Our Real Carbon Footprint is Still Rising

Bioregional's Nicholas Schoon confronts the thorny issue of the UK's consumption-based footprint The UK's ‘real' carbon footprint -emissions of climate-changing gases caused by our consumption of goods and services - are rising, according to government figures published this week. Usually we think about UK carbon emissions in terms of tonnes of gas generated within our own island borders, chiefly from burning fossil fuels in cars, power stations, industrial plants, central heating boilers and so on. Related articles These ‘territorial' emissions have been falling for quarter century. They are the ones covered under the UK's carbon cutting targets and its world-leading Climate Change Act. Happy days. But the story of our other, ‘real' footprint - the consumption-based one - is not so happy. Between 2011 and 2013 emissions of these greenhouse gases rose by 4 per cent. Here are the two footprints, territorial and consumption-based, travelling through time together…
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Revealed: What businesses, MPs, and the British public think about climate change

For many across the UK, the devastating flooding that has battered northern England over the last month has been an unwelcome taste of how climate change threatens livelihoods not just on remote Pacific islands, but in communities up and down the UK. But while the flooding may have caused a spike in awareness of climate risks in recent weeks, confusion remains over climate issues, with many uncertain where the bulk of the UK's carbon emissions come from and what can be done to tackle them. A new YouGov poll, commissioned by WWF and released last week, questioned 104 MPs, more than 1,700 members of the public and 265 large UK businesses in an attempt to take the pulse of the nation on climate issues. It provides a revealing snapshot into the concerns - and confusion - felt by many about climate change. More than 37 per cent of the UK public believe the recent floods are a result of climate change, according to the poll - a view echoed by leaders of the UK's m…
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The Effect of Climate Change on Global Electricity Production

Fossil fuel power plants are one of the main causes of climate change, responsible for pumping out polluting greenhouse gasses as they provide the world's electricity supply. But they could also be extremely vulnerable to the dramatic impacts of climate change, as rivers and streams used to cool power plants dwindle and waters grow warmer, according to a new study published today in Nature Climate Change. According to the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), over 98 per cent of the world's electricity production comes from hydropower and thermoelectric power - nuclear, fossil-fuelled, biomass-fuelled power plants - all of which could face major disruption from increasing water scarcity. Using data from tens of thousands of power plants around the world, the study found heatwaves and droughts caused by climate change could reduce global electricity capacity by 60 per cent between 2040 and 2069. The potential shortfall in water supplies c…
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Find Anything on Google, Except Maybe Their Large Carbon Footprint

Google has been a carbon neutral company for seven years, and every year around this time they calculate and publish their carbon footprint so they can make sure to offset it completely. Today Google updated the Google Green website with their 2013 carbon footprint so we can see it for ourselves. They also made another announcement relevant to green businesses, communities and our environment. In ironic contradiction to the old song, "They paved paradise and put up a parking lot," the search giant announced that it will put a 82MW solar power plant on top of an old oil and gas field in Kern County, Calif.

"There's something a little poetic about creating a renewable resource on land that once creaked with oil wells," said Google. "Over the years, this particular site in California has gone from 30 oil wells to five as it was exhausted of profitable fossil fuel reserves. The land sat for some time and today we’re ready to spiff things up."

The new deal wi…
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California Officially Joins the War on Plastic Bags

Great news for the environment occurred last night, when CA government voted to ban single-use plastic bags across the state. “The bill, SB 270, will phase out single-use plastic bags in grocery stores and pharmacies beginning July 2015, and in convenience stores one year later, and create a mandatory minimum ten-cent fee for recycled paper, reusable plastic and compostable bags” states Stephanie Spear, author at EcoWatch, who wrote California Bans Plastic Bags. If the already agreed upon bill is signed by the CA governor, California will be the first state to ban these environmentally un-friendly products.

“More than 120 California local governments have already banned single-use plastic bags with more than 1 in 3 Californians already living somewhere with a plastic bag ban in place, in an effort to drive consumers towards sustainable behavior change,” affirms Spear. With such a large amount of the population already embracing the plastic ban bag, this measure will …

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The 5 Greenest Countries On Earth (And All Of The Rest), Ranked

Fast Company posted this article about the five greenest countries on earth, ranking the environmental friendliness of the world's nations. Did you know that on our green businesses directory you can search for and add green businesses around the globe, as well as events. This article originally appeared on Fast Company's website. The 5 Greenest Countries On Earth (And All Of The Rest), Ranked By Ben Schiller Want to live in a beautiful nation that protects your health? It turns out Switzerland is your best bet (the chocolate is also good). Switzerland does a good job managing the environment and protecting human health. The United States does it middlingly well. And Somalia, Haiti, and Afghanistan--as you might expect--not so great. They are some of the worst performers in a new ranking of environmental performance. Top 5 Greenest Countries: 1. Switzerland 2. Luxembourg 3. Australia 4. Singapore 5. Czech Republic The Environmental Performance Index (…
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