In the News

Friday, 9 October, 2020

The UK has for centuries punched above its weight in science and invention. It’s crucial to sustain our standing in a more competitive world: if we don’t get smarter, we’ll get poorer.


Enough of our brightest and best must opt for science, engineering and technology, as millions do each year in east Asia. 


Thursday, 8 October, 2020

Prince William and Sir David Attenborough have joined forces to launch what they hope will become the "Nobel Prize for environmentalism". They say the search is on for 50 solutions to the world's gravest environmental problems by 2030. With £50m to be awarded over a decade, the "Earthshot Prize" is the biggest environmental prize ever. The Prince said "positivity" had been missing from the climate debate - something the award could supply.


UK will be 'the world leader' in offshore wind - PM

Tuesday, 6 October, 2020

Boris Johnson will promise to "build back greener" in his conference speech on Tuesday, announcing new investment in offshore wind energy.

The PM will pledge £160m to upgrade ports and factories for building turbines, setting a target for wind to produce enough electricity to power the equivalent of every UK home by 2030. The plan aims to create 2,000 jobs in construction and support 60,000 more.


Has the world started to take climate change seriously?

Wednesday, 30 September, 2020

A surprise announcement at this year's UN General Assembly has transformed the politics of cutting carbon, says the BBC's chief environment correspondent, Justin Rowlatt. As the meeting of the so-called "global parliament" comes to an end, he asks whether it might just signal the beginning of a global rush to decarbonise.


What's in Boris Johnson's climate in tray?

Saturday, 26 September, 2020

A huge breakthrough in climate policy was signalled this week when China announced it will reduce its emissions to net zero by 2060. It's a potentially game-changing leap, following in the footsteps of the UK's existing 2050 net zero target. But promises are easy, actions are more challenging - and the UK has been steadily slipping from its climate targets.


World split on urgency of tackling rising temperatures

Saturday, 21 September, 2020

There's growing concern among citizens all over the world about climate change, according to a new global poll. But respondents had very different attitudes to the level of urgency required to tackle the problem. Big majorities in poorer countries strongly agreed with tackling climate change with the same vigour as Covid-19. However in richer nations, the support for rapid action was far more muted.


Airbus looks to the future with hydrogen planes

Saturday, 21 September, 2020

Aerospace giant Airbus has unveiled plans for what it hailed as the first commercial zero-emission aircraft. The company said its hydrogen-fuelled passenger planes could be in service by 2035. The concept of emissions-free aviation relies heavily on finding ways to produce large quantities of hydrogen from renewable or low-carbon sources.


Motorways to trial 60mph limits to cut pollution

Saturday, 12 September, 2020

The speed limit will be cut on parts of four motorways before October in a trial to reduce pollution, Highways England has said.

It will be reduced from 70mph to 60mph in areas that have seen higher than recommended levels of nitrogen dioxide. The trial will take place on stretches of nearly five miles.


Tax frequent fliers and get rid of SUVs, government told

Thursday, 10 September, 2020

A frequent flyer tax, phasing out polluting SUVs and restricting cars in city centres are among climate change solutions suggested by members of the public. A citizens' assembly of 108 people from all walks of life published its report after weeks of debate. They proposed curbing road building and using the pandemic to cut emissions.


UN report: Covid crisis does little to slow climate change

Wednesday, 9 September, 2020

The global response to Covid-19 has barely made a dent in the causes of climate change, according to a major new report. While emissions of CO2 plummeted during lockdown, concentrations of the long-lasting gas have continued to rise in the atmosphere. The period from 2016 to 2020 will likely be the warmest five years on record, the study finds.


Former minister O’Neill blasts government "inaction"

Wednesday, 9 September, 2020

The UK's former climate chief has criticised the Prime Minister over failings in the run-up up to next year’s climate summit, COP26.


Claire O'Neill condemns what she calls broken promises and backsliding on climate commitments. She says there's been mismanagement of the basic details of the summit.


Road planners accused of rigging carbon emissions rules

Monday, 24 August, 2020

Road planners in England have been accused of rigging accounting rules to disguise the climate impact of new roads. Environmentalists say the Department for Transport (DfT) has under-counted CO2 from its road improvement programme. That's because the DfT measures emissions against national CO2 targets, whilst measuring benefits of a new road against the local economy.


UK peat emissions could cancel forest benefits

Friday, 7 August, 2020

Emissions from UK peatland could cancel out all carbon reduction achieved through new and existing forests, warns the countryside charity CPRE. It says many degraded peatlands are actually increasing carbon emissions. Yet, it says, there has been much more focus from the government and media on forests than on peat bogs.


Lockdown has 'negligible' effect on temperatures

Friday, 7 August, 2020

The dramatic drop in greenhouse gases and air pollutants seen during the global lockdown will have little impact on our warming planet say scientists. Their new analysis suggests that by 2030, global temperatures will only be 0.01°C lower than expected. But the authors stress that the nature of the recovery could significantly alter the longer term outlook. 


Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Millions of people around the world could be exposed to dangerous levels of heat stress - a dangerous condition which can cause organs to shut down.

Many live in developing countries, and do jobs that expose them to potentially life threatening conditions. These include being out in the open on farms and building sites or indoors in factories and hospitals.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

A record-breaking heatwave in Siberia would have been almost impossible without human-caused climate change, a study has found.

The Russian region's temperatures were more than 5°C above average between January and June of this year and temperatures exceeded 38°C in the Russian town of Verkhoyansk on 20 June, the highest temperature ever recorded north of the Arctic circle.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

The prime minister hopes hydrogen technology, an area where the UK leads the world, will help to create clean jobs in the future. But is the hydrogen revolution hope or hype?

Whilst hydrogen seemed to lose the head-on battle for the motor car, it’s now back in the frame for the sort of transport, industry and heating tasks that batteries are struggling to fulfil.

Monday, June 29, 2020

The first post-lockdown crops of the land army have been harvested. The food – chard, spinach, lettuce and radish – is being parcelled out to the local shops, market stalls and those in need. Now the volunteer labour force has its sights on a new goal: a land-use revolution that will make UK farming more nature friendly, plant-based and resilient to future shocks.

Extra £14bn needed a year for climate, report says

Sunday, June 28, 2020

An extra £14bn is needed each year to help the UK meet its climate commitments, a new think tank report suggests.

Green Alliance says the cash is needed for clean transport, nature restoration, and low-carbon buildings.

Over the past three years, it says that £9bn has been spent on projects that actually increase CO2, like roads.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Car taxes should be increased to help fund the battle against climate change, government advisers say.


They say ministers should bring forward the date for ending sales of new conventional cars from 2035 to 2032. The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) says the chancellor should also consider increasing the tax on gas for home heating.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Greta Thunberg says the world needs to learn the lessons of coronavirus and treat climate change with similar urgency.

That means the world acting "with necessary force", the Swedish climate activist says in an exclusive interview with BBC News. She doesn't think any "green recovery plan" will solve the crisis alone.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Making people's homes cosy is the cheapest way to create jobs as the UK prepares to fight recession, a report says. Its authors say a job insulating homes would be much cheaper than creating a road maintenance job, for example.

They say home insulation would create jobs in all areas of the UK as well as supporting the government's aim of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Monday, June 08, 2020

Britain is about to pass a significant landmark - at midnight on Wednesday it will have gone two full months without burning coal to generate power.

A decade ago about 40% of the country's electricity came from coal; coronavirus is part of the story, but far from all.

Thursday, June 04, 2020

Business leaders, cities and investors are being urged to back a UN campaign aiming for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Race to Zero is part of the diplomatic push to increase ambition in the lead up to the COP26 international climate change summit in Glasgow next November.

It is the first major event since it was confirmed the summit was being postponed due to coronavirus.

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Greenpeace has joined a growing list of organisations demanding that the UK government puts protecting the environment at the heart of any post-Covid-19 economic stimulus package. The campaign group has produced a detailed "manifesto" with measures to boost clean transport and smart power.

The document follows a comparable call from some of Britain's most powerful business leaders earlier this week.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Good news is in short supply at the moment, so brace yourself for a rare burst of optimism about climate change. World leaders know their countries face one of the most severe recessions in history thanks to the coronavirus restrictions.

That presents a unique challenge, but also a massive opportunity. Politicians know they are going to need to spend huge amounts of money to kick-start economic activity as the threat of coronavirus finally recedes.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Barriers closed a stretch of Deansgate, Manchester's main thoroughfare, to motor vehicles on Saturday. Elsewhere in the city, new pedestrian walkways and pop-up bike lanes have appeared.

It is part of a nationwide effort to create more space for social distancing as the country gradually begins to lift the coronavirus restrictions.

Friday, May 15, 2020

London has announced plans to create the largest car-free zones in Europe. It wants to encourage cycling, so that people can commute while also social distancing. Several European cities are taking similar measures.

Gil Penalosa of urban reform group 8 80 Cities says lockdown measures during the coronavirus outbreak represent an "opportunity of a lifetime" to make cities more bike-friendly.

Friday, May 08, 2020

People across the UK are finding it impossible to stay safe outside because our cities were not built for social distancing. Pavements are too narrow for people to pass safely at a 2m distance. Public transport is closed or reduced, leading more people to cycle, but there's limited space where they can feel safe. If cyclists are pushed into the gutter or on to shared-use paths, that can bring them uncomfortably close to pedestrians.

Tuesday, May 05, 2020

The UK must avoid lurching from the coronavirus crisis into a deeper climate crisis, the government’s advisers have warned.

They recommend that ministers ensure funds earmarked for a post-Covid-19 economic recovery go to firms that will reduce carbon emissions.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

One of the few parts of the UK economy to have a good April was solar power.

The Met Office says it has probably been the sunniest April on record and the solar power industry reported its highest ever production of electricity (9.68GW) in the UK at 12:30 on Monday 20 April.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Tackling climate change must be woven into the solution to the Covid-19 economic crisis, the UK will tell governments next week.

Environment ministers from 30 countries are meeting in a two-day online conference in a bid to make progress on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Europe is heating faster than the global average as new data indicates that last year was the warmest on record. While globally the year was the second warmest, a series of heatwaves helped push the region to a new high mark.

Over the past five years, global temperatures were, on average, just over 1°C warmer than at the end of the 19th century.

Monday, April 20, 2020

The UK government’s climate change adviser is urging ministers to reconsider plans for road-building and switch the investment into broadband. The government plans £28bn worth of new roads to relieve congestion.

But the head of the Climate Change Committee, says it could be cheaper, better for the economy, and climate-friendly to expand fibre optics.

Thursday, April 09, 2020

Many cities around the globe are struggling to reconcile ambitious environmental targets with development pressures, a study has suggested. Scientists in Melbourne recorded a net gain in street tree cover but a net loss in parks and private land.

The Australian team says measures to protect mature trees are "critical" if the urban forest's cover is to be enhanced in the future.

Sunday, April 05, 2020

More than 250 trades unions and environment groups have signed an open letter opposing plans for bailing out the aviation industry.

The letter to governments demands that any bailouts lead to better labour conditions and a cut in emissions.

They say aviation should make changes already evident in other sectors amid the coronavirus lockdown.

Thursday, April 02, 2020

The aftermath of the Covid-19 crisis will transform the way we live, work and travel in the UK, the AA says.


It predicts a permanent reduction in the demand for travel because people have learned during the crisis to use home-working technology.

The implications are profound for commuters and for government finances.

Friday, March 27, 2020

New data confirms the improvement in air quality over Europe, as a byproduct of the coronavirus crisis.


Lockdown policies and the resulting reductions in economic activity have seen emissions take a steep dive.

Friday, March 27, 2020

People in the UK need to shift from cars to public transport to address the challenge of climate change, the government says.


Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "Public transport and active travel will be the natural first choice for our daily activities.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Levels of air pollutants and warming gases over some cities and regions are showing significant drops as the Coronavirus impacts work and travel.


In New York carbon monoxide, mainly from cars, has been reduced by nearly 50% compared with last year and emissions of CO2 have also fallen sharply.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

The UK government has pledged to plant millions a year while other countries have schemes running into billions.


But are these grand ambitions achievable? How much carbon dioxide do trees really pull in from the atmosphere? And what happens to a forest, planted amid a fanfare, over the following decades?

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

The UK cannot go climate neutral much before 2050 unless people stop flying and eating red meat almost completely, a report says. But it warns that the British public do not look ready to take such steps and substantially change their lifestyle.

Thursday, March 05, 2020

We know that climate change harms people but policies to tackle climate change can harm people too. And typically it's the poorest who're most likely to suffer from lost jobs in dirty industries and higher energy bills.

Nearly two thirds of UK homes fail to meet long-term energy efficiency targets, according to data analysed by the BBC. More than 12 million homes fall below the C grade on Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) graded from A-G, meaning householders spend more on energy bills and pump tonnes more CO2 into the atmosphere than necessary.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Ever wondered if your bank or insurance company is funding the coal industry? Or whether your pension fund is backing oil companies drilling new wells in the Arctic? Investors are facing scrutiny like never before about what they're doing to tackle climate change. And the Bank of England has now launched a push to engage the entire business world.

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Image by Josephine Baran

Scotland's parks could heat homes with low-carbon energy

24 February, 2020