Concerns about bee populations being in decline have been in place for a while now, with research being conducted into why the populations of bees are being reduced so dramatically, and how we can act to turn this around.Yesterday however, Friends of the Earth campaigners being the Bee Cause campaign delivered their message about the role of bees in the economy direct to Whitehall advisors.
Tag Archives for friends of the earth
The day after the release of the DECC White Paper announcing the government’s intention to invest more in wind power, committing to a target of 30% of the country’s energy to be generated through renewable energy sources by 2020 and promising the creation of jobs in the environment sector, environmental campaigners Friends of the Earth have called for the government to safeguard the jobs we already have.
Environmental campaign group Friends of the Earth have launched a new campaign promoting the reduction of carbon emissions by challenging local councils to get serious about CO2. The campaign was launched with the release of independent research conducted by Carbon Descent, leading climate change advisors for councils.
The UK Climate Projections for 2009 (UKCP09), which has been informed by scientific data from the UK Met Office, has been released today, and provides an alarming insight into the potential effects of global warming on the UK climate. The projections include an array of scenarios including changes in temperature that we would expect to encounter, variation in rainfall, humidity and cloud cover across the year.
Despite the promises to keep to Ken Livingstone’s targets to crunch carbon in London and make it a flagship green city with low carbon emissions, a year in Boris Johnson is not doing enough.
April 2008 saw the government declare that a small percentage of biofuels would be added to the make-up of petrol and diesel in the UK. However, revealed in a research paper released by Friends of the Earth yesterday, the biofuels may be contributing up to twice the amount of CO2 as the fossil fuels they have replaced in the fuel mix.
The extra CO2 emitted by the biofuels has been estimated at roughly 1.3 million tonnes or the equivalent of putting an extra half a million cars on the UK’s roads. The CO2 calculations are being made on how much rainforest is being destroyed to make way for the growth of biofuel crops to supply the UK. The biofuel crops are not as efficient at removing CO2 from the atmosphere as virgin rainforest, resulting in a net increase in CO2.
Gordon Brown has answered the pleas of many by pledging to make next month’s Budget a greener budget in an attempt to try and draw Britain out of the recession and bring the economy back on track. One of the ways he is planning to achieve this is through greener transportation in the city, in the form of electric cars.
Proposed measures to tackle the struggling economy include Brown offering incentives for makers of environmentally friendly vehicles, and also trials of electric cars and the installation of a network of charging points to support this proposed development.
With the approaching Budget next month, environmental group Friends of the Earth are putting pressure on Gordon Brown to make a move towards making Britain a greener place, expressing concern that environmental policies should be “at the heart” of the Budget.
This pressure comes at the same time that Gordon Brown, Ed Miliband – Climate Change Secretary, and Peter Mandelson – Business Secretary, jointly hosted the Low Carbon Economy Summit, a gathering of leaders from the business sector, government representatives and other key shareholders meeting to collectively discuss the logistics of a ‘low carbon future’ and how businesses within the UK would be able to survive within this environment. Andy Atkins, Friends of the Earth’s Executive Director, commented that,
“This summit is an encouraging development, but Ministers must grasp the scale of the challenge we face. We need urgent and decisive action, not more token gestures and hot air.”
Friends of the Earth are pushing the Government to make more substantial progress towards introducing a “green industrial revolution”, claiming that investment in this sector would help form a two pronged attack on both the recession and the resulting levels of unemployment, and would also help the Government to make significant inroads into their carbon reduction targets. Additional pressure is being put on the Government to make these reductions by changing environmental practices and processes within the country, rather than by ‘buying’ carbon credits from overseas.
Although recommendations that the CCC made to the Government stated that they should be aiming to reduce carbon emissions by 34% in 2020 in relation to figures in 1990, and only increasing this to 42% once a global deal to reduce carbon emissions has been agreed, Friends of the Earth believe that the UK should be making the commitment to reduce their emissions by 42% now. They argue that in addition to being a boost to the UK’s environmental credentials later this year for the UN climate negotiations that will be taking place in Copenhagen, indications from recent scientific findings state that unless there is a reduction of at least 40% by the industrialised world as a whole by 2020, a “climate catastrophe” will be nearly inevitable.
Could the government be doing more to help the recession? Should the government be doing more with regard to sustainable housing and greener building practices on the whole? Friends of the Earth certainly think so, and it seems that maybe ministers themselves are realising that green issues are not something that will go away, but are a concern for everybody and a responsibility that people in power need to awaken to and do something about.
Last month the government announced plans to reduce household fuel bills and implement policies and processes to cut emissions, but have factored in four years for these plans to be implemented. Executive Director at Friends of the Earth, Andy Atkins said “An ambitious target to cut household emissions by a third by 2020 is certainly needed to help meet the challenge we face – but this won’t be achieved if we wait four years for major work to begin.”
To return to my first question, if the government were to invest money into small scale energy production for new and existing building projects, this could be just the lifeline factories and their employees have been waiting for. Throwing money into failing industries that nobody can afford to buy into just postpones the inevitable and doesn’t offer much hope long term for employees, never mind tax payers and the economy as a whole. However investment in key areas such as solar and wind technologies would give purpose to the factories, meaning they don’t end up being shut down, gives advances to greener technology to help the government reach targets for emissions reductions, and would also potentially create thousands of jobs. Win-win?
A current campaign by environmental activist group Greenpeace has seen them purchase a plot of land lying across the area where development is planned to take place to extend Heathrow Airport.
The ‘Airplot’ campaign aims to stop the expansion through the proposed building of the third runway at the airport, action which Friends of the Earth have also commented on, stating that the expansion “is a hammer blow for UK climate targets that will shatter Gordon Brown’s international reputation on the environment”.
The campaign already has the backing of impersonator Alistair McGowan and actress Emma Thompson, among others, and Greenpeace is urging the public to join the campaign to help prevent Heathrow being able to claim the title of ‘biggest carbon footprint in the UK’.
The planning process for the project is likely to go on for years, and Greenpeace advises that there are many stages along the way for people to get involved with and do their bit to try and veto the development. To read more about the campaign, visit the Greenpeace website.