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Move To Renewables Jeopardized By EU Corporate Trade Deals

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Proposed special rights for corporations in EU trade agreements threaten to prevent the necessary energy transition to tackle climate change according to a new report released today. “Polluters Paradise – How investor rights in EU trade deals sabotage the fight for energy transition” shows how planned trade deals such as TTIP and CETA would help entrench a global corporate bill of rights that will impair efforts to tackle global warming.

Explaining the dangerous investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions in trade and investment deals and the resulting power for companies to sue governments in special tribunals over policies that effect profits, the report shows how ISDS could deter future climate-friendly public policies.

It finds that 35% of all known investor-state claims relate to oil, mining, gas and electricity, with the number of lawsuits targeting state initiatives in the energy sector on the rise. From the phase out of nuclear power in Germany, to the moratorium on fracking in the Canadian province of Quebec, big corporations are using ISDS’s rigged rules to challenge virtually any attempt by governments to implement progressive energy policies.


The report also details how law firms that make money when investors sue states are encouraging multinationals to file lawsuits over green energy measures such as renewables targets and taxes on fossil fuels. Investment lawyers have also alerted companies to arbitration as a forum to challenge the rejection of dirty energy projects such as the controversial Canada-US Keystone XL pipeline, which was recently rejected by President Obama over environmental concerns.

“At a time when attention should be focused on averting a global climate catastrophe, there is no space for agreements that would send emissions soaring and make solutions to climate change illegal,” says Amélie Canonne from French campaign group AITEC. “Treaties that work for dirty industry and undermine the fight for climate justice should be abolished, and plans for even more corporate rights in TTIP and CETA should be axed.”

“Despite recent talk of reform from EU Trade Commissioner Malmström, ISDS is as alive and dangerous as ever,” says Pia Eberhardt of lobby watchdog Corporate Europe Observatory. “Offering this blank cheque for climate culprits to sue the hell out of countries acting to prevent catastrophic climate change is nothing short of scandalous. If we are to have a chance of preventing extremely dangerous levels of global warming, these corporate bills of rights must be stopped.”

The report can be read here.


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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