For global warming issues . . . surely we want people to stop flying and travelling abroad to enjoy Britain’s own holiday spots?

For our economies, we want more people to spend on UK holidays – including Wales?

So why . . . https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-62956842

Tourism tax in Wales: Levy could apply to Welsh holidaying in Wales

By Brendon Williams BBC News

Visitors booking stays in Wales could face a tourism tax, including those who already live in Wales, the Welsh government has said.

Why are such important and valuable issues ignored by government

Green home upgrades could also create 140,000 new jobs by 2030, analysis by Cambridge Econometric finds

Greenpeace urged Kwarteng to devote £7bn to insulation and heat pump installations over the next two years. Photograph: Andrew Aitchison/Alamy

Insulating homes in Britain and installing heat pumps could benefit the economy by £7bn a year and create 140,000 new jobs by 2030, research has found.

But the uptake of these energy-saving measures depends heavily on government policy, according to analysis by Cambridge Econometrics, commissioned by Greenpeace.

Read more … https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/sep/20/energy-saving-measures-could-boost-uk-economy-by-7bn-a-year-study-says

Indigenous leaders urge businesses and banks to stop supporting deforestation

Amazon ecosystem is on verge of collapse, leaders tell brands such as Apple and Tesla as UN gathers in New York

An aerial photo shows a burned section of Amazon rainforest, in the department of Madre de Dios, Peru, this month. Photograph: Renzo Ramirez Santa Cruz/EPA

Indigenous leaders from the Amazon have implored major western brands and banks to stop supporting the ongoing destruction of the vital rainforest through mining, oil drilling and logging, warning that the ecosystem is on the brink of a disastrous collapse.

Representatives of Indigenous peoples from across the Amazon region have descended upon New York this week to press governments and businesses, gathered in the city for climate and United Nations gatherings, to stem the flow of finance to activities that are polluting and deforesting large areas of the rainforest.

Read more https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/sep/21/indigenous-leaders-amazon-rainforest-businesses-banks

Biotech firm electrocutes soil so that bacteria can eat ‘forever chemicals’

A biotech firm is trialling the removal of PFAS “forever chemicals” from soil at a test site in Wisconsin by injecting chemical-eating bacteria and electrocuting the ground.

Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, are a class of thousands of different synthetic chemicals that contain carbon and fluorine atoms linked by strong bonds. The chemicals – which repel grease and water – have been in widespread use since the 1940s in everything from firefighting foam at airports to dental floss.

But the same qualities that make PFAS useful stop the chemicals from degrading, so many of them are persistent environmental contaminants. They are often called forever chemicals, and have been found in drinking water and in people’s blood all over the world.

Read about this

Soil laced with contaminating chemicals,
like at this site in Utah, can require significant clean-up efforts
Eric R. Hinson/Getty Images

UK mushroom growing uses 100,000 m³ of peat a year – can we do better?

Peat bogs are an important carbon store, so mushroom growers are searching for a way to grow their produce on other substrates

In a huge industrial shed on Leckford Estate, a farm owned by the supermarket Waitrose in a beautiful part of southern England, a revolution is stirring in the world of mushroom growing. UK production of this crop relies on peat, the incredibly carbon-rich organic matter found in bogs and fens across the country. Peatland contains so much carbon, it is sometimes described as “the UK’s rainforests”.
That is why the UK government has promised to restore 280,000 hectares of peatland in England alone by 2050, to help meet its climate change goals.

Read the story

Coca-Cola among brands greenwashing over packaging, report says

The Changing Markets Foundation, along with Zero Waste Europe, is calling for closed-loop recycling systems and effective deposit return systems to tackle the plastic pollution problem. “We must embrace systemic solutions, such as absolute reductions in plastic packaging and mandatory deposit return systems,” they said.

Plastic packaging in the UK makes up nearly 70% of all of the country’s plastic waste. Less than 10% of everyday plastic, including plastic packaging, gets recycled.

Tesco said: “All of the soft plastic we collect will be sorted in the UK from later this year, ensuring it stays out of landfill and is recycled into a range of items. We welcomed recent legislative measures to increase the consistency of kerbside collections for plastic recycling.”

Tesco said it was not the case that its soft plastic ended up in landfill or incinerated. The company said since 2021 it was finding a use for the soft plastic packaging it collects in stores, and has trialled recycling soft plastic into cheese packaging.

Coca Cola said: “We don’t want to see any of our packaging end up where it shouldn’t and we are working hard to be part of the solution.

“All of our bottles in Great Britain are 100% recyclable and we aim to collect and recycle a bottle or can for every one we sell by 2030 globally. In 2019, about 300 sample Coca-Cola bottles were developed using recovered and recycled marine plastics, with the aim to demonstrate that one day, ocean debris could be used in recycled packaging. Innovative trials like this are essential to finding scalable solutions to reduce the amount of packaging we use.”


Procter & Gamble said: “Our Head & Shoulders ocean clean bottle was one of the first steps on our ongoing responsible beauty journey and helped us to learn about the use of PCR within our products. This pack is no longer available to buy in the UK but we can confirm that it was recyclable. We don’t yet have all the answers but remain committed to ensuring Head & Shoulders is a force for good within beauty.”

A spokesperson for Perfetti Van Melle was not available to comment. The other brands named did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Claims about plastic packaging being eco-friendly made by big brands, including Coca-Cola and Unilever, are misleading greenwashing, according to a report.

The Changing Markets Foundation says claims that companies are intercepting and using “ocean-bound” or “recyclable” plastic to tackle the plastic pollution crisis are some of the most common examples of greenwashing.

 

The claims are made with little proof about how the products address the crisis in plastic pollution, their report says. It says this is done to obscure the real impact of plastic from consumers.

George Harding-Rolls, campaign manager at Changing Markets Foundations, said: “Our latest investigation exposes a litany of misleading claims from household names consumers should be able to trust. This is just the tip of the iceberg and it is of crucial importance that regulators take this issue seriously.

“The industry is happy to gloat its green credentials with little substance on the one hand, while continuing to perpetuate the plastic crisis on the other. We are calling out greenwashing so the world can see that voluntary action has led to a market saturated with false claims.”

The analysis, which is being presented on the CMF website, says claims by Kim Kardashian’s clothing company Skims on its compostable underwear packaging, which states “I am not plastic”, are undermined by the small print saying the product is plastic type 4 or LDPE (Low-Density Polyethylene).

Coca-Cola, the report says, has spent millions promoting an innovation which says that its bottles are 25% marine plastic, but does not mention that the company is the world’s biggest plastic polluter.

The makers of Mentos mints, Perfetti Van Melle, make grand eco claims about new cardboard box packaging, the report says. But they fail to mention the packaging is an unrecyclable composite material made out of card, aluminium and plastic.

In Spain, after the EU ban on plastic cutlery, the biggest supermarket chain, Mercadona, rebranded the cutlery as “reusable” instead of providing alternatives.

The report singled out Tesco for its claims that its flexible plastic packaging is new, improved and “recyclable”. But to be recycled, customers have to take the packaging back to larger stores – and even then it is unlikely to be recycled. Instead, it will almost certainly be exported, incinerated or sent to landfill, the report says.

Bottles of Procter & Gamble’s Head and Shoulders shampoo are being promoted as made out of “beach plastic”, but the bottle is dyed blue, meaning it cannot be recycled further, the report says.

Unilever has replaced recyclable PET bottles of washing liquid with pouches as part of its push to encourage refills. But the pouches are not recyclable and only contain two refills, the report says.

The examples show brands are presenting materials and selling products claiming they are better for the environment when they are either difficult to recycle, not recyclable at all, or are using just a small fraction of “ocean-bound” plastic collected through various clean-ups.

Sian Sutherland, A Plastic Planet co-founder, said: “Plastic is now a very powerful and emotional word. We all feel the plastic guilt when we fill our shopping baskets. Brands have been exploiting this over recent years, using age-old marketing techniques that are totally misleading or downright fake, pretending that the problem is being fixed when actually it is getting worse, with plastic production set to treble by 2040.

“Greenwash.com exposes these false green claims for what they are: daylight robbery of the consumer’s right and ability to judge the product.”

The Changing Markets Foundation, along with Zero Waste Europe, is calling for closed-loop recycling systems and effective deposit return systems to tackle the plastic pollution problem. “We must embrace systemic solutions, such as absolute reductions in plastic packaging and mandatory deposit return systems,” they said.

Plastic packaging in the UK makes up nearly 70% of all of the country’s plastic waste. Less than 10% of everyday plastic, including plastic packaging, gets recycled.

Tesco said: “All of the soft plastic we collect will be sorted in the UK from later this year, ensuring it stays out of landfill and is recycled into a range of items. We welcomed recent legislative measures to increase the consistency of kerbside collections for plastic recycling.”

Tesco said it was not the case that its soft plastic ended up in landfill or incinerated. The company said since 2021 it was finding a use for the soft plastic packaging it collects in stores, and has trialled recycling soft plastic into cheese packaging.

Coca Cola said: “We don’t want to see any of our packaging end up where it shouldn’t and we are working hard to be part of the solution.

“All of our bottles in Great Britain are 100% recyclable and we aim to collect and recycle a bottle or can for every one we sell by 2030 globally. In 2019, about 300 sample Coca-Cola bottles were developed using recovered and recycled marine plastics, with the aim to demonstrate that one day, ocean debris could be used in recycled packaging. Innovative trials like this are essential to finding scalable solutions to reduce the amount of packaging we use.”

Procter & Gamble said: “Our Head & Shoulders ocean clean bottle was one of the first steps on our ongoing responsible beauty journey and helped us to learn about the use of PCR within our products. This pack is no longer available to buy in the UK but we can confirm that it was recyclable. We don’t yet have all the answers but remain committed to ensuring Head & Shoulders is a force for good within beauty.”

A spokesperson for Perfetti Van Melle was not available to comment. The other brands named did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Guardian article

How much do food miles matter; should you buy local produce?

Despite a study claiming that food-mile emissions are higher than previously thought, eating less animal produce remains much more important than how far your food travels

Eat locally to reduce food miles and your carbon footprint. That is the message promoted by some environmentalists and businesses, but it has long been clear that often this isn’t true – foods that travel thousands of kilometres can have a lower carbon footprint than local produce.

At least, that is what many studies have found. But research published today in the journal Nature Food claims that global food miles account for 20 per cent of food-related emissions – a much higher proportion than reported in earlier work. So do food miles matter more than we thought? Spoiler: no, they don’t.

The production of the food we eat is responsible for more than a third of global greenhouse gas emissions, so reducing food-related emissions is crucial to limiting further global heating. The question is, what should consumers do to help reduce these emissions?

 

Previous studies have found that the emissions from food miles – the distance that food has to be transported from where it is produced to where it is eaten, measured in kilometres travelled multiplied by the tonnage – are tiny compared with those from growing that food.

Emissions can be calculated based on how the food is transported – by air or by sea, for instance. A study of US diets by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania concluded that transporting food from farms to shops produces just 4 per cent of food-related emissions, while a 2018 study of European diets put it at 6 per cent.

What this means is that if you want to reduce the carbon footprint of your diet, you should focus on buying foods with lower overall carbon footprints rather than those that don’t have to travel far. This basically means eating less meat and dairy.

For instance, producing 1 kilogram of beef can emit as much as 99 kg of carbon dioxide or equivalents, and making a kilogram of cheese emits up to 24 kg, compared with 0.9 kg for bananas and 0.4 kg for apples.

In other words, what you eat matters to a far greater extent than where it comes from. What’s more, even with the same food types, local isn’t always better. For instance, if you live in a nation with a cooler climate where tomatoes can be grown only using heated greenhouses, these local tomatoes will typically have a higher carbon footprint than those shipped in from a warmer country where no heating is needed.

The latest study doesn’t overturn any of this. For starters, the main reason why it concludes that food miles account for such a high proportion of food-related emissions is that the 20 per cent figure includes all the transport involved, including that of fertilisers, farm equipment and pesticides, not just the transport of food.

“Our study looks at the entire supply chain for food consumption, and naturally non-food commodities are part of it,” says team member Mengyu Li at the University of Sydney in Australia.

It is worthwhile to estimate this, but the team should use a term other than “food miles” to avoid confusion, rather than redefining the existing term, says Hannah Ritchie at the University of Oxford, who is head of research at Our World in Data.

If the standard definition were applied to the numbers in the study, food miles would account for only 9 per cent of food-related emissions, says Ritchie. That is much closer to previous research, though she thinks it is still an overestimate.

What’s more, the study itself calculates that even if it were possible to produce all food in the countries where it is eaten, food-related emissions would fall by only 1.7 per cent overall. This is because although food wouldn’t travel as far, more of it would be transported by road instead of sea, says Li, and trucks produce higher emissions per tonne of cargo than ships.

“So, overall, the bottom line is still that what you eat has a much bigger impact on emissions than the distance that food has to travel to reach you,” says Ritchie.

A third of the world’s largest companies now have net-zero targets

Since this time last year, many more countries and large companies have now pledged to reduce their net emissions to zero, but the details on how they plan to achieve it are still lacking

More than a third of the world’s largest public companies, along with countries representing most of the world’s economy, now have targets to reduce their net greenhouse gas emissions to zero. However, many of these “net-zero” pledges are lacking basic details about how they will be achieved or verified.

A research consortium called the Net Zero Tracker took stock of the publicly available climate pledges of more than 4000 entities, including cities, states, countries and publicly trading companies. What emerged in its report was “a good news story, in that net-zero pledges have become mainstream”, says Steve Smith at the Oxford Net Zero Initiative, one of the consortium’s members.

Read this story here

Do not work for ‘climate wreckers’, UN head tells graduates

The UN secretary general has told new university graduates not to take up careers with the “climate wreckers” – companies that drive the extraction of fossil fuels.

António Guterres addressed thousands of graduates at Seton Hall University in New Jersey, US, on Tuesday. “You must be the generation that succeeds in addressing the planetary emergency of climate change,” he said. “Despite mountains of evidence of looming climate catastrophe, we still see mountains of funding for coal and fossil fuels that are killing our planet.

“But we know investing in fossil fuels is a dead end – no amount of greenwashing or spin can change that. So we must put them on notice: accountability is coming for those who liquidate our future.”

He added: “You hold the cards. Your talent is in demand from multinational companies and big financial institutions. You will have plenty of opportunities to choose from. My message to you is simple: don’t work for climate wreckers. Use your talents to drive us towards a renewable future.”

Guterres has become increasingly outspoken on the climate crisis in recent months, telling world leaders in April: “Our addiction to fossil fuels is killing us.”

READ MORE

Farmers in England will bury burnt wood in fields to capture CO2

A large trial is underway to see how much CO2 can be removed from the atmosphere by burying a charcoal-like material in fields
Biochar

Farmers in England are starting to bury a charcoal-like material in their fields to see if it could offer a new large-scale way of putting the brakes on climate change.

Biochar is the carbon-rich material left over from burning wood and other biomass at high temperatures in an oxygen-free environment. Most of its use today is at the small scale, such as gardeners using it as a fertiliser.

However, a team led by Colin Snape at the University of Nottingham, UK, has started burying up to 200 tonnes of biochar in fields to gauge if it could help meet the UK’s net-zero goal by removing millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. It is the biggest biochar trial yet in the UK, and one of several CO2 removal ideas in a £31.5 million research programme, including scattering rock dust on fields and planting more trees.

 

“The key thing is that all of these greenhouse gas removal technologies, we need to test their viability. We need to figure out how big a slice of the pie biochar is. It’s about not putting all our eggs into one basket, of one magical technology that will save us,” says Genevieve Hodgins, who is managing the biochar project.

Around 15 tonnes of biochar is in the ground already, and more farmers are being recruited across the Midlands region of England this spring and summer to begin widespread burials this autumn. Beyond tackling climate change, a big attraction for farmers is that research indicates biochar can improve soil health, which is in a parlous state in England.

READ MORE

Plastic packaging increases fresh food waste

Supermarkets should stop selling fresh produce such as apples and potatoes in plastic packaging, research suggests, because it does not make them last longer and adds to pollution and food waste.

The 18-month study by the sustainability charity Wrap, which also looked at sales of bananas, broccoli and cucumbers, debunks the idea that single-use plastic wrappers help prevent waste.

Instead, this packaging often forces people to buy more than they need, increasing the problem of wasted food.

Read the article

Climate change is a global emergency

Despite the pandemic, almost two thirds of people around the world now view climate change as a global emergency.

That’s the key finding from the largest opinion poll yet conducted on tackling global warming.

More than a million people in 50 countries took part in the survey, with almost half the participants aged between 14 and 18.

Conserving forests and land emerged as the most popular solution for tackling the issue.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-55802902