Britain Joins the Green Wave in Swearing Off Combustion Engines

(3BL Media/Justmeans) — A surprising announcement has come out of London—to ban the sale of new gasoline and diesel-fueled cars and vans, beginning in the year 2040. The plan was announced in response to concerns about public health as the result of air pollution. Ministers claim that air pollution is the number one public health risk with costs in recent years reaching $3.5 billion annually .

The announcement is similar to the one made by France on July 6,  but different in that, while the French ban was primarily intended to address climate change, with public health as a secondary benefit, the British ban is being framed more in terms of public health. The French announcement came just one day after Volvo announced that it would stop producing gasoline or diesel cars beginning in 2019. But while Volvo plans to continue making hybrid cars, along with all-electrics, the UK ban includes hybrids as well, as does the French plan. India has proposed a similar ban.

While the ban might seem like a drastic measure, many analysts, like Stanford economist Tony Seba, whose recent report predicts the collapse of  internal combustion engine and the oil industry, said that “Banning sales of diesel and gasoline vehicles by 2040 is a bit like banning sales of horses for road transportation by 2040: there won’t be any to ban.”

Likewise, many in England felt the move would not produce results quickly enough. Some had lobbied for vehicles to be charged a fee in order to enter "clean air zones," but ministers have been reluctant to add new taxes and fees.

Amazon Picks Up Its Game with New Sustainability Dream Team

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - If you type the words “Amazon sustainability” into Google, the first thing that comes up in the search is a link to books about sustainability that the online retail giant sells. The company sells books and lots of other things, online. It sells enough to fill 3.3 million boxes of various sizes and shapes each and every day. Amazon uses recycled cardboard to make those boxes, and makes reasonable efforts to make sure those boxes are shipped sustainably, but beyond that, the company, which has been an innovator in so many ways, is really behind the curve when it comes to sustainability.

According to Richard Matthews, writing in, ““Amazon has consistently ranked near the bottom of most relevant activist lists, from Climate Counts to Greenpeace’s Green IT rankings. Amazon consumes vast quantities of energy and resources. The scope and size of their operations invite scrutiny and demand leadership. To date, the company has demonstrated an ongoing lack of transparency on environmental issues. Amazons is not involved with sustainability collaborations nor does it publish a sustainability report or report greenhouse gas emissions to CDP. Until the company publicly reports its impacts, performance and commitments criticisms are justified and its reputation is at risk.”

Beyond that, the company has received consistently low grades from Greenpeace on their data centers and criticized for their lack of transparency in their Amazon Web Services (AWS) operation. They have also received flack for the treatment of workers in their fulfillment centers, as well as corporate office workers, in what a NY Times story describes as “a bruising workplace.”

Apparently, they got the memo. The company has decided to address this by hiring a number of highly respected folks to take charge of this aspect of their operations. Back in 2014, they brought in Kara Hurst, as the company’s director of worldwide sustainability and social responsibility. Hurst is the former CEO of The Sustainability Consortium. This past August they brought in Christine Bader as Director of Social Responsibility. Prior to this Bader worked on social responsibility at BP and wrote the book, A Manifesto for the Corporate Idealist.

China Begins to Move Beyond Coal

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - When a good thing is done for the wrong reason, it’s still a good thing. When the government of China, no doubt wary of unrest they’d been seeing around the world, vowed to bring their vast country out of poverty through modernization, they seized upon the energy source that was cheap and domestically abundant: coal. They then developed and implemented a massive plan involving the construction of hundreds of coal-fired power plants that would be needed to energize their economic explosion. China now has approximately 620 coal-fired plants, about 27% of the world’s total.

Unfortunately, this happened at roughly the same time that the rest of the world was coming to grips with the fact that emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels, particularly coal, were wreaking havoc on the delicate blend of gases in the upper atmosphere that serve to regulate the Earth’s temperature. Responding to expressions of consternation from the global community, the Chinese vowed to get off of coal as soon as they could, which was received with plenty of hand-wringing as to whether that would be soon enough.

A lot has changed since then, including the recent agreement signed with President Obama, in which China promised to hit peak carbon emissions by 2030 and begin declining after that. But another factor has been quietly, though not invisibly lurking in the background: pollution. Air pollution is bad enough in some Chinese cities that many citizens have taken to wearing masks to protect them from fine particles.

Does Canada Equate Environmentalists With Terrorists?

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - A newly proposed Canadian terrorism bill is raising some eyebrows among environmental groups. A document entitled “Critical Infrastructure Intelligence Assessment,” that was obtained by Greenpeace, classifies anyone concerned about climate change as a potential “anti-petroleum extremist.”

As such, these individuals or groups could be referred to a newly empowered Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) under the auspices of activities “that undermine the security of Canada,” particularly with respect to “critical infrastructure.”

Okay, so they’re worried about people who might blow up pipelines or refineries, fair enough. But they are specifically calling out well-established groups like Sierra Club and Greenpeace. I mean The Monkey Wrench Gang was written a long time ago.

Paul Champ, a lawyer working with the BC Civil Liberties Union, told The Globe and Mail that he had, “real concerns [that the new law] is going to target not just terrorists who are involved in criminal activity, but people who are protesting against different Canadian government policies.”

For one thing, the bill, known as C-51, is written from a denialist perspective, saying that these groups, “assert climate change is now the most serious global threat, and that climate change is a direct consequence of elevated anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions which, they believe, are directly linked to the continued use of fossil fuels….”

Groups Sue BLM Over Coal Leases

Beijing to Ban Coal Burning

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - We all know that there are a number of people in this country who are not inclined to do anything to try and mitigate the impacts of climate change. These people have too often sought refuge in the notion that “if China is not doing anything, why should we?” Well, it’s starting to look like these folks might not have China to kick around much longer, when it comes to this issue.

Thousands Descend on Doha for Global Climate Conference

The UN Climate Change Conference kicked off today at the Qatar National Convention Centre in Doha, Qatar. Informally dubbed COP18/CMP8, the conference will last two weeks and attempt to assess progress in climate-change policy while creating a platform for the parties involved to adopt resolutions.


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