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Top articles of the week: July 12



This week on Blue & Green Tomorrow, a study found that bee-killing neonicotinoids have been linked to a decline in farmland insectivore birds.

We also discussed how Wadham College, University of Oxford reversed its decision to serve vegan-only meals on campus for five nights a week, and reported on how climate change could make the gene for ginger hair and blue eyes become less common.

1. London’s Oxford Street has ‘world’s highest’ levels of diesel fumes

Ilaria Bertini: It may be best known for its many shops, but Oxford Street in London is also home to the world’s highest levels of the toxic compound nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which comes from diesel engines and can cause breathing problems and heart-related diseases. Read more.

2. Bee-killing neonicotinoids linked to farmland birds decline

Ilaria Bertini: Insectivore birds in areas heavily treated with neonicotinoids, which have been proven to harm pollinators, have declined significantly compared to farms where the chemical is used less, a new study has found. Read more.

3. Climate change could make gene for ginger hair less common

Ilaria Bertini: People with ginger hair and blue eyes could become less common within centuries if Scotland gets sunnier and warmer because of climate change, according to a genetic testing firm. Read more.

4. Leading economies issued pathways to climate change targets

Tom Revell: Climate experts have issued the UN with a masterplan that instructs how the world’s richest economies can prevent the most devastating impacts of climate change. Read more.

5. University of Oxford college makes U-turn on vegan meals

Jemma Collins: Wadham College at the University of Oxford has reversed a decision to serve only vegan meals on campus for five nights a week – despite students voting through a motion in June. Read more.

6. Baseline for ‘normal’ weather needs to be updated due to climate change, says UN agency

Jemma Collins: The World Meteorological Organisation’s (WMO) Commission for Climatology has said the current baselines for weather are out of date and must be updated more frequently due to the impacts of global warming. Read more.

7. 80% of California in ‘extreme drought’, scientists warn

Ilaria Bertini: Official figures have classified 80% of California as in “extreme” drought, with an estimated 36% in “exceptional” drought – the most severe of five categories. Droughts are increasing the chance of wildfires and driving up water prices. Read more.

8. Leisure social enterprises ‘serious competitors’ for private firms

Charlotte Malone: Social enterprises operating in the leisure services sector are becoming “serious competitors” to privately run businesses, according to the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) SE100 Index. The index also shows that overall social enterprises are performing well. Read more.

9. UK’s modern slavery bill gets its second reading

Ilaria Bertini: A piece of legislation aimed at tackling slavery, human trafficking, forced labour and domestic servitude is getting its second reading in Westminster. The bill is one of the first of its kind in trying to address slavery in the 21st century. Read more.

10. Data reveals agribusiness biggest lobbyer on EU-US secret trade deal

Richard Heasman: The ongoing negotiations surrounding the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and US have been lobbied primarily by agribusiness, new data has revealed. Read more.

Photo: Nick Benjaminsz via Freeimages