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Sporting Heavyweights Unite in Climate Change Call This Valentine’s Day

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The MCC – one of the world’s oldest, most famous and most active sporting institutions – joined a group of Premier League clubs, Olympic Gold Medallist Chris Boardman and Britain’s mountaineers, skiiers and surfers in backing The Climate Coalition’s Show The Love campaign on Valentine’s Day yesterday. The MCC’s support follows Saturday’s day of action at yesterday’s Premier League tie between Bournemouth and Stoke City at the Vitality Stadium with managers Mark Hughes and Eddie Howe wearing a green heart badge – the campaign’s emblem – during the game, and activities for young supporters

They joined a host of celebrities, businesses and more than one hundred prominent charities in one of the biggest environmental campaigns the UK has ever seen.

Derek Brewer, Chief Executive and Secretary of the MCC, owners of Lords and guardians of the rules of cricket, said: “Marylebone Cricket Club is committed to sustainability because our changing planet affects our sport. We love the history and heritage of Lord’s, the unique playing conditions that are so dependent on the weather, and the way cricket unites players and fans around the world. We are supporting the Show The Love campaign to show our commitment to protecting the things we love.”

AFC Bournemouth’s Commercial Director Rob Mitchell added that the club had shown commitment to the local environment through its Green Goals scheme instituted six years ago:  “At AFC Bournemouth we already have a number of initiatives to keep our carbon footprint down such as installing LED floodlighting in the summer, having all of our waste sorted and recycled and installing bike racks to encourage more supporters to cycle to the game.

“Football clubs are a big part of communities up and down the country, many of whom have recently been affected by extreme weather and flooding, and we are really looking forward to coming together and showing our greener side with Show The Love this weekend.”

Stoke City Chief Executive Tony Scholes said: “The sight of Carlisle United’s pitch under water and the devastation flood water caused to homes, businesses and communities in Cumbria recently underlines the threat climate change poses on our doorstep. We are proud to be supporting the Show the Love campaign and striving to raise the awareness of the need to address the issue of climate change, both globally and closer to home.”

The impact of extreme weather on sport is increasing and this move reflects work across sports clubs and governing bodies, driven by BASIS (British Association for Sustainable Sport), to reduce their environmental impact and become more sustainable.

Along with to exposure to extreme weather, sports clubs and organisations are focal points for their communities and for the country and their support for this campaign signals a clear commitment to persuade supporters, members and staff of the need to work together to tackle climate change.

The campaign is also being supported by other Premier League clubs, including Everton, Southampton and West Ham, who join the British Mountaineering Council, the Ski Club of Great Britain and cycling star Chris Boardman MBE adding their voice.

Boardman, a former hour world record holder and wearer of the Tour de France’s yellow jersey, said:  “As a professional cyclist, I was lucky to have the chance to ride and race through some unique and beautiful landscapes, and my love of nature has only increased since I stopped racing.  But I support Show The Love because of something much closer to home – 29,000 people in our country died last year because of air pollution.  That’s far too high, and it’s avoidable.

“I want my children to be able to ride to school, move through town and enjoy the outdoors without worrying their health is being put at risk. If we don’t make our voices heard now it could be too late. Why should the next generation be denied what my generation has been able to enjoy?”

Former British skier Chemmy Alcott has already tweeted her backing and Frank McCusker, Chief Executive of the Ski Club of Great Britain, the UK’s largest snow sports membership club said:  “Since 2004 when the Ski Club issued our own Environmental policy, we’ve been a huge advocate of safeguarding our natural environment and the long-term future of snowsports. We’re wholly behind and proud to support the Show The Love campaign and the great work it’s doing to highlight the importance of protecting our surroundings and the future of the planet.”

Fellow mountain dwellers the British Mountaineering Association have seen first-hand the impact of a changing climate.  Their CEO Dave Turnbull said: “The BMC is supporting this campaign as climate change is already having a great impact on the world’s mountains. Extreme weather events and rapidly melting glaciers are endangering the survival of mountain peoples as well as specialised ecosystems. The loss of some Alpine climbing is already apparent. We all need to start taking steps to safeguard the future of our mountains.”

Likewise Hugo Tagholm, Chief Executive of Surfers Against Sewage CEO said surfers were also concerned:  “Increased intense storm activity will wreak havoc with the coast and result in increased sewer overflow discharges polluting the seas.  Surfers Against Sewage support the movement towards 100% renewables to help protect the coast.”

Such widespread support within sport for an environmental campaign is unpredicted, but sustainability champions have been heartened by the news.

Forest Green Rovers of the Conference Premier, owned by renewable energy company Ecotricity, is the world’s first vegan football club, with the world’s first organic pitch, a rain-recyclable irrigation system and a stadium fitted with solar panels.

First team manager Ady Pennock said: “I’m delighted that our players, fans and club have been able to support the Show the Love campaign. Raising awareness of the importance of looking after the environment plays a big role at Forest Green Rovers, and it’s great that we can use football as a tool to broadcast that message.”

Russell Seymour, founder and chair of BASIS, which brings together key figures in sport to share best practice and counts the ECB, the Jockey Club and Twickenham, Emirates and Millennium stadia among its members, said: “BASIS prides itself on supporting the sport sector in its commitment to becoming a sustainable industry. All sports will be affected by climate change, some more than others, with some already affected. It is because we are all impacted by changes to our planet that we need to come together. We are supporting the SHOW THE LOVE campaign because it’s time for us all to come together to protect the things we love” 

Astronaut and rugby fan, Tim Peake, who watched last week’s 6 Nations match between Scotland and England on the BBC will be tweeting his support for the campaign from the International Space Station.

Economy

New Zealand to Switch to Fully Renewable Energy by 2035

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renewable energy policy
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Eviart / https://www.shutterstock.com/g/adrian825

New Zealand’s prime minister-elect Jacinda Ardern is already taking steps towards reducing the country’s carbon footprint. She signed a coalition deal with NZ First in October, aiming to generate 100% of the country’s energy from renewable sources by 2035.

New Zealand is already one of the greenest countries in the world, sourcing over 80% of its energy for its 4.7 million people from renewable resources like hydroelectric, geothermal and wind. The majority of its electricity comes from hydro-power, which generated 60% of the country’s energy in 2016. Last winter, renewable generation peaked at 93%.

Now, Ardern is taking on the challenge of eliminating New Zealand’s remaining use of fossil fuels. One of the biggest obstacles will be filling in the gap left by hydropower sources during dry conditions. When lake levels drop, the country relies on gas and coal to provide energy. Eliminating fossil fuels will require finding an alternative source to avoid spikes in energy costs during droughts.

Business NZ’s executive director John Carnegie told Bloomberg he believes Ardern needs to balance her goals with affordability, stating, “It’s completely appropriate to have a focus on reducing carbon emissions, but there needs to be an open and transparent public conversation about the policies and how they are delivered.”

The coalition deal outlined a few steps towards achieving this, including investing more in solar, which currently only provides 0.1% of the country’s energy. Ardern’s plans also include switching the electricity grid to renewable energy, investing more funds into rail transport, and switching all government vehicles to green fuel within a decade.

Zero net emissions by 2050

Beyond powering the country’s electricity grid with 100% green energy, Ardern also wants to reach zero net emissions by 2050. This ambitious goal is very much in line with her focus on climate change throughout the course of her campaign. Environmental issues were one of her top priorities from the start, which increased her appeal with young voters and helped her become one of the youngest world leaders at only 37.

Reaching zero net emissions would require overcoming challenging issues like eliminating fossil fuels in vehicles. Ardern hasn’t outlined a plan for reaching this goal, but has suggested creating an independent commission to aid in the transition to a lower carbon economy.

She also set a goal of doubling the number of trees the country plants per year to 100 million, a goal she says is “absolutely achievable” using land that is marginal for farming animals.

Greenpeace New Zealand climate and energy campaigner Amanda Larsson believes that phasing out fossil fuels should be a priority for the new prime minister. She says that in order to reach zero net emissions, Ardern “must prioritize closing down coal, putting a moratorium on new fossil fuel plants, building more wind infrastructure, and opening the playing field for household and community solar.”

A worldwide shift to renewable energy

Addressing climate change is becoming more of a priority around the world and many governments are assessing how they can reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and switch to environmentally-friendly energy sources. Sustainable energy is becoming an increasingly profitable industry, giving companies more of an incentive to invest.

Ardern isn’t alone in her climate concerns, as other prominent world leaders like Justin Trudeau and Emmanuel Macron have made renewable energy a focus of their campaigns. She isn’t the first to set ambitious goals, either. Sweden and Norway share New Zealand’s goal of net zero emissions by 2045 and 2030, respectively.

Scotland already sources more than half of its electricity from renewable sources and aims to fully transition by 2020, while France announced plans in September to stop fossil fuel production by 2040. This would make it the first country to do so, and the first to end the sale of gasoline and diesel vehicles.

Many parts of the world still rely heavily on coal, but if these countries are successful in phasing out fossil fuels and transitioning to renewable resources, it could serve as a turning point. As other world leaders see that switching to sustainable energy is possible – and profitable – it could be the start of a worldwide shift towards environmentally-friendly energy.

Sources: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-06/green-dream-risks-energy-security-as-kiwis-aim-for-zero-carbon

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-hydrocarbons/france-plans-to-end-oil-and-gas-production-by-2040-idUSKCN1BH1AQ

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Energy

5 Easy Things You Can Do to Make Your Home More Sustainable

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sustainable homes
Shutterstock Licensed Photot - By Diyana Dimitrova

Increasing your home’s energy efficiency is one of the smartest moves you can make as a homeowner. It will lower your bills, increase the resale value of your property, and help minimize our planet’s fast-approaching climate crisis. While major home retrofits can seem daunting, there are plenty of quick and cost-effective ways to start reducing your carbon footprint today. Here are five easy projects to make your home more sustainable.

1. Weather stripping

If you’re looking to make your home more energy efficient, an energy audit is a highly recommended first step. This will reveal where your home is lacking in regards to sustainability suggests the best plan of attack.

Some form of weather stripping is nearly always advised because it is so easy and inexpensive yet can yield such transformative results. The audit will provide information about air leaks which you can couple with your own knowledge of your home’s ventilation needs to develop a strategic plan.

Make sure you choose the appropriate type of weather stripping for each location in your home. Areas that receive a lot of wear and tear, like popular doorways, are best served by slightly more expensive vinyl or metal options. Immobile cracks or infrequently opened windows can be treated with inexpensive foams or caulking. Depending on the age and quality of your home, the resulting energy savings can be as much as 20 percent.

2. Programmable thermostats

Programmable thermostats

Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By Olivier Le Moal

Programmable thermostats have tremendous potential to save money and minimize unnecessary energy usage. About 45 percent of a home’s energy is earmarked for heating and cooling needs with a large fraction of that wasted on unoccupied spaces. Programmable thermostats can automatically lower the heat overnight or shut off the air conditioning when you go to work.

Every degree Fahrenheit you lower the thermostat equates to 1 percent less energy use, which amounts to considerable savings over the course of a year. When used correctly, programmable thermostats reduce heating and cooling bills by 10 to 30 percent. Of course, the same result can be achieved by manually adjusting your thermostats to coincide with your activities, just make sure you remember to do it!

3. Low-flow water hardware

With the current focus on carbon emissions and climate change, we typically equate environmental stability to lower energy use, but fresh water shortage is an equal threat. Installing low-flow hardware for toilets and showers, particularly in drought prone areas, is an inexpensive and easy way to cut water consumption by 50 percent and save as much as $145 per year.

Older toilets use up to 6 gallons of water per flush, the equivalent of an astounding 20.1 gallons per person each day. This makes them the biggest consumer of indoor water. New low-flow toilets are standardized at 1.6 gallons per flush and can save more than 20,000 gallons a year in a 4-member household.

Similarly, low-flow shower heads can decrease water consumption by 40 percent or more while also lowering water heating bills and reducing CO2 emissions. Unlike early versions, new low-flow models are equipped with excellent pressure technology so your shower will be no less satisfying.

4. Energy efficient light bulbs

An average household dedicates about 5 percent of its energy use to lighting, but this value is dropping thanks to new lighting technology. Incandescent bulbs are quickly becoming a thing of the past. These inefficient light sources give off 90 percent of their energy as heat which is not only impractical from a lighting standpoint, but also raises energy bills even further during hot weather.

New LED and compact fluorescent options are far more efficient and longer lasting. Though the upfront costs are higher, the long term environmental and financial benefits are well worth it. Energy efficient light bulbs use as much as 80 percent less energy than traditional incandescent and last 3 to 25 times longer producing savings of about $6 per year per bulb.

5. Installing solar panels

Adding solar panels may not be the easiest, or least expensive, sustainability upgrade for your home, but it will certainly have the greatest impact on both your energy bills and your environmental footprint. Installing solar panels can run about $15,000 – $20,000 upfront, though a number of government incentives are bringing these numbers down. Alternatively, panels can also be leased for a much lower initial investment.

Once operational, a solar system saves about $600 per year over the course of its 25 to 30-year lifespan, and this figure will grow as energy prices rise. Solar installations require little to no maintenance and increase the value of your home.

From an environmental standpoint, the average five-kilowatt residential system can reduce household CO2 emissions by 15,000 pounds every year. Using your solar system to power an electric vehicle is the ultimate sustainable solution serving to reduce total CO2 emissions by as much as 70%!

These days, being environmentally responsible is the hallmark of a good global citizen and it need not require major sacrifices in regards to your lifestyle or your wallet. In fact, increasing your home’s sustainability is apt to make your residence more livable and save you money in the long run. The five projects listed here are just a few of the easy ways to reduce both your environmental footprint and your energy bills. So, give one or more of them a try; with a small budget and a little know-how, there is no reason you can’t start today.

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