Category Business

A new direction

EU parliamentarians have voted to limit food crop-based biofuels. That could be good news for developing countries.

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Biofuels were always supposed to be a good thing. But not all kinds. In July, the European Union’s (EU) Environment Committee voted to cap the volume of food crop-based biofuels. It said no more than 5.5 per cent of member nations’ transport fuels must originate from food crops. With the current output at just beneath five per cent, the move dramatically limits the £14billion industry. The decision will pass for a full European Parliament session in mid-September.

There is widespread debate behind the decision. Green campaigners have said the EU’s biofuel policy negatively impacts developing countries...

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Green retreat

Businesses seeking sustainable solutions could do worse than book in at Green & Away – Europe’s only tented conference facility.

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In a field where innovation is highly prized, the Green & Away conference centre is exploring the boundaries of sustainable living. Here air-conditioned meeting rooms and excessive corporate facilities make way for wooden cabins, organic bars, solar-powered showers and compost toilets. The reason, says co-ordinator Helen Cranston, is simple: “We want people to make changes in their lives to be more sustainable by experiencing low-impact living.”

Green & Away was set up for a camping weekend in 1990 on a farm in Gloucestershire, England...

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Leading the way

The aviation industry is often portrayed as the chief offender of rising carbon emissions, with airplanes contributing two per cent of the world’s human-generated Co2. However, it is not all doom and gloom. Here are five green airports fighting the good fight.

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Munich Airport, Germany

In an environmental management plan outlined in early 2010, Munich Airport aimed to become carbon neutral by 2020. Since January 2008 it has charged landing fees that increase according to the airplanes’ carbon emissions and noise levels. It deploys 18 vehicles that run fully on canola oil, supplemented by 55 hybrid vehicles. In total, it estimates to have saved more than 250 tonnes of carbon emissions by using plant oils...

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Five cars to watch this year

As the electric car industry continues to develop, we are now seeing extended journey capacity and improved mpge (miles per gallon equivalent), while zero tail emissions are now more commonplace, writes Mark Benson. With that in mind, here are the top five electric cars to watch throughout the year, giving you a mixture of cutting-edge technology, mass-market appeal, and comfort. 

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Nissan Leaf 2013

Price: from £23,490 / $28,800

Japanese car giant Nissan has certainly taken the market by storm with the award-winning Nissan Leaf 2013. The vehicle has a 140 miles (225 km) journey capacity, fuel efficiency of 130 mpge (209 km) and can be fully charged within four hours...

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Full speed ahead

The European Commission has proposed a new scheme that would dramatically increase the number of electric charging points across Europe. Could this catapult the electric car onto the market?

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Europe is pushing the pedal. On 24 January, the European Commission, which proposes legislation to the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union, announced a scheme that will legally commit member nations to build a total of nearly 800,000 publically accessible electric charging points. The current number is below 12,000. If the infrastructure comes into place, it says, manufactures will start mass-producing electric cars. This will in turn lower their price, and people will buy them.

The European Union’s (EU) policy on electric cars has so far been, by its own admission, “uncoordinate...

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Time for change

As the world’s governments are meeting in Doha to negotiate the way forward for curbing carbon emissions, the stakes over climate change have never been higher.  

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In November, around 17,000 delegates from more than 190 nations touched down in Doha, the capital of Qatar, for the Conference of the Parties – the highest decision-making authority of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The negotiations, which lasted until 7 December, represented the year’s most important meeting on climate change. And as the global situation worsens, there is room to argue that, in the wake of the discussions, imminent action is more important than ever.

The focus of such meetings, which in themselves are only frameworks for negotiation, are the protocols that tie nations...

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Up in the air

As countries continue to disagree over how to curb aircraft emissions, experts say only second-generation biofuels can help meet reduction targets. So what is the aviation industry doing about it? 

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The aviation industry’s long-standing project of reducing its carbon footprint has hit another obstacle. After years of fruitless negotiation within the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a UN specialised agency of 191 member states, the EU’s move to include flights in its emissions trading scheme has resulted in an outcry from several non-EU states. The most prominent are economic powerhouses; China, India, Russia and America, with the latter now passing legislation to ensure its airlines remain untouched.

From a certain economic perspective, the protests are understandable...

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