London considers banning wood-burning stoves to tackle air pollution

October 2, 2017 by  
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Wood-burning stoves could be producing up to one third of London’s fine particle pollution , according to figures cited by the city’s mayor, Sadiq Khan . A ban on the stoves could help address the air pollution plaguing the capital; last week, Khan triggered the emergency air quality alert for the seventh time in 13 months. Wood-burning stoves have recently been popular in Britain – The Guardian reports 1.5 million have been sold in the country. 16 percent of households in southeast England have the stoves, compared to five percent nationally. But somewhere between a quarter and a third of fine particle pollution in the capital could arise from domestic wood burning. And King’s College London research indicates during very high air pollution in January, domestic wood burning yielded half of the emissions in some parts of London. Related: London breaks legal limits on air pollution in just five days in 2017 Khan said, “Non-transport sources contribute half of the deadly emissions in London, so we need a hard-hitting plan of action to combat them similar to moves I am taking to reduce pollution from road vehicles. With more than 400 schools located in areas exceeding legal pollution levels, and significant health impacts on our most vulnerable communities, we cannot wait any longer.” In a letter to Environment Secretary Michael Grove, Khan requested London’s environment department amend a Clean Air Act to set up zero-emission zones where people won’t be allowed to burn solid fuel from 2025 on. Khan also called for tougher enforcement on emissions restrictions for construction machinery like diggers and bulldozers, and for greater powers to tackle emissions coming from Thames River traffic. In a statement , the London government said half of toxic emissions come from cars and other road vehicles, and that the second-largest source of PM 2.5 particles is construction machinery. Via The Guardian Images via Pixabay and Joshua Newton on Unsplash

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London considers banning wood-burning stoves to tackle air pollution

Britain to ban new diesel and petrol cars in 2040

July 26, 2017 by  
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British government ministers think low air quality poses the biggest environmental threat to public health , but that threat is avoidable. They aim to clean up the skies by targeting emissions-spewing vehicles. Following a similar move in France , Britain is to ban the sale of diesel and petrol cars from 2040. Nitrogen oxide is plaguing the air in the United Kingdom. Earlier this year, London smashed annual air pollution limits in a mere five days – and Greenpeace said diesel vehicles were the single biggest source of air pollution in the city. Now the country could commit to ban sales of those polluting cars as part of their clean air plan. The move could even include hybrid vehicles . Related: France to ban all diesel and petrol cars in just over 20 years The government endeavored to move away from taxes on polluting cars, although they’d been encouraged to introduce charges for cars entering clean air zones. They wanted taxes to be a last resort, and a government spokesperson pointed to a £3 billion, around $3.9 billion, program to clean dirty air near roadways that will offer funding to advance local efforts, like retrofitting public transportation , reprogramming traffic lights, and altering road features like speed humps and roundabouts. £1 billion, or $1.3 billion, of the air quality package could go towards promoting low-emissions cars, with £100 million, or $1.3 million, devoted to boosting charging infrastructure for electric vehicles . More money could go to a green bus fund, cycling and walking, and low-emission taxis. The clean air plan has been part of a lengthy legal battle, with the final plan due by the end of July. Environmentalists weren’t impressed with a draft report seen earlier, which some lawyers said was much weaker than they wanted. Environment secretary Michael Grove will hope for a better response, according to The Guardian, when he puts out the final document this week. Via The Guardian Images via Mavis CW on Unsplash and PIVISO on Flickr

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Britain to ban new diesel and petrol cars in 2040

This beautiful but toxic weed could make you go blind

July 26, 2017 by  
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Be careful before you pick that pretty wildflower . Giant hogweed, which can grow up to twenty-feet-tall and produce attractive white flowers, is a beautiful but dangerous plant. The plant produces a clear sap capable of causing third-degree burns or even blindness in humans who touch it. Native to the Caucasus in Central Asia , giant hogweed has become a wide-ranging invasive species in the Northern United States, Southern Canada, and Western Europe. Those who encounter the toxic flora are advised to admire from a distance. Like Japanese knotweed and other invasive, noxious plant species, giant hogweed was first introduced to the United Kingdom and other countries as an ornamental plant. Its white flowers reveal its familial origins as a member of the carrot family, like its similar though diminutive and less-toxic relative known as Queen Anne’s Lace. Hogweed flowers can be up to two feet across and are popular among pollinators. Related: Could Lasers Be The New Way to Kill Weeds? Hogweed’s curse is its phototoxic sap, which causes skin, eyes or whatever it touches to become highly sensitive to UV light. If the affected skin is exposed to sunlight, it can quickly become red and irritated. Affected areas will rapidly deteriorate if exposure is continued and the sap is not washed off. In North America, giant hogweed usually blooms in July. If possible, it is important to eliminate the plants before they flower and reproduce. “You want to have it eradicated before it does go to seed,” said Barbara Ashey, Town Administrator for Northport, Maine . “There are thousands of these seeds.” On the bright side, pigs and cows seem able to consume giant hogweed without harm and may be used as a biocontrol solution in the fight against the invasive species . Via Bangor Daily News/WGME Images via Nature Photos/Flickr and debs-eye/Flickr

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This beautiful but toxic weed could make you go blind

The original Brexit: ancient Britain’s geological split from Europe

April 5, 2017 by  
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Brexit – or Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – remains controversial even as Prime Minister Theresa May begins the process of leaving. But it turns out this process may not have been the first Brexit ever. Research led by Imperial College London scientists found evidence of an ancient geological Brexit – “the Brexit nobody voted for” – in the Dover Strait. According to their research a land bridge once existed between England and France . Ancient Britain, regardless of the lack of cities and people, might have been almost unrecognizable according to geophysical and seafloor data. In this Britain, which could have existed 450,000 years ago during an ice age, the whole English Channel would have been a frozen tundra crossed only by small rivers. Britain may have been physically connected to Europe by a chalk rock ridge spanning the Dover Strait that held back a proglacial lake , or lake in front of an ice sheet according to Imperial College London, in what is today the North Sea. Giant waterfalls from the lake could have contributed to erosion that breached the ridge. Related: UK’s Brexit vote could reverse environmental protections and contribute to climate change The data shows a valley system and huge holes on the seafloor. In France, there are around seven of these holes, or plunge pools, around 328 feet deep in a solid rock line between Dover and Calais. The straight line backs up the idea the holes were created by waterfalls cascading over a ridge about 328 feet high and around 20 miles long – the land bridge – to hit the ground below and erode rock. Catastrophic flooding is thought to have finished the ancient Brexit. The researchers found evidence of megaflood processes, which could have carved the valleys. Imperial College London professor Sanjeev Gupta, co-author on a paper published online yesterday in Nature Communications , said in a statement, “The breaching of this land bridge between Dover and Calais was undeniably one of the most important events in British history, helping to shape our island nation’s identity even today. When the ice age ended and sea levels rose, flooding the valley floor for good, Britain lost its physical connection to the mainland. Without this dramatic breaching Britain would still be part of Europe. This is Brexit 1.0 – the Brexit nobody voted for.” Via Imperial College London Images courtesy Imperial College London and Wikimedia Commons

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Critics outraged by UK plan to build 1.8 mile tunnel under Stonehenge

January 16, 2017 by  
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One of Britain’s most well-known archaeological landmarks could soon have a tunnel carved below it. The government unveiled plans for a 1.8 mile tunnel running under Stonehenge as part of a $2.4 billion infrastructure investment, hoping to slash traffic plaguing the area. But not everyone is happy with the government’s plan; some experts believe a tunnel could destroy undiscovered artifacts. The British government is planning a $2.4 billion investment for the country’s A303 road, hoping to upgrade it into a “high quality, high performing route” that will improve trips for millions of people, according to the Department for Transport’s statement on the project. Part of the upgrades include a tunnel passing beneath the famous site. Officials say the tunnel would slash congestion and bolster the local economy. Related: Archaeologists reveal fresh details about 4,500-year-old “New Stonehenge” English Heritage , the charity managing more than 400 historic sites, backs the tunnel. UNESCO , which in 1986 designated Stonehenge as a World Heritage Site, say they could get behind the idea, but have not yet viewed final plans. Historian Tom Holland fears a tunnel could destroy the key historical site. He told CNN, “Recent finds show this place is the birthplace of Britain, and its origins go back to the resettlement of this island after the Ice Age. It staggers belief that we can inject enormous quantities of concrete to build a tunnel that will last at best 100 years and therefore decimate a landscape that has lasted for millennia.” Local chamber of commerce president and Amesbury Museum chairman Andy Rhind-Tutt is also against the tunnel, saying it won’t even really improve traffic and will “put a time bomb of irreversible destruction on one of the world’s greatest untouched landscapes.” The public can comment on the tunnel plan until March 5, and the government plans to announce the preferred route later in 2017. Construction could start in 2020, according to a Highways England spokesperson, and could be completed in four years. Via CNN Images via Good Free Photos and Pixabay

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Critics outraged by UK plan to build 1.8 mile tunnel under Stonehenge

The energy-positive UK Solcer House proves that zero carbon living can be affordable

July 21, 2015 by  
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Great Britain’s first affordable energy positive house has just opened its doors in Stormy Down, Wales. Dubbed the Solcer House , the residence can produce more electricity than its occupants can use. Designed by Cardiff University’s Phil Jones and his team, the incredible three bedroom home hones enough energy from the sun to meet electrical needs of its residents and then some. Ready for the bad news? The house was revealed just in time for the British government to scrap plans that would have made all new homes similarly efficient by 2019. Read the rest of The energy-positive UK Solcer House proves that zero carbon living can be affordable

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UK aiming for 10 million solar-powered homes by 2020

February 3, 2015 by  
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The United Kingdom nearly doubled their solar power last year, with 650,000 installations on private homes and state-owned properties. This brings the UK’s solar power capacity to five gigawatts (5GW), compared to just 2.8GW at the end of 2013. Boosting Britain’s capacity is part of a larger effort to make solar power an integral part of the nation’s energy supply. Read the rest of UK aiming for 10 million solar-powered homes by 2020 Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “clean energy” , “solar energy” , “sustainable energy” , 2014 , alternative energy , britain , green energy , solar , solar photovolatic capacity , Solar Power , UK , united kingdom

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UK aiming for 10 million solar-powered homes by 2020

Affordable wooden cabin is precariously perched over a cliff in Nova Scotia

February 3, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of Affordable wooden cabin is precariously perched over a cliff in Nova Scotia Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: affordable cabin , Atlantic Coast , cabin , cedar shiplap , cliff house , freeze-thaw cycles , MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects , minimalist cabin , Nova Scotia , passive solar , passive solar gain , retreat , timber cabin , weekend getaway

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Affordable wooden cabin is precariously perched over a cliff in Nova Scotia

Obama seeks billions in funding for clean energy development and emissions cuts in 2016 budget

February 3, 2015 by  
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President Obama released his fiscal budget for 2016 on Monday (2/2) afternoon, and it proposes an impressive $7.4 billion in funding for clean energy technologies as well as the creation of a $4 billion fund to incentivize individual U.S. states to make greater cuts to power plant emissions . The proposals are in keeping with the Obama administration’s wishes to prioritize the fight against climate change in the final two years of his presidency. Read the rest of Obama seeks billions in funding for clean energy development and emissions cuts in 2016 budget Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “clean energy” , “wind power” , 2016 , Climate Change , coastal flooding , department of defense , Department of Energy , Drought , emissions , fiscal budget , global warming , green energy , obama , renewable energy , solar , tax credit

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Obama seeks billions in funding for clean energy development and emissions cuts in 2016 budget

New Forest Study Centre: A Treehouse Retreat for Environmental Education

July 9, 2014 by  
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Nature lovers have always enjoyed being out in the woods and immersing themselves in the wild, and there’s a stunning center in the UK that can help to make that experience even more magical. Commissioned by the Countryside Education Trust (CET) ,  New Forest Study Centre  is a large, sustainable treehouse retreat in the countryside where people can go to learn about rural life and build a connection to nature; an experience that some one million children in the  UK  have never had. With two classrooms and a large outdoor space that has farm animals, gardens, and study areas, this treehouse project is a major catalyst for environmental awareness. Read the rest of New Forest Study Centre: A Treehouse Retreat for Environmental Education Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Blue Forest , britain , Countryside Education Trust , England , environmental education , green tree house , Nature , nature education , New Forest , New Forest Study Centre , Novoe Ltd , outdoor education , Prince Charles , Samantha Sherwood , Sustainable Building , sustainable treehouse , The Countryside Education Trust , tree house , treehouse , U.K. , UK , XCO2

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New Forest Study Centre: A Treehouse Retreat for Environmental Education

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