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Energy minister 'open-minded' about UK solar subsidy cuts

Andrea Leadsom tells a committee of MPs that she remains open to the findings of a consultation into proposed cuts to renewable energy subsidies

Energy minister Andrea Leadsom has told MPs she remains “open-minded” about plans to slash subsidies for solar power in order to protect consumer bills, but told MPs on Tuesday that “very expensive” nuclear power stations were nonetheless “affordable for customers”.

Leadsom was questioned by MPs on the energy and climate change (ECC) select committee about proposed cuts to renewable energy subsidies that her predecessor has called “catastrophic”.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Fukushima nuclear disaster: first worker diagnosed with cancer linked to cleanup

Diagnosis of man who worked on reactor buildings damaged in 2011 tsunami could hamper efforts to encourage people to return to the area

A 41-year old man has become the first worker at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to be diagnosed with cancer that officials recognise as being linked to his work there after the March 2011 disaster.

The unnamed man, who was diagnosed with leukaemia in January 2014 after feeling unwell, spent a year working on reactor buildings that were badly damaged after a magnitude 9 earthquake triggered a tsunami that struck Fukushima and other parts of Japan’s north-east coast on 11 March 2011.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Europe's greenhouse gas emissions fall to record low

Member states report a 23% drop since 1990, but the pace is slowing and several countries have missed renewable and energy efficiency targets

Greenhouse gas emissions in Europe have plunged to the lowest level ever recorded after the EU’s member states reported an estimated 23% drop in emissions between 1990 and 2014.

The bloc has now overshot its target for 2020 of cutting emissions by one-fifth – at the same time that its economy grew by 46%, according to the EU’s climate chief, Miguel Arias Canete .

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Source: Guardian Environment

Activist stunts make good headlines, but no long-term difference

If we want to avoid an endless cycle of protest and corporate resistance, then campaigners need to aim for long-term collaboration with their foes

Imagine the scene: the chairman of Shell UK, Erik Bonino, sitting alongside Lee-Anne Barraclough, Shell’s VP of communications, over a Pret a Manger takeaway at Shell’s offices in London. They look out the window at the giant mechanical polar bear that’s been parked there since the morning, “I think we need to back out of the Arctic – this reputational damage is destroying us,” they bemoan, over the echoes of Emma Thompson shouting through a loudspeaker in the background.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Two-thirds of Germans still trust Volkswagen after emissions scandal

Polls shows 65% of respondents think the scandal has been exaggerated, and 63% expect it to be forgotten in a year

Two-thirds of Germans say they still trust Volkswagen despite the emissions rigging scandal that has engulfed the carmaker, according to a survey.

Sixty-five percent of respondents in a poll conducted earlier this month thought the scandal had been exaggerated and that VW still built excellent cars, according to the management consultancy Prophet, which carried out the research.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Walking Stories review – a treasure hunt danced through the trees

Greenwich Park, London
Charlotte Spencer’s journey is more than a choreographed nature trail, as its mobile audience is gently lured into self-discovery

In so far as Walking Stories features choreographed activity to music and pays attention to the language of bodies, it’s reasonable to categorise it as dance. But Charlotte Spencer’s work is equally a nature trail, a treasure hunt, a walking party and a piece of immersive theatre in which we, the participants, are also the performers.

Related: Walking Stories: how I swapped the dance studio for the great outdoors

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Source: Guardian Environment

The White House climate commitments are another set of incoherent goals

Johnson & Johnson, Intel and Hershey’s are among 81 big firms pledging to curb emissions. But are they prepared to shift the national debate on climate change?

Another day, another set of climate promises from big business.

At the White House on Monday, the chief executives of five companies – Johnson & Johnson, Intel, Hershey’s, PG&E and Berkshire Hathaway Energy – expressed support for government action to curb climate change, joining dozens of big firms that pledged to curb their own greenhouse gas emissions.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Trudeau victory may not signal a U-turn in Canada's climate policy

Those hoping the new PM will be a climate champion willing to fix the damage done by his predecessor Stephen Harper could be in for a reality check

Well before his stunning victory in Canada’s elections, Justin Trudeau, the Liberal party leader, telephoned David Suzuki, the country’s best-known science broadcaster, environmentalist – and a national treasure – to ask for his endorsement.

Related: Canada election: Trudeau hails Liberal win as Harper steps down as leader – live

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Source: Guardian Environment

New Report Highlights Nordic Circular Economy Business Models

A new report, initiated by the Nordic Waste Prevention Group and titled, “Moving towards a circular economy – successful Nordic business models” has been released discussing the circular economy opportunity in a Nordic context, and highlighting 18 case examples from the region.

The case studies showcase a number of different circular economy business model opportunities, including repair and reuse, improved product design, servitisation, new recycling and waste management practices and collaborative consumption.

The findings from the report were wide ranging, including the recommendation for hard reuse targets (as opposed to recycling), the identification of economic opportunities in specific sectors, most notably textiles and (W)EEE.

In general, the Nordic markets start in a relatively advanced position in terms of transitioning to the circular economy, but the “Successful Nordic business models” suggests that even in that context, there is a significant opportunity for innovators, businesses and governments to exploit.

Source: Moving towards a circular economy: successful Nordic business models

Lead image licensed under CC – credit Flickr user: seier+seier

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Windchill: A Food Preservation Unit That Doesn’t Use Electricity

Students from the University of Calgary have developed a new way of approaching food preservation, potentially reducing waste and enhancing food systems in areas where electricity access is poor or non-existent. The development of the team’s food perseveration unit, WindChill. was inspired by the temperature regulation approaches found in the natural world. The project was recently selected as first place winner of the 2015 Biomimicry Global Design Challenge.

The process starts with an intake structure, which passively draws in warm air and injects it into a pipe, which is located underground (which is slightly cooler than above ground). The pipe runs through to an evaporation chamber, a part of the unit that is immersed in fluid. The inside air is cooled by the evaporating fluid, which is then passed into the refrigeration section where the food is stored and kept cool.

The WindChill Food Preservation Unit’s design is based on a combination of natural processes seen in coral, termites, kangaroos, bees, elephants and meerkats.

Designed with rural and impoverished areas where electricity access is limited in mind, the unit has been created to be cost effective and is significantly cheaper than modern refrigeration methods.

WindChill is a design innovation that has the potential to help improve rural food systems and reduce waste. It has yet to be tested at scale, but a working prototype was made as part of the biomimicry challenge.

Source: WindChill – A Food Preservation Unit

Lead image licensed under CC – credit Flickr user: BiERLOS

The post Windchill: A Food Preservation Unit That Doesn’t Use Electricity appeared first on Circulate.

Source: Circulate News RSS