Onshore wind rebellion reveals fractious climate politics within the Conservative party

Onshore wind rebellion reveals fractious climate politics within the Conservative party Dave Head / shutterstock Campaigners have sought to overturn planning restrictions banning onshore windfarms ever since then UK prime minister David Cameron introduced them in 2015. This year, however, there have been signs of movement. Former UK prime minister Boris Johnson reportedly wanted to allow more onshore wind farms via the April 2022 energy security strategy, but was forced to water down his plans in the face of last-minute backbench and cabinet opposition. Under another former prime minister, Liz Truss, the short-lived growth plan included a relaxation of onshore…

The days of the hydrogen car are already over

The days of the hydrogen car are already over Hydrogen fuel cell cars emerged as an alternative to both the electric and combustion engine vehicle in the early 2000s. They were widely considered an avenue towards universal green motoring. Powered through a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen, the only tailpipe emission they produce is water. The technology also promised a traditional driving experience. Drivers can refuel at filling stations and the range of a hydrogen car is comparable to the combustion engine vehicle. Hydrogen vehicle technology also offered oil companies the opportunity to shift their operations towards the production…

Heat pumps without home insulation could raise bills and overload the grid – here’s what the government can do

Heat pumps without home insulation could raise bills and overload the grid – here’s what the government can do Infrared imaging reveals where most heat is lost from a house. Ivan Smuk/Shutterstock The UK aims to replace 1.7 million gas boilers a year by the mid-2030s, as part of its plan to reach net zero. This will require rapidly scaling up the installation of heat pumps which can run on renewable electricity. Just 67,000 were installed in 2021. But without consistent action to improve home insulation, newly installed heat pumps could struggle to heat a building adequately, burden homes with…

Waste pickers risk their lives to stop plastic pollution – now they could help shape global recycling policies

Waste pickers risk their lives to stop plastic pollution – now they could help shape global recycling policies International waste pickers and allies visiting a sorting plant in Montevideo, Uruguay. Patrick O'Hare, Author provided Globally, waste pickers are responsible for collecting and recovering – from homes, businesses and landfills – up to 60% of all plastics which are then recycled. These workers do more than any other people to prevent plastic contaminating the environment, yet their work is rarely valued and they struggle to earn a decent living. Despite recycling the waste of others, waste pickers often lack waste collection…

Our US$10 trillion global energy bill dwarfs what’s needed to limit global heating

Our US$10 trillion global energy bill dwarfs what’s needed to limit global heating William Potter / shutterstock The world’s energy bill for 2022 is set to be the highest ever, topping US$10 trillion (£8.3 trillion). This is the total price paid for all forms of energy across all sectors by all people. Something like 80% of this bill is for coal, oil or gas, or for electricity generated from these fossil fuels. Our addiction to energy is equivalent to more than 10% of global GDP. Infuriatingly, a lot of the energy we buy goes up in smoke or wasted heat…

Mussels are disappearing from the Thames and growing smaller – and it’s partly because the river is cleaner

Mussels are disappearing from the Thames and growing smaller – and it’s partly because the river is cleaner The population of River Thames freshwater mussels has declined by almost 95% since 1964. BadPixma/Shutterstock Freshwater ecosystems, including rivers, are home to 10% of all known animal species. Yet at the same time, they are losing their species diversity faster than any other ecosystem type globally. Because species of animals respond to different threats in various ways, it makes it difficult to assess the health of these river systems. But the population status of species such as freshwater mussels can reveal wider…

Tackling climate change will require reforming the World Bank and IMF – here are two options

Tackling climate change will require reforming the World Bank and IMF – here are two options Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, a UN climate summit. PA Images/Alamy Stock Photo, Author provided A global transition to a low-carbon economy will require investments of at least US$4 trillion a year (£3.4 trillion) according to the implementation plan agreed at COP27 UN climate change summit in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. Delivering this funding will involve nothing less than “a swift and comprehensive transformation of the financial system”, a UN bulletin reads. At the start of the conference, the prime minister of Barbados, Mia…

BREAKING: Scientists take action at Defra demanding government halt UK biodiversity loss

Email: press@extinctionrebellion.ukPhone: +44(0)7756136396Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Media Assets | Donate#ExtinctionRebellion Photos of the action: https://show.pics.io/xr-global-media-breaking-news/search?tagId=637fb50ead4d1f00127b375e At 8am on Friday November 25th, a group of scientists pasted posters on the windows of the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) to highlight the state of nature in the UK and the failure of the government to protect it. The scientists who took part in the action and risked arrest included leading experts in ecology and conservation science who have previously worked for or advised Defra.  The action comes just a few days before the start of a major UN…

Why the UK needs to stop exporting plastic waste

Why the UK needs to stop exporting plastic waste The mismanagement of plastic waste is one of the main causes of plastic pollution in nature. Larina Marina/Shutterstock The world produces a vast amount of plastic. Global plastic production increased from 2 million metric tons in 1950 to 348 million metric tons in 2017. Yet much of this plastic is wasted: 86% of the world’s plastic waste in 2016 was either incinerated, sent to landfill or leaked into nature. Many countries use international trade to manage their plastic waste. The justification for this is that plastic waste can be treated in…

We found Britain’s greenest city centre – and its least green

We found Britain’s greenest city centre – and its least green Meet the winner: Exeter. Panoptic Motion / shutterstock Some of Britain’s city centres are filled with trees and parks, while others have little vegetation to break up the bricks, tarmac and concrete. Such differences aren’t just aesthetic: they affect whether animals can move around, and they have implications for human health and social equity. That’s why we wanted to properly assess how green these cities are. In our latest research, now published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE, we looked at all 68 municipalities in Great Britain with populations…

COP27 roundup: what went wrong and what happens next

COP27 roundup: what went wrong and what happens next Ja-aljona/Shutterstock COP27, the latest UN climate change summit which was held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, has been condemned for failing to summon an adequate response to the escalating climate crisis. Negotiators did manage to preserve a commitment made in Paris in 2015 to limit global warming to 1.5°C. But emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, which rose by 1% globally in 2022, mean the temperature at which Earth will eventually stabilise is slipping out of humanity’s control. “The world could still, theoretically, meet its goal of keeping global warming under…

The Energy Charter Treaty lets fossil fuel firms sue governments – but its future is now in question

The Energy Charter Treaty lets fossil fuel firms sue governments – but its future is now in question European governments are finally starting to abandon a treaty that could stop them taking much-needed climate action and that protects the interests of fossil fuel companies and investors. The energy charter treaty (ECT), which has been signed by 53 European and Asian countries, was drafted to protect energy firms in formerly Soviet countries from falling into state ownership and being subject to excessive regulation. But the ECT has become outdated. The continued protection of fossil fuel investors – and the suing of…

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