Top Stories

November 04, 2019


Fracking halted in England

The UK government has halted fracking in England with immediate effect in a watershed moment for environmentalists and community activists. Ministers also warned shale gas companies it would not support future fracking projects, in a crushing blow to companies that had been hoping to capitalise on one of the new frontiers of growth in the fossil fuel industry. The decision draws a line under years of bitter opposition to the controversial extraction process in a major victory for green groups and local communities. The report, undertaken by the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), also warned it was not possible to predict the magnitude of earthquakes fracking might trigger. In the wake of this decision, UK Ministers have been condemned for wasting millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money in a failed attempt to introduce fracking to the UK. The bid also cost the nation a decade of effort that should have been expended on other, more environmentally friendly energy projects, scientists and activists claimed yesterday. (The Guardian, The Guardian)


Severe pollution prompts car rationing in Delhi

The Indian capital, Delhi, has launched a car rationing system as it battles hazardous levels of pollution. From 4 to 15 November, only cars with either odd or even number plates will be allowed on the roads each day, officials said. Such a system has been used before, but it is not clear whether it helps to reduce pollution. Levels of dangerous particles in the air – known as PM2.5 – are at well over ten times safe limits in Delhi. However, cars are not believed to be the main cause of Delhi’s toxic air, with experts pointing instead to crop burning by farmers in neighbouring states to clear fields. Health officials have asked people to stay indoors and refrain from doing any physical activity as millions are at risk of respiratory illness. Schools are closed until Tuesday and the shutdown is likely to be extended until Friday as the city continues to choke under a thick blanket of smog. (BBC)

Sustainable Agriculture/Collaboration

Palm oil giants double down on deforestation with new radar system

Ten major companies that sell and use palm oil have teamed up on a new radar system to monitor forests across Malaysia and Indonesia more closely and speed up action to stop deforestation, a group leading the initiative said on Friday. The coalition of palm oil producers and buyers will contribute nearly $1.3 million to the project—led by the US-based World Resources Institute (WRI)—which will keep a watch on forests using data from European Space Agency satellites. Palm oil, the world’s most widely used edible oil, is found in everything from margarine to biscuits, and soap to soups. But the $60 billion global trade has faced scrutiny in recent years from green activists and consumers, who have blamed its production for forest loss, fires and worker exploitation. The high-tech monitoring project should enable big businesses to act faster to stop forest loss linked to palm oil and make it easier for green groups to hold them to account. (Eco-Business)


Delta Air Lines restores same-sex love scenes to in-flight films

Delta Air Lines is to show new versions of films after the carrier was criticised for screening versions with same-sex love scenes edited out. Delta said the content had been “unnecessarily excluded”. The words “vagina” and “lesbian” were also cut out, despite profanities being kept in. Delta said films were edited by a third party and they did not ask for edits to be made. Of two films highlighted to have been edited, Rocketman and Booksmart, intimate scenes between two characters of the same sex had been removed. While it is common practice for in-flight films to be edited, Delta said this content was well within their guidelines. Delta said in a statement that they have had countless content onboard in the past which shows it is not their practice to omit LBGTQ+ love scenes. The editor of Booksmart, Olivia Wilde, has urged “every airline, especially those who pride themselves on inclusivity, to stop working with this third party company, and trust the parental advisory warning to allow viewers to opt out if they choose”.(BBC)


Tesco vows to remove 1 billion pieces of plastic packaging by end-2020

Britain’s biggest retailer, Tesco, has pledged to remove one billion pieces of plastic packaging from products in its UK stores by the end of 2020, seeking to reduce its environmental impact and meet growing consumer demand for less waste. Tesco has said it will have eliminated the hardest-to-recycle materials from its own brand products by the end of this year, removing over 4,000 tonnes of materials from 800 lines. It plans to remove the small plastic bags commonly used to pack loose fruit, vegetables and bakery items and replace them with paper ones. It will also remove plastic trays from ready meals, secondary lids on products such as cream, yoghurts and cereals, and spoons, forks and straws from snack pots and drinks cartons. Tesco has also told more than 1,500 suppliers that packaging will be key to deciding which products are sold in its stores. It has informed them it reserves the right to no longer stock products that use excessive or hard-to-recycle materials. (Reuters)

Image Source: sunset by Zbynek Burival on Unsplash.