Weekly Environmental news update March 2020
Weekly E.C.O. roundup
Your weekly roundup of the top eco stories from the last 7 days
Here’s our round up of the biggest environmental news stories from the last 7 days…
Heathrow Airport third runway ruled illegal
In 2018 Theresa May’s government won a parliamentary vote on Heathrow expansion but this week those plans have been deemed illegal. The appeal court’s decision declared the runway plans illegal and in breach of the UK’s climate change commitments under the Paris agreement. The government has set a target of net zero emissions by 2050 and the third runway would breach this.
If the go ahead was given the £14 billion runway could be built by 2028 and result in the arrival/departure of an additional 700 planes a day.
As the plans were, half the village of Harmondsworth would have been destroyed including some listed buildings. The surrounding area would also be made inhabitable by the noise and actual pollution.
New York plastic bag ban comes into effect
A state-wide ban of plastic bags has come into force stipulating that shops will no longer be able to give or sell plastic bags. New York is the third state after California and Oregon to enforce the ban.
Every year the state of New York uses a whopping 23billion plastic bags, most of which aren’t recycled and end up in landfill or littered. In the coming year Maine and Vermont are due to enforce the ban followed by Connecticut and Delaware in 2021.
Businesses that don’t comply with the law can befined $250 for a first violation and $500 for any further violations in the same year.
Study find that forests are losing their ability to absorb carbon dioxide
Ordinarily forests act as a carbon sink (a natural reservoir that stores carbon and carbon compounds), however research from Leeds University suggests that forests are taking in less co2 from the atmosphere.
The study tracked 300,000 trees over 30 years, providing the first large-scale evidence of the decline in carbon uptake by tropical forests. The data was combined from two forest observations in Africa and the Amazon. The research shows that over the last three decades the volume of co2 absorbed by tropical forests has fallen, and this trend is likely to continue.
The uptake of carbon by tropical forests reached its peak in the 1990s when approximately 46billion tonnes were removed from the air. By the 2010s, the amount sunk to about 25billion tonnes, or just 6% of global emissions.
2021 to see greener petrol at UK garage stations
The government is looking into producing C10 which contains less carbon than fuels currently on sale. The Department for Transport has said that this swap could reduce CO2 transport emissions by 750,000 tonnes per year, however the new fuel won’t be compatible with some older vehicles.
In other UK news the government have announced that a ban on the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars would be brought forward from 2040 to 2035. The Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said the change in petrol could be equivalent to taking up to 350,000 cars off the road each year.
Lauren works as a digital fundraiser for a charity and volunteers in her spare time for a small animal charity doing all things digital. On the last Sunday of the month you’ll catch her out on a canoe litter picking on the Thames. Her favourite eco product is BECO soap.