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Most popular on Blue Green 15 Jan – 28 Jan 2016

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Here’s the articles that were read by most people in the last week.

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The Guide to Sustainable Banking 2016

has set aside a further £2.5bn to cover the cost of past misdeeds (£39 for every man, woman and child in the UK who own 70% of the bank). This month Chancellor George Osborne, who has privately met representatives of major banks five times since the general election, encouraged the city regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority, to ditch a review into banking culture. Read more.

Blue & Green Marbles: Caroline Lucas MP, Our Sustainability Personality of the Year

Despite the obvious differences in public awareness and profile between the popular Brighton MP and the less well known CEO of ShareAction, Catherine Howarth gathered well over a third of our well-informed readers’ support. Having led the field since round four, the Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion, Caroline Lucas, surges to the top of our poll with 63% of the initial and eleven rounds of transferred votes. We all stand in ovation to these two incredible and fearless and formidable women. Read more.

New Global Commission to Put Business at the Centre of Sustainable Development

Commission of business, labour and civil society leaders, established by Unilever CEO Paul Polman and former United Nations Deputy Secretary General Mark Malloch-Brown, will highlight the massive rewards to businesses who take a lead in poverty reduction and sustainable development. Businesses which join global efforts to end extreme poverty and protect the planet’s finite natural resources can reap great rewards and protect their long-term performance, a proposition that will be tested by a new commission launched today at the World Economic Forum. Read more.

Coal Dropped From Vietnam’s Future Energy Plans

Vietnam will effectively shelve the equivalent of 70 large coal power plants following an announcement from the Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung that the country would drop all further coal-fired power plant projects and move towards cleaner energy. Read more.

Triodos Corporate Finance Raises £17 Million in 2015

Triodos Corporate Finance has raised over £17 million in 2015 for 11 organisations delivering a wide range of positive impact: alleviating youth homelessness, providing work for ex-offenders, housing people with a learning disability, engaging young people in education and creating clean electricity. This brings the total capital raised on behalf of clients in the last five years to £72 million. Read more.

The Guide to Sustainable Funds 2016

Do you want your investments to have a positive impact on people and our planet? Are you tired of being sold unsustainable, irresponsible and unethical investment? Do you worry about the future you are creating for your family by what you invest in? Read more.

Reckless EDF’s Survival Threatened by Hinkley Point C

According to the French newspaper, Le Figaro, EDF could make a final decision on the proposed construction of Hinkley Point C at its Board of Directors meeting on 27th January 2016. Stop Hinkley spokesperson Roy Pumfrey said: “I’ll believe it when I see it. This is the ninth time EDF has said a final investment decision is imminent. Just last October the chairman of EDF, Jean-Bernard Levy, said work would be starting before the end of 2015. It would be completely reckless of the Board to give the go-ahead to this £25 billion project when the Company is in such a parlous state.” Read more.

Most Polluted Streets 2015 Revealed

Friends of the Earth Scotland have released a list of the most polluted streets in Scotland which confirms that many streets are still failing to meet Scottish safety standards. The environmental campaign group analysed official Scottish Government data for two harmful pollutants, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and coarse particles (PM10) which are known to be linked with serious health problems including heart attacks, strokes, respiratory illness and early death. Read more.

Pharrell Williams and Oliver Letwin Hook Awards For Marine Conservation At Inaugural UK Ocean Awards

American musician and producer Pharrell Williams is recognised for his work to promote awareness of the plastic waste filling up the oceans through sustainable fashion label, Bionic Yarn while Oliver Letwin, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, gets “visionary” award for engineering UK government’s key commitment to “Blue Belts” around its Overseas Territories. Retailers M&S and Selfridges also scooped awards among the 12 categories for their efforts to address ocean issues. The Awards event, held at Mark’s Club in Mayfair, was attended by judges including Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Sir Charles Dunstone and Princess Zahra Aga Khan. Read more.

 

Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

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IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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