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Global goals received with rapture in New York – now comes the hard part

Pope Francis and Shakira fuel fanfare at UN global goals summit but caution tempers euphoria as thoughts turn to funding of 2030 agenda

To cheers, applause and probably a tinge of relief, the 17 global goals that will provide the blueprint for the world’s development over the next 15 years were ratified by UN member states in New York on Friday.

After speeches from Pope Francis and the Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai, and songs from Shakira and Angelique Kidjo, the ambitious agenda – which aims to tackle poverty, climate change and inequality for all people in all countries – was signed off by 193 countries at the start of a three-day UN summit on sustainable development.

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Source: Guardian Environment

New VW chief Matthias Müller: I will do all I can to win back trust – video

Matthias Müller, the new Volkswagen CEO, vows to win back customers’ trust and to make the company stronger than ever. Müller says it accepted responsibility for using a defeat device to mask illegal levels of nitrogen oxide pollution from diesel engines, and says it is crucial it never happens again

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Source: Guardian Environment

Cameron beware: when the super-rich are scorned, they take supersize revenge | Peter Bradshaw

It’s not just Lord Ashcroft’s bulldozing of the prime minister. Hedge-fund antics in the US show the wealthy take payback to a higher level

What happens when very, very rich men hate each other? Why, they get revenge, of course. They long to show the world the blood of their victims dripping off their chins. And then they expect to be congratulated on how dashing and daring they are. This week, super-wealthy hedge fund manager David Tepper got some serious payback on his former Goldman Sachs boss, Jon Corzine. After Corzine passed him over for promotion in the 1990s, Tepper seethed for 20 years while building up his own staggeringly lucrative career, then gloatingly spotted that Corzine had lost his £31m mega-house in Long Island, New York, in a divorce. He bought it from the ex-wife, bulldozed it and built something even pricier and uglier in its place. “I guess you could say that there is a little justice in the world,” Tepper purred with smugness.

Related: Cameron faces fresh questions over knowledge of Ashcroft tax status

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Source: Guardian Environment

George Osborne presses on with Hinkley power station despite criticism

The chancellor used his visit to China to secure support from Chinese investors despite reservations on the cost-effectiveness of the power plant

Nuclear power returned to the top of the political agenda this week when George Osborne used his visit to China to underline the government’s determination to push through the Hinkley Point C power station project.

There are expectations that the energy company behind the proposed plant, EDF of France, will announce a final investment decision on the £24.5bn scheme during the visit of Chinese premier Xi Jinping to London next month.

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Source: Guardian Environment

VW scandal: staff suspended as car giant appoints new CEO

Veteran head of Porsche division Matthias Müller takes over car giant and blames ‘small group’ of staff for emissions scandal

Volkswagen has blamed its emissions scandal on a “small group” of people and has suspended a number of staff as Matthias Müller was unveiled as its new chief executive.

Müller, who has been promoted from his role as boss of Porsche, pledged to leave “no stone unturned” and “maximum transparency” in an investigation into how the company cheated emissions tests on diesel cars. The new VW boss did not reveal how many staff had been suspended or who they were, but the company said the scandal was the result of “unlawful behaviour of engineers and technicians involved in engine development”.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Volkswagen scandal – seven days that rocked the German carmaker

In just a week the VW emissions scandal has wiped a third of the carmaker’s value and become a bigger threat to the German economy than the Greek debt crisis

Volkswagen is told to recall 482,000 cars in the US after it is caught deploying sophisticated software to cheat emissions tests and allow its cars to produce up to 40 times more pollution than allowed. The Environment Protection Agency claims VW installed defeat devices, meaning the cars only cut their nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution during certification tests. Its investigation was prompted by research by the International Council on Clean Technology (ICCT), which had finally forced VW to admit its actions.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Ted Smith obituary

Conservationist who inspired the creation of wildlife trusts and nature reserves

In the school summer holiday of 1937, the conservationist Ted Smith, who has died aged 95, cycled 14 miles from his home in rural Lincolnshire to Gibraltar Point. The sixth-former took his cheap binoculars to look for terns on this lonely stretch of sand and salt marsh beyond Skegness and, surrounded by sky and sea, he fell in love with the place. He noted three “gaudy new houses” on a road cut into the sand dunes, typical of the unrestrained development then enveloping the British coastline.

A passion for wildlife and its habitats fired Smith for the rest of his life. This unassuming teacher battled against the tides of his time, industrial agriculture, toxic pesticides, the supplanting of ancient woods with conifers, the ploughing of heaths, and urban development, to cajole into existence a national network of 47 conservation charities now known as the Wildlife Trusts. Smith combined practical action – saving the last fragments of heath, meadow and coast (including Gibraltar Point) from destruction in Lincolnshire – with farsighted thinking, stressing the importance of landscape-scale conservation and the need to open the trusts’ 2,300 nature reserves to the public.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Circulate on Fridays: Cities, Clothing, Sharing (or not)

Every Friday, Circulate rounds up a collection of interesting circular economy related stories and articles. This week: clothes, cities, sharing (or not), Iggy Pop and lots more!

Fast fashion is often held up as a trend undermining everyday efforts to build a circular economy. Owning fewer, but better quality clothes is one solution, but this isn’t an option for some, and wouldn’t fit with the sartorial preferences of others. In fact, there may be a variety of routes to creating more circular flows of materials in the textiles sector, as Leslie Johnson of the C&A Foundation explores in the Huffington Post. Johnson states how ‘end of life’ is not a useful phrase, as options exist today for end of use clothes, such as sharing and take back schemes. She also highlights some of the organisations that are pioneering regenerative or restorative practices for the industry, such as Worn Again, re:newcell, and VTT; developing processes that maintain material quality when clothes can no longer be worn. In fact, the Circular Economy of Textiles project from VTT this week announced “an innovative cellulose dissolution technique to turn old worn-out cotton clothing into new fibres that can be used again by the textile industry”, so a future in which clothes can be effectively turned back into new clothes doesn’t seem far off.

Bonus: ICYMI, cool video from H&M ft. Iggy Pop:

“High tech materials, sensor networks, new science, and better data are all letting architects, designers, and planners work smarter and more precisely”, say the folks at Wired. That’s nothing new, but the recent long read on 8 Cities That Show You What the Future Will Look Like as the focus of the magazine’s annual design issue aims to develop an in-depth, coherent vision of the future of our urban environments. Covering issues far beyond energy and resources, including art, culture and community, the piece emphasises the importance of design thinking in tackling of the grand challenges today and in the future.

There’s been talk of something of an identity crisis in the sharing economy/collaborative consumption movement for some time now, but it’s Fast Company who have announced that ‘the sharing economy is dead’. Among other ailments contributing to this alleged death, the argument goes that some of the early beacons of the movement, such as AirBnB and Uber have started to resemble the traditional capitalism, not least because nothing’s really being shared – it’s being paid for. Focusing primarily on the ideal of neighbourhood sharing platforms and the famous example of borrowing a power drill, contributors to the article talk about how adoption and enthusiasm for these services was too slow, and the theoretical convenience of borrowing a product from someone locally often didn’t stack up against cheap and easily available goods from websites like Amazon. There are also examples of sharing economy business that were forced to adapt or find a specific niche, and musings on how much terminology matters – all worth reading.

Also: Legislation is the big barrier for the sharing economy. George Lakoff, Robin Chase, Michael Braungart among first Headline Acts at Disruptive Innovation Festival. The Circulars awards are open for new entrees. Desso achieves Cradle to Cradle® Gold. Ellen MacArthur Foundation launches not one but two new websites.

Lead image: Domiriel/Flickr CC by 2.0

The post Circulate on Fridays: Cities, Clothing, Sharing (or not) appeared first on Circulate.

Source: Circulate News RSS

‘I was horrified’ – the council staff campaigning to divest their pensions

Local government pension funds have invested £14bn in fossil fuel companies like Shell and BP. We spoke to some of the staff pushing for ethical investment

When Pete Wallis started working in Oxfordshire’s youth justice service, helping young people who have committed crimes to reconcile with their victims, he was encouraged to sign up to the county council pension fund.

“It was a good scheme to be part of. I didn’t really pause to think about where my money was being invested,” he says. “In fairness to the scheme there were leaflets, it shared information – it was more my ignorance.”

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Source: Guardian Environment