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ANOTHER PLANET?

christas tree 2London Mayor Boris Johnson has called on the nation’s capital to recycle this Christmas and save £3.5m in the process. Over the festive season it is estimated that London will generate an extra 29,000 tonnes of household rubbish, mainly from glass bottles, tin foil, Christmas trees and wrapping paper.

The UK Government has hailed the progress of the renewable energy industry in the UK, describing it as a “fantastic achievement”. According to the 2012 update to the Renewable Energy Roadmap published last week by Energy Secretary Edward Davey, from July 2011 to July 2012 there was a 27% increase in overall renewable electricity generated. Now more than 10% of all electricity generated is coming from renewables. Electricity generated from renewables increased from 9.1% in the third quarter of 2011, to 11.7% in the third quarter of 2012, according to latest figures. A new survey from Consumer Focus says that consumers believe energy companies should invest their profits in renewable energy, according to new research and  the study found that expansion of renewables was supported by the majority of consumers responding.

The Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) will see its budget cut by 11% next year as it undergoes a UK government review to ensure its work is delivering value for money.

Ireland’s long-awaited draft Climate Change Bill is at “an advanced stage” and set to be published in the first quarter of this year, following a series of delays. Announcing the update, Irish Environment Minister Phil Hogan said that work on developing provisions of progressive primary legislation for the document is now in its final stages and that an outline heads of a bill will be issued early in 2013.

Industry and environmental bodies in Scotland have shown support for new proposals to ensure environmental regulations are enforced. The support can be seen in a recent joint consultation by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and the Scottish Government published today. It reveals that 82% of respondents supported the proposals which also aim to simplify environmental regulation and create a more integrated framework for environmental regulation.

windturbines_300The economic life of onshore wind turbines is significantly lower than previously estimated and it is rarely economic to operate windfarms for more than 12 to 15 years, according to a report from the  The Renewable Energy Foundation. After allowing for variations in wind speed and site characteristics, the results show that the average load factor of wind farms declines substantially as they get older.

The era of coal consumption is far from over and by 2017 it will come close to surpassing oil as the world’s top energy source, according to a new report. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has released figures set out in its annual Medium-Term Coal Market Report (MCMR) which reveal that global coal consumption by 2017 will stand at 4.32 billion tonnes of oil equivalent (btoe), versus around 4.40 btoe for oil.  According to the IEA, the only region in the world that will not see an increase in coal demand is the US where the extraction of unconventional gas is pushing out coal.

Europe needs to intensify efforts to keep sufficient quantity and quality of fresh water to maintain the regions ecosystems, according to a series of reports published by the European Environment Agency (EEA).

The owners of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig which caused the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010 when it exploded, killing 11 workers, have finally accepted share responsibility for the disaster.  Transocean pleaded guilty of violating the Clean Water Act and agreed to a $1.4 billion settlement with the US Department of Justice.

A leading synthetic compost manufacturer, William Sinclair, which owns the Deadfast, SuperFyba and J Arthur Bowers brands, has had a good year after the harvesting of natural peat was dramatically reduced because of the wet weather in Europe. The cost of harvesting peat rose because of summer deluges and William Sinclair dramatically increased production to meet demand – they expect to produce 250,000 cubic metres of SuperFyba in 2013 – compared to just 30,000 cubic metres in 2013.

Edie.net reports that The UK Governments chief scientist Sir John Beddington has warned that food prices will keep rising in 2013 as the world tries to feed a rising population and adapt to climate change. Owen Paterson, The Environment Secretary, has said that farmers, scientists and policy makers had a duty to turn around the image of genetically modified crops and promote the benefits of GM, but  a growing body of evidence suggests tackling food waste could help resolve many of the sustainability challenges faced by the food industry.  A number of studies are now linking food losses and waste to rises in inflation, food security, resource inputs and climate change as the global food industry experiences its third bout of inflation in five years due to poor agricultural harvests in the US, Russia and South America.  According to research firm Organic Monitor, analysts predict the average basket of food prices will rise by 15% by June 2013. Such a hike could have serious political and social repercussions for security of supplies going forward.

Air pollution is Greece is surging as citizens have moved to burning wood as a cheap source of fuel. Authorities say that illegal logging for fuel now accounts for 30% of all forest loss in Greece. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in the UK has awarded £2m worth of air quality grants to 36 local authorities across England. Funding 42 projects over the country, the grants have been awarded to those authorities who have demonstrated innovative plans to tackle air pollution in urban areas.

Rain falling on groundIt has been confirmed that 2012 was the second wettest year in the recorded history of the UK, with causes put down as yet unconfirmed factors including to melting Arctic sea ice, a rise in the temperatures of the Oceans and global warming.

10 Tech Resolutions You Can Make for 2013: Get a Nest thermostat, Learn the energy efficiency settings for your TV and use them, Minimize gadgets, Dare to repair and Commit to e-waste recycling are just some of the great ideas here http://www.treehugger.com/gadgets/10-tech-resolutions-for-2013.html

Climate Change might mean the end of the traditional British lawn as prolonged periods of floods and drought brought on by climate change become the norm.