December 4th, 2015

COP 21: what wood George Perkins Marsh do?


by Sophie Harvey-Franklin


This week, delegates from 195 countries are coming together in Paris to discuss a global approach to tackling climate change. It’s the 21st meeting of the Conference of the Parties (or COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and after the disappointingly scant results of previous meetings, this time there are some more encouraging signs.

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November 13th, 2015

Look, no hands: tackling air pollution and climate change

Smoking Golf

by Dominic Hogg


If there is a silver lining around the breath-constricting cloud that hangs over Volkswagen (and, perhaps, other manufacturers of diesel vehicles as well), it’s that the publicity raises awareness of the damages caused by air pollution. While a cadre of politicians and journalists strive to maintain the impression that there’s a debate to be had on the science of climate change, there’s far less dissent from the view that air pollution brings a trail of misery, and even death, in its wake.

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March 19th, 2014

Incineration: let’s get fiscal


by Dominic Hogg


If you are serious about encouraging waste prevention, eco-design, re-use, remanufacture and high recycling rates, then it helps if you stop people throwing stuff away for peanuts. A high price on residual waste management is not a panacea; and it isn’t impossible to achieve good results in its absence. However, the decline in recycling rates in Germany as incinerator gate fees have bombed is testament to the fact that, whatever other regulations you have in place, at some point the economic imperative begins to bite: make chucking stuff away cheap, and it will kill off better alternatives.

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August 30th, 2013

Playing chicken with the climate: why environmentalists should go veggie

Bypass Burger

by Francis Vergunst


You’ve heard it from the Greens, you’ve heard it from your friends, you’ve probably even heard it from your grandma… and now you’re hearing it from the government too. What’s the big deal? Do we really need to eat less meat – or none at all? I would argue that becoming vegetarian could be the most effective action you take against climate change. Consider the following.

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August 2nd, 2013

Malta-ed perceptions

Malta bring site_small

by Adrian Gibbs


When visiting an old city with a rich and troubled past it is hard not to get swept up in the grand, complex and often frightening history that has shaped the landscape, culture and administration. Fortunately, most guidebooks include an abridged history to introduce the grand names and great episodes of the past. It is, however, less easy to find a chronicle of a country’s waste management systems. This is perhaps a shame, as the same forces of self-interest, random chance, ‘good ideas at the time’ and inertia can surely be seen at play in the establishment of institutional waste systems as in the formation of cultural, political and architectural norms.

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March 27th, 2013

A tale of two escalators

Westminster Escalator

by Peter Jones


The Budget last week offered little to excite the environmentally minded, as George Osborne produced no new green measures from his battered red box. One of the main talking points in the waste sector has been the absence of any clarification of what will happen to Landfill Tax after it reaches £80 in 2014/15. The Green Alliance advocates further increases, but the Environmental Services Association and various local authority representatives are looking for the escalator to stop. At the same time, the planned fuel escalator increase for September 2013 was cancelled.

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March 4th, 2013

Incinerators in the dragons’ den

Sheffield Incinerator

by Mike Brown


Sometimes it takes a really clear expression of the fundamentals of a point of view to help you see what’s wrong with it. A couple of weekends ago, BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions came to the Gloucester Guildhall. One of the hot local topics is the county council’s incinerator plan, and a number of its opponents were in the audience, and a question was raised about whether it was “a blot on the landscape or a necessary step to securing an ecologically sustainable environment”.

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