In the News
EU unveils sweeping climate change plan
Thursday 15 July 2021
The European Union has announced a raft of climate change proposals aimed at pushing it towards its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050, including plans to tax jet fuel and effectively ban the sale of petrol and diesel powered cars within 20 years.
World at risk of hitting temperature
Thursday 27 May 2021
It's becoming more likely that a key global temperature limit will be reached in one of the next five years. A major study says by 2025 there's a 40% chance of at least one year being 1.5C hotter than the pre-industrial level.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
'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.
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.
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.