Renewable energy, the Paris Agreement and outdoor cooking - our environment and climate change news round up

Green and Ethical News: Ecojam's Weekly Round-Up of the Headlines

Date published: Tuesday 3rd April 2017

Last week my 5 year old daughter was colouring in a picture of planet earth. When she got to the section at the top of the planet she got out her green pencil and started scribbling away. Interested in her choice of colours I asked her “why have you used green for this section?”

Her reply? “Because it is my 3rd favourite colour!”.

Worryingly thought we are now learning that the Arctic is turning green as sea ice melts to record low levels, giving plankton the opportunity to flourish.

So what else did last week's headlines tell us?

It was a good week for renewable energy as it was announced that the world smashed renewable energy records again last year, increasing capacity by 161GW.

This news came alongside news that for the first time, on Saturday 25 March, electricity demand in Great Britain was lower during the afternoon than it was overnight due to high solar generation. National Grid described the moment as a “huge milestone” whilst a spokeswoman from the Solar Trade Association said that it showed that “the balance of power is shifting”.

More good news for renewable energy came last week in the form of a report, from Clean Energy Canada, which stated that the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy “now appears irreversible”.  

It was a bad week for the Paris Climate Change Agreement as Trump "signed an executive order rolling back Obama-era energy regs”, including an immediate review of the Clean Power Plan. Whilst the US still remain part of the Paris Agreement it is clear that the actions that Trump is taking undermine the countries commitment to meeting their obligations.

The news was not all bad though as a number of key players were quick to show their objections to Trump's latest actions on climate change. Many major companies, including Mars Inc and The Gap, spoke of their disappointment in the administration. Even ExxonMobil wrote to the government to urge them to keep the US in the Paris Agreement.

Other countries were quick to respond too with the European Union leading the criticism and China calling the US 'selfish'

In other news

Parents at one school in London are to be issued with advice on face masks which could limit the effects of dangerous levels of air pollution. It is now estimated that 443 schools in London have unsafe pollution levels.

This news comes in the same week that we are told that air pollution from globalisation has been linked to the premature deaths of more than 750,000 people a year.

Scientists say they have found “the fingerprint of human-caused climate change” on heatwaves, droughts and floods across the world.

A major new analysis of wildlife has found that mass migration of species to cooler climes has profound implications for humanity.

Lottery funding of £4.6 million has been awarded to the “Back from the Brink” initiative which aims to coordinate efforts from leading charities and conservation bodies to safeguard species from extinction and deliver conservation measures.

Some light relief

If you long for a future with less cars then this new 3 wheeled electric scooter may give you some hope that car dependence could soon be a thing of the past. It is easily transportable on public transport and it could be just what you need to cover those last few miles between the bus/train and home. They look pretty cool too!

It is now possible to turn 'harmful pollution into something useful – purified, safe ink' and artwork made using this technology was showcased last week at the world’s first clean air gallery in London.

And our photo of the week this week shows the elegant grace of a great egret.

What actions can you take?

Here are our top tips on actions you can take this week.

Start an outdoor cooking group
Check out this article on TreeHugger and consider setting up an outdoor cooking group where you live. It could be a great way to meet people and keep the kids entertained. It also provides a much needed opportunity to get outdoors and enjoy the health benefits that outdoor experiences offer.

Build a zero waste emergency food kit
Are you getting pretty good at cutting down on waste whilst in the house but find it almost impossible whenever you venture out? If so, check out this handy guide to keeping your zero waste principles whilst out and about.

Read this road map for meeting Paris Climate Change Agreement commitments
Have you ever wondered just how the world is ever going to stick to the Paris Agreement to keep global warming below 2C or do you think it is actually impossible? 

If so, have a read of this (very) detailed roadmap from a group of European Researchers who set out to show what meeting Paris goals requires. It is fascinating and terrifying in equal measures!

Thanks for reading and remember to come back again next week for  the next round-up of green and ethical news.

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