Top Stories

October 31, 2014


Apple chief Tim Cook: ‘I’m proud to be gay’

Apple chief executive Tim Cook has publically acknowledged his sexuality, saying that he is “proud to be gay”, becoming the first publically gay chief executive of a Fortune 500 company. Mr Cook, who has been open about his sexuality but tried to maintain a basic level of privacy until now, made his announcement to try to help people struggling with their identity. “If hearing that the C.E.O. of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it’s worth the trade-off with my own privacy,” he wrote in a Bloomberg Businessweek article. This week Mr Cook challenged his home state of Alabama to ensure the rights of gay and transgender people. (BBC; The New York Times)


Global Green Economy Index reveals gap between reality and perception

The just-released fourth edition of the “Global Green Economy Index”, produced by US-based consultancy Dual Citizen, reveals a sharp gap between the general perception about green economies and actual performance. Evaluating 60 countries and 70 cities on their performance in creating more eco-friendly economies, the report finds that while certain developed countries, including the United States, rank significantly higher in terms of their global perception as the leading green countries, in reality their performance does not reflect that standard. Sweden and Norway topped the list of actual performance, followed by Costa Rica and Germany and Denmark rounding up the top five. The U.S. enjoys sixth position in perception, while Japan, ranked 44th in performance, is at the seventh position in perception. The index also revealed that some of the world’s fastest growing economies are not embracing green practices. Rapidly emerging players, such as the UAE, Thailand, Ghana and Vietnam, are fairly weak in developing green economies. Four of the greenest cities in the world were in Scandinavia, while Amsterdam, Vancouver, London, Berlin, New York and Singapore complete the top 10. (Just Means)


EU car makers already beating 2015 emission targets

Car makers have hit CO2 emissions goals several years ahead of their deadlines, according to updated data from the European Environment Agency (EEA). According to EEA’s latest report, updating preliminary figures published earlier this year, the average passenger car sold in 2013 emitted 126.7 grams of carbon dioxide per passenger kilometre (g/km) – already below the legal threshold of 130g/km to be reached by 2015. This represents a 14 percent improvement on cars sold in 2010, mainly due to technological improvements and higher scales of diesel vehicles. Despite concerns that real driving conditions may lead to higher emissions, the figures suggest that progress is being made, albeit markedly mixed between manufacturers. Renault has the lowest average CO2 emissions, followed by Peugeot, Fiat, Toyota and Citroen. At the other end of the scale, Daimler remains the EU’s most polluting major car manufacturer. The figures may prompt further calls for EU emissions targets to be tightened. The industry says meeting EU targets within the given time frame is technically and economically unfeasible. However, green groups have dismissed these claims pointing out that most manufacturers are well on track to meet their 2021 goals. (Business Green)

Renewable Energy

Sainsbury’s says ‘fill up with something new today’ with first hydrogen refuelling station

Sainsbury’s is set to become the first UK supermarket to host a refuelling station for hydrogen-powered vehicles, marking a major step forward for plans to expand the fledgling technology. Hydrogen supplier Air Products announced this week it is working with Sainsbury’s to install a “dispenser” at the supermarket giant’s Hendon store in North London by the end of the year. The station will expand Air Products’ hydrogen network in London, which already includes stations at Heathrow in West London and Stratford in East London, which serve a number of new fuel cell buses, taxis and delivery vans, several of which are being operated by office supplies firm Commercial Group. Diana Raine, Air Products’ hydrogen energy business manager, said installing a hydrogen dispenser on a supermarket forecourt would also help raise public awareness of the zero emission technology. Avishai Moor, fuel and kiosk category manager for Sainsbury’s, said the retailer was “really excited” about being the first UK supermarket to trial the new technology and make it accessible to customers. (Business Green)


Importance of renewable energy in the UK emphasised as projects worth £81bn underway

More than £81bn worth of renewable energy projects representing nearly half (47%) of all infrastructure spending in the UK are proposed by 2025 with wind farms accounting for nine out of the 10 key projects, according to figures released today by Barbour ADI. Data presented for a total of 405 forthcoming renewable energy developments includes the £25bn Severn Barrage, phases one to six of the East Anglia One offshore wind farm jointly worth £10.8bn and the £3.75bn Hornsea offshore wind farm. Barbour ADI’s lead economist Michael Dall expressed his optimism about the prospects on renewable energy in the UK: “With a number of these projects already confirmed and many more at early stages of planning, the future of renewable energy construction in the UK looks bright.” The report follows a controversial government proposal to discontinue funding to 5MW+ solar farms through the Renewables Obligation scheme. (Edie)



Image Source: “Final assembly” by Brian Snelson / CC BY 2.0