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‘E-highways’ could slash UK road freight emissions, says study

‘E-highways’ could slash UK road freight emissions, says study

System of overhead cables and adapted lorries could pay for itself within 15 years

The UK could eliminate the majority of the carbon dioxide emissions from road freight by installing overhead charging cables for electric lorries on “e-highways” across the country, a report by government-funded academics suggests.

The plan for a so-called electric road system would cost £19.3bn and put all but the most remote parts of the UK within reach of the trucks by the late 2030s, with the potential for the investment to pay for itself within 15 years, according to the report by the Centre for Sustainable Road Freight. The centre is backed by government research grants and industry partners including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and John Lewis.

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Match Covid-19 economic stimulus with climate fight ambition, urge MPs

Match Covid-19 economic stimulus with climate fight ambition, urge MPs

Influential committees call for bold investments to recover and grow in ‘cleaner and greener way’

MPs have joined growing calls from business leaders and environmentalists for the government to use its post-coronavirus economic recovery plan to accelerate investments aimed at tackling the climate crisis.

The chairs of two influential cross-party select committees have warned the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, that time is running out to “avert an even greater future global crisis caused by climate change”.

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The world wasn’t ready for a Green New Deal in 2009. Today, it may be | Larry Elliott

The world wasn’t ready for a Green New Deal in 2009. Today, it may be | Larry Elliott

There is no easy route to a greener global economy. But since coronavirus hit, politics and business are thinking again

Timing matters. Early 2020 saw an economic collapse the likes of which have not been seen in living memory. Growth has collapsed, unemployment has soared, poverty has increased.

Yet in different circumstances the past few months would have been dominated by calls for countries to do more to cut carbon emissions. As 2019 drew to an end, everybody from the managing director of the International Monetary Fund to the governor of the Bank of England was warning of the threat of global heating.

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Coronavirus pandemic threatens controversial fracking project in Argentina

Coronavirus pandemic threatens controversial fracking project in Argentina

Lockdown and oil price slump leave future of vast Argentinian shale project hanging in balance

Whether the post-pandemic world moves back to fossil fuels or forward to a clean economy will become clearer in the coming weeks as the International Monetary Fund and Argentina decide whether to continue support for the vast Vaca Muerta oil and gas fields in Patagonia.

The development aims to tap the second biggest shale deposits on the planet (after the Permian basin in Texas), but its future has been thrown in doubt by the coronavirus lockdown, which has induced the steepest fall of the oil price in 30 years.

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UN chief: don’t use taxpayer cash to rescue carbon-intensive industries

UN chief: don’t use taxpayer cash to rescue carbon-intensive industries

António Guterres calls for coronavirus aid to be directed at firms with green credentials

Governments should not use taxpayer cash to rescue fossil fuel companies and carbon-intensive industries, but should devote economic rescue packages for the coronavirus crisis to businesses that cut greenhouse gas emissions and create green jobs, the UN secretary general has urged.

“Where taxpayers’ money is used to rescue businesses, it must be creating green jobs and sustainable and inclusive growth,” said António Guterres, speaking at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue, a virtual meeting of more than 30 governments on the climate crisis, which concluded on Tuesday. “It must not be bailing out outdated, polluting, carbon-intensive industries.”

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Builder aims to help UK construction industry kick its plastic habit

Builder aims to help UK construction industry kick its plastic habit

Neal Maxwell wants trade to go from 50,000 tonnes of plastic waste each year to zero by 2040

A builder from Merseyside has launched a project that aims to remove plastic from the British construction industry within two decades.

Neal Maxwell, who has worked in the trade for more than 30 years, co-founded the non-profit organisation Changing Streams after a trip to the Arctic.

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Fir’s fair: UK must embrace conifers in climate fight, says forestry chief

Fir’s fair: UK must embrace conifers in climate fight, says forestry chief

Non-native species must be part of the mix if the UK is to meet its tree-planting targets, says outgoing Forestry Commission head Sir Harry Studholme

Non-native conifer plantations have long been a scourge of conservationists – blamed for wiping out woodland species and disfiguring landscapes. But exotic conifers will be better at tackling the climate emergency than much-cherished broadleaved woodlands, according to the outgoing chairman of the Forestry Commission.

Sir Harry Studholme, who has headed England’s forestry agency for the last seven years, warned that there must not be a repeat of past mistakes in the rush to plant trees to meet the government’s target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

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Device inspired by mangroves could help clear up flood water

Device inspired by mangroves could help clear up flood water

Researchers say their synthetic system reproduces tree’s ability to desalinate water

A novel approach to removing salt from water, inspired by mangrove trees, has been revealed by researchers who say the system could offer an unusual approach to clearing up flood water.

Mangroves, like other trees, employ a system of water transport: it is thought evaporation of moisture from their leaves produces a negative pressure in their water-conducting tissues that helps to draw water into their roots and up their trunks.

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Make big polluters pay for mass tree planting, officials say

Make big polluters pay for mass tree planting, officials say

Oil companies and airlines could fund 100m trees a year, says Committee on Climate Change

The planting of 100m trees a year in the UK to tackle the climate emergency could be paid for by new carbon levies on oil companies and airlines, the government’s official climate adviser has proposed.

The Committee on Climate Change also recommends banning the burning of grouse moors and the sale of peat compost to protect the nation’s bogs, which can store huge amounts of carbon. Voluntary measures have failed, it said.

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Net zero carbon neighbourhood to be built in south Wales

Net zero carbon neighbourhood to be built in south Wales

Residents of Parc Hadau in Pontardawe will generate more clean energy than they can use

One of the world’s first net zero carbon neighbourhoods will be constructed in Wales after Neath Port Talbot council approved the development of 35 homes able to generate more clean energy than they use.

Development of the £8m project in Pontardawe in south Wales is expected to begin this spring. The residents of Parc Hadau will pay no energy bills because the development will use a mixture of renewable energy technologies to generate enough clean electricity to power its homes over the year.

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