The Green Party

News

A selection of news items from outside the local area

Average CO2 level for March 414.50 ppm
(Data from ESRL Mauna Loa)

Halt destruction of nature or suffer even worse pandemics, say world’s top scientists

The coronavirus pandemic is likely to be followed by even more deadly and destructive disease outbreaks unless their root cause – the rampant destruction of the natural world – is rapidly halted, the world’s leading biodiversity experts have warned.

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UN chief: don't use taxpayer money to save polluting industries

Governments should not use taxpayer cash to rescue fossil fuel companies and carbon-intensive industries, but should devote economic rescue packages for the coronavirus crisis to businesses that cut greenhouse gas emissions and create green jobs, the UN secretary general has urged.

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Coronavirus: 'Nature is sending us a message’, says UN environment chief

Nature is sending us a message with the coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing climate crisis, according to the UN’s environment chief, Inger Andersen.

Andersen said humanity was placing too many pressures on the natural world with damaging consequences, and warned that failing to take care of the planet meant not taking care of ourselves.

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'We did it to ourselves': scientist says intrusion into nature led to pandemic

The vast illegal wildlife trade and humanity’s excessive intrusion into nature is to blame for the coronavirus pandemic, according to a leading US scientist who says “this is not nature’s revenge, we did it to ourselves”.

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No alternative to sustainable agriculture: how community-supported farms show the way to food security in an uncertain world

“It's easy for many people to run with the idea that we don't need neighbours. The cynicism in some people is the feeling that there's a default position that we will go back to. I'm not so sure about that.”

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Why Britain’s 2.5 billion paper coffee cups are an eco disaster

Britain gets through 2.5 billion of them every year, and the number is set to increase. But despite a growing clamour for coffee chains to make their cups more environment-friendly, the vast majority are used only once, which critics say is a considerable waste of natural resources.

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Tell the government not to chase Trump's toxic trade deal

Donald Trump wants a toxic trade deal with the UK. And UK Trade Secretary Liz Truss is keen to start negotiations as soon as she can, despite the pandemic.

A US trade deal could harm nature and the climate, especially if rushed. It could see food on our shelves made using chemicals that are currently banned, or pumped full of unnecessary, harmful antibiotics. It could mean giving US investors the power to influence our environmental standards.

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Global climate battle shifts to ‘once-in-a-generation’ government spending

Carbon emissions are set to fall by historic amounts this year, but environmental advocates aren’t celebrating.

Instead, they are zeroing in on a new battle: putting green conditions on the trillions in stimulus funds governments are pumping into their economies to help them recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

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Breaking down the Amazon: how deforestation could drive the next pandemic

When veterinarian Prof Alessandra Nava first learnt of a new respiratory disease killing people in China, the initial cases linked to a Wuhan wet market, she felt a chill of inevitability.

“It gave me that cold feeling in my stomach,” she said. “It was the realization that what we had been expecting had actually happened.”

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What should change post-coronavirus?

“We cannot and should not weigh a loss of human life against the potential of environmental progress. What we can do however, is look at how we can learn from this moment of pause.” Political correspondent for the Immigration Advice Service Luna Williams considers we should draw from these periods of reflection in lockdown, asking ourselves what we want ‘normal’ life to mean in a post-coronavirus world.

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Applying principles of cooperation and comprehensive security to the coronavirus crisis

"Our first goal should be to bring about an immediate end to all armed conflicts."

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Microplastics found for first time in Antarctic ice where krill source food

Small pieces of plastic have been detected in sea ice in Antarctica for what scientists believe is the first time.

Microplastics have previously been discovered in Antarctica’s surface waters, sediment and in snow, but the new discovery could mean the region’s krill – which feed on algae from sea ice – may be more exposed to the plastic.

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Stop the largest ever road-building programme

We are a new national network with over 50 years of campaigning experience between us. We have formed to empower communities fighting destructive road schemes and bus cuts, in order to tackle climate change, reduce social inequality, improve air quality, and protect green spaces and nature.

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Ice-free Arctic summers now very likely even with climate action

The loss of summer sea ice in the Arctic is now very likely before 2050, new research shows, even if the carbon emissions driving the climate crisis are cut rapidly.

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Green Party releases report on requirements for lifting lockdown

A new Green Party report presses for a ‘community shield’ to be implemented by the government in an effort to suppress the coronavirus nationwide and draw upon the solidarity expressed within communities over the recent weeks before lifting the lockdown.

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The race for a coronavirus vaccine proves big pharma isn't fit for purpose

As the spread of coronavirus continues unabated, the response of the pharmaceutical industry is being thrust into the spotlight. For years, major public health crises have exposed the fundamental conflict between profit and public health in our pharmaceutical system.

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A Covid-19 vaccine must be accessible for all

As much of the world goes into lockdown to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus, hopes are already being invested into the development of a vaccine as a way out of the crisis. However, aside from being several months away, large questions remain over who will develop the vaccine, how much it will cost and who will have access to it.

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European CEOs, Ministers Start Campaign for Green Recovery

A new alliance of ministers, chief executive officers and researchers urged the European Union to build its recovery package after the coronavirus crisis around the Green Deal strategy of sustainable growth.

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Arundhati Roy: ‘The pandemic is a portal’

The novelist on how coronavirus threatens India — and what the country, and the world, should do next.

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Labour urges UK government to publish findings of 2016 pandemic drill

Labour has called on ministers to publish the suppressed conclusions of a cross-government pandemic drill that took place in 2016, which accurately predicted that the NHS would be plunged into crisis by an infectious and deadly disease.

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HS2 was always a white elephant. To launch it now is a disgrace

The coronavirus recession will hurt all parts of society – but nothing can derail a Conservative megaproject.

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No new normal: building the commons

Now is the time to reflect on the work we’ve done to create an economy based on abundance rather than scarcity, and where to go from here.

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Planned obsolescence: the outrage of our electronic waste mountain

Unrepairable phones and laptops are one of the scandals of our throwaway society. But the pushback is building – and the coronavirus crisis has added more pressure for change.

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COP26 delayed, but change is coming

“The degree to which we’ve coped, we’ve changed and adapted during the coronavirus outbreak, offers a positive lesson. Change is possible, and can be good, even wonderful.”

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Public ownership in times of coronavirus

A new ourEconomy series with TNI putting the spotlight on struggles to bring services into democratic control.

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'It's positively alpine!': Disbelief in big cities as air pollution falls

Delhi is one of many capitals enjoying improved air quality since restrictions were introduced due to the coronavirus.

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Carbon emissions from fossil fuels could fall by 2.5bn tonnes in 2020

Global carbon emissions from the fossil fuel industry could fall by a record 2.5bn tonnes this year, a reduction of 5%, as the coronavirus pandemic triggers the biggest drop in demand for fossil fuels on record.

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Climate crisis: in coronavirus lockdown, nature bounces back – but for how long?

While carbon emissions fall as human activity decreases, in the end it will be about the politics.

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Surely the link between abusing animals and the world's health is now clear

A disregard for creature welfare is often central to disease. But politicians won’t dare make the connection.

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Hedge funds 'raking in billions' during coronavirus crisis

"It’s a sign of our broken economy that hedge fund managers are raking in billions, while care workers who are putting their lives on the line can barely scrape by. When the immediate crisis has passed, we need to rebuild a more equal economy."

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UK drivers win first round in VW 'dieselgate' case

Thousands of UK motorists have won the first stage of a High Court action against Volkswagen over the installation of emissions cheating devices in its diesel vehicles.

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Eyes wide open: Europe’s choices

The as yet incalculable physical, moral, and economic toll of the global crisis brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic will have been to no avail if we accept the two contentions brandished by many governments as they manage the response.

Firstly, that the crisis is external, as if it were a natural calamity unrelated to human actions. Secondly, that the victory over the crisis will be attained when we return to “normal”, to doing the same things in the same ways as before.

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Climate: institutional collapse and a new agreement to win

The postponement of COP-26 in Glasgow, announced this week, is a decisive defeat for the longstanding impotent institutionalism made evident by the climate crisis.

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Ban wildlife markets to avert pandemics, says UN biodiversity chief

The United Nations’ biodiversity chief has called for a global ban on wildlife markets – such as the one in Wuhan, China, believed to be the starting point of the coronavirus outbreak – to prevent future pandemics.

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'Bad news': radiation spikes 16 times above normal after forest fire near Chernobyl

Ukraine has reported a spike in radiation levels in the restricted zone around Chernobyl, scene of the world’s worst nuclear accident, caused by a forest fire.

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Thousands to be paid for daytime green electricity use during lockdown

Fall in energy use combined with bright, breezy weather leads to first for negativity electricity prices.

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Crossbreeding corals: the hunt for ways to heal the Great Barrier Reef

Scientists, farmers and volunteers are looking for ways to lessen the impact of climate change as experts warn a third mass bleaching has taken place.

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'Circular economy': the tannery making leather from billy goats

A growing micro-tannery sector in the UK is helping to create value for thousands of male goats that would otherwise be killed at birth.

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What wildlife can you see from your home?

If you are locked down in an urban area due to coronavirus, we want to know what flora and fauna you can see from your home.

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Oceans can be restored to former glory within 30 years, say scientists

The glory of the world’s oceans could be restored within a generation, according to a major new scientific review. It reports rebounding sea life, from humpback whales off Australia to elephant seals in the US and green turtles in Japan.

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'Betrayal of trust': HS2 criticised over removal of woodland soils

HS2 is beginning an operation to remove soils from ancient woodlands at a catastrophic time of year for wildlife, according to the Woodland Trust.

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Will the coronavirus kill the oil industry and help save the climate?

The plunging demand for oil wrought by the coronavirus pandemic combined with a savage price war has left the fossil fuel industry broken and in survival mode, according to analysts. It faces the gravest challenge in its 100-year history, they say, one that will permanently alter the industry. With some calling the scene a “hellscape”, the least lurid description is “unprecedented”.

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UK wildlife enjoys humans' lockdown but concerns raised over conservation

Moles are daring to clamber above ground to hunt for worms, oystercatchers are nesting on deserted beaches, and overlooked plants such as ivy-leaved toadflax are gaining new friends.

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Chris Packham begins legal case to halt HS2 amid coronavirus crisis

Chris Packham is seeking an urgent injunction to immediately halt HS2’s destruction of ancient woodlands as campaigners criticise construction teams for allegedly ignoring the government’s physical distancing rules for coronavirus and endangering local people.

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Why is the US so exceptionally vulnerable to Covid-19?

The United States has become the new center of the global coronavirus pandemic, with over 86,000 cases, more than China or Italy. More than a thousand Americans have already died, but this is surely only the very beginning of this deadly collision between the US's uniquely inadequate public healthcare system and a real pandemic.

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How to make the most of the spring wildlife carnival on your doorstep

Wherever you live, Britain’s flora and fauna will be at their peak of activity during the nation’s enforced isolation.

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Revealed: £1bn of taxpayers' cash to help foreign countries buy British arms

The government has quietly drawn up proposals to lend other countries £1bn of public money so that they can buy British-made bombs and surveillance technology.

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More than 100,000 badgers slaughtered in discredited cull policy

Badger Trust condemns ‘largest destruction of a protected species in living memory’ as government admits failings and focuses on vaccination.

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Rightwing thinktanks use fear of Covid-19 to fight bans on plastic bags

The fight to ban plastic bags, many of which end up polluting oceans and rivers, has taken a step backward as conservative US think-tanks exploit the fear of Covid-19, campaigners have said.

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EPA suspends enforcement of environmental laws amid coronavirus

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a sweeping suspension of its enforcement of environmental laws Thursday, telling companies they would not need to meet environmental standards during the coronavirus outbreak.

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Coronavirus redraws battle lines on airline emissions

European airlines crippled by the coronavirus have demanded lasting relief from environmental taxes - in a move that pits their immediate survival against longer-term emissions goals.

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Utrecht rooftops to be ‘greened’ with plants and mosses in new plan

Every roof in the city district of Utrecht is to be “greened” with plants and mosses or have solar panels installed under plans driven by the success of a similar scheme for the municipality’s bus stops.

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Carmakers accused of trying to use crisis to avert emissions crackdown

The motor industry has been accused by campaigners of trying to use the coronavirus crisis to avert stricter environmental regulation, after correspondence showed carmakers had lobbied the EU to defer impending laws.

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'Nature is taking back Venice': wildlife returns to tourist-free city

With the cruise ships gone and the souvenir stalls closed, the coronavirus lockdown has transformed La Serenissima’s waterways.

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Nature is a comfort under lockdown. But what will be left for our children?

The temporary fall in CO2 emissions due to coronavirus has been a respite for the planet – it should be a wake-up call for us.

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Scientists find bug that feasts on toxic plastic

A bacterium that feeds on toxic plastic has been discovered by scientists. The bug not only breaks the plastic down but uses it as food to power the process.

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Can the coronavirus save the planet?

The corona crisis signifies a civilization that is dying. But it also shows a 'pluriverse' of other worlds rising up.

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Delay is deadly: what Covid-19 tells us about tackling the climate crisis

Rightwing governments have denied the problem and been slow to act. With coronavirus and the climate, this costs lives.

The coronavirus pandemic has brought urgency to the defining political question of our age: how to distribute risk. As with the climate crisis, neoliberal capitalism is proving particularly ill-suited to this.

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Covid-19 economic rescue plans must be green, say environmentalists

The economic rescue packages to deal with the impact of the coronavirus must also be green, a growing chorus of environmental campaigners have urged, concerned that hasty measures will lock the world into a high-carbon future.

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Naomi Oreskes: ‘Discrediting science is a political strategy’

In her new book Why Trust Science? Naomi Oreskes, professor of the history of science at Harvard University, argues that if more people heard scientists talk personally about their values, it would help turn back the creeping tide of anti-science sentiment.

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Coronavirus pandemic leading to huge drop in air pollution

The coronavirus pandemic is shutting down industrial activity and temporarily slashing air pollution levels around the world, satellite imagery from the European Space Agency shows.

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Electric cars produce less CO2 than petrol vehicles, study confirms

Electric vehicles produce less carbon dioxide than petrol cars across the vast majority of the globe – contrary to the claims of some detractors, who have alleged that the CO2 emitted in the production of electricity and their manufacture outweighs the benefits.

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Rail franchising has hit the buffers. The question is, what replaces it?

Rail franchising is being suspended “for a limited period, initially six months,” said the Department for Transport. Are you sure? It seems more likely the whole franchising model, as understood since privatisation in the 1990s, is now finished for good.

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Revealed: The pesticide giants making billions on toxic and bee-harming chemicals

The world’s five biggest pesticide manufacturers are making more than a third of their income from leading products selling chemicals that pose serious hazards to human health and the environment, a joint investigation by Unearthed and Public Eye has found.

Analysis of a huge database of 2018’s top-selling “crop protection products” has revealed the world’s leading agrochemical companies made more than 35% of their sales from pesticides classed as “highly hazardous” to people, animals or ecosystems.

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What happens if you treat healthy school meals as a public service?

At first glance, the Richemont crèche, nestled in the French city centre of Vannes, not far from the docks, looks like any other childcare centre: plastic slides and drawings on the walls, bins full of slippers and booties, bright colours splashed everywhere, giving the place a warm, cosy feeling. But the parents who arrive to pick up their children at the end of the day on an afternoon in September, seem a little more calm and collected than the usual stressed-out variety. “When I come to pick up Suzanne, I know that she has had a good lunch, with fresh healthy ingredients,”

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Norfolk road report rewritten to remove warning of risk to bats

An ecological report revealing that a new road would imperil one of Britain’s rarest mammals was rewritten to remove the warning.

Warnings in a survey undertaken for Norfolk county council by an independent environmental consultant were deleted from the report by another consultancy before it was published by the council.

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Welsh government plans to ban single-use plastics from next year

Plastic straws, cutlery and polystyrene food and drink containers look set to be banned in Wales under proposals from the Welsh government.

It said the ban would be part of wider measures to make Wales the world’s top recycling nation.

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'Tip of the iceberg': is our destruction of nature responsible for Covid-19?

As habitat and biodiversity loss increase globally, the coronavirus outbreak may be just the beginning of mass pandemics.

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Greenland's melting ice raised global sea level by 2.2mm in two months

Last year’s summer was so warm that it helped trigger the loss of 600bn tons of ice from Greenland – enough to raise global sea levels by 2.2mm in just two months, new research has found.

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Investigation reveals number of 'ghost trains' lying idle in Britain

At a time of rising fares and growing passenger dissatisfaction, an investigation has revealed that thousands of unused trains are standing idle in rail sidings and depots across the country.

According to industry experts, the unused “ghost trains” worth at least £3bn and containing over 110,000 seats are being stored across at least half a dozen sites, including Crewe, Worksop, Ely and Long Marston.

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Planning applications for UK clean energy projects hit new high

The number of new renewable energy projects applying for planning permission reached a four-year high in the UK last year as energy companies raced to meet the rising demand for clean electricity.

There were 269 planning applications for new wind, solar and bioenergy projects in 2019, up from 204 the year before, according to an analysis of government data by energy consultancy PX Group.

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2019 was bad year for floods and drought in England, say charities

Last year was one of the worst in recent times for both flooding and drought in England, a study has found.

There were more than 5,600 flood warnings in England in 2019, more than in any of the last 15 years except 2012. Groundwater levels were lower than normal in 25 areas, more than in any year since comparable records began in 2006.

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Bus cuts leave a million people without a regular service

More than a million people in Great Britain now live at least a mile from a bus stop with a regular service, BBC research suggests.

The Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) said cuts to services had left some people "trapped in their homes".

In Somerset the number of concessionary journeys taken was down by 45%.

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Climate change: New rules could spell end of 'throwaway culture'

New rules could spell the death of a "throwaway" culture in which products are bought, used briefly, then binned.

The regulations will apply to a range of everyday items such as mobile phones, textiles, electronics, batteries, construction and packaging.

They will ensure products are designed and manufactured so they last - and so they're repairable if they go wrong.

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How EU rules are getting in the way of progressive public policy – and how cities are fighting back

This week the European Commission made a new push to limit cities’ rights to promote sustainable local development and social justice.

Some European cities are trying to use their spending power – via public tendering – to promote social justice and environmental goals. However, this is in a context of neoliberal EU procurement directives that were designed to promote a single market for public procurement, where contracts go to the bidder with the lowest price.

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At the Glasgow climate conference, the UK could kickstart a green tech revolution

Einstein probably didn’t say “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result”, but might have done had he kept tabs on the impact of the annual climate negotiations.

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Trees on commercial UK plantations 'not helping climate crisis'

Commercial tree plantations in Britain do not store carbon to help the climate crisis because more than half of the harvested timber is used for less than 15 years and a quarter is burned, according to a new report.

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UK's lost sea meadows to be resurrected in climate fight

irst seagrass restoration in Britain will capture carbon rapidly and offer habitat for lost marine life.

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The fossil-fuel companies expect to profit from climate change

In a conference room overlooking the gray Thames, a group of young corporate types tried to imagine how the world could save itself, how the international community could balance the need for growth with our precarious ecological situation. For the purposes of our speculative scenarios, everything except for carbon was supposed to be up in the air, and democracy’s track record is mixed.

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Leaked documents reveal Environment Agency ‘overwhelmed’ by staffing cuts and surge in pollution incidents

The Environment Agency is planning to implement a controversial overhaul to its pollution response operations as it admits a surge in pollution incidents driven by climate change is “overwhelming” its depleted staff, according to documents seen by Unearthed.

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Climate activism for the new decade

The fight against global warming has entered a new phase. What strategies will help us halt catastrophe?

2019 was undoubtedly a year of awakening to the climate emergency. Environmental warnings have intensified. All this information has started to form part of the conversation for a wider public, not just for small groups of nerds or experts.

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We can’t wait until 2024 to tackle the climate crisis – let’s fight for a green new deal now

We are on the threshold of an extraordinary decade. Before now the effects of climate and environmental breakdown were mapped on to the future, but today we can see them all around us.

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The UK needs a budget that meets the scale of the challenges we face

The new chancellor should rewrite the rules of public spending to support investment in climate mitigation and adaptation.

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ExxonMobil 'tried to get European Green Deal watered down'

The US oil firm ExxonMobil met key European commission officials in an attempt to water down the European Green Deal in the weeks before it was agreed, according to a climate lobbying watchdog.

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Dirty streaming: The internet's big secret

There are now hundreds of thousands of data centres around the world, storing everything from viral videos to doctors' notes and even bank account details. Many of them run on electricity generated by burning fossil fuels.

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HS2: Chris Packham launches legal challenge to rail link

TV naturalist Chris Packham has launched a legal challenge to HS2 high-speed rail link.

The Springwatch presenter said the government's approval of the controversial project fails to take carbon emissions targets into account.

Mr Packham said: "In regard to the HS2 rail project I believe our government has failed."

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Greta Thunberg brands EU's new climate law 'surrender'

Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg has rebuked the EU's plan for tackling climate change, telling MEPs it amounts to "surrender".

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