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



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.


Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis




Energy Investments
Shutterstock / By Sergey Nivens |

Retiring baby-boomers are facing a retirement cliff, at the same time as mother nature unleashes her fury with devastating storms tied to the impact of global warming. There could be a unique solution to the challenges associated with climate change – investments in clean energy from retirement funds.

Financial savings play a very important role in everyone’s life and one must start planning for it as soon as possible. It’s shocking how quickly seniors can burn through their nest egg – leaving many wondering, “How long your retirement savings will last?

Let’s take a closer look at how seniors can take baby steps on the path to retiring with dignity, while helping to clean up our environment.

Tip #1: Focus & Determination

Like in other work, it is very important to focus and be determined. If retirement is around the corner, then make sure to start putting some money away for retirement. No one can ever achieve anything without dedication and focus – whether it’s saving the planet, or saving for retirement.

Tip #2: Minimize Spending

One of the most important things that you need to do is to minimize your expenditures. Reducing consumption is good for the planet too!

Tip #3: Visualize Your Goal

You can achieve more if you have a clearly defined goal in life. This about how your money can be used to better the planet – imagine cleaner air, water and a healthier environment to leave to your grandchildren.

Investing in Clean Energy

One of the hottest and most popular industries for investment today is the energy market – the trading of energy commodities. Clean energy commodities are traded alongside dirty energy supplies. You might be surprised to learn that clean energy is becoming much more competitive.

With green biz becoming more popular, it is quickly becoming a powerful tool for diversified retirement investing.

The Future of Green Biz

As far as the future is concerned, energy businesses are going to continue getting bigger and better. There are many leading energy companies in the market that already have very high stock prices, yet people are continuing to investing in them.

Green initiatives are impacting every industry. Go Green campaigns are a PR staple of every modern brand. For the energy-sector in the US, solar energy investments are considered to be the most accessible form of clean energy investment. Though investing in any energy business comes with some risks, the demand for energy isn’t going anywhere.

In conclusion, if you want to start saving for your retirement, then clean energy stocks and commodity trading are some of the best options for wallets and the planet. Investing in clean energy products, like solar power, is a more long-term investment. It’s quite stable and comes with a significant profit margin. And it’s amazing for the planet!

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What Should We Make of The Clean Growth Strategy?



Clean Growth Strategy for green energy
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By sdecoret |

It was hardly surprising the Clean Growth Strategy (CGS) was much anticipated by industry and environmentalists. After all, its publication was pushed back a couple of times. But with the document now in the public domain, and the Government having run a consultation on its content, what ultimately should we make of what’s perhaps one of the most important publications to come out of the Department for Business, Energy and the Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in the past 12 months?

The starting point, inevitably, is to decide what the document is and isn’t. It is, certainly, a lengthy and considered direction-setter – not just for the Government, but for business and industry, and indeed for consumers. While much of the content was favourably received in terms of highlighting ways to ensure clean growth, critics – not unjustifiably – suggested it was long on pages but short on detailed and finite policy commitments, accompanied by clear timeframes for action.

A Strategy, Instead of a Plan

But should we really be surprised? The answer, in all honesty, is probably not really. BEIS ministers had made no secret of the fact they would be publishing a ‘strategy’ as opposed to a ‘plan,’ and that gave every indication the CGS would set a direction of travel and be largely aspirational. The Government had consulted on its content, and will likely respond to the consultation during the course of 2018. And that’s when we might see more defined policy commitments and timeframes from action.

The second criticism one might level at the CGS is that indicated the use of ‘flexibilities’ to achieve targets set in the carbon budgets – essentially using past results to offset more recent failings to keep pace with emissions targets. Claire Perry has since appeared in front of the BEIS Select Committee and insisted she would be personally disappointed if the UK used flexibilities to fill the shortfall in meeting the fourth and fifth carbon budgets, but this is difficult ground for the Government. The Committee on Climate Change was critical of the proposed use of efficiencies, which would somewhat undermine ministers’ good intentions and commitment to clean growth – particularly set against November’s Budget, in which the Chancellor maintained the current carbon price floor (potentially giving a reprieve to coal) and introduced tax changes favourable to North Sea oil producers.

A 12 Month Green Energy Initiative with Real Teeth

But, there is much to appreciate and commend about the CGS. It fits into a 12-month narrative for BEIS ministers, in which they have clearly shown a commitment to clean growth, improving energy efficiency and cutting carbon emissions. Those 12 months have seen the launch of the Industrial Strategy – firstly in Green Paper form, which led to the launch of the Faraday Challenge, and then a White Paper in which clean growth was considered a ‘grand challenge’ for government. Throughout these publications – and indeed again with the CGS – the Government has shown itself to be an advocate of smart systems and demand response, including the development of battery technology.

Electrical Storage Development at Center of Broader Green Energy Push

While the Faraday Challenge is primarily focused on the development of batteries to support the proliferation of electric vehicles (which will support cuts to carbon emissions), it will also drive down technology costs, supporting the deployment of small and utility-scale storage that will fully harness the capability of renewables. Solar and wind made record contributions to UK electricity generation in 2017, and the development of storage capacity will help both reduce consumer costs and support decarbonisation.

The other thing the CGS showed us it that the Government is happy to be a disrupter in the energy market. The headline from the publication was the plans for legislation to empower Ofgem to cap the costs of Standard Variable Tariffs. This had been an aspiration of ministers for months, and there’s little doubt that driving down costs for consumers will be a trend within BEIS policy throughout 2018.

But the Government also seems happy to support disruption in the renewables market, as evidenced by the commitment (in the CGS) to more than half a billion pounds of investment in Pot 2 of Contracts for Difference (CfDs) – where the focus will be on emerging rather than established technologies.

This inevitably prompted ire from some within the industry, particularly proponents of solar, which is making an increasing contribution to the UK’s energy mix. But, again, we shouldn’t really be surprised. Since the subsidy cuts of 2015, ministers have given no indication or cause to think there will be public money afforded to solar development. Including solar within the CfD auction would have been a seismic shift in policy. And while ministers’ insistence in subsidy-free solar as the way forward has been shown to be based on a single project, we should expect that as costs continue to be driven down and solar makes record contributions to electricity generation, investment will follow – and there will ultimately be more subsidy-free solar farms, albeit perhaps not in 2018.

Meanwhile, by promoting emerging technologies like remote island wind, the Government appears to be favouring diversification and that it has a range of resources available to meet consumer demand. Perhaps more prescient than the decision to exclude established renewables from the CfD auction is the subsequent confirmation in the budget that Pot 2 of CfDs will be the last commitment of public money to renewable energy before 2025.

In short, we should view the CGS as a step in the right direction, albeit one the Government should be elaborating on in its consultation response. Its publication, coupled with the advancement this year of the Industrial Strategy indicates ministers are committed to the clean growth agenda. The question is now how the aspirations set out in the CGS – including the development of demand response capacity for the grid, and improving the energy efficiency of commercial and residential premises – will be realised.

It’s a step in the right direction. But, inevitably, there’s much more work to do.

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