mass production.”

Bored Panda tells us – quite rightly – that a building doesn’t have to be a dry and dead thing. Italian artist Giuliano Mauri’s epic Cattedrale Vegetale (or Tree Cathedral) is the perfect example of architecture that, instead of competing with or complementing nature, is quite literally a part of it. The late artist’s two groves of trees are destined to grow into a pair of magnificent basilicas. The framework columns seen in these photos will eventually rot away and decay, to be replaced by the hornbeam trees planted in the centre of each frame. As these grow, their canopies will mesh together to form the vaulted ceiling of a Gothic cathedral. Mauri, who died in 2009, laid the groundwork for his first visionary cathedral in Valsugana, Italy in 2002. The framework of the cathedral at the foot of Mount Arera in the northern Italian region of Lombardy was completed in 2010. More here and more images here

By |2016-11-01T15:04:03+00:00December 5th, 2014|AGF Blog|