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March 29, 2013

Energy subsidies ‘aggravate global warming’: IMF

The International Monetary Fund has urged nations to slash their $US 1.9 trillion in annual energy subsidies because they increase inequality, boost greenhouse gas emissions and limit investment in the renewable energy industry.

While many nations use energy subsidies to shield consumers from rising prices, benefits tend to be grabbed by higher-income households. The outlays also sap funds available for bigger improvements t assist the well-being of the poor, such as health and education spending.

The removal of fossil fuel subsidies would cut carbon dioxide emissions by 4.5 billion tonnes and sulphur dioxide pollution would also drop by 13 million tonnes if the subsidies are removed. The fund listed the top three energy subsidizers as the United States ($US502 billion), China ($US279 billion), and Russia ($US116 billion). Petroleum and electricity subsidies accounted for three-quarters of the pre-tax subsidies, with natural gas accounting for the most of the rest, and coal subsidies worth about $6 billion, the IMF said. The survey did not include subsidies received by renewable energy producers.

Read more at Business Day.

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category : Topics

March 28, 2013

Landfill bans could save £2.5bn a year

Banning food, textiles, wood and plastic from landfill could save resources worth £2.5bn a year and help companies avoid £1bn of landfill costs, according to Green Alliance. New research by the group shows that policies preventing cars and electronics being dumped in landfill have improved recycling rates significantly and advocates extending these regulations.

The UK recovered around a quarter of unwanted mobile phones in 2010 and that this figure is set to rise to 80 percent by the end of the decade, keeping £13m of value in the UK economy per year, as a result of the EU’s Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive. By contrast, in the US where no such regulations exist, 92 percent of mobile phones ended up in landfill.

Dustin Benton, senior policy adviser at Green Alliance, said without bans, landfill is still “the default option”, but now it makes economic sense to retain valuable materials. Introducing bans over a five to ten year timeframe would give industry sufficient time to respond and stimulate better infrastructure and would work better than extending landfill taxes, which are based on weight rather than the type of material.

Read more at Business Green.

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category : Topics

March 28, 2013

2020 renewable energy targets at risk

The European Commission today opened the debate on EU energy and climate policy after 2020 ? offering the energy industry the prospect of the long-term clarity and stability needed for large, long-term investments. The European Commission’s Green Paper on a “2030 framework for climate and energy policies” published today in Brussels presents 2030 targets as a key policy option.

“It is important to put long-term climate and renewable energy policies in place, and the European Commission and Council already agree that an increase in renewable energy is a ‘no-regrets’ option,” said Justin Wilkes, Director of Policy of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA). “Energy Policy debate over the coming months will be crucial to Europe’s future.

The Green Paper is accompanied by a report on national renewable energy progress. For the first time, the Commission warns that it is concerned about the achievement of the 20-20-20 renewable targets by 2020 due to national policy changes. This echoes EWEA’s concerns that changes to support mechanisms are driving away investors and making it more difficult and expensive to achieve the 2020 targets.

Read more at Eco-Business.

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category : Topics

March 28, 2013

Rising energy bills will be reduced with climate policies, Ed Davey says

The impact of rising household energy bills will be greatly reduced by climate change policies which could save consumers around £166 by 2020, according to the energy and climate secretary, Ed Davey.

Analysis by the department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) showed that 85% of the present average £1,250 bill cannot be controlled by the government because it is determined by international gas and electric prices, transmission and metering costs. After energy companies have taken their profits, and VAT has been paid, government policies can only influence around 11% of the bill, says Davey.

In a riposte to some Conservative politicians and media which have claimed that wind power will cost more than £120bn in the next eight years and send household bills soaring, he claimed that energy-saving policies, better gas boilers, tighter building regulations and the coalition’s green deal loan scheme and smart meters could save householders around £166 a year by 2020. According to DECC, that is an 11% cut compared to the government doing nothing.

Read more at The Guardian.

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category : Topics

March 27, 2013

Melbourne is now a certified carbon neutral city

The city of Melbourne in Australia has become a certified carbon-neutral city under the Government’s independent carbon offsetting authority, Low Carbon Australia.

Melbourne achieved its status through reducing and offsetting its emissions and launching programs as part of its Net Zero Emissions Strategy. Measures taken by Melbourne to reduce emissions include new waste management solutions, encouraging bike and public transport use and improving the efficiency of building’s heating systems. Melbourne council also urged consumers to cut water and energy use and to better manage waste and recycling.

Low Carbon Australia administered the National Carbon Offset standard (NCOS) Carbon Neutral Program to Melbourne, a standard which requires cities to cut greenhouse gas emissions to zero through acquiring and retiring carbon offsets to match emissions.

Read more at The Clean Revolution.

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category : Topics

March 27, 2013

EU proposes 40% emissions cut for 2030

Announced at a press conference in Brussels, the EU has suggested a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The plans will undergo a consultation process before eventually replacing the existing 2020 goals.

The new framework will also explore ways to speed up the development of carbon capture and storage, establish a new renewable energy target and divide up responsibility for the policies between 27 member states. At present, the EU has targeted a 20% cut in emissions, a 20% energy share go renewable and a 20% improvement in energy efficiency by 2020. Fresh targets for an increased share of energy and further efficiency measures will be announced later.

The EU is currently on track to meet its target of cutting emissions by 20% by 2020 and generate 20% of its energy from renewable sources by the same date. But businesses have expressed concern the lack of a target post-2020 is undermining long-term policy certainty for large low-carbon infrastructure projects.

Read more at RTCC and at Business Green.

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March 27, 2013

Walgreen opens first net-zero store

Walgreen Co., the largest U.S. drugstore chain, is combining several clean energy technologies in its first experiment in net-zero stores which it plans to extend to many of its 8,000 stores.

The first net-zero store in Evanston Ill., will get renewable energy from solar, wind and geothermal, along with extremely efficient refrigerators, LED lights and green building materials. Once the store is built, engineers will test its performance for a year to see if it meets the net-zero energy goal. They expect the store to consume 200,000 kilowatt hours a year of electricity and generate 256,000 kWh a year.

Walgreen is shooting for LEED-Platinum certification and plans to enter the Living Building Challenge. They are also participating in the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge, which commits the company to reducing energy 20% across the chain by 2020. The store will use 40% less energy than conventional stores and generate all the energy it uses on-site by using more than 800 solar panels on its roof, two vertical wind turbines, geothermal cooling and heating, LED lighting and daylighting, carbon dioxide refrigerant for heating, cooling and refrigeration equipment, and energy-efficient building materials.

This store is replacing an old Walgreen store, which is currently being demolished. The new store should open in November and will also have bike racks, a bike repair station, and a place to charge electric cars. This will be the third LEED-certified store for Walgreen

Read more at GreenBiz.

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category : Topics

March 27, 2013

Disney, Microsoft and Shell opt for self-imposed carbon emissions taxes

Although most of the world’s governments have declined to put a price on carbon emissions, a handful of global companies, including Disney, Microsoft and Shell, have chosen to act on their own. They have established internal carbon prices in an effort to reduce emissions, promote energy efficiency and encourage the use of cleaner sources of power, just as government tax or cap-and-trade program would.

At Disney, the carbon tax seems to be working, by driving incremental efficiency measures that might otherwise have been overlooked and by raising funds to buy carbon offsets. Since 2009, when the tax was imposed, the company’s engineers have changed thermostat set points, installed light sensors and efficient bulbs, increased the efficiency of chillers, heat exchangers and pumps, and shut down lights on park icons when the parks are closed. Even with the increase in Disney’s absolute emissions brought by the addition of two new ships for its vacation cruise business, the tax collected has enabled Disney to invest in a variety of certified forest-carbon projects and taking those carbon offsets into account, Disney’s 2012 emissions have been cut in half from a 2006 baseline.

Shell’s carbon price was established “not to deliver major change but to demonstrate the possible” by showing that pricing carbon could drive change in a cost-effective way, according to David Hone, a climate change adviser at Shell. Shell has set the highest carbon price, about $40, but no money actually changes hands inside the company. Instead, the price is used to guide capital allocation, with the oil industry’s long-term investment horizons in mind.

For its part, Microsoft promised to achieve net zero emissions during the current fiscal year, which ends in July, for its data centers, software labs, offices and employee air travel, by increasing efficiency and purchasing renewable energy. Microsoft works with a company called Sterling Planet to buy certified renewable energy certificates (RECs) and direct carbon offsets.

Read more at The Guardian.

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category : Topics

March 23, 2013

Apple moves closer to goal of 100 percent green energy

Around 75 percent of Apple facilities energy consumption now comes from renewable sources, according to a new sustainability report from the tech giant. The report reveals that in the last two year, Apple has increased its use of renewable energy by 50 percent, moving the firm towards its long-term goal of running its facilities using 100 percent renewable resources.

“Apple’s announcement shows that it has made real progress in its commitment to lead the way to a clean energy future,” said Greenpeace international senior IT analyst, Gary Cook. “Apple’s increased level of disclosure about its energy sources helps customers know that their iCloud will be powered by clean energy sources, not coal.”

In April of last year, Greenpeace lambasted Apple for running its cloud storage data centers in areas which rely heavily on coal power. Greenpeace said that in order for Apple to reach its goal of 100 percent renewable energy use, it will need to work with power providers such as North Carolina’s Duke Energy to change the current dirty energy paradigm.

“To show how it can help remove those roadblocks, Apple should disclose more details about how it will push utilities and state governments to help it achieve its ambitious goal in all of its data center locations.”

Read more at Business Green.

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category : Topics

March 21, 2013

Green Cleaning Practices for Green Buildings

While much attention has been paid to green buildings, it is also important to use green cleaning products to maintain human and environmental health. This practice is also referred to as environmentally sustainable cleaning.

Cleaning products often contain harsh chemicals that are toxic and unhealthy for both people and the environment. Recently, there have been many changes to cleaning products to ensure a healthy environment for building occupants.

The University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Australia has an entire sustainability department which ensures the educational facility is ‘green cleaned.’ They require that facility cleaners use only equipment, chemicals, and cleaning methods that have the lowest impact on the environment. On the other side of the globe, the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. is debuting a museum exhibition based around the greening of American schools which explores all facets of green schools from the impact the buildings have on the health of those who occupy them to their physical systems and architectural forms.

While many are now living and working in ‘green buildings,’ people must learn to live greener lives to maintain the green status. The maintenance and cleaning of a building is equally important as the green products used to build it. Occupants of homes and other buildings should choose the least hazardous products available, seeking out products that are biodegradable, have low toxicity and low volatile organic compound content, and feature reduced packaging.

Read more at Design Build Source.

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category : Topics

March 20, 2013

FedEx delivers bigger fuel efficiency targets

In 2008, FedEx set a target of increasing the fuel efficiency of its global vehicle fleet by 20 percent by 2020 from its 2005 levels. Eight years on, it’s already improved by 22 percent. Now, it’s raising the goal to improve fuel efficiency to 30 percent by 2020, both for vehicles and aircraft.

FedEx says it’s seen the biggest improvements in fuel efficiency from small but smart changes in how it operates and builds vehicles. Matching the right vehicle to each route, for example, is expected to cut fuel use by 20 million gallons this year. Another simple strategy is to make sure vehicles have “right-sized” engines. Outfitting a vehicle with the smallest engine that can do the job makes them 70 to 100 percent more fuel efficient than the truck it replaces. So far, about 10,000 of such vehicles are in service ? more than a third of those delivering packages in the U.S. The company’s other strategies include moving toward composite bodies to lower a vehicle’s weight, converting older diesel engines to more efficient versions, and the use of hybrids and electric vehicles.

“FedEx Express follows a three-tiered strategy to improve the fuel efficiency of its fleet: Reduce, Replace and Revolutionize,” says Dennis Beal, vice president of global vehicles at FedEx Express, in a statement. “This holistic approach to fleet management allows us to develop vehicle technologies for the future while maximizing the conventional vehicles we operate today.”

Read more at GreenBiz.

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category : Topics

March 20, 2013

UK increased recycling rates fastest in Europe over past decade

Recycling rates in the UK rose faster in the first decade of the millennium than any other country in Europe, according to official statistics published on Tuesday. Although UK started from a low base in 2001 ? recycling rates were just 12% for all municipal waste ? it increased by the greatest amount by 2010, reaching 39% on par with the average for EU.

But the European Environment Agency (EEA), which released the figures, warned that many countries will fail to meet a European directive of recycling 50% of waste by 2020. In particular, those in south-eastern Europe are struggling far behind: Greece only recycles 18%, up from 9% in 2001, while Romania recycles just 1%. In a few cases, countries have gone backwards, with Norway’s rates falling from 44% to 42%, and Finland’s dropping from 34% to 33%.

Jacqueline McGlade, EEA executive director, said: “In a relatively short time, some countries have successfully encouraged a culture of recycling, with infrastructure, incentives and public awareness campaigns. But others are still lagging behind, wasting huge volumes of resources. The current intense demand for some materials should alert countries to the clear opportunities in recycling.”

Read more at Guardian News.

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category : Topics

March 19, 2013

Company turns landfill waste into eco-friendly ‘plastic lumber’

Envirolastech, a Rochester, Minn. firm specializing in the development of sustainable building products makes new “plastic lumber”.

The company has developed a proprietary formula that uses different mixtures of mineral ash, recycled resins and solid waste materials to create what it calls a “true replacement for wood.” Its products are made from 100 percent recycled inorganic materials taken directly from landfills and curbside pickups. All products are also recyclable.

“Ash is the number one by-product that goes into our landfills, whether it’s coal or incinerator ash. It makes up between 40 to 60 percent of every landfill we have,” said Paul Schmitt, president of Envirolastech, in an interview with local Minnesota news station. “We’ve produced and developed over 30 products already. We can build a complete house out of garbage.”

The company says that the plastic lumber is in its tenth year of field testing and so far shows no signs of chipping, peeling or color fade.

Read more at Earth911 and at Envirolastech

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category : Topics

March 19, 2013

The State of Green Business: Sustainability goes app crazy

As data becoming increasingly available from everything ? buildings, vehicles, transit systems, cash registers and potentially every light fixture, switch, plug and machine ? there’s a growing opportunity to capture it and make it useful for consumers and professionals. Some of it is making its way into application software or more commonly, apps.

The growth of apps mirrors some of sustainability’s other technology trends ? the sharing economy, the smart grid and machine-to-machine communications. Energy, water, waste, toxics, carbon ? the future of all of these things is linked in large part to how, and how well, we can measure, track, monitor and optimize their flows. All are about data and the apps that make it useful.

Sustainability-related apps cover a gamut of topics and audiences ? and professionalism. A random sampling: greenMeter (computes a vehicle’s power and fuel use and evaluates driving to increase efficiency), JouleBug (a social, mobile game that rewards players for reducing energy waste), AirStat.us (a free, daily air quality alert for your city), iRecycle (access to more than 1.5 million ways to dispose of stuff), iGo Vampire Power Calculator (shows how much energy the electronics in your home use and cost), PEV4me (calculates the financial impacts and environmental impacts of driving plug-in electric vehicles), Light Bulb Finder (shows how to switch from conventional light bulbs to energy-saving equivalents with the same fit, style and light quality), and GoodGuide (provides health, environmental and social performance ratings for consumer products).

A number of apps take advantage of the Green Button program, launched in 2012 by California utilities but quickly championed by the White House. It standardizes the delivery of energy data from utilities to enable energy users to analyze and optimize their energy use. Green Button was designed as a catalyst to create an ecosystem for software developers to produce new services and products. Now, dozens of apps exist that allow consumers and businesses to download data and interpret it in a variety of ways.

Read more at GreenBiz.

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category : Topics

March 16, 2013

Save-As-You-Reduce waste disposal pilot to launch in April

Singapore ? In a bid to encourage recycling and reduce waste, the government is currently exploring the feasibility of charging households based on how much waste they dispose of.

Speaking at the Eco-products International Fair, Second Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Grace Fu, said a Save-As-You-Reduce pilot will be carried out with selected households in the Punggol and Bartley areas, and at the first HDB Greenprint precinct at Yuhua.

A usage-based pricing waste disposal system will allow households to “directly reap the benefits of reducing waste”, said Ms. Fu, who also reveled that the government would be extending water and energy-efficiency labeling to more appliances to help households save on utility bills.

The domestic waste generated in Singapore has been rising faster than the population growth and the overall waste the country produces has grown from 5.87 million tonnes a year since 2008 to 6.9 million tonnes in 2011 ? which roughly equals the weight of 275,000 fully loaded garbage trucks.

Read more at Today Online and at Eco-Business.

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March 14, 2013

BusinessGreen launches green fleet guide

BusinessGreen has teamed up with Peugeot to launch a new free report designed to help sustainability experts and fleet managers operate greener and more efficient corporate fleets.

The guide, titled Driving Out of the Downturn, outlines how businesses can take advantage of the “remarkable surge” in vehicle efficiency that has been achieved in recent years. The report details how tax breaks and technology improvements increasingly require firms to assess the full lifecycle cost of fleet operations when making purchasing or leasing decisions, as lower running costs start to deliver significant overall financial savings.

It also explores how driver training courses and technologies are providing a proven means of cutting carbon emissions and fuel costs, and offers a detailed case study on how building services company Forrest has slashed its environmental impact using an innovative approach to green driving.

The report, which is sponsored by Peugeot, is freely available for download here

Read more at BusinessGreen.

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March 13, 2013

Japan first with offshore ‘ice’ gas, India close behind

Following on from the publication of a draft Japanese Government plan for the commercialization of methane hydrate deposits 10 years from now, Japan Oil, Gas & Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) announced that it has produced gas in the world’s first offshore test to extract fuel from the frozen depths.

The experimental gas field is in the Nankai Trough, about 50 km off the coast of Honshu, Japan’s main island. JOGMEC estimates that the surrounding area holds at least 1.1 trillion cubic meters of methane hydrate, the equivalent of 11 years’ of Japanese natural gas imports.

According to Bloomberg, citing sources within India’s Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH), a team including Oil & Natural Gas Corp ? the country’s biggest energy explorer ? will drill for methane hydrate deposits in the Bay of Bengal later this year. India’s preliminary estimate is that it has 1,894 trillion cubic meters of frozen gas reserves in its waters.

While Japan and India may be dreaming of potential energy independence, however, large-scale exploitation of the world’s methane hydrate deposits also raises some serious environmental concerns. The US Geological Survey said in a January 2013 report that carbon deposits in hydrates are double the size of all known oil, gas and coal reserves. “Hydrates store immense amounts of methane, with major implications for energy resources and climate, but the natural controls on hydrates and their impacts on the environment are poorly understood,” noted the report.

Read more at CleanBiz Asia.

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March 12, 2013

Efforts to improve access to environmental data

The need to support and improve access to data and on the environment and sustainable development has been underlined at the conclusion of a major conference in Dublin, Ireland. Participants from more than 70 countries decided to continue to collaborate through the Eye on Earth Network and launched also the Global Network of Networks.

The conference was organized by the European Environment Agency (EEA) in association with the Irish EU Presidency. The conference outcome says the participants “decided to continue to collaborate through the Eye on Earth Network, to promote, support and improve access to data and information for sustainable development.”

Eye on Earth is a global public information network, supported by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and other partners, fdor creating and sharing environmentally relevant information online including interactive maps, applications, and other data based on Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

The Global Network of Networks ? an initiative endorsed at the 2011 Eye on Earth Summit in Abu Dhabi ? was also launched at the Dublin conference.

Read more at UNEP News Centre

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March 12, 2013

Whole Foods takes stand on GMO labels

Whole Foods is putting a stake in the ground on GMOs. As the first national supermarket chain to make this commitment, Whole Foods will require all products sold in its stores with GMOs to be labeled by 2018, in both the U.S. and Canada. This could be an important precedent that other supermarket chains could follow.

Suppliers have five years to either source non-GMO ingredients or to clearly label products that have ingredients containing GMOs. Many suppliers are already working on this, the company says, and “a good number are already there.” While five years from now is the deadline, Whole Foods says it will see progress much sooner and will announce key milestones along the way.

“We are putting a stake in the ground on GMO labeling to support the consumer’s right to know,” says Walter Robb, co-CEO of Whole Foods, in a statement. “The prevalence of GMOs in the U.S. paired with nonexistent mandatory labeling makes it very difficult for retailers to source non-GMO options and for consumers to choose non-GMO products. Accordingly, we are stepping up our support of certified organic agriculture, where GMOs are not allowed, and we are working together with our supplier partners to grow our non-GMO supply chain to ensure we can continue to provide these choices in the future.”

Currently, the only way consumers can be sure the food they buy don’t contain GMOs is buying certified organic.

Read more at GreenBiz.

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March 12, 2013

Walmart beats emissions goal a year early

Walmart has reported that it has delivered a 20 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions since 2005, beating its target one year ahead of schedule. The company’s 2011 figures show a 20.02 percent decrease in emissions from the Walmart stores, Sam’s Clubs and distribution centers that existed in 2005, Bloomberg reported, surpassing the goal that had been set for 2012.

Walmart currently uses about 4 percent green energy, as rated by a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ranking, which equates to around 751 million kilowatts a year and marks it as the fifth biggest user of clean energy in the U.S.

The company, however, has an “aspirational goal” of being 100 percent powered by renewable energy and has stepped up installations of rooftop solar panels at its stores across the U.S. Earlier this week, the retailer announced it has fitted PV panels on 12 of its stores in Ohio, which should supply between 5 and 20 percent of each store’s overall electricity use.

Read more at GreenBiz.

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March 9, 2013

World Green Building Council unveils new report

The World Green Building Council has unveiled a comprehensive new report outlining the compelling global business case for green buildings.

In the Business Case for Green Building: A Review of the Costs and Benefits for Developers, Investors and Occupants, WorldGBC examines whether or not it is possible to attach a financial value to the cost and benefits of sustainable buildings.

The report highlights how green buildings can be delivered at a price comparable to conventional buildings and investments can be recouped through operational cost savings. It also notes that with the right design features, green buildings can create a more productive workplace.

The report specifically focuses on the potential benefits of green buildings throughout the various stages of the building lifecycle, from reduced costs during design and construction phases through to improved health of workers when a building is in use.

Read more at Eco-Business.

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March 8, 2013

Supreme court may force UK to act on air pollution

The supreme court could force the government to take steps to urgently reduce dangerous air pollution in many British cities to met European limits, following a landmark hearing this week.

The case, to be heard by five law lords, coincides with government warnings that toxic air pollution has been at “high” levels across much of England and Wales this week, including London, York, Manchester, Liverpool, Swansea, Bristol and other cities. ClientEarth, a group of campaigning lawyers that has brought the case, will say that the government has a legal duty to comply with EU timescales and its plans to reduce pollution are woefully inadequate.

It will say that the government has known that air pollution from nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulates now kill as many people each year in Britain as obesity and road accidents combined. The EU legislation was passed into European law in 1999 and Britain should have compiled by 2010. However, it has refused to even apply for an extension until January 2015.

Government lawyers are expected to argue that Britain is under no legal obligation to meet air pollution time limits set by Brussels and that it is impossible to meet the targets.

The case is considered legally important because it could allow the government to delay the implementation of many other EU environment laws and directives, including those concerning river and beach water quality, waste and carbon emissions.

Read more at Guardian.

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March 7, 2013

Report: EU must retire carbon credits or see market credibility lost

The European Union’s plan to reform its emissions trading scheme (ETS) will fail to deliver the desired increase in carbon prices unless they are accompanied by more drastic action.

That is the stark warning contained in a new report released today by the London School of Economics (LSE) Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, which warns proposals to withhold the sale of carbon allowances will only defer the problems created by an over-supply of tradable EU allowances (EUAs).

Brussels is currently considering a plan to “backload” the proposed sale of up to 900 million EUAs in an attempt to address the record low carbon process that have resulted from a chronic oversupply of credits. The European Parliament’s Environment Committee voted in favor of the plan last month, paving the way for a full parliamentary vote. However, concerns remain that a number of countries could yet seek to block the carbon rescue plan.

The LSE’s report warns that even if the plan is approved and the sale of 900 million EUAs is delayed until later in the decade, it will not guarantee a “sustained increase in price and the orderly functioning of the ETS.” It adds that “the only market intervention in the short term that would be credible” is the immediate removal of the allowances from the market altogether.

The report’s recommendation of a permanent retirement of allowances echoes from a host of green NGOs and carbon market analysts who have repeatedly urged politicians to either restrict the supply of carbon credits in the market or boost demand for allowances by strengthening the EU’s mandatory emission reduction targets.

Read more at Business Green.

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March 6, 2013

Retailers aim to slay packaging myths in war on food waste

The UK’s food waste mountain is being made worse by consumers’ failure to follow storage advice and their misplaced confidence in their ability to prolong the life of popular food stuffs.

That is the conclusion of a major survey of 4,000 consumers undertaken by waste advisory body WRAP, which found 61 percent of people mistakenly believe that removing food from packaging will extend its lifespan, despite the opposite being true. The survey revealed that people have a high degree of confidence in how they store their food, which means that only 22 percent look at retailers’ guidance on how to best store food to maximize life spans, while only 13 percent regard packaging as having a useful protective role to play in the home.

WRAP will launch a new campaign alongside the survey, warning that a failure to store food properly was one of the key contributors to the UK’s £6.7 billion a year food waste mountain, which costs the average consumer £270 a year and leads to significant levels of greenhouse gas emissions.

“We want to demystify some of the myths that have attached themselves to food and packaging. As a result, we’re working with groups from across the industry to try and promote behavior change,” says a spokeswoman from WRAP.

Read more at Business Green.

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category : Topics

March 6, 2013

Puma steps up game with Cradle to Cradle certification

Puma has been on a steady path to greater sustainability for years, but it just took a major stride forward by designing a new product line that earned it bragging rights with a prestigious certification.

The international sports lifestyle company was recently awarded the Cradle to Cradle product certification at the “basic” entry level from the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute. Puma will launch this month, InCycle, its first collection of footwear, clothing and accessories that are completely biodegradable or recyclable.

Designing products with materials that never end up in a landfill is among the basic closed-loop principles that underlie the well-known Cradle to Cradle philosophy. The certification program is a rating system that measures products against rigorous standards for material health, material reutilization, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship, and social fairness.

Instead of designing a new line of goods from scratch, Puma executives decided to retool some of its iconic, heritage products into new biodegradable or recyclable versions. Nineteen new products are being launched in this new line.

Read more at GreenBiz.

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March 5, 2013

Green buildings now “business imperative”

Green buildings used to be designed to comply with environmental measures; now, they are intended to generate business value and opportunities, according to a recent report of McGraw-Hill Construction.

McGraw-Hill Construction, North America’s leading construction project and product information provider, surveyed firms across 62 companies for the report. They found that companies worldwide are moving towards green buildings with 51 percent of the respondents seeking to green 60 percent of their work in the next two years. This is a significant increase from the 28 percent that said the same for 2013 and twice the 13 percent in 2008.

“This report confirms that the green building movement has shifted from ‘push’ to ‘pull’ ? with markets increasingly demanding no less than green buildings. By promoting greater efficiencies for power and water, green buildings lower building costs while conserving the earth’s precious resources. This powerful combination of built-in payback with the environmental stewardship creates a new value proposition that is accelerating green building in all regions of the globe,” said John Mandyck, chief sustainability officer, United Technologies Corp., Climate, Controls and Security.

Assessing the key drivers of the green building market, the report highlighted that “being a business imperative” globally is the number on reason why companies take on green buildings. This dramatically improved when “doing the right thing” is the key driver in 2008 and “client and market demand” in 2012.

Read more at EcoSeed.

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