Friday 18th April 2014                 Change text size:

shining.darkness via flickr

MPs: energy firms showing ‘utter complacency’ over Christmas powercuts

MPs have accused the bosses of UK energy distribution firms of “utter complacency”, during a hearing investigating the companies’ responses to the stormy weather that led to widespread powercuts over the Christmas period. Around 750,000 properties were affected as the worst storms to hit the UK for decades left many...


Ashley Coates via flickr

Sellafield site ‘unsafe for future nuclear storage’

The government has been accused of rigging the consultation process to select the site of a proposed nuclear waste storage facility in favour of a location that some geologists labelled as unsafe. Leading geologists told the Observer that they believed the government pushed for the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing site in Cumbria...


Roman Hobler via flickr

Government admits ‘inconsistencies’ in flood defence spending

The government has been forced to make an embarrassing climb-down over its claims that it is spending more on flood defences than ever before. On Thursday, the environment minister Dan Rogerson admitted that spending had fallen to £2.34 billion in the current spending review, compared with £2.37 billion in...


parliament above

Lords ask government to rethink lobbying bill

The government’s controversial lobbying bill was defeated in the House of Lords on Wednesday, as peers voted in favour of amendments relaxing some of the restrictions that charities say could effectively gag them. Peers from all parties backed a move, tabled by Lord Harries, to stop some staff costs...


Ed Miliband via Flickr

Only Labour can rebuild middle class, says Miliband

With just over a year until the 2015 general election, battle lines are being drawn by the major political parties. This week, Ed Miliband will set out his plans to make the economy work for the British middle class. At last year’s party conference, the Labour leader said how...


Matthew Harris via flickr

Aiming for tar sands oil is greedy and destructive, Neil Young tells Canadian PM

Canadian musician Neil Young has criticised his home country’s dash for tar sands oil, and launched a fundraising tour to support the indigenous groups who are against it. Young said that Canada’s government was “completely out of control” when it came to the environment, as it gives absolute priority...


Gordon Bell via Flickr

Lobbying bill: further concessions needed, charities warn

The government could face defeat in the House of Lords on Wednesday if it doesn’t make further amendments to its controversial lobbying bill, campaigners have warned. The transparency of lobbying, non-party campaigning and trade union administration bill, which is now reaching the end of its process through parliament, was...


C European Union 2012 via Flickr

The Secret Environmentalist: all out for shale gas

“We’re going all out for shale gas”, the shiny man says. All out for a technology whose availability is unproven and undefined, its impacts unclear and its benefits debated. All out for a process whose safety depends upon rigorous monitoring of safety and the environmental performance of private interests...


Total- David Neubert via Flickr

Energy giant Total to invest £30m in UK fracking

French fossil fuel giant Total is to become the first major oil company to invest in the UK’s shale gas industry, it announced on Monday. The investment will be welcomed by the government, who have sought to kick off a fracking boom comparable to that in the US by...


tonyhall via Flickr

Lobbying bill amended after ‘gagging’ concerns from charities

The government has backed down over a controversial bill that charities claimed would have effectively gagged them, and severely restricted their abilities to campaign on social issues. The transparency of lobbying, non-party campaigning and trade union administration bill was put forward to restrict the lobbying of government ministers and...


Petrol station - Minale Tattersfield via Flickr

Put stickers on fuel pumps to teach motorists about climate change, says 350.org

A leading environmental campaign group has come up with a unique idea to create a cause and effect link between driving and climate change. US-based 350.org wants global warming stickers to be put on fuel pumps across California. Whilst many consumers accept that car emissions are polluting the environment,...


Ben Goldsmith

20 questions with… Ben Goldsmith

Ben Goldsmith answers 20 questions on life, sustainability and everything. Goldsmith is an environmentalist, philanthropist and a partner at sustainable investment business WHEB, which he co-founded in 2002. We want the world to be as blue and green tomorrow as it was yesterday. What’s your mission? My mission is...


Photo: Andrzej Pobiedziński via stock.xchng

Cleantech venture investment at $6.8bn in 2013, led by energy efficiency

Global venture capital investment in clean technology (cleantech) totalled $6.8 billion (£4.1 billion) in 2013, with energy efficiency, transportation and solar the most profitable sectors, according to new data. While the figure represents a 15% decrease on 2012, when $7.9 billion (£4.8 billion) was invested, an average growth rate...


by Roman Hobler via flickr

MPs question environment budget cuts amid UK floods

MPs have demanded to know how budget cuts to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) are going to affect its ability to do its duties, including responding to emergencies such as flooding. In a new report, the environment committee says that although Defra is one of...


Photo: Maxwell Hamilton via Flickr

The secret self-supply of Britain’s big six energy giants

It’s only the fourth day of 2014 but already the big six have hit the headlines again. This time they come accused by the Labour party of pushing up bills and profits by buying electricity at higher than market prices, often from their own generators. This follows charges of ‘green murder’...


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