In the News

UK to speed up target to cut carbon emissions

Tuesday 20 April 2021

 

Radical new climate change commitments will set the UK on course to cut carbon emissions by 78% by 2035, Boris Johnson will announce this week. Hitting the targets would require more electric cars, low-carbon heating...

UK woodlands 'at crisis point' amid wildlife decline

Wednesday 14 April 2021

 

A review of the state of Britain's native woods and trees has found only 7% are in a good condition. While woodland cover is slowly increasing, the wildlife within it is decreasing, says the Woodland Trust.

World's wealthiest 'at heart of climate problem'

Tuesday 13 April 2021

 

The world’s wealthy must radically change their lifestyles to tackle climate change, a report says. It says the world's wealthiest 1% produce double the combined carbon emissions of the poorest 50%, according to the UN.

Green plan to upgrade homes was 'botched', say MPs

Monday 22 March 2021

 

The masterplan to help people upgrade the UK’s homes has been “botched” and must be urgently overhauled, MPs say. The environmental audit select committee says the Green Homes Grant (GHG), which offers...

Prosperity comes at a 'devastating' cost to nature

Tuesday 2 February 2021

 

A landmark review has called for transformational change in our economic approach to nature. The long-awaited review by Prof Sir Partha Dasgupta says prosperity has come at a "devastating" cost to the natural world.

What is the Paris climate agreement and why is the US rejoining?

Thursday 21 January 2021

 

One of US President Joe Biden's first acts in office was to start the process of rejoining the Paris climate deal - reversing Donald Trump's decision to withdraw.

Coal mine go-ahead 'undermines climate summit'

Wednesday 20 January 2021

 

Britain's climate change leadership is being undercut by a government decision to allow a new coal mine in Cumbria, MPs have warned. The UK is hosting a UN climate summit in November, where it will urge other...

Why I'm feeling hopeful about the environment in 2021

Monday 3 January 2021

 

This year, 2021, a number of things are coming together to help achieve a low-carbon future. In 25 years of reporting the environment patch I've never been so convinced that the world has the potential to change.

Why 2021 could be turning point for tackling climate change

Friday 1 January 2021

 

Countries only have only a limited time in which to act if the world is to stave off the worst effects of climate change. Here are five reasons why 2021 could be a crucial year in the fight against global warming.

Green body gives verdict on Boris Johnson carbon-cutting policies

Tuesday, 29 December, 2020

The prime minister's bold promises to protect the climate are not yet backed by policies and cash, says an end-of-year report by a think tank, Green Alliance.

It says there's a "significant gap" between Boris Johnson's world-leading plans and what's needed to meet the UK's carbon-cutting targets.

MORE HERE

Extreme weather causes huge losses in 2020

Monday, 28 December, 2020

The world continued to pay a very high price for extreme weather in 2020, according to a report from the charity Christian Aid. Against a backdrop of climate change, its study lists 10 events that saw thousands of lives lost and major insurance costs. Six of the events took place in Asia, with floods in China and India causing damages of more than $40bn.

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Not enough' climate ambition shown by leaders

Saturday, 12 December, 2020

The UK minister tasked with leading UN climate talks says world leaders are failing to show the necessary level of ambition. Alok Sharma was speaking at the conclusion of a virtual climate summit organised by the UK, UN and France. He said "real progress" had been made and 45 countries had put forward new climate plans for 2030.

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Beer and crisps used to help tackle climate change

Monday, 07 December, 2020

Crisps firm Walkers has adopted a technique it says will slash CO2 emissions from its manufacturing process by 70%. The technology will use CO2 captured from beer fermentation in a brewery, which is then mixed with potato waste and turned into fertiliser. It will then be spread on UK fields to feed the following year's potato crop.

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UK aims to cut emissions by 68% by end of 2030

Friday, 04 December, 2020

The UK will aim to cut its carbon emissions by at least 68% of what they were in 1990 by the end of 2030, Boris Johnson has announced. The PM said the "ambitious" target would see the UK cutting emissions faster than any major economy so far. And he urged other world leaders to follow his lead at a virtual climate summit on 12 December.

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Frustrated by delay, young activists stage virtual Mock COP

Thursday, 19 November, 2020

Hundreds of young environmental activists from around the world are meeting virtually to call for greater action on climate change. With the international climate talks that were due to be held in Glasgow this year delayed until November 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic, young people have decided to create their own. Unlike the UN summit, COP26, the youth-led Mock COP is not based anywhere physical. 

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Government to invest £4bn to create 250,000 new green jobs

Tuesday, 17 November, 2020

It also aims to equip a generation of workers with new green skills. It will emphasise the potential jobs that the so-called green industrial revolution could bring to regions that have suffered industrial decline.

The BBC can confirm that technology to capture and store carbon created in industrial processes will receive substantial government investment.

MORE HERE

Monday, 9 November, 2020

Tackling greenhouse gas emissions in farming will require the biggest change since the shift from horses to tractors, a report says. The Farming for 1.5C inquiry looked at practical ways in which the industry could help tackle climate change. Its report says methane from livestock must drop while improvements are needed in soil and fertiliser management through precision farming. But it says farmers need financial help if they are to deliver improvements.

MORE HERE

Why the UK's carbon-free future will need rules

Sunday, 8 November, 2020

A 10-point plan aimed at putting the UK on track for a zero emissions economy is due to be unveiled by the prime minister in the coming weeks.

Boris Johnson's previous speeches on climate change have given the impression the problem can largely be solved by technology - a flash of nuclear, a gust of hydrogen, a blast of offshore wind, a dollop of carbon capture and storage.

MORE HERE

UK energy plant to use liquid air

Saturday, 7 November, 2020

Work is beginning on what is thought to be the world's first major plant to store energy in the form of liquid air. It will use surplus electricity from wind farms at night to compress air so hard that it becomes a liquid at -196 Celsius.

Then when there is a peak in demand in a day or a month, the liquid air will be warmed so it expands. The resulting rush of air will drive a turbine to make electricity, which can be sold back to the grid.

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Technology no silver bullet, experts tell PM

Sunday, 25 October, 2020

Can we trust the silver bullet of technology to fix climate change? The prime minister seems to think so. In a speech due soon, he is expected to pledge his faith in offshore wind power, solar, carbon capture, hydrogen, clean cars, and zero-emission aviation. Clean technologies are clearly a huge part of any solution but the PM is being accused of techno-optimism bias, because he does not mention other key factors in reducing emissions.

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Britain must nurture its scientific expertise...

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. 

MORE HERE

'Earthshot' prize launched 

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.

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Wind farms could power every home by 2030

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.

MORE HERE

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

MORE HERE

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.

MORE HERE

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. 

MORE HERE

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.