By Susann Twidale, Reuters, 22 July 2014 | Britain's government said it would stick with a goal to curb emissions by 2027 to 50 percent of the 1990 levels, a target that has led to political opposition and that its own advisers have said will be hard to meet. The country has set binding targets for greenhouse gases over four five-year periods to 2027, known as carbon budgets, which aim to put it on track towards cutting emissions by 80 percent from 1990 levels by the middle of the century. "Retaining the budget at its existing level provides certainty for businesses and investors by demonstrating government's commitment to our long-term decarbonisation goals," Ed Davey, secretary of state for energy and climate change, said in a statement on Tuesday.
By Sophie Yeo, RTCC, 23 July 2014 | A UN-backed conference in Venezuela has ended with a declaration to scrap carbon markets and reject the green economy. The Margarita Declaration was issued at the end of a four-day meeting of around 130 green activist groups, which the Venezuelan government hosted in order to raise the volume of civil society demands in UN discussions on climate change. “The structural causes of climate change are linked to the current capitalist hegemonic system,” the final declaration said. “To combat climate change it is necessary to change the system.” The declaration will be handed to environment ministers when they meet ahead of the UN’s main round of talks in Lima this year.
By Carey L. Biron, IPS, 24 July 2014 | The international community is failing to take advantage of a potent opportunity to counter climate change by strengthening local land tenure rights and laws worldwide, new data suggests. In what researchers say is the most detailed study on the issue to date, new analysis suggests that in areas formally overseen by local communities, deforestation rates are dozens to hundreds of times lower than in areas overseen by governments or private entities. Anywhere from 10 to 20 percent of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions are attributed to deforestation each year. The findings were released Thursday by the World Resources Institute, a think tank here, and the Rights and Resources Initiative, a global network that focuses on forest tenure. “This approach to mitigating climate change has long been undervalued,” a report detailing the analysis states.
By Roger Harrabin, BBC News, 24 July 2014 | Burning wood to fuel power stations can create as many harmful carbon emissions as burning coal, according to a government report. UK taxpayers subsidise energy firms to burn wood to meet EU renewables targets. But the report from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) shows sometimes much bigger carbon savings would be achieved by leaving the wood in the forests. This suggests power firms may be winning subsidies for inadvertently making climate change even worse. The report has caused controversy within DECC as it indicates the initial subsidy rules were much too simplistic. The government has now promised to strengthen the regulations on burning wood, and to make standards mandatory. Environmentalists applauded the move but said they wanted to see details and a timetable for the new rules. They insisted that the proposed new regulations must be based on the new document.
By Becky Crew, Science Alert, 24 July 2014 | Stretching over a space of 9,400,00 square kilometres and covering most of North Africa, the Sahara is the largest non-polar desert in the world. And it’s getting bigger. According to the US’s Public Education Center website, the effects of climate change are causing the Sahara to creep into bordering countries such as Senegal, Mauritania, and Nigeria, which poses a serious threat to their farmlands and agricultural productivity. The Guardian reports that by 2025, two-thirds of Africa's arable land could be lost to the desert if nothing is done to stem its expansion. To mitigate this and other environmental issues affecting Africa such as land degradation, the effects of climate change, and a loss of biodiversity, Senegal is leading a 20-nation initiative known as the Great Green Wall. Most notably, this initiative involves erecting a wall of trees across the southern edge of the Sahara desert, which will be 14 km wide and 7,600 km long.
Drilling will be allowed in national parks in 'exceptional circumstances' but ministers retain power to veto plans
Environmental Audit Committee also questions role of industry in funding research into impact of pesticides
Government poised to offer incentives worth nearly $30,000 to early adopters of new hydrogen car
Advanced Propulsion Centre hub will be located at University reknowned for engineering excellence with regional 'spokes' to follow
New partnership will deploy city-wide recharging system across Luxembourg next year
Standards & Poor's report suggests environmental regulations, cleaner alternatives, and falling prices are cranking up the risks faced by coal investors
Susanne Baker of the EEF bemoans our willingness to equate the entire circular economy with simple efforts to boost recycling rates
By John Vidal, The Guardian, 25 July 2014 | Radical plans by the World Bank to relax the conditions on which it lends up to $50bn (£29bn) a year to developing countries have been condemned as potentially disastrous for the environment and likely to weaken protection of indigenous peoples and the poor. A leaked draft of the bank's proposed new "safeguard policies", seen by the Guardian, suggests that existing environmental and social protection will be gutted to allow logging and mining in even the most ecologically sensitive areas, and that indigenous peoples will not have to be consulted before major projects like palm oil plantations or large dams palm go ahead on land which they traditionally occupy. Under the proposed new "light touch" rules, the result of a two year consultation within the bank, borrowers will be allowed to opt out of signing up to employment safeguards, existing protection for biodiversity will be shredded, countries will be allowed to assess themselves...
What can you do with 14 shipping containers of used leather? The airline is teaming with social entrepreneurs to find out
The green economy is making great progress and new carbon targets promise a further boost, but constant policy setbacks are not helping
How dedicated are you to going landfill-free? One company did it in less than three years with few people, no capital and an unglamorous laundry list
Electric car manufacturer aims to build six more centres across the country to support sales of its Model S sedan
Overwhelming demand for incentives from £120m fund forces government to bring an immediate end to popular scheme
Forest Trends, July 2014 | This policy brief examines the institutional and legal framework surrounding forest conversion in Lao PDR, giving special consideration to the social, environmental, and legal implications of expanding land investments to meet Lao PDR’s economic development goals summarized in the National Export Strategy (2011-2015).
Council to issue up to 40 loans and technical support to help curb carbon emissions and energy bills