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ANOTHER PLANET?

_Met_main_map_textAround twenty of the UK’s leading scientists. Climate change experts and meteorologists have met up at the Met Office (June 18th) to discuss Britain’s “unusual” weather patterns. They examined the factors that caused the chilly winter of 2010-11 and the long, wet summer of 2012. They also examined why this spring was the coldest in 50 years. If you read ‘Another Planet’ regularly you will have noticed that over the past three years, British weather records have been under increasing pressure. The big freeze that gripped the UK in December 2010 saw the lowest temperature for the month in 100 years. Last summer was the second wettest for the UK since records began, and six out of the past seven summers have been wetter than average.  Puzzled by these events, scientists  from across the UK gathered at the Met Office in Exeter to try to understand the reasons behind this run of what they term, “unusual seasons” with Climate scientists at the University of Reading linking the miserable run with a series of wet summers in the 1950s and early 60s, and the 1880s, when the jet stream was stuck over the UK because of Atlantic water temperatures – rather than further North over Iceland when warmer drier summers can be expected. But cold winters are apparently part of a different cycle, and factors could include melting Arctic ice, the El Nino/La Nina weather pattern, the solar cycle and the Sudden Stratospheric Warming phenomenon. http://forum.netweather.tv/topic/77031-met-office-experts-meet-to-analyse-unusual-weather-patterns/

Betrand Piccard and  Andre Borschberg have become the first pilots to fly across the USA – in a solar powered plane.  The Swiss team’s  Solar Impulse may only reach speeds of 50mph (or 100mph with tail winds)  but it uses NO fuel. The Solar Impulse cost $115 to develop and has a wingspan to match a Boeing 747 – but only weighs as much as a family car. The engines are driven by solar power, generated by 12,000 photo voltaic cells.

G8_Priorities_PM_flagsLeaders of the G8 summit remain “strongly committed to addressing the urgent need to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 2020 and to pursue a low carbon path afterwards.” Despite campaigners anger that climate change seemed nowhere to be seen, In a final communique from the summit in Northern Ireland this week, the leaders summarised the issues discussed, surprising many with a section on climate change.  In a U-turn on the announced agenda, the G8 leaders expressed their commitment to tackling climate change, calling it one of the foremost challenges for “our future economic growth and well-being”.

The NHS could make savings of £35m if nurses, doctors and hospital staff are encouraged to turn off unused equipment, switch off lights, and close hospital doors.

The impact of climate change abroad could pose a greater threat to UK businesses than domestic threats, according to new research. Consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) has conducted research for Defra, which suggests that the international threats and opportunities of climate change to the UK could be an ‘order of magnitude’ larger than domestic threats and opportunities for some thematic areas, in particular business (trade and investment) and food (supply chains). But domestic challenges are having an effect too: The effects of climate change are restricting BT from further improving its customer service, according to the company’s chief sustainability officer Niall Dunne – with factors such as flooding having a significant impact.

wateraid3The impact of climate change is increasing the urgency for action on water and sanitation across the globe, says WaterAid in response to a new report from the World Bank. The report, Turn Down the Heat: Climate Extremes, Regional Impacts and the Case for Resilience, looks at how the negative impacts of climate change already in motion could create devastating conditions especially for those least able to adapt.  Examining the likely impacts for affected populations of present day, it also looks at 2°C and 4°C warming scenarios on critical areas like agricultural production, water resources, coastal ecosystems and cities.  http://www.edie.net/news/4/World-Bank-s-new-climate-change-report-intensifies-need-for-water-action-/

 

The City of Bristol has been chosen as the 2015 European Green Capital, replacing Nantes in France which currently holds the title.

Achieving zero emissions between 2050 and 2100 will not be possible if existing technologies are relied upon, says Environment Director at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Simon Upton. Tackling “end of pipe” emissions has been necessary, says Upton, as there are and will be a continued use of power plants. However, he said this strategy posed a risk of getting stuck on a path dependency in which time and energy is wasted making incremental improvements around an embedded incumbent technology.

A growing number of countries are banning unsustainable plastics, meaning UK plastics firms will need to adopt oxo-biodegradable technology quickly if they want to retain their export markets The warning came from a leading plastics technology specialist Michael Stephen, deputy chairman of Symphony Environmental Technologies, at an international conference in Zagreb

The waste sector has a pivotal role to play in creating a circular economy by helping manufacturers “design for recovery”, according to a report from the Environmental Services Association (ESA). The study offers 10 recommendations for policymakers and other stakeholders and draws on input from partner organisations across the entire supply chain, including the manufacturers’ organisation the EEF, B&Q, iESE, the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management, and Coca-Cola Enterprises. http://www.edie.net/news/5/Circular-economy–reality-waste-manufacturing-alliances-/