News In Brief

By Eco-Age

Thursday 22nd August

In today's news: Brazil's President accuses environmental NGOs for starting wildfire surge despite lack of evidence; MPs say that people in the UK will need to ditch their cars to meet climate change targets; the WWF says rivers are being used as "open sewers."

Climate change fears gripping Britain with 85% worried about warming

Fears in Britain about climate change have hit a record high, an exclusive poll for the Evening Standard reveals today. The Ipsos MORI survey showed 85 per cent of adults are now concerned about global warming, the highest figure since the pollster started asking the question in 2005.

Plastic collected by The Ocean Cleanup will be burned to generate electricity

Dutch non-profit The Ocean Cleanup plans to burn some of the plastic it collects from the Pacific Ocean, Dezeen has learned. Designers and environmentalists say the move "makes no sense". The organisation told Dezeen that most of the plastic it harvests with its floating rigs will be recycled, with the remainder burned in waste-to-power plants.

Plastic foam used by council to fill in cliff is putting seals and dolphins in danger, say environmental groups

Harrison Catherall, a biologist, visited the island on Tuesday. He tweeted: "Wirral Council...filled an unstable cave on Hilbre island with polyurethane foam. Before it had time to cure the tide came in and washed it all away. #Plastic everywhere!"

Supermarket aims to halt practice of shooting calves at birth

A supermarket is setting up a scheme to allow bull calves from its dairy farms to live to at least eight weeks old, instead of being shot soon after birth, as now. Morrisons said the move will support farmers by letting them sell their male calves to be reared for beef.

Ditch cars to meet climate targets, say MPs

People will have to get out of their cars if the UK is to meet its climate change targets, MPs say. The Science and Technology Select Committee says technology alone cannot solve the problem of greenhouse gas emissions from transport. It says the government cannot achieve sufficient emissions cuts by swapping existing vehicles for cleaner versions.

Fracking immediately suspended in Blackpool after it triggers biggest earthquake yet

Fracking has been halted at the UK's only shale gas exploration site after it triggered the largest earthquake caused by the practice to date, according to an energy firm. Operations were paused for 18 hours from Wednesday evening while Cuadrilla monitored the site near Blackpool after a "micro seismic event" with a magnitude of 1.55.

Rivers used as 'open sewers', says charity

Targets for 75% of rivers to be healthy by 2027 are "very unlikely" to be met in England, a charity has warned. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) says rivers are "used as open sewers". The Environment Agency predicts 75% of rivers in England and along the Scottish and Welsh borders will meet EU expectations by 2027, compared with just 14% now.

Jair Bolsonaro accuses NGOs of setting fires in Amazon rainforest

The Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, has accused environmental groups of setting fires in the Amazon as he tries to deflect growing international criticism of his failure to protect the world's biggest rainforest.

UK is set to miss net-zero 2050 target with 'dire consequences'

The UK will miss its legally binding net-zero 2050 target with "dire consequences" unless climate policies are rapidly implemented, MPs have warned the government. Efforts to reduce emissions have been undermined by "unacceptable" cutbacks and delays, according to a report from the Science and Technology Select Committee.

Wednesday 21st August

In today's news: highest number of fires in Amazon since records began started between January and August; Tony Juniper says England's nature reserves are becoming overgrown due to a lack of government funding; scientists report that living in polluted areas increases mental illnesses and depression.

Brazilian Amazon burning at record rate, space agency warns

Brazil's Amazon rainforest has seen a record number of fires this year, according to new data from the country's space research agency. The National Institute for Space Research (Inpe) said its satellite data showed an 83% increase on the same period in 2018.

England's nature reserves are becoming overgrown and unloved because of lack of government funding, head of Natural England warns

He suggested "rewilding" the greenbelt, explaining: "There is a really powerful agenda now linked to public health, that I think we can use to encourage more greening of cities and greening the edge of cities... We have a massive pile of data that one of the ways you can reduce the rise of [in-activity] trends is by facilitating access to the environment.

Suppliers' shock at Asos discount demands

In a letter to suppliers, seen by Drapers, the etailer asked for a 3% discount on all invoices for stock received from 1 September onwards, to continue to "fuel joint growth" at the business. " Asos was the last business I expected to do this," said one supplier.

Living amid pollution increases risk of major mental illness or depression, study suggests

Living in an area with high air pollution increases the chance of suffering from a major mental illness or depression, scientists have discovered. In the biggest study ever looking into a link between emissions and neuropsychiatric disorders, researchers compared 151 million health insurance records with pollution statistics across the US.

Trend setters: brands cotton on to G7 pact against fast fashion

There have been few fashion statements over the years at G7 summits (dress code: world leader suit, sensible shoes). But this year, G7 leaders will be joined by more than 20 fashion retailers and brands, including the owner of Gucci, Kering, H&M and Zara's parent company, Inditex, for a key fashion moment - a global pact to fight the climate crisis and protect biodiversity and the oceans.


Tuesday 20th August

In today's news: South Africa wins permission to increase black rhino trophy hunting; Some animals may be able to adapt to climate change; and Amazon comes under fire for new packaging that cannot be recycled.


South Africa gets go-ahead to increase black rhino trophy hunting

South Africa has won permission to almost double the number of black rhinos that can be killed as trophies after arguing the money raised will support conservation of the critically endangered species. The decision was made at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) after receiving support from some African nations and opposition from others.

Move Over, Shareholders: Top CEOs Say Companies Have Obligations to Society

The leaders of some of America's biggest companies are chipping away at the long-held notion that corporate decision-making should revolve around what is best for shareholders. The Business Roundtable on Monday changed its statement of "the purpose of a corporation." No longer should decisions be based solely on whether they will yield higher profits for shareholders, the group said.

Australian power stations among world's worst for toxic air pollution

Power stations in Victoria's Latrobe Valley and New South Wales's Lake Macquarie region have been named on a list of the world's biggest hotspots for toxic air pollution.


Some animals can adapt to climate change-just not fast enough

When Anne Charmantier set out to check her great tits-a songbird native to Europe-on June 28, she expected to find healthy, spry chicks. As she slowly opened the doors to the wooden nest boxes-a trick to study these birds-the quiet at the nest disturbed her.

Australia taking six years to list threatened habitats under environment laws

Australia is taking at least six years to list habitats as threatened under national environment laws, an inquiry examining the country's extinction crisis has heard. The Humane Society International (HSI) also said that potential major threats to Australia's wildlife are going unexamined because "we're not even spending the meagre funds required" to look into them.

Amazon under fire for new packaging that cannot be recycled

Amazon has been criticised by environmental groups and customers after introducing a range of plastic packaging that cannot be recycled in the UK. While supermarkets and other retailers have been reducing their use of single use plastics, the world's biggest online retailer has started sending small items in plastic envelopes, seemingly to allow more parcels to be loaded on to each delivery truck.

August rainfall brings UK wheat harvest to 'shuddering halt'

August's wet weather has brought this year's wheat harvest to a "shuddering halt", the deputy president of the National Farmers' Union has said. Guy Smith said farmers outside the south-east of England had been left unable start their harvest their crop because of heavy rainfall this month.

Why Corporate Sustainability Reporting Needs a Major Overhaul, According to McKinsey

A company that brands itself as sustainable may be well and good, but diffuse "values" do little to inform sound investment decisions, a new report claims. In fact, investors say they cannot "readily use" companies' current sustainability disclosures because they don't conform to shared standards, according to a recent survey by McKinsey & Company.

Five ways farmers are tackling climate change

Farmers are on the front line of climate change - vulnerable to changes in temperature and rainfall, as well as increasingly frequent extreme weather events. They also face criticism, in particular over greenhouse gas emissions from the meat and dairy industry, with calls for a move to a more plant-based diet.


Monday 19th August

In today's news: Iceland mourns the loss of the Okjokull glacier, an investigation into plastic recycling has shown its not all it seems and a report has declared a fishing crisis in the North Sea.

Iceland holds funeral for first glacier lost to climate change

Iceland held a funeral for its first glacier lost to climate change on Sunday. Amid poetry, moments of silence and political speeches about the urgent need to fight climate change, Icelandic officials, scientists, activists and others bade goodbye to the Okjokull ice sheet, in west-central Iceland.

'Plastic recycling is a myth': what really happens to your rubbish?

An alarm sounds, the blockage is cleared, and the line at Green Recycling in Maldon, Essex, rumbles back into life. A momentous river of garbage rolls down the conveyor: cardboard boxes, splintered skirting board, plastic bottles, crisp packets, DVD cases, printer cartridges, countless newspapers, including this one.

Where did all the cod go? Fishing crisis in the North Sea

By 7.30am all the cod at Peterhead fish market had been sold, snapped up by competing buyers wearing thick fleeces, woolly hats and rubber boots against the chill of the vast indoor warehouse. A gaggle of middle-aged men clutching books of brightly coloured "tallies" followed the auctioneer alongside crates of glassy-eyed fish nestling in ice.

Meet The Company Turning Old Milk Into Sustainable Clothing

Mi Terro aims to draw attention to the amount of waste produced in the dairy industry by creating sustainable fabrics from unused milk. The company sources excess milk from a dairy farm in China before processing it and turning milk into fibers capable of being used in durable, lightweight clothing.

Why 'vegan leather' is not as environmentally friendly as you think

But that's not the case when it comes to vegan leather, a material that owes its zeitgeist stamp to the increasing popularity of plant-based diets and sustainable living. As more people reduce the amount of animal products on their plates, they're beginning to take a similar approach to their wardrobes, prompting greater demand for "vegan" garments such as leather.

News In Brief