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ANOTHER PLANET?

Biomass has been hailed as a ‘renewable energy’ – but now three charities, the RSPB, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace have written a joint letter with representatives from the paper, furniture and timber industries to the Times saying the increase in demand for wood is putting up the demand – and price – for timber, and that current that the government strategy of offering subsidies for biomass is ‘reckless’ and the UK should concentrate on renewable energy that is genuinely green such as solar, wind and wave power.

power station3The UK’s carbon footprint has increased by 10% over the past two decades, as growth in imported emissions has more than offset the 19% reduction in production emissions, according to a new report  from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC): as a result, the UK is now one of the world’s largest net importers of emissions, with a carbon footprint that is around 80% larger than its production emissions, reflecting the relatively small share of manufacturing in UK GDP and the importing of manufactured goods.

Eric Pickles is single handedly undoing the UK’s energy policy and the Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government is  undermining Britain’s attempt to become the most energy efficient nation in Europe, says the director of the Association for the Conservation of Energy (ACE)

But in other news, residents in the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead that recycle their food waste will be able to earn points which can be exchanged for vouchers and spent in local shops. The partnership with Recyclebank is the first of its kind in the UK and is being supported by Department for Communities & Local Government (DCLG) funding

The UK’s Sentencing Council have published a consultation paper on a planned revision to sentencing guidelines  for environmental offences, including fly tipping and the dumping of waste http://sentencingcouncil.judiciary.gov.uk/docs/Environmental_Consultation_web_final.pdf

ALLOTMENTS4Fancy growing a herb garden in your back yard – where here are some helpful hints courtesy of  Housekeeping: http://www.housekeeping.org/blog/30-blogs-detailing-how-to-create-your-own-backyard-herb-garden/

And remember – not all ‘organic’ cures are that good for the environment. Bordeaux Mix – used against potato blight, contains copper and this can become concentrated in the soil, and Pyrethrum, used as a pesticide (its made from and an extract from Chrysanthemums) is not discriminatory and will kill ladybirds as well as pests.

EU Environment Ministers have highlighted the growth opportunities that could arise from a successful transition to a low carbon, climate resilient and resource efficient economy.

During an informal two day meeting at Dublin Castle, EU Environment Ministers focused on developing the single market for green products and services, based on a recent Communication from the European Commission.  Building the Single Market for Green Products in a Resource Efficient Europe is designed to address information deficits among European consumers, after a recent eurobarometer survey found that 48% of European consumers are confused by the stream of environmental information that they receive.  http://www.edie.net/news/6/EU-Ministers-reach-general-consensus-on-future-of-green-Europe-/

Fossil fuels have an important role in the UK’s transition to low carbon electricity, according to a report released today by the cross-party think tank Carbon Connect. The report also argues that a 2030 decarbonisation target will prove the most successful strategy on the sustainability, security and affordability of energy.  It also states that the most viable way of achieving sustainable energy will be to switch the UK’s reliance on coal to gas generation, while using fossil fuel power stations increasingly for backup.  http://www.edie.net/news/6/Fossil-fuels-important-for-UK-s-low-carbon-transition-says-think-tank/

The National Trust announced today that it will invest nearly £3.5m over the next two years to provide renewable energy to 43 of its historic properties, and will generate 50% of its energy from renewable sources and halve its fossil fuel consumption by 2020.

Samsung Electronics has admitted it is using tin mined in Indonesia for the manufacture of its smart phones, causing devastating effects on the local environment. Last year Friends of the Earth (FOE) carried out a six-month investigation which found that the mining of tin used in popular brands of smartphones was destroying tropical forests, killing coral and damaging community life on the island of Bangka in Indonesia.