Fracking, Australia and pesticide-laced honey - the weekly climate change news round-up for busy people

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

So what has kept you busy this week? A last minute meeting at work, a child off sick with the dreaded lurgy or maybe you stayed out too late partying. Whatever your reason, if you have struggled to keep up with this week's environment and climate change news, here is what you missed...

It was a good week for anti-fracking campaigners as Scotland announced a ban on fracking. This follows a public consultation in which 99% of the respondents were opposed to fracking. An economic study also found little economic justification for it. A spokesperson for Friends of the Earth England and Wales was quick to question whether the Scottish Government's decision would put pressure on Business Secretary, Greg Clark, to refuse the final consent for fracking in Lancashire and Ryedale. 

It was a bad week for Australia as it was named as the only wealthy nation where greenhouse gas emissions from energy combustion are at a record high. This embarrasing achievement comes in the same week as we learned that Australia has just experienced record breaking temperatures in September with 22nd September being it's hottest September day since records began. Predictions for the future are worrying too with researchers suggesting that Australian cities will experience 50C summer days by 2040

We were also told on Wednesday that Australia's independent Climate Council has released a report which concludes that Australia's politics is the only barrier to a clean energy system.

 In other news

If you eat honey it is very likely that you are consuming pesticides. This is the conclusion of a new study which found that three-quarters of honey produced around the world contains at least one of the neonicotinoid chemicals. Experts have stressed that levels 'generally fell well below the safe limits for human consumption'. However, they say that the risks of long-term exposure to these chemicals are 'impossible to predict'. Studies have shown that the chemicals are toxic to honey bees and bumble bees. Campaigners are now renewing calls for a full ban on the use of neonicotinoids.   

A new WWF report proposes the use of insects and algae for animal feed as an altenative to the current system which “is an inefficient use of the world’s resources”.

Philip Fearnside, a leading Amazon scientist, is warning of 'grave problems' in Brazil as forest fires, driven by climate change, are creating a cycle of carbon emissions which threatens to push climate change beyond our control.

New figures were revealed this week which show the scale of London's air pollution problem. Every area of the capital breaches global standards for PM2.5 pollution particles meaning that every Londoner is breathing in dangerous levels of toxic air.

Plastic pollution is a current hot topic in environmental news and we are only just beginning to come to terms with the scale of the problem and what this means for our health and the health of the planet. Coca Cola hit the headlines this week as Greenpeace announced that the company increased its production of plastic bottles by a billion last year. The sheer scale of production, an estimated 110bn bottles each year, is staggering! Coca Cola has responded by expressing support for a bottle deposit scheme and announcing plans to increase the recycled content of their bottles.

New pollution figures for the UK make for depressing reading and reveal a shocking lack of progress by the UK Government. At the end of 2016, 37 out of 42 zones were in breach of pollution limits. This is the same number of zones as there were in 2015 despite an order from the Supreme Court for the government to bring down pollution levels as soon as possible. Client Earth are calling for a national network of clean air zones.

Some light relief

Sky has announced a ban on all single-use plastics by 2020. This will involve the removal of all single-use plastics from its operations, products and supply chain as part of their Ocean Rescue campaign. They will also invest £25m in an Ocean Rescue Innovation Fund.  

New York City has announced plans to become carbon neutral by 2050. This strategy is in line with the most ambitious Paris Climate Change Agreement target to limit warming to 1.5C.

Parisians have just taken part in the 3rd official car free day in Paris with this year's event covering a wider area than in previous years. Paris Mayor, Anne Hidalgo, sees the initiative as a way of “changing the model of mobility”. 

And our photo of the week this week is this stunning great gray owl on the prowl.

What actions can you take?

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

Plant some bee-friendly bulbs
Now is the time of year to be planning your Spring garden. Why not get out there this weekend and plant bulbs to add colour to your Spring borders and also to provide food for hungry pollinators. Consider your choice of bulb carefully though as conventionally grown bulbs can contain harmful pesticides which may harm the wildlife you are trying to attract. 

Recycle your old batteries
According to the results of a survey out last week, over half of us in the UK throw batteries in the bin rather than recycling them. Batteries are made from valuable heavy metals which can be reused. Also, their toxic content make them a danger if they are not disposed of correctly. Check out this Recycle Now guide to find out what to do with batteries.

Sign the petition to ban Monsanto's new super poison
Monsanto are launching a new super poison which could have devastating effects on our food and the environment. Join Avaaz in urging Arkansas, a key US state, to ban this poison. This will set a precedent to influence regulation around the world. 

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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Date published: Friday 6th October 2017