The use of monies from the charge for plastic carrier bags to fund dementia research is most welcome (Report, 6 October). However, I hope that the research will include not only Alzheimer’s but the second most common form of dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies. This most devastating dementia, which also links to the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, is rarely referred to and mostly unknown to the public despite there being 130,000 sufferers in Britain. As a first step to raise awareness, maybe Alzheimer’s Society should change its name to Dementia Society UK.
• “Our grandparents’ generation had to get to grips with the idea of importing strawberries from Spain and mangetout from Kenya,” says Douglas Carswell (Singapore or Switzerland? Visions of Brexit leave a lot to be desired, 5 October). My grandfather loved his strawberries, but probably would have thought mangetout was something he and all his pals caught in the trenches.
OECD report showing extent of existing pledges towards $100bn target to help poorer countries tackle climate change, gives further hope for success in Paris
Rich countries and businesses have provided close to two-thirds of the financial assistance pledged to poorer nations as part of the global climate change negotiations, ahead of the Paris conference this December.
The finding by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is a further clearing of the path to an agreement in Paris, as it helps countries to judge whether pledges made at previous meetings can be trusted.Continue reading...
Krakow says it will introduce a ban on burning coal in households, offices and restaurants, despite protection of the industry becoming an election issue
The Mayor of Krakow has told the Guardian he will introduce a ban on coal use in households, offices, government buildings and restaurants after an amended Environmental Protection Act was signed by the country’s president, Andrzej Duda.
Poland’s second largest city is as famed for the filthy smog that cakes its buildings and streets, as for its beautiful historic buildings. The European Environmental Agency has ranked it the third most polluted city in Europe and its particulate matter (PM) pollution can reach six times the safe levels.Continue reading...
The company acts as a broker for recycling companies that receive discarded plastic bottles from individuals in underprivileged communities, encouraging recycling and creating jobs
A recent list of 100 of the world’s most compassionate business leaders was topped by the usual suspects: Paul Polman, Richard Branson, Muhammad Yunus and Elon Musk. And then there’s David Katz.
Katz is an entrepreneur based in Vancouver, British Columbia, who for years ran a company he co-founded called Nero Global Tracking, which provides GPS tracking for mobile fleets of vehicles.Continue reading...
After unveiling the luxury Model X, Elon Musk’s company has a big challenge ahead as it aims for a bigger audience with its Model 3, promised for 2017
On 21 September, Tesla’s chief executive and founder, Elon Musk, used all the tricks in his showman’s book to launch the company’s latest all-electric vehicle, the Model X, at the company’s San Francisco Bay headquarters.
Tesla’s mission, he said, is to “accelerate the advent of sustainable transport”, hoping that the new SUV will help the company appeal to a wider audience of American motorists. But with its $130,000 price tag, the Model X could end up having an awkward relationship with sustainability.Continue reading...
California wineries use between 2.5 and 6 gallons of water to make a gallon of wine, not including irrigation water and other needs. But drought is forcing the industry to conserve in new ways.
Falling costs mean new windfarms are now £20 cheaper per megawatt hour than coal or gas-fired plants, according to new analysis
New onshore windfarms are now the cheapest way for a power company to produce electricity in Britain, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).
Costs have dropped to $85 (£55) per megawatt hour (MWh) compared with the current costs of about $115 for constructing coal or gas-fired plants, its analysis found.Continue reading...
The one-acre wildlife garden at the Natural History Museum is an irreplaceable resource for children, argues Jan Miller-Klein
You may not even have known there was a one-acre wildlife garden there, in the heart of one of the biggest cities in the world; but this year it is 20 years old. I am not alone in feeling this way about the proposed changes. A petition protesting the changes has nearly 4,000 signatures.
Greenpeace warns fires raging across forest and peatlands will match the worst year ever and exceed the total annual carbon output of the UK
Fires raging across the forests and peatlands of Indonesia are on track to pump out more carbon emissions than the UK’s entire annual output, Greenpeace has warned.
As well as fuelling global warming, the thick smoke choking cities in the region is likely to cause the premature deaths of more than 100,000 people in the region and is also destroying vital habitats for endangered orangutans and clouded leopards.Continue reading...
Readers answer other readers’ questions on subjects ranging from trivial flights of fancy to profound scientific concepts
I’ve just read about a hunter who escaped the clutches of a grizzly bear by shoving his arm down its throat. Any more unlikely ways of surviving an attack by a wild animal?
Geoff Young, BirminghamContinue reading...
After the rains, several breached dams sent a new wave of locals to seek cover in one of 33 shelters. The sun is now out but residents face a long road to recovery
Shakira Fair clutches her little doll Brianna tightly as she peers nervously into the high school gymnasium that will be her home for at least the next few nights.
The doll, in a bright pink toy cot, and Shakira’s favourite woolly Olaf hat from the movie Frozen, were the only possessions the nine-year-old had time to collect when a sheriff’s deputy came knocking on the door of her mother’s apartment on Tuesday morning to tell them to get out immediately.Continue reading...
African countries turn to insurance to safeguard against climate change | Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Lars Thunell
An African Union agency designed to respond quickly and effectively to natural disasters is transferring the burden of climate risk from governments to markets
When world leaders gather for critical climate negotiations in Paris later this year, they must not overlook the major injustice that means Africa – responsible for only a tiny proportion of global greenhouse gas emissions (pdf) – will suffer disproportionately from rising temperatures.
The most vulnerable populations with the least capacity to cope will shoulder the burden.Continue reading...
A minor revolution in climate justice has just taken place in one of the countries most affected by global warming, reports Le Monde
The high court of justice in Lahore has ordered the creation of a “climate council” to force the Pakistani state to uphold its environmental commitments.
A farmer went to the court with the charge that his “fundamental rights” had been breached by the lack of action on the part of Pakistan’s climate change minister. Pakistan has been hit by three consecutive years of deadly floods.Continue reading...
The SP1 gene ‘de-stresses’ plants, making them resilient to harsh conditions and furthering the possibility of future crops resistant to drought
By 2050, we’ll have to meet the gargantuan challenge of growing 50% more food, to feed a burgeoning global population. Enter climate-resilient agriculture, possibly the best chance we have of actually attaining this goal: as countries grapple with the effects of climate change—drought, higher salinity—increasingly we’ll have to depend on crops that can also flourish despite its inconsistencies.
Research on agricultural resilience abounds, but the latest offering looks to plant genetics for a solution, bringing us a little closer to the goal of hardy crops. Plant cell biologists at the University of Oxford have discovered a gene that can be harnessed to give plants in a laboratory setting more resilience, making them thrive instead of whither when unfavourable conditions strike.Continue reading...
Join us on Thursday 12 November 2015 to explore the successes and failures of neoliberal capitalism, the emergence of alternative economic models and the potential for grassroots activity to create meaningful change
A growing number of individuals and organisations are questioning an economy based on limitless growth. There are two broad reasons, they argue, why such an economy is doomed to fail: firstly it exploits the people and depletes the resources it relies on to survive; secondly it is accompanied by unacceptable – even unworkable – levels of inequality, financial instability and social unrest.
From China’s stumbling stock markets to European austerity, global disruptions are leading to the emergence of new economic movements. The rise of anti-austerity parties such as Podemos in Spain and Syriza in Greece is just one example.Continue reading...
Leigh Day, which represents 1,200 VW drivers considering legal action, criticises carmaker’s ‘lamentable’ handling of diesel emissions scandal
Volkswagen’s plan to recall cars affected by the diesel emissions scandal is lamentable and the lack of information being provided to customers is staggering, lawyers representing motorists have said.
Matthias Müller, chief executive of VW, told a German newspaper the company would launch a recall of the 11m affected cars in January and complete the fix by the end of next year.Continue reading...
With thousands dying a year from poor air quality, is a mask as good a safety precaution as a helmet?
Many British urban bike commuters opt to wear a helmet. Some also go for a hi-vis jacket. But considerably fewer use an anti-pollution mask, despite evidence that smog might be the biggest single danger you face on two wheels.
According to a study carried out by Kings College London (KCL), around 9,500 people die in London alone every year due to long-term exposure to air pollution, with most deaths due to nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and fine particulates known as PM2.5s.
Shocking drone footage captured by Greenpeace field researchers shows extensive peat and forest fires burning in Indonesia. Greenpeace’s footage was shot around the edge of the Gunung Palung national park, a major reservoir of biodiversity in Indonesia. It shows fires burning in the deep peat surrounding the national park and in nearby palm oil concessions – the result of decades of illegal logging and deforestation for oil palm and pulp plantationsContinue reading...
Show did not make clear climate sceptics are a minority voice, broadcaster admits, in ‘an unfortunate lapse’ of editorial policy, reports Climate Home
The BBC has apologised for airing a half-hour radio show earlier this year in which a series of high-profile climate sceptics lined up to disparage the science behind global warming.
What’s the point of the Met Office, aired in August, did not make clear sceptics are a “minority voice, out of step with scientific consensus,” the corporation said in an email to climate scientist Andy Smedley.Continue reading...
Rachel Kyte says governments at the 2009 summit agreed funding for developing countries by ‘picking a $100bn figure out of the air’
The Paris conference on climate change should not set a target for future financial assistance to developing countries, according to the World Bank’s top official on climate change.
The question of how rich countries should provide money to poor countries to help them cut greenhouse gases and cope with the effects of global warming will be crucial to success at Paris, and the World Bank’s intervention is likely to be controversial in some quarters.Continue reading...