Low carbon energy sets a new record by generating the majority of the UK’s electricity for the first time, 40C heat could be “the new normal” for UK summers due to climate change say experts, and Bristol Energy inks a wind power deal with Thrive Renewables to power 3,000 homes. Meanwhile, London is crowned the world’s first National Park City as two sisters petition McDonald’s and Burger King to ban plastic toys in children’s meals. Lori Campbell rounds up the top sustainable stories of the week.
Low carbon energy makes majority of UK electricity for first time
Low carbon energy was used to generate more than half of the electricity used in the UK for the first time last year, according to official data.
A rapid rise in renewable energy, along with low carbon electricity from nuclear reactors, made up almost 53 per cent of generation in 2018, the government’s annual review of energy statistics revealed.
Renewable energy sources set a new record by meeting a third of the UK’s power generation last year after the UK’s capacity to generate power from the sun, wind, water and waste grew by 10 per cent.
The UK’s use of coal fell by a quarter to a record low of just 5 per cent, according to the report.
However, while we are increasingly decarbonising, we are also financing climate disaster in developing world. Over the last seven years, the UK has spent 60 per cent of its overseas support for energy investment in developing countries on fossil fuels, according to new figures from the Catholic development agency CAFOD.
‘Weather on steroids’: potential for 40C in UK is here, say experts
The hottest ever temperature in the UK – 38.7C – was recorded this week.
Climate experts have warned the UK will suffer blistering heatwaves like this week’s more regularly in future, with 40C becoming the “new normal”.
They blame the continuing rise in emissions of damaging greenhouse gases for the climate emergency, which is leading to more frequent extreme weather spells.
The Met Office announced the 38.7C figure was received from Cambridge Botanic Garden on Thursday.
Once validated, this will be the highest temperature officially recorded in the UK, outstripping the 38.5C seen in Faversham, Kent, in August 2003.
Bristol Energy inks wind power deal with Thrive Renewables
Council-owned energy supplier Bristol Energy has signed a wind power deal with Thrive Renewables to power 3,000 homes.
Bristol Energy has bought the output of two onshore wind turbines of 3.55 MW combined in the UK under an off-take contract with Thrive Renewables.
The power purchase agreement (PPA) was closed via online auction system e-POWER, which allows power generators to sell their renewable energy output to the highest bidder.
The city of Bristol has set a target to become carbon neutral by 2030. The share of renewables in Bristol Energy’s power supply was 75 per cent in 2018-2019, according to Thrive.
London crowned world’s first National Park City.
London has been declared the world’s first National Park City, in recognition of its green spaces, rivers, biodiversity and natural habitats.
At a launch summit last week, London mayor Sadiq Khan signed a pledge that issues relating to the environment, culture, heritage, education and health will take centre stage in the capital.
The criteria for becoming a National Park City is laid out in a new global charter, devised by the National Park City Foundation, World Urban Parks, the IUCN and the Salzburg Global Seminar.
Sisters petition McDonald’s and Burger King for plastic toy ban
Two sisters have gathered more than 400,000 signatures in a petition against the use of plastic toys in fast food chain children’s meals.
Ella and Caitlin McEwan, aged nine and seven, want the McDonald’s and Burger King giveaways to be made from sustainable materials in order to protect the environment.
They have suggested books or cardboard games as an alternative. The fast food chains said they were ‘looking at other options’.
Ella said: “We started thinking about the environment when we were [studying it] at school. I like to eat at McDonald’s and Burger King sometimes but I don’t like the toys – they’re really bad for the environment.”