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ANOTHER PLANET?

Businesses that are best insulated from energy price shocks will be the most successful, while the most energy efficient economies in Europe will see the most growth, says David Cameron.  Speaking at the official launch of the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) new Energy Efficiency Mission, the Prime Minister said the UK could not afford to overlook green energy. “Far from being a drag on growth, making our energy sources more sustainable, our energy consumption more efficient, and our economy more resilient to energy price shocks – those things are a vital part of the growth and wealth that we need,” he said.

The North East coast of America has been hit by extreme weather as heavy snow and gale force wind pounded the region. More than three feet of snow fell on parts of Connecticut, and more than two feet accumulated on Long Island and in Massachusetts, causing coastal flooding that forced evacuations of some Massachusetts communities. Hundreds of thousands of people shivered without power in the biting cold. Wind gusts of 80 miles per hour cut power lines and toppled trees. After a day of pelting wet snow, five states — New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Rhode Island — had declared states of emergency, and Massachusetts had banned vehicles from every road in the state.

Campaigners have hailed news from the EU that plans are afoot to reform the Common Fisheries Policy – which currently means hundreds of tonnes of edible fish thrown back into the sea. The European Parliament will pledge to return fish stocks in European waters ti sustainable levels within two years. A Greenpeace spokesperson said “this marks a crucial turning point in the battle to save Europe’s seas from over fishing and protect the livelihoods of fishermen”. The new system would replace fixed quotas which take little heed of fish stocks or scientific advice with ‘maximum sustainable yield’.

bluefin-tunaMore on fishing: The new Global Ocean Commission will be headed up by former UK Home Secretary David Milliband, South Africa’s former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel and Costa Rica’s former President Jose Maria Figueres. With over fishing of the seas already an “environmental catastrophe” the body will seek to end the lawlessness of the high seas which are unregulated by national governments or bodies such as the EU – and subject to ‘plunder and pillage’ on a massive scale according to Milliband dismissing the The UN’s current 30 year old ocean charter (unsigned by the USA) as a ‘tragedy’. More here .

And in South Africa, fisherman Leon Bekker has been fined £8,550 and given a 12 month suspended prison sentence for catching and killing a Great White Shark. Fishing for Great Whites has been illegal in South Africa since 1991 to help protect dwindling numbers. The court found that despite arguing the catch was inadvertent, Bekker needed specialised equipment to make the catch, and he was photographed with the dead shark.

Edie.net reports that new clauses in the Energy Bill will grant the Government powers to set a 2030 decarbonisation target range for the electricity sector in 2016. The clause will take affect once the Committee on Climate Change provides advice on the level of the fifth carbon budget and is set in law, says the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).  Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Edward Davey, said: “We will  take powers to set a decarbonisation target range for the power sector in 2016, which will provide a clear signal to industry and investors that we are serious about moving to a low-carbon economy”.

For the first time none of Britain’s 25-30 travelling circuses feature big cats – and only 5  still feature any performing animals.

A circular economy cannot be achieved by business collaboration alone – strong intervention is also required from world governments, a leading commentator has warned. Dr Gev Eduljee, director of external affairs at SITA, has called for “game changing” action to accelerate new ways of working under a circular economy, but argues that a “few hundred transactions” between businesses will only go so far.  “To truly scale up the circular economy … a comprehensive framework of policies is needed, that can be applied at national and supra-national level,” he said.  http://www.edie.net/news/5/Pressure-grows-to-legislate-for-circular-economy-to-achieve-scale-/nl

Politicians undermining investor confidence in wind projects are contributing to the industry’s bigger problems such as the economic crisis, warned top industry figures today. At the opening of Europe’s wind energy event, EWEA 2013, Arthouros Zervos, President of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) criticised “sudden or retroactive changes to support schemes” and warned “the wind industry can be a driver for growth, for jobs and exports but not if government policies drive away investors.”

phone shoesO2 has made a fashion statement by unveiling a range of functional mobile phones built into vintage shoes as part of its Recycle campaign. The ‘Walkie Talkies’ have been created by designer Sean Miles using retro models (pre-smartphone era) that are still fully functional. Footwear in the range include a men’s brogue, a Nike Air trainer, and a Hunter Wellington Boot.

Recovery of carpet waste has accelerated over the past 12 months due to sustained efforts across the supply chain in capturing this material stream. Figures released by trade association Carpet Recycling UK (CRUK) show that diversion rates increased to 21.4% in 2012 – a rise of 30% on the previous year’s 16.5%. Of the 85,000 tonnes diverted, 36,000 tonnes were recycled or reused while 49,000 tonnes were sent for energy recovery via cement kilns and power generation plants. Energy recovery grew by 44% as the high calorific value of carpets became more widely recognised.

The efficiency work being carried out by water utility companies is likely to help the UK achieve water savings of up to 10% by 2020 and at least 20% by 2050, says Paul Jeffrey from Cranfield University. Jeffrey is the co-author of a Policy Brief on Carbon Sensitive Urban Water Futures, which addresses the supply of quality water to a growing population.  According to the brief, reducing the amount of embedded carbon and energy used in the delivery systems is adding to the challenge. http://www.edie.net/news/4/UK-innovative-enough-to-reach-20-water-reduction-by-2050/23974/nl

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