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ANOTHER PLANET?

From Treehugger,a brilliant article titled “12 Green Questions I’d Ask If I Were Moderating a 2012 Presidential Debate” – to the point and very smart – http://www.treehugger.com/environmental-policy/12-green-questions-i-would-ask-2012-presidential-debate.html

Campaigners including Dame Vivienne Westwood and Bianca Jagger have signed a letter calling the UK government “reckless and short sighted” in its failure to tackle climate change with just 50 months remaining before the global temperature rise hits 2C. The letter points out that this year “has seen the record loss of sea ice, the greenhouse gas concentrations above the Arctic at their highest point for possibly 800,00 years. Crop wrecking droughts and record temperatures have scorched the american Midwest” and points out that  investing in energy efficiency and expanding renewable energy would give the UK economy a major boost but says some of the UK government’s policies “seem to take us backwards”.

What to do? Barbara Stocking, chief executive of Oxfam says its time for lifestyle changes in the wealthy world; climate scientist Professor Kevin Anderson says its too late for rich countries to grow their way out of the problem and they must find new ways to run their economies.  Ed Mayo says that a simple change would be a move away from ‘individual ownership’ – our own cars, single food portions, homes with single occupants, which are the No 1 source of inefficiency saying that we need to build sharing into the economy; Catherine Howarth calls on everyone saving into pension plans to make sure their fund managers are thinking responsibly and about the long term. Let’s be honest, it was the bankers who got us into this economic mess – so  as they don’t know what they are ding – maybe a bit of advice might help!  Catherine says our pension funds should be demanding a halt to corporate lobbying against climate change regulation and they should be allowing investment into low carbon infrastructure as well as urging companies to invest in energy saving techniques and technologies and prepare for the impacts of climate change; Finally Anna Coote says that we need to slow down – can we walk or cycle rather than drive? Repair things rather then throw away and replace?  Give gadgets and  ready made meals the heave-ho! Many of us have time poverty in the UK – but there are 2.5 million who need work. It’s a mad mad World!

Professor William Cheung at the University of  British Columbia is predicting that the rise in ocean temperatures will result in a reduction in individual fish size as well as a shrinkage in fish stocks – so less fish, and smaller fish with climate change wiping out a food source for billi0ns.

Whilst biofuels do result in lower greenhouse gas emissions than either gasoline or diesel fuel, and they all result in significantly lower ozone depletion, on every other eco-factor, biofuels are at best no better than petroleum and in many cases far worse, having a negative environmental impact on multiple criteria such as creation of ocean dead zones, water pollution, land use change, and resource depletion.  http://www.treehugger.com/renewable-energy/most-biofuels-better-than-oil-greenhouse-gases-worse-or-similar-eco-impact-otherwise.html.

The growing longevity of the  global population will mean that by 2050 there will be more pensioners than children, accordng to a UN report, and that there will be over 400 million people aged 80 or over.

Those lovely people at Glencore have been accused of using complex insurance bills to slash their UK tax bill. More on the Guardian website here

The Clink at HMP High Down, Britain’s first restaurant to serve meals to the public inside prison walls has been awarded the maximum three stars by the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA).  The 92-seat restaurant which provides a real working environment for prisoners, has been given the three star rating after impressing in areas of sourcing, environment and society.

The European Union has passed 100 gigawatt (GW) of installed wind power capacity, according to the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).

The central solar panel installation on the main roof at King’s Cross station in London has been officially turned on. The installation is expected to generate 175,000 kWh a year and save over 100 tonnes of CO2 emissions. It is made up of 1,392 glass laminate units and covers 2300 square metres.

Edie.net report that Michelin has embarked on a nationwide reverse logistics drive for its used tyres in the UK, resulting in massive cost savings for its waste disposal operations. In 2009 the tyre manufacturer set up a project team of senior managers from its manufacturing, logistics and commerce arms together with its official retail partner ATS Euromaster to take back all of its end-of-life tyres and manage the recovery process in-house, rather than rely on sub-contractors.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, actress Barbara Windsor and London  Mayor, Boris Johnson were among the celebrities to ride in London’s new fleet of hydrogen fuel cell powered taxis during the Olympic and Paralympic games.  The five taxis, fuelled by the capital’s second hydrogen fuelling station at Heathrow airport, transported 40 visiting dignitaries and VIP guests of the Greater London Authority during the games.

Coca-Cola has delivered on a key target to recycle 10.5 million PET plastic bottles from the London 2012 Olympic games, returning most of them back to shelf within 6 week.

Scottish Water has launched three new water efficiency videos on its website which aim to raise awareness of household water efficiency.  Advice includes taking less time in the shower and using a bucket and sponge to wash a car rather than a hose.

Edie.net report that leading Enviromentalist Jonathon Porritt has called for a more open debate on the potential of using waste-to-energy to recover the calorific value in plastics waste. Porritt said that modern energy recovery technologies such as small-scale incineration or advanced gasification should be considered as a viable recovery solution for the material despite many green groups being fiercely opposed to the idea of burning plastics. http://www.edie.net/news/news_story.asp?src=nl&id=23274

A green charity has been awarded £341,000 to create innovative systems to reduce river pollution in Enfield, North London. Thames21 will use the Defra funding to reduce pollution in the Salmons Brook, a tributary of the River Lea, which is one of the most polluted rivers in the UK.

Union leaders are are seeking urgent talks to protect jobs at waste management group Biffa – the group seems likely to fall into the hands of banks, owed a total of £1.1 billion by current owners Montagu Private Equity and Global Infrastructure Partners.

How green and sustainable is Sainsburys? well, the supermarket group say they have reduced carbon emissions by 9% over four years despite a 25% rise in retail space – but don’t ask us, have a look at this Guardian article which explains how the retailer wants to work with more local producers, install solar panels and improve recycling. It’s all here online.