By Jessica Corbett
Following in the footsteps of leaders in Milan and New York City who are heeding global calls to #BuildBackBetter from the coronavirus pandemic, London Mayor Sadiq Khan on Friday unveiled plans to create "one of the largest car-free zones in any capital city in the world" to improve local air quality and encourage more walking and cycling.
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Britain announced that it will ban sales of new diesel and gasoline powered cars in 15 years last week. That was five years earlier than expected, but necessary for the UK to reach its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, according to a statement from the prime minister's office, as CNN reported.
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For many people, the holidays are rich with time-honored traditions like decorating the Christmas tree, lighting the menorah, caroling, cookie baking, and sipping from the unity cup. But there's another unofficial, official holiday tradition that spans all ages and beliefs and gives people across the world hope for a better tomorrow: the New Year's resolution.
Benefits of Chamomile Tea<p><strong>Sleep More Soundly</strong></p><p>Pick your grandmother's brain about the best way to fall asleep, and she might tell you to down a nice glass of warm milk. But if you consult with science, research shows that chamomile might be a better option. That's because it contains an antioxidant called apigenin, which can <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2995283/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">promote sleepiness and reduce insomnia and other sleep problems</a>.</p><p>Two research studies even confirmed the power of chamomile throughout the day and before bed. In one of those studies, postpartum women who drank chamomile for two weeks <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26483209" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">experienced better sleep quality than the control group who didn't</a>. Another research effort measured how fast people could fall asleep. Those results illustrated that participants who consumed 270 milligrams of chamomile extract twice daily for 28 days <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3198755/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">fell asleep 15 minutes faster than the control</a>. The chamomile group also had considerably fewer sleep disruptions. </p><p><strong>May Be Able to Keep Your Gut Healthy</strong></p><p>Though the following studies used rats as the subjects, research shows that chamomile can potentially play a beneficial role in digestive health. According to that research, the anti-inflammatory properties in <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24463157" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">chamomile extract may be able to protect against diarrhea</a>. Additionally, chamomile may be an effective way to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4177631/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">stop the growth of bacteria in our stomachs that contribute to ulcers</a>.</p><p><strong>Reduces Stress and Anxiety</strong></p><p>Few things are more relaxing than curling up with a good cup of tea, so it's logical that chamomile tea can serve a stress reducer. While it lacks the potency of a pharmaceutical drug, long-term use of chamomile has been shown to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27912875" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">"significantly" reduce general anxiety disorders</a>. In general, chamomile can act almost like a sedative, and many people enjoy the tea because it puts them in a calm and relaxed state almost immediately. </p><p><strong>Boosts Immune Health</strong></p><p>Vitamin C and zinc are common over-the-counter supplements that people often turn to when they're hoping to avoid becoming sick. While scientists admit that more research must take place to prove chamomile's impact on preventing ailments like the common cold, the existing studies do show promise in this area. </p><p>One study had 14 participants drink five cups of the tea every day for two consecutive weeks. Throughout the study, researchers collected daily urine samples and tested the contents before and after the consumption of the tea. Drinking chamomile resulted in a significant increase in the levels of hippurate and glycine, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2995283/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">both of which are known to increase antibacterial activity</a>. Inhaling steam from a pot of freshly brewed chamomile tea may also ease the symptoms of nasal congestion.</p><p><strong>Minimizes Menstrual Cramps</strong></p><p>This one may come as a surprise, particularly to readers who have tried every possible over-the-counter treatment to reduce period pain. Several research studies have proven that chamomile tea may be able to minimize the pain and cramps that occur during menstruation. Women in that same study also dealt with lower levels of anxiety that they typically felt because of menstrual cramps.</p><p><strong>Help Diabetes and Lower Blood Sugar</strong></p><p>For people with diabetes, regulating blood sugar levels can be a matter of life or death. And while chamomile will never replace prescription-strength drugs, it's believed that it can prevent an increase in blood sugar. A 2008 study on rats showed that chamomile could have a <a href="https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf8014365" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">moderate impact on the long-term risk of diabetes</a>.</p><p><strong>Might Improve Your Skin</strong></p><p>Ever wondered why there's been an influx of chamomile-infused cosmetic products? The reason why so many manufacturers now include chamomile in their lotions, soaps, and creams is because it <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5074766/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">acts as an anti-inflammatory on our skin</a>. That means it may be able to soothe the puffiness that plagues us as we age. Those same anti-inflammatory properties can be vital in restoring skin health after we've received a sunburn. </p><p>Before discarding your used chamomile tea bags, try chilling them and placing them over your eyes. Not only will this help with the puffiness, but it can drastically light the skin color around the eye.</p><p><strong>Help With Heart Health</strong></p><p>Some of the most beneficial antioxidants we put into our bodies are what are known as flavones, and chamomile tea is chock full of them. Flavones have the potential to lower both blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which, when elevated, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4814348/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">can lead to heart disease</a>.</p>
Why Everyone Is Drinking Chamomile Tea<p>Now that you know so much about the wonders of chamomile, it shouldn't come as a surprise why the tea is so popular with people of all ages. In addition to tasting great, chamomile offers up benefits that boost the health of body parts both inside and out. As you ponder your own New Year's resolutions, think about how healthy and natural vitamins, supplements, plants, and oils can help guide you on your own personal path to improvement. Happy New Year!</p>
Just as the United Kingdom made its formal exit from the European Union, Boris Johnson added some turmoil to the international climate conference that Britain will host later this year in Glasgow. He fired Claire O'Neill, the former Energy minister and president of COP26, as the BBC reported.
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The UK instituted the world's toughest ban on ivory last year which eliminated all sales of ivory and rankled collectors and dealers. Antique dealers sued in court to be able to continue to sell existing ivory and argued that the ban violated European law. The high court in the UK, however, struck down that argument earlier this week and said the UK's ban is fully legal, as The Guardian reported.
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By Simon Evans
During the three months of July, August and September, renewables generated an estimated total of 29.5 terawatt hours (TWh), compared with just 29.1TWh from fossil fuels, the analysis shows.
Transformative Decade<p>At the start of this decade in 2010, the 288TWh generated from fossil fuels accounted for around three-quarters of the UK total. It was also <a href="http://interactive.carbonbrief.org//how-uk-transformed-electricity-supply-decade/#" target="_blank">more than 10 times</a> as much electricity as the 26TWh that came from renewables.</p><p>Since then, electricity generation from renewable sources has more than quadrupled – and <a href="https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-uk-electricity-generation-2018-falls-to-lowest-since-1994" target="_blank">demand has fallen</a> – leaving fossil fuels with a shrinking share of the total.</p><p>This shift is shown in the chart below, with the declining quarterly output from power stations burning coal, oil and gas in blue and rising generation from renewables in red.</p><p>(The quarterly chart also reflects the seasons, with demand higher in winter and lower in summer. Wind farm output is well matched with this cycle, as it tends to be windier in winter.)</p><iframe scrolling="no" frameborder="0" marginheight="0px" marginwidth="0px" style="display: initial; margin: 0 auto;" src="https://cbhighcharts2019.s3.eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/q3-2019-electricity/renewables-beating-fossil-fuels-uk.html" width="800px" height="550px"></iframe><span style="display:block; height:22px; max-width:800px;"><img src="https://s3.eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/cbhighcharts2019/cb-logo-highcharts.svg" style="width: 22px; height: 22px; margin-top: 2px; margin-bottom: 2px; float:right; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-size: contain;"/></span>
New Capacity<p>Over the past year, the most significant reason for rising renewable generation has been an increase in capacity as new offshore wind farms have opened. The 1,200 megawatt (MW) Hornsea One project <a href="https://www.powerengineeringint.com/2019/10/04/final-turbines-installed-at-hornsea-1/" target="_blank">was completed</a> in October, becoming the world's largest offshore wind farm. The 588MW Beatrice offshore wind farm was completed in <a href="https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/835114/Renewables_September_2019.pdf" target="_blank">Q2 of this year</a>.</p><p>These schemes add to the <a href="https://www.renewableuk.com/page/UKWEDSearch" target="_blank">more than 2,100MW</a> of offshore capacity that started operating during 2018. Further capacity is already being built, including the 714MW East Anglia One project that <a href="https://www.offshorewind.biz/2019/09/12/east-anglia-one-generates-first-power/" target="_blank">started generating electricity</a> this year and will be completed in 2020.</p><p>In total, government contracts for offshore wind will take capacity from nearly 8,500MW today to around 20,000MW by the mid-2020s. The government and industry are jointly aiming for at least 30,000MW of offshore wind capacity by 2030, with two further contract auctions already expected.</p><p>In September, the latest auction round produced <a href="https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-record-low-uk-offshore-wind-cheaper-than-existing-gas-plants-by-2023" target="_blank">record-low deals</a> for offshore wind farms that will generate electricity more cheaply than expected market prices – and potentially below the cost of running existing gas plants.</p><p>Other contributors to the recent increase in renewable generation include the opening of the 420MW Lynemouth biomass plant in Northumberland last year and the addition of hundreds of megawatts of new onshore wind and solar farms. (Another new 299MW biomass plant being built on Teesside, with a <a href="https://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/teesside-news/hundreds-laid-tees-energy-plant-16669866" target="_blank">scheduled opening</a> in early 2020, is <a href="https://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/teesside-news/unite-demands-urgent-answers-after-16723624" target="_blank">facing "major delays"</a>.)</p><p>According to the <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-business-energy-and-industrial-strategy" target="_blank">Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy</a> (BEIS), the rise in renewable output during the <a href="https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/835114/Renewables_September_2019.pdf" target="_blank">first</a> <a href="https://web.archive.org/web/20190724204007/https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/811971/Electricity_June_2019.pdf" target="_blank">half</a> of 2019 was down to these increases in capacity, with weather conditions not unusual for the time of year.</p>
Consecutive Months<p>Carbon Brief's electricity-sector analysis shows that renewables are also estimated to have generated more electricity than fossil fuels during the individual months of August and September, the first time there have been two consecutive such months.</p><p>Previously, renewables beat fossil fuels in September 2018 – the first-ever whole month – and then again in March 2019. This means that there have only ever been four months where renewables outpaced fossil generation, of which three have been this year and two in the last two months.</p><p>This is shown in the chart, below, which also highlights the greater month-to-month variability in electricity generation and demand, which is overlaid on top of the broader seasonal cycles.</p><iframe scrolling="no" frameborder="0" marginheight="0px" marginwidth="0px" style="display: initial; margin: 0 auto;" src="https://cbhighcharts2019.s3.eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/q3-2019-electricity/renewables-fossils-monthly.html" width="800px" height="550px"></iframe><span style="display:block; height:22px; max-width:800px;"><img src="https://s3.eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/cbhighcharts2019/cb-logo-highcharts.svg" style="width: 22px; height: 22px; margin-top: 2px; margin-bottom: 2px; float:right; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-size: contain;"/></span>
Methodology<p>The figures in the article are from Carbon Brief analysis of data from <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/electricity-section-5-energy-trends" target="_blank">BEIS Energy Trends chapter 5</a> and <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/energy-trends-section-6-renewables" target="_blank">chapter 6</a>, as well as from <a href="https://www.bmreports.com/" target="_blank">BM Reports</a>. The figures from BM Reports are for electricity supplied to the grid in Great Britain only and are adjusted to include Northern Ireland.<br></p><p>In Carbon Brief's analysis, the BM Reports numbers are also adjusted to account for electricity used by power plants on site and for generation by plants not connected to the high-voltage national grid. This includes many onshore wind farms, as well as industrial gas combined heat and power plants and those burning landfill gas, waste or sewage gas.</p><p>By design, the Carbon Brief analysis is intended to align as closely as possible to the official government figures on electricity generated in the UK, reported in <a href="https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/834120/ET_5.1.xls" target="_blank">BEIS Energy Trends table 5.1</a>. Briefly, the raw data for each fuel is adjusted with a multiplier, derived from the ratio between the reported BEIS numbers and unadjusted figures for previous quarters.</p><p>Carbon Brief's method of analysis has been verified against published BEIS figures using "<a href="https://www.definitions.net/definition/HINDCAST" target="_blank">hindcasting</a>". This shows the estimates for total electricity generation from fossil fuels or renewables to have been within ±3% of the BEIS number in each quarter since Q4 2017. (Data before then is not sufficient to carry out the Carbon Brief analysis.)</p><p>For example, in the second quarter of 2019, a Carbon Brief hindcast estimates gas generation at 33.1TWh, whereas the published BEIS figure was 34.0TWh. Similarly, it produces an estimate of 27.4TWh for renewables, against a BEIS figure of 27.1TWh.</p><p>The Carbon Brief estimated totals for fossil fuels and renewables are very close in Q3 2019, coming within 0.5TWh of each other. This means that despite the relatively low level of uncertainty in the estimates, their relative position could be reversed in the official BEIS data.</p><p>This serves to emphasize the fact that the broader trend of decline for fossil fuels and an increase for renewables is of far greater significance than the precise figures for any individual quarter.</p><p>In contrast to Carbon Brief's analysis, figures published by consultancy <a href="https://www.enappsys.com/" target="_blank">EnAppSys</a> for the third quarter of 2019 <a href="https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/42d1d7_05a6259d8486422e9783a3d852bb4537.pdf" target="_blank">suggest that</a> fossil fuels generated slightly more electricity than renewables. There are several reasons for this difference.</p><p>First, the company's analysis is for Great Britain only, whereas Carbon Brief's covers the UK overall. Second, it reports on electricity "supplied" in the country, including imports, whereas Carbon Brief estimates the amount of electricity "generated" within the UK only.</p><p>Third, Carbon Brief's analysis is, by design, aligned with the quarterly <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/energy-trends" target="_blank">BEIS Energy Trends</a> data for electricity generation, whereas EnAppSys uses its own approach.</p><p>For comparison, <a href="https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/42d1d7_3ffce1328967400f97678b53bc4e8b55.pdf" target="_blank">EnAppSys reported</a> for the second quarter of 2019 that 28.3TWh was supplied in GB from gas, whereas <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/electricity-section-5-energy-trends" target="_blank">BEIS reports</a> that 34.0TWh was generated in the UK. Similarly EnAppSys reported 23.1TWh coming from renewables, against a BEIS figure of 27.1TWh.</p>
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By Dan Nosowitz
A hot-button issue in the UK focuses on something most Americans don't even know about: a particular method of disinfecting raw poultry.
Europe is gearing up for another extreme heat wave that could set all-time records for several European countries.
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Theresa May, the outgoing UK prime minister, used her final appearance at the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan to urge other nations to follow her country's lead in aggressively lowering greenhouse gas emissions.
Britain has a new goal to reach net zero carbon emissions, making it the first G7 country to implement such a target.
The UK parliament became the first national legislative body in the world to declare a climate change "emergency" Wednesday. The historic move closely follows Extinction Rebellion protests that blocked traffic in key parts of central London for a week in April.
One UK store's attempt to fight plastic pollution has turned out to be a smashing success.
Last year, supermarket chain Iceland became the first UK retailer to install "reverse vending machines" that allow customers to return plastic bottles purchased at the store and receive a 10 pence voucher in return. The program has proved popular, according to figures published Wednesday and reported by The Guardian. Customers had returned 311,500 bottles to date.