BP may pay out up to $25 billion to settle actions brought by the US authorities, local businesses and its own workers arising from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. It is thought BP is keen to avoid the court action, scheduled to start on February 27th in New Orleans. BP has already spent $15 billion cleaning up after the massive spill and has paid $10 billion into a Gulf compensation scheme. analysts say if BP lost the court case its potential liability could be up to $69 billion.
Glyndebourne Productions have installed a wind turbine at the famous opera site, despite protests from local people who say that the sound of the turbine may affect performances. The Glyndebourne turbine is supported by opera fan Sir David Attenborough who said that any noise issues were ‘trivial’ when compared to health and pollution issues from fossil fuels, and that the turbine was ‘elegant’ and ‘in harmony with nature’. The Company said that 90% of the electricity required to run the opera house will now come fro renewable energy.
Oil and gas company Cuadrilla felt the wrath of furious local residents at a public meeting to discuss its proposed plans to drill test for shale gas in the South East of the UK. During the meeting, held in West Sussex on January 11,, Cuadrilla’s chief executive Mark Miller met with about 200 local residents and anti-fracking protestors to discuss plans for fracking work in the area.
New Research aims to look at the local options in power grids to reduce peaks and dips associated with renewable energy and cut fossil fuel use. Work by Australia’s Queensland University of Technology (QUT) will aim to overcome one of the ‘main hurdles’ to increased use of wind and solar energy. QUT’s chairman in power engineering, Professor Gerard Ledwich, said because renewable generation ‘was not predictable’ other power sources had to be used to supplement it but says he hopes to develop storage and demand management systems to make sure renewably generated power can be better stored during low usage times for use in peak periods.
The European economy could save €72bn a year if member states implemented EU waste legislation in full, according to a European Commission (EC) study. Such a move would also increase the annual turnover of the EU waste management and recycling sector by €42bn and create over 400,000 jobs by 2020.
Meat production is one of the major contributors to global environmental degradation especially deforestation, water scarcity and loss of bio-diversity – as well as on fifth of the World’s greenhouse gas emissions – so its interesting to see that a Dutch scientist says he is close to producing laboratory grown meat – or ‘cultured’ meat. It sounds like science fiction but Mark Post from Maastricht University claims he will be able to produce a cultured burger by the end of the year. PETA, the animal welfare group, have a separate $1 million prize available until 30th June 2012 for the first scientist to provide cultured chicken that can be grown in quantity and cannot be distinguished from real chicken. Post hopes celebrity chef Jamie Oliver will cook his first commercially produced burger.
Luxury London hotel The Langham is looking to raise recycling levels from 35% to 75% over the next 12 months and make significant cost savings in the process. The five-star hotel has appointed waste management company SWR to manage all of its waste. This will involve greater source-segregation with the installation of new bins, a cardboard baler, a bin press and a glass crushing machine.
Uncertainty continues to dog the solar industry as the Government drags the fights over subsidy cuts back to court. The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is going back to London’s High Court to appeal the right, won by campaigners to have a judicial review over cuts to the Feed-In Tariff scheme (FITs). The court ruled last year the cuts, implemented durig a consultative phase, were ‘illegal’ . Ministers have made one minor concession saying that householders who installed panels after the 12th December will continue to get the full Feed In Tariff, but only until March 2nd, when it will halve.
Boosting plastics recycling in the UK will be a “key focus” for 2012 as the sector continues to develop PET and HDPE bottles recycling technologies. That is according to resource and recovery specialist Keith Freegard, who predicts further investment in technology and equipment capable of extracting a wider range of materials from mixed plastics collections. And Reducing water use by 20% by 2020, compared with a 2007 baseline, in the production chain is the second key area flagged up in the British Soft Drinks Association’s (BSDA) Sustainability.
Budget airline Ryanair will add a small charge to every passenger’s costs after claiming new European emission cutting rules were ‘loony’. The Irish based airline is furious over the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), which makes large organisations monitor and report emissions. No problem for me as I don’t and won’t ever use Ryanair if I can help it as I find most of their charges stark raving mad. And train’s are much nicer anyway.
Edie.net reports that Apple has extended its reuse and recycling programme to the UK, France and Germany in the form of a customer cashback scheme for old devices. The service has been operating out in the US for some time, but hit European shores last week. The scheme, which is being managed by Dataserv, also accepts certain non-Apple products such as desktop computers. Under the scheme, customers can hand back their used iPads, iPhones and Macs – but not iPods.