More than 120 international figureheads including US President Barack Obama, Brazillian President Dilma Rousseff and UK Prime Minister David Cameron were among the world leaders who gave speeches at the UN Climate Summit in New York on Tuesday (23 September) to raise political momentum for a meaningful universal climate agreement in Paris 2015 and galvanise transformative action to curb runaway greenhouse gas emissions. Leonardo Di Caprio, the newly appointed UN Messenger of Peace told the assembly that humankind has looked at climate change as if it were a fiction, happening to someone else’s planet. In a rousing speech, President Barack Obama said “We are the first generation to feel the effect of climate change and the last generation who can do something about it. Nelson Mandela’s widow Graça Machel said leaders failed to rise to challenge after day of impassioned speeches at UN. The widow of Nelson Mandela punctured the self-congratulatory mood of the UN summit on Tuesday, saying world leaders had failed to rise to the challenge of climate change. “There is a huge mismatch between the magnitude of the challenge and the response we heard here today,” Graça Machel told the closing moments of the summit. “The scale is much more than we have achieved.” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon closed the days proceedings saying “We have delivered”. He added “let us look back on today as the day we decided – as a human family – to put our house in order to make it liveable for future generations. Finnish airline Finnair operated a demonstration flight from Helsinki to New York with an Airbus A330 that used sustainable biofuel. More on the Guardian here.
Barack Obama has six months to deliver on the promises he made in a rousing speech at the United Nations climate change summit, Europe’s climate action commissioner said Obama, in a well-received address on Tuesday, promised the United States would play a leading role in reaching an international agreement to fight climate change, due to be finalised in Paris at the end of next year. Connie Hedegaard, who is responsible for ensuring the European Union meets its climate change obligations, told the Guardian that after the president’s speech raised expectations, other countries, especially the rising economies of China, India and Brazil, will be looking closely at what the US has to offer in six months.
Global greenhouse gas emissions on course to reach record high of over 40bn tonnes in 2014, a study in Nature Geoscience says. Children born today will see the world committed to dangerous and irreversible levels of climate change by their young adulthood at current rates, as the world poured a record amount of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere this year. Annual carbon dioxide emissions showed a strong rise of 2.5% on 2013 levels, putting the total emitted this year on track for 40bn tonnes. That means the global ‘carbon budget’, calculated as the total governments can afford to emit without pushing temperatures higher than 2C above pre-industrial levels, is likely to be used up within just one generation, or in thirty years from now. More here.
Labour leader Ed Miliband has pledged to create one million green jobs as part of a 10-year plan to make Britain a global leader in clean technology and renewable energy. In an impassioned speech to Labour Party activists before the 2015 General Election, Miliband also announced that his party would commit to take all of the carbon out of electricity by 2030, and develop a Green Investment Bank with more powers to borrow. “Under this Government, Britain lags behind Germany, Japan, the United States and even India and China for low-carbon green technologies and services,” he said. “The environment isn’t that fashionable anymore – but it matters. “It’s incredibly important to our economy and there is no more important an issue for me than tackling climate change.”
The world’s first fully-electric race series – Formula E– got underway this weekend in Beijiing. A thrilling race was won by Lucas di Grassi (aUDI sPORT adt) after a final-lap crash, Franck Montagny (Andretti) was second and Sam Bird (Virgin Racing) third. Entertainment is just one third of the sport’s core values, known as ‘the Three E’s’. Energy and Environment round off the trio in a project that will promote electric vehicles, promote energy saving tyre technology and improve battery efficiency. More on the official website here http://www.fiaformulae.com/en.aspx .
Nearly two thirds of UK garages have been asked to illegally dispose of old tyres which are eventually burnt for fuel, according to a new poll. The study, from waste management firm Business Waste, discovered that 65% of traders have been asked to dispose of tyres illegally, and 31% have given it consideration. The scrap tyres are often sold to export brokers who ship them to emerging nations with less rigid environmental controls such as China. They are then burnt as a form of cheap energy, causing emissions of sulphur dioxide to rise tenfold and emissions of dust particles to increase by almost 500%.
Thanks to Claire for this link – but its not good news. From 23 May to 15 August 2014, the Government ran a public consultation seeking views on a proposal designed to simplify the existing procedure for underground access when seeking to exploit oil, gas or geothermal resources (fracking to me and you). Here’s the result.
1.26. Having carefully considered the consultation responses, we believe that the proposed policy remains the right approach to underground access and that no issues have been identified that would mean that our overall policy approach is not the best available solution.
1.27. We will therefore put before Parliament primary legislation to implement the policy proposals set out in the consultation paper. Parliament’s scrutiny of the provisions will provide further opportunities for public engagement on the issues.
So – fracking is back. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/358521/Government_Response_FINAL.pdf : to open up the debate though – here’s an article that might challenge current ‘green’ thinking Is fracking greener than solar power and wind turbines?
British shoppers have been told “Don’t buy wild-caught salmon”. The Marine Conservation Society’s (MCS) has updated its sustainable seafood guide, and wild-caught Atlantic salmon remains on the ‘danger list’ and the MCS warns over depleting Atlantic salmon stock, but puts mackerel and haddock back on ‘Fish to Eat’ list. . Cod from both the east and west Baltic get a cautionary rating and North Sea cod remains a fish to avoid along with Halibut that’s wild-caught in the Atlantic, Mediterranean tuna and Portuguese coast scampi.
Silently, billions of bees are dying off and our entire food chain is in danger. Bees don’t just make honey — they are a giant, humble workforce, pollinating 75% of growing plants. But in five days the US could move to ban the toxic pesticides that are killing them off.
We know we can get a ban — after a mega Avaaz campaign last year, the EU banned this group of poisons that multiple scientists blame for bees’ rapid demise. Right now chemical companies are furiously lobbying US authorities to stop action. But insider allies say a massive public mandate could tip the scales towards a ban. Let’s give it to them! If the US moves, it will set in motion a ripple effect on the rest of the world. We have no time to lose — members of the White House’s bee task force will report with proposals on Tuesday. This is not just about saving bees, this is about our survival. Sign the emergency petition now — let’s build a giant global buzz calling for the US to outlaw these killer chemicals, before the honey bees are extinct: