July 9-13: Five things we’ve learnt about climate change and the green movement this week

By Tierney Smith

1) Bluewash

Is the green movement turning blue? (Source 350.org)

The colour green and the environmental movement have been together for as long as I can remember.

But is the tide changing?

While some traditional environmental groups – Greenpeace and Green Parties across the world – will always stay loyal to the colour of the grass, there is a growing trend of companies and organisations abandoning ship for blue.

2) Money may talk – but when it comes to climate finance many countries don’t

This week saw a workshop in Bonn to discuss options for climate finance ahead of the Doha conference in November.

A myriad of topics were discussed – aviation and maritime contributions,  a financial transaction tax to where the money should go and what it should be used for.

One worrying trend did emerge at the discussions as stories of miscommunication, idling donations and lack of attribution of finance were echoed between countries including Columbia, Ghana and the US.

Tracking, verifying and monitoring the movement of money will be key in the coming years.

3) Community Energy could supply 3.5GW to the UK

Westmill Wind Farm is one of the UK's largest 100% community owned wind farms (Source: Jeff Kubina/Creative Commons)

Community energy projects have a huge potential in the UK, if the right frameworks are set up for it.

Rebecca Willis, a researcher on environment and sustainability said Cooperative UK predict that it could be as big as 3.5GW worth of generation – almost the same amount as the UK’s largest coal-fired power station Drax which delivers energy to over 3 million homes.

The panel at the event said the UK should learn from the US. They pointed out that 12% of the energy market in the US is community owned, boasting 42 million shareholders in alternative energy schemes.

4) Scientists are a step closely to linking climate and extreme weather

New research this week from the UK’s Met Office Hadley Centre and the US’s National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration moved a step closer to directly linking extreme weather events and man-made climate change.

Plants can be seeded into old carpet fibers - that can then be attached to a new design of green roofing

The study reviewed extreme weather in 2001 –  a year marked by floods in Thailand, droughts in Texas and East Africa, wildfires in Australia and a warm winter in Britain.

The Thai floods appear to be down to poor planning – but the Texas drought and balmy UK winter were linked to man-man climate change.

5) You can grow plants in carpet

Carpet can be used as a growing material for plants and would make a great choice for green roofs designed for pitched housing, according to one sustainable designer of the future.

James Ward believes that this design could not only solve the problem of carpets ending up in landfill but could also help take green (or beige) roofs to the mass market.


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