Offshore wind will play a vital role in the UK’s future energy mix, report confirms

A new report confirms the critical importance of offshore wind in replacing aging power plants, saving up to £89bn from the UK's energy bill, and has the potential to take a large share of a global £1 trillion market by 2050. As well as reducing reliance on imported gas and meeting GHG emissions and renewable energy targets, offshore wind could offer business opportunities of up to £35bn to UK companies.

US bucks global trend of closing down nuclear power stations

Official figures show Europe expects to decommission almost 150 of its nuclear power plants by 2030, while the US has granted life extensions to 71 and chosen to close only five, according to a report by energy experts GlobalData. The new report shows that the figure for Europe accounts for nearly 69% of the total global number of expected nuclear power reactor closures by 2030, the largest amount for any region. Barring any changes, the European commercial nuclear decommissioning market value stands at $81,484m.

Study links common household chemicals with rising rates of cancer

Common household chemicals may be a contributing factor behind significant increases in cancers and falling fertility, according to a new study released by the European Environment Agency (EEA). The chemicals which disrupt the hormone system – also known as 'endocrine disrupting chemicals' (EDCs) – may also be responsible for the rising rate of diabetes and an increased number of neurological development problems in both humans and animals, according to a review of recent scientific literature commissioned by the EEA.

Car emissions claim more UK lives than road accidents, study finds

Emissions from cars, lorries, planes and power stations causes 13,000 premature deaths in the UK each year, according to a new study by MIT researchers. The research team analyzed data from 2005, the most recent year for which information is available. They found that among the various sources of emissions in the country, car and truck exhaust was the single greatest contributor to premature death, affecting some 3,300 people per year. By comparison, the researchers note, fewer than 3,000 Britons died in road accidents in 2005.

Europe announces huge green energy package for developing nations

The European Commission has announced a new multi-million Euro initiative to support developing countries in their drive towards sustainable energy generation. The green aid programme will prove specialists from across Europe to help poorer nations develop low-carbon sources of energy. And the scheme will provide hundreds of millions of Euros to underwrite the roll-out, which has the goal of providing sustainable energy to 50 million people by 2030. Speaking at the EU Sustainable Energy For all Summit in Brussels today, José Manuel Durão Barroso, President of the European Commission, announced details of the plan. He said: "We have now clear scientific evidence that we need to embrace new ways of producing energy to avoid damaging global climate; we need to act upon this advice. The EU is therefore ready to help those countries that demonstrate such commitment, and to increase its efforts. To that end, I am delighted to announce today the launch of a new Commission initiative: Energising Development. Firstly, we will create a world-leading EU Technical Assistance Facility, initially in excess of 50 million euro over the next two years, to stand behind and support those countries that "opt in" to the initiative and commit to the necessary reforms. We will draw on the best EU experts in the field and promote the development and growth of expertise in developing countries themselves. I mentioned before that the Commission is already spending over 600 million euro per year in supporting energy; collectively EU Member States are spending even more than this, as we will no doubt hear later today. This is a strong base and, with our Agenda for Change and the mainstreaming of "green aid", we can confidently expect this figure to significantly increase from 2014 onwards, concentrating on sustainable and inclusive energy investments."

Global aviation sector commits to support a sustainable future

Leaders of the aviation industry have sent a reminder to governments of the vital role the sector plays in economic growth, providing jobs whilst taking its environmental responsibilities seriously. At a meeting in Geneva today, chief executives and directors from 16 global aviation companies and organisations signed the Aviation & Environment Summit's Declaration as a joint message to world governments due to meet at Rio de Janeiro for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in June. The industry leaders, representing airports, airlines, air navigation service providers and the makers of aircraft and engines, signed the declaration in a show of unity on the issue of sustainable development. Paul Steele, Executive Director of the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG), the organisation coordinating the Summit, said that the declaration shows that aviation takes its role in sustainable development seriously. "Sustainable development – and the Rio+20 process – is about finding ways to balance the needs of growing economies and higher standards of living across society with the need to more carefully manage the resources we are using and the impact that we have on the world. I am pleased to say that aviation is committed to doing just that. In 2008, we were the first global sector to commit to global cross-industry action on climate change. That declaration set the agenda for cooperative action across the aviation industry to reduce fuel use and emissions. The cooperation between industry partners and the projects underway are impressive."

Drought-hit England announces first wave of emergency measures

The first emergency measures to support the drought-hit south of England were announced today in an attempt to preserve dwindling water supplies. Seven firms - Southern Water, South East Water, Thames Water, Anglian Water, Sutton and East Surrey, Veolia Central and Veolia South East - jointly announced the introduction of water restrictions from April 5, just before the Easter Bank Holiday weekend. They said it was a result of two unusually dry winters which have left waters well below normal levels. The bans will forbid hosepipes and sprinklers from being used for gardening, washing cars, filling pools and for fountains.

Weather experts warn of second huge storm to hit length and breadth of UK

A second hurricane-strength storm is heading for the UK and this time the entire country looks set to suffer. Forecasters say the next severe storm is now brewing in the North Atlantic and will bring with it cold air, snow and sleet as well as hurricane-strength winds from Monday evening.

NASA data confirms pollution has nearly halved from US coal power plants

A team of scientists have used the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA's Aura satellite to confirm major reductions in the levels of a key air pollutant generated by coal power plants in the eastern United States. The pollutant, sulphur dioxide, contributes to the formation of acid rain and can cause serious health problems.

Catholic archbishop says climate change action is a waste of time and money

The Catholic Archbishop of Sydney George Pell has questioned the morality and cost benefits of tackling climate change in a controversial speech in London. The Australian cardinal used his speech to liken carbon trading to Medieval indulgences and described green campaigners as not merely zealous but zealots. He said the only long-term benefits of schemes to tackle climate change will be extra government taxes and revenues and the cost of attempts to tackle global warming will be very heavy.