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ANOTHER PLANET?

Well worth a read: Music Festivals: A Stage for Environmentalism by Christopher Davis begins “Recent years have witnessed a growing convergence between the expanding music festival scene and environmental activism surrounding the issues these festivals can give rise to. This development has followed from the realization that music festivals can be, on the one hand, grossly unsustainable and excessively consumptive, while, on the other hand, a great medium through which to spread the message of environmentalism”. More here – including an interviews with our very own Claire O’Neill, Kate Jackman from Bestival , Joanna Watson, spokesperson for Friends of the Earth and Andy Hope from the Croissant Neuf Summer Party. http://www.theinternational.org/articles/409-music-festivals-a-stage-for-environmenta

A clearer EU policy is needed to unlock investment in secure, affordable and low carbon energy, according to a report by the House of Lords.   The EU Sub-Committee for Agriculture, Fisheries, Environment and Energy has called for stronger EU leadership, a revised EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) and a 2030 decarbonisation target. In better news,the European Parliament’s Environment Committee has voted to introduce stricter new targets for van fuel economy and CO2 emissions in 2025. MEPs approved a draft law setting out rules to reduce the CO2 emissions of new light commercial vehicles sold in the EU to 147g CO2/km by 2020, from the current 203g. The European Parliament has also reaffirmed its goal towards safer and more environmentally friendly shipping today as it continues discussions on reducing CO2 emissions throughout the region. And the European Commission is encouraging the use of green infrastructure by adopting a new strategy which also ensures that the enhancement of natural processes becomes a systematic part of spatial planning. The Commission says that green infrastructure is a tried and tested tool that uses nature to provide ecological, economic and social benefits

power station3Finally in EU news, energy and environment ministers from nine European member states have outlined their support for the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) backloading proposals, as it emerged that a second vote on the proposals would take place next month. Last month in a 334-315 split, the European Parliament voted against EU ETS carbon back-loading proposal. The ministers who said they were disappointed by the first vote (and there were 60 abstentions)  also called for a resolution of the proposals by July and urged the European Commission to bring forward proposals to perform an overall structural reform of the EU ETS by the end of the year.

“Greenwrapping” is an interesting concept – covering up power plants and other buildings with trees, vines and other plants to make the more ‘green’ and there is an interesting article on Treehugger. The designers of one greens scheme, AZPA, publicly stated that vines on the roof of a power plant would “absorb a substantial part of the carbon emissions of the plant”: Treehugger rather sardonically reply ” Right, the creepers will just soak up that CO2 and grow like mad. Why hasn’t anyone thought of this before? Why get rid of coal plants when you can just plant vines? Or put every power station in a park?”. More here http://www.treehugger.com/urban-design/greenwash-watch-good-design-or-egregious-greenwrapping.html

Whilst the EU will now implement bans on the “bee killer” neonicotinoid pesticides, some bee keepers are worried that farmers will now revert back to older and more indiscriminate pesticides – which actually will kill more bees.

Edie.net reports that the DECC is in ‘crisis’ after Ravi Gurumurthy stepped down from his role as head of strategy at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, according to an unconfirmed report.The resignation follows that of Jonathan Brearley last week, who was head of energy markets and networks at DECC.

Recycled polymers could stimulate a return to plastic manufacturing in the UK as changing attitudes towards sustainability and rising costs for Far Eastern producers present new market opportunities for Britain. According to reprocessor expert Keith Freegard who heads up Axion Polymers, tapping into the UK’s plastics recycling infrastructure, could herald a bright future for firms that have traditionally struggled to compete against the manufacturing might of Asian producers.  He highlights examples of certain product types returning to the UK as importers review the balance of benefits versus cost in the face of high real-estate prices, rising labour and electricity costs and onerous custom transfers in China. More here http://www.edie.net/news/5/Closing-loop-on-waste-plastics-could-spark-renaissance-in-British-manufacturing-/

ALLOTMENTS3My Cool Allotment: An Inspirational Guide to Stylish Allotments and Community Gardens by Lia Leendertz and Mark Diacono, is a tour of 31 different allotment gardens in the USA, the UK and Europe.  And Treehugger highlight  Another fantastic design from the Instructables Green Design Contest! This one is a vertical garden planter from angelitali.

Scottish Water has installed 10 small-scale wind turbines at its wastewater treatment works in Stornoway to help reduce energy costs. The turbines, which make up the utility’s first project of its kind in Scotland, are capable of generating 500KW of electricity per day.

Finally, the mystery of LED ‘droop’ has been solved: Droop is where the increase in the electrical current sent to a LED would, past a certain point, reduce the amount of light produced.  Now the riddle has been solved by a group of researchers from the engineering department of UC Santa Barbara and from CNRS-École Polytechnique in France. They have “conclusively identified Auger recombination as the mechanism that causes light emitting diodes (LEDs) to be less efficient at high drive currents.” And now have a solution. More here http://www.treehugger.com/clean-technology/cause-led-droop-identified-could-lead-more-efficient-led-lights.html