Extinction Rebellion Returns to UK Streets
The group kicked off 10 days of planned civil disobedience on Tuesday with protests in London, Manchester and Cardiff, The Guardian reported. The London protest ended in Parliament Square as the UK's legislative body returned from its summer recess.
"The government is failing to do what's necessary to keep people safe. We are here, taking action, because their criminal negligence is putting lives at risk," Extinction Rebellion said on its website, Reuters reported. "We refuse to be bystanders and wait for this emergency to push beyond the point of no return."
Specifically, the group wants Parliament to pass the Climate and Ecological Emergency (CEE) Bill.
The CEE Bill was written by a coalition of scientists, lawyers and activists determined to advance UK climate policy beyond its current goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050. Instead, it would require a climate plan that would:
- Reduce emissions enough to account for the UK's "fair share" of carbon pollution
- Account for the country's whole carbon footprint, both at home and abroad
- Protect nature both in the UK and abroad by looking at the impact of consumer supply chains
- Not rely on new technologies as an excuse to keep polluting at current levels
- Create a citizen's assembly "with bite" to shape climate policy
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson defended his government's climate legacy and promised new announcements in the fall, Reuters reported.
Before a cabinet meeting, he told senior ministers that he planned a green recovery from the economic toll of the coronavirus pandemic.
"From this crisis we will build back better in this country, we will build back faster and we will build back greener," Johnson said. "And there will be a lot more to come about the way in which this government is going to lead a new green industrial revolution for the UK."
The planned disruptions come a little less than a year after XR's "Autumn Uprising" shut down large parts of central London and led to more than 1,700 arrests, the Evening Standard reported. This in turn led to the Metropolitan Police banning the group in London, a move later found to be illegal.
Tuesday's London protest drew thousands of people and resulted in 65 arrests, according to The Guardian.
This year, the Metropolitan Police have set limits on when and where gatherings can take place and prohibited the use of boats, vehicles or other structures in processions, the Evening Standard reported. They have also threatened a roughly $13,000 fine for organizing a gathering of more than 30 people during the pandemic, The Guardian reported.
XR already canceled protests planned for earlier in the year because of the coronavirus, according to Reuters.
The Guardian reported that a majority of Tuesday's protesters wore masks, and XR has also organized a digital rebellion for those who cannot join in person.
For some participants, however, the virus made them more determined to take to the streets.
"By living the way we live, we are making ourselves more vulnerable to these pandemics and that's why [the climate crisis] should never have been off the agenda, it should be part and parcel of the Covid debate," 50-year-old Ava, from Lewes in East Sussex, told The Guardian.
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California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order Wednesday that would ban the sale of new cars in California that run only on gasoline by the year 2035. The bid to reduce emissions and combat the climate crisis would make California the first state to ban the sale of new cars with internal combustion engines, according to POLITICO.
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A "trash tsunami" has washed ashore on the beaches of Honduras, endangering both wildlife and the local economy.
More long-finned pilot whales were found stranded today on beaches in Tasmania, Australia. About 500 whales have become stranded, including at least 380 that have died, the AP reported. It is the largest mass stranding in Australia's recorded history.
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By Harry Kretchmer
By 2030, almost a third of all the energy consumed in the European Union must come from renewable sources, according to binding targets agreed in 2018. Sweden is helping lead the way.
Sweden is a world leader in renewable energy consumption. Swedish Institute/World Bank
Naturally Warm<p>54% of Sweden's power comes from renewables, and is helped by its geography. With plenty of moving water and 63% forest cover, it's no surprise the <a href="https://sweden.se/nature/energy-use-in-sweden/#" target="_blank">two largest renewable power sources</a> are hydropower and biomass. And that biomass is helping support a local energy boom.</p><p>Heating is a key use of energy in a cold country like Sweden. In recent decades, as fuel oil taxes have increased, the country's power companies have turned to renewables, like biomass, to fuel local 'district heating' plants.</p><p>In Sweden these trace their <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank">origins back to 1948</a>, when a power station's excess heat was first used to heat nearby buildings: steam is <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/district-heating-system" target="_blank">forced along a network of pipes</a> to wherever it's needed. Today, there are around 500 district heating systems across the country, from major cities to small villages, providing heat to homes and businesses.</p><p>District heating used to be fueled mainly from the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140" target="_blank">by-products of power plants</a>, waste-to-energy plants and industrial processes. These days, however, Sweden is bringing more renewable sources into the mix. And as a result of competition, this localized form of power is now the country's<a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> home-heating market leader.</a></p>
Sweden is using smart grids to turn buildings into energy producers. Huang et al/Elsevier
Energy ‘Prosumers’<p>But Sweden doesn't stop at village-level heating solutions. Its new breed of energy-generation takes hyper-local to the next level.</p><p>One example is in the city of Ludivika where 1970s flats <a href="https://www.buildup.eu/sites/default/files/content/transforming-a-residential-building-cluster-into-electricity-prosumers-in-sweden.pdf" target="_blank">have recently been retrofitted with the latest smart energy technology</a>.</p><p>48 family apartments spread across 3 buildings have been given photovoltaic solar panels, thermal energy storage and heat pump systems. A micro energy grid connects it all, and helps charge electric cars overnight.</p><p>The result is a cluster of 'prosumer' buildings, producing rather than consuming enough power for 77% of residents' needs. With <a href="http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1232060/FULLTEXT01.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">high levels of smart meter usage</a>, it's a model that looks set to spread across Sweden.</p>
<div id="d7bf9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8757b138d5570bec9d6aad18074a429a"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1273556364263071744" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Read more about Western Harbour and book a visit: https://t.co/ujSmVs9rNK 🏡🌳🌊 https://t.co/C5PuPziqIM</div> — Smart City Sweden (@Smart City Sweden)<a href="https://twitter.com/SmartCitySweden/statuses/1273556364263071744">1592474473.0</a></blockquote></div>
Scaling Up<p>A recent development by E.ON in Hyllie, a district on the outskirts of Malmö, southern Sweden, <a href="https://www.eonenergy.com/blog/2019/February/sweden-smart-city" target="_blank">has scaled up the smart grid principle</a>. Energy generation comes from local wind, solar, biomass and waste sources.</p><p>Smart grids then balance the power, react to the weather, deploying extra power when it's colder or putting excess into battery storage when it's warm. The system is not only more efficient, but bills have fallen.</p><p>Smart energy developments like those in Hyllie, Ludivika, and renewable-driven district heating, offer a radical alternative to the centralized energy systems many countries rely on today.</p><p>The EU's leaders have a challenge: how to generate 32% of energy from renewables by 2030. Sweden offers a vision of how technology and local solutions can turn a goal into a reality.</p>
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