Top Stories

September 01, 2016


UK government “falling behind” on electric car pledge, say MPs

An influential committee of MPs have said the UK government is falling behind on its commitments to switch a proportion of Britain’s car fleet to electric vehicles. Parliament’s environmental audit committee said ministers were failing to put forward the incentives and infrastructure needed to encourage drivers to use electric cars. The news comes after it was found that emissions from new diesel cars are still far higher than the official limit. The government target is for electric cars to make up 9% of the fleet by 2020, but current forecasts by the Department for Transport show the figure by the end of the decade is likely to be about half that. The committee has called for greater incentives for the uptake of the electric car in the UK alongside a more ambitious target for two-thirds of cars and vans to be ultra-low emissions by 2030. (The Guardian)

Corporate Reputation

Australia sues Volkswagen unit over alleged emissions fraud

Nearly one year on from the Volkswagen emissions scandal, the Australian arm of the company is being sued for allegedly misleading customers by selling modified vehicles that covered up emissions fraud. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is seeking a public declaration of misconduct, financial penalties and corrective advertising after the claim Volkswagen intentionally sold more than 57,000 such vehicles over a five-year period. The carmaker has suffered a global backlash since revealing last year that around 11 million of its vehicles had software or so-called “defeat devices” designed to bypass official emissions tests. Last month Volkswagen told a court it plans to compensate American car dealers affected by the scandal. (BBC News)


Thousands of UK churches go green

More than 3,500 churches across Britain have switched from fossil fuel to renewable energy, or are planning to do so, according to data released by Christian Aid, poverty charity Tearfund and Catholic aid agency CAFOD. Those making the move in their electricity supply include the majority of the Salvation Army’s sites, about a third of Quaker meeting houses, and about 2,000 churches belonging to 16 Catholic dioceses. However, this number represents a relatively small proportion of the estimated 50,000 Christian churches active in the UK. Fitting churches with renewable energy generation devices is technically challenging, but parishes can also opt to buy their electricity from green suppliers. The “big church switch” is a movement calling on churches to switch their energy supply from fossil fuels to renewable energy. (The Guardian)


MidAmerican Energy receives approval for giant Iowa wind farm

MidAmerican Energy has received approval on its 2GW wind project in Iowa, U.S. The development will see 1,000 wind turbines constructed at multiple sites across the state, making it one of the world’s largest onshore wind sites. The scheme is the biggest wind project undertaken by MidAmerican Energy, which is expanding its wind interests while reducing the proportion of coal used in its energy portfolio. By the end of 2016, the firm says wind will account for 39 per cent of its generation capacity, helping it towards its aim of providing 100 per cent renewable energy for its Iowa customers. The news comes as recent figures from the US Energy Information Administration show that renewables now account for 12 per cent of all energy consumption in the country, with forecasts showing this to increase by 10.5 per cent in 2016 and 4.3 per cent in 2017. (BusinessGreen)


World’s largest canmaker to set science-based emissions target

Ball Corporation, the world’s largest canmaker, has said it will set a science-based greenhouse gas reduction target by 2018 as part of its 2020 environmental goals. Ball’s commitment was made last week in its 2016 sustainability report, which set out its goals for 2020 alongside its performance against the previous set of targets, which were due for completion in 2015. Ball has set ten new targets for 2020, including plans to cut the carbon footprint of its drinks cans by 25 per cent against a 2015 baseline. Meanwhile, the promised science-based target will be announced after all the emissions impacts of the company are fully understood and will not come into force until after 2020. The global campaign for businesses to set science-based targets is gaining momentum, as more firms sign up to new emissions goals that are compatible with limiting average global warming to under two degrees this century. Currently nearly 170 companies, including Kelloggs and IBM, have set science-based goals. (BusinessGreen)


Image source: Tower of St Edburg’s Parish Church, Jim: CC BY 2.0