Dirty air affects 97% of UK homes, data shows

Dirty air affects 97% of UK homes, data shows

Slough, London and Leeds among worst locations on map showing air pollution above WHO limits

Virtually every home in the UK is subjected to air pollution above World Health Organization guidelines, according to the most detailed map of dirty air to date.

More than 97% of addresses exceed WHO limits for at least one of three key pollutants, while 70% of addresses breach WHO limits for all three.

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Energy efficiency guru Amory Lovins: ‘It’s the largest, cheapest, safest, cleanest way to address the crisis’

Energy efficiency guru Amory Lovins: ‘It’s the largest, cheapest, safest, cleanest way to address the crisis’

One of the leading advocates of energy conservation explains why this could be a turning point for climate economics

Temperatures dropped far below freezing this week in Snowmass, Colorado. But Amory Lovins, who lives high up in the mountains at 7,200ft above sea level, did not even turn on the heating.

That’s because he has no heating to turn on. His home, a great adobe and glass mountainside eyrie that he designed in the 1980s, collects solar energy and is so well insulated that he grows and harvests bananas and many other tropical fruits there without burning gas, oil or wood.

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Solar panels: a ray of hope as UK energy prices go through the roof

Solar panels: a ray of hope as UK energy prices go through the roof

Demand is growing as more of us work from home. But does the £5,000 outlay for installation pay off?

With energy bills on their way up again from April, homeowners are looking skywards to try and ease the pressure on their budgets – by installing solar panels.

The latest change to the regulator’s cap on default tariffs means, from spring, that the average annual dual-fuel bill will go up to £1,971, an increase of 54% on current levels.

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What can cities do when air pollution soars and what works?

What can cities do when air pollution soars and what works?

Reducing speed limits, banning home wood-burning and providing free transport are just some of the approaches taken

Earlier in January the London mayor and other organisations issued the first pollution warning of the year. These warnings follow the UK government index.

They are designed to protect vulnerable people, but they do this by asking those people who experience most harm to avoid doing things outdoors. They do not ask the polluters to reduce their emissions.

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The climate victories of 2021 that put fossil fuels in check

The climate victories of 2021 that put fossil fuels in check

From local activism to shareholder rebellions, here’s what climate advocates accomplished over the last year.

After a year of record-breaking climate disasters and a grim prognosis from the world’s top experts who warn the planet has already sustained “irreversible” harm, a movement is gaining momentum to force change. As the UN secretary general declared in August, the urgent need to curb carbon emissions marks a “death knell” for the fossil fuel industry.

For decades, Americans were told that standing up to powerful oil and gas companies wasn’t possible. But the reality is that everyday people are making a difference in the fight to cut emissions. These grassroots victories also show that the people who have been made most vulnerable by fossil fuel extraction, including Black and brown communities, already have solutions on hand.

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New study links major fashion brands to Amazon deforestation

New study links major fashion brands to Amazon deforestation

LVMH, Zara, Nike and others at risk of contribution to destruction of rainforest based on connections to leather industry

New research into the fashion industry’s complex global supply chains shows that a number of large fashion brands are at risk of contributing to deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, based on their connections to tanneries and other companies involved in the production of leather and leather goods.

The report, released Monday, analyzed nearly 500,000 rows of customs data and found that brands such as Coach, LVMH, Prada, H&M, Zara, Adidas, Nike, New Balance, Teva, UGG and Fendi have multiple connections to an industry that props up Amazon deforestation.

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The battle to get here was ugly, but the impact of Joe Biden’s climate plan will be huge | Jonathan Freedland

The battle to get here was ugly, but the impact of Joe Biden’s climate plan will be huge | Jonathan Freedland

Yes, there have been compromises. But this is the biggest ever plan to curb emissions and, ahead of Cop26, will send a signal to the world

Move aside, Donald Trump: there’s a new American for the world’s progressives to hate. What’s more, he’s not even a Republican, but rather a member of Joe Biden’s Democratic party. He’s Joe Manchin, who represents West Virginia in the US Senate – the body that’s split 50-50, and which Democrats only control if every single senator stays onside. It’s thanks to him – aided and abetted by the Arizona’ Democrat senator Kyrsten Sinema – that Biden cannot take his place at the Cop26 summit in Glasgow proudly pointing to a raft of measures, signed and sealed, by which the US government will tackle the climate crisis.

Biden had a whole plan worked out, and most Democrats backed him. But Manchin refused to say yes. He insisted that Biden drop perhaps the most powerful element of his climate programme: rewards for energy companies that shift to renewable sources, and fines for those that stick with fossil fuels. Manchin killed that off, perhaps because he represents a state that still has some coal mining, perhaps because he has big personal investments in coal, perhaps because he has received fat donations from the fossil fuel industry. Or maybe just because West Virginia voted by an almost 40-point margin for Trump last year and so, to keep winning, Manchin has to look more like a Republican than a Democrat.

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How green is your food? Eco-labels can change the way we eat, study shows

How green is your food? Eco-labels can change the way we eat, study shows

While food labels are nothing new, a different type that calculates the environmental cost has had a surprising effect on consumers

It’s lunchtime at a workplace cafeteria in Birmingham, and employees returning to work after months away during the coronavirus pandemic are noticing something has changed. Next to the sandwiches and hot and cold dishes is a small globe symbol, coloured green, orange or red with a letter in the centre from A to E. “Meet our new eco-labels”, a sign reads.

Researchers at Oxford University have analysed the ingredients in every food item on the menu and given the dishes an environmental impact score, vegetable soup (an A) to the lemon, spring onion, cheese and tuna bagel (an E).

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Floating wind turbines could open up vast ocean tracts for renewable power

Floating wind turbines could open up vast ocean tracts for renewable power

Technology could help power a clean energy transition if it can overcome hurdles of cost, design and opposition from fishing

In the stormy waters of the North Sea, 15 miles off the coast of Aberdeenshire, in Scotland, five floating offshore wind turbines stretch 574 feet (175 metres) above the water. The world’s first floating windfarm, a 30 megawatt facility run by the Norwegian company Equinor, has only been in operation since 2017 but has already broken UK records for energy output.

While most offshore wind turbines are anchored to the ocean floor on fixed foundations, limiting them to depths of about 165ft, floating turbines are tethered to the seabed by mooring lines. These enormous structures are assembled on land and pulled out to sea by boats.

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Record funding for flood defences in England as climate crisis worsens risks

Record funding for flood defences in England as climate crisis worsens risks

Billions to be spent over six years with significant sums for regions hit hard in recent years

The government will spend a record £5.2bn on reducing flooding in England over the next six years, as the climate crisis increases the risk to homes and businesses.

The Environment Agency will spend £860m next year to support more than 1,000 schemes, with significant funds for Yorkshire and the Humber and the north-west, regions that have been hit hard in recent years.

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