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ANOTHER PLANET

A new study from climate scientists and funded by climate change sceptics has shown that global warming IS happening. The Tea Party nutters will be rather annoyed by this but there again their philosophy of ignoring energy security and relying on oil from outside of the USA always looked bonkers despite global warming. What’s wrong with sustainable power??? Anyway, I digress, climate sceptics had been concerned that moving climate stations close to urban centres had skewed results in favour of finding global warming, but the study Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project (BEST) from rural climate recordings showed that Earth’s temperature had risen by 0.9C. The study was part funded by oil billionaire Charles Koch.

A shake up in the financial incentives available for solar power in the UK may take the shine off solar panels – and may well have a negative effect on land based wind farms too. But off-shore wind and tidal projects will benefit from the changes. RenbewableUK said that the 10% drop in subsidies for solar and on-shore wind would mean a significant fall in the number of wind turbines planned around the country. And whilst the government says that it remains committed to green, the UK’s only Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) project has ground to a halt after four years of publicly funded work. The CCS Consortium, made up of ScottishPower, National Grid and Shell, has been scrapped after the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) decided against going ahead with the construction phase of the test scheme.  The project, based in Longannet in Scotland, was the only one remaining in the DECC funded competition to produce a commercially viable CCS project.

A very good leader in the Observer newspaper on the 23rd October says that Now is not the time to renege on green pledges: “Climate change urgently demands that we overcome cultural, social, political and economic barriers to act together to cushion its impact. That requires strong leadership and long-term vision ….. it is unfortunate that domestically, even as the climate change sceptics receive a drubbing, the coalition appears to be travelling away from the proactive and bold measures that are required. At the Conservative party conference last month, the chancellor, George Osborne, boasted that he had insisted on an opt-out clause for carbon reduction targets ….. and last week a £1bn carbon capture and storage demonstration scheme was cancelled. A further dulling of the coalition’s green sheen has come with the announcement that subsidies for households to install solar panels are to be drastically reduced. Discussions are taking place about how far to cut the small-scale “feed-in tariff” which pays households and companies for energy produced. This could mean a fall from the current level of up to 43p per kilowatt hour to as little as 9p per kWh, a move that will offer almost no incentive to adopt a different style of living.”  More at http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/oct/23/observer-editorial-coalition-climate-change?newsfeed=true

New research from the Carbon Trust says that turning down heating by one degree could save businesses and public sector organisations £35 million each year.

The 2°C Challenge Communique, calling on governments around the world to take action to “secure a low carbon-emission economy that is more resilient, more efficient and less vulnerable to global shock” has been published. The communiqué is published ahead of the 17th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Durban in December, had 192 signatories at the time of writing this story, up from 185 at the point of publication. They include Anglian Water Group, Thames Water, Wessex Water, EDF, BP, Shell, National Grid and Bord Na Mona.

Wales has built a new heavy duty road bridge made of 100% recycled plastic in what is being claimed as a European first.  The 90-foot Thermoplastic bridge, which is suitable for heavy goods vehicles, is made up of 50 tonnes of waste plastic and spans the River Tweed at Easter Dawyck in Peeblesshire, which forms part of the historic John Buchan Way. It was built off-site and assembled in just four days by a team from Glendinning Groundworks and 10 Field Squadron Royal Engineers. Being made from plastic, it requires no painting or regular maintenance.

IKEA has trialled a new reuse initiative with the Furniture Reuse Network (FRN) on hard-to-dispose-of products, including sofas, mattresses and kitchen appliances. Under the scheme, customers decide if they would like to have their old furniture taken away when they have their new furniture delivered from IKEA. The retailer will then make a like-for-like exchange.

The University of Brighton has appointed DS Smith Recycling to introduce separate food and wood waste collections across its Sussex campus to increase recycling levels. The Waste is generated across the University’s 30 sites – including faculty buildings, halls of residence and student union bars used by 23,000 students and 2,600 staff – and will be dealt with in the majority a a recycling facility in Croydon.  DS Smith Recycling has been targeted to improve the university’s 25% recycling rate with a number of initiatives and training sessions. As well as separate food waste collections and segregating wood waste produced by the architecture and rrt departments, used cooking oil will be recycled. More specific and occasional waste streams will be collected on an ad hoc basis including WEEE, hazardous and confidential waste

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond announced an £18m boost for marine renewables on the same day it was announced he is to be the recipient of an international climate change award. The investment will be used to establish a wave and tidal commercialisation fund to help develop Scotland’s first commercial wave and tidal power arrays. It forms part of the £35m provided to enterprise agencies by the Scottish Government over the next three years to directly support the marine and tidal industry including planned projects in the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters. Speaking yesterday, Mr Salmond said: “I am delighted to announce an £18m commercialisation fund which will help developers to unleash the power of Scotland’s seas, as part of our biggest financial commitment to date of £35m for this sector. Mr Salmond had been selected as the recipient of the third South Australia International Climate Change Award. Previous recipients are former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2009 and Quebec Premier Jean Charest in 2010.

WaterAid has marked 30 years of bringing clean water, sanitation and hygiene education to the world’s poorest countries at its Annual Supporters’ Meeting in London. Speaking at the event to celebrate the water charity’s 30th anniversary, WaterAid chief executive Barbara Frost said the charity had “an awful lot to celebrate”, but added that “there is an awful lot still to do because of the scale of the problem out there”. However, Ms Frost added that it was “remarkable” that despite the economic downturn WaterAid has continued to increase its donations by raising £50.8m in 2010-2011 – up from £43.8m in 2008-2009. WaterAid has attributed its growth to support from well-known figures and organizations such as the Prince of Wales, the Glastonbury Festival, Ofwat and several of the UK’s water companies.