Sunday, 12 October 2008

A 'Green New Deal' can save the world's economy, says UN

By Geoffrey Lean, Environment EditorSunday, 12 October 2008

Top economists and United Nations leaders are working on a "Green New Deal" to create millions of jobs, revive the world economy, slash poverty and avert environmental disaster, as the financial markets plunge into their deepest crisis since the Great Depression.
The ambitious plan – the start of which will be formally launched in London next week - will call on world leaders, including the new US President, to promote a massive redirection of investment away from the speculation that has caused the bursting “financial and housing bubbles” and into job-creating programmes to restore the natural systems that underpin the world economy.
It aims to convince them that, far from restricting growth, healing the global environment will be a desperately -needed driving force behind it.
The Green Economy Initiative - which will be spearheaded by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), headquartered here, and is already being backed by governments – draws its inspiration from Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, which ended the 1930s depression and helped set up the world economy for the unprecedented growth of the second half of the 20th century.
It, too, envisages basing recovery on providing work for the poor, as well as reform of financial practices, after a crash brought on by unregulated excesses of the free market and the banking system.
The new multimillion dollar initiative – which is being already funded by the German and Norwegian Governments and the European Commission – arises out of a study commissioned by world leaders at the 2006 G8 summit into the economic value of ecosystems. It argues that the world is caught up in not one, but three interlinked crises, with the food and fuel crunches accompanying and intensifying the financial one.
Soaring prices of grain and oil, it stresses, have stemmed from outdated economic priorities that have concentrated on short term exploitation of the world's resources, without considering how they can be used to sustain prosperity in the long term. Over the last quarter of a century, says UNEP, world growth has doubled, but 60 per cent of the natural resources that provide food, water, energy and clean air have been seriously degraded.
Achim Steiner, UNEP's Executive Director, adds that new research shows that every year, for example the felling of forests deprives the world of over $2.5 trillion worth of such services in supplying water, generating rainfall, stopping soil erosion, cleaning the air and reducing global warming . By comparison, he points out, the global financial crisis is so far estimated to have cost the world the smaller one-off sum of $1.5 trillion.
“We are pushing, if not pushing past, the limits of what the planet can sustain,” he says. “If we go on as we are today’s crisis will seem mild indeed compared to the crises of tomorrow”.
Switching direction and concentrating on 'green growth', he says, will not only prevent such catastrophes, but rescue the world's finances. “The new, green economy would provide a new engine of growth, putting the world on the road to prosperity again. This is about growing the world economy in a more intelligent, sustainable way.
“The 20th century economy, now in such crisis, was driven by financial capital. The 21st century one is going to have to be based on developing the world's natural capital to provide the lasting jobs and wealth that are needed, particularly for the poorest people on the planet”
He says for example, that it makes more sense to invest in preserving forests, peatlands and soils, which naturally absorb carbon dioxide, than destroying them and then developing expensive technology to do the job.
He points out that the world market for environmental goods and service already stands at $1.3 trillion and is expected to double over the next 12 years even on present trends, and adds. “There is an enormous opportunity to ride on this increasing global demand for environmental improvement and turn it into the driver of economic growth, job creation and poverty reduction that is now so desperately needed. And in some places it is already beginning to happen.”
Mr Steiner will launch the initiative in London a week on Wednesday, October 22nd, with the announcement of three projects, concentrating on how investing in the world's natural systems, in renewable energy and in other green technologies would stimulate growth and provide jobs, and giving examples of where it is already taking place.
He will describe, for example, how Mexico is now employing 1.5 million people to plant and manage forests, how China has created the world's biggest solar energy industries from scratch in just a few years, and how Germany has leapt from being a laggard to a leader in renewable energy by giving people attractive incentives to install it in their home.
Pavan Sukhdev, the chair of Deutschbank's Global Market Centre, who is leading the initiative, says: “. Hundreds of millions of jobs can be created, there is no question that traditional industries like steel and cars cannot provide them. But this is a really huge business opportunity.”

Winds of change to power Asda base

Published Date: 12 October 2008
By Rosemary Gallagher

SUPERMARKET giant Asda is to build its first UK wind turbine at its Falkirk distribution centre to generate three quarters of the energy required for the depot.
The retailer has been granted planning permission by Falkirk Council to construct the turbine. The £2m project is part of Asda's aim to reduce energy requirements for its stores and distribution centres by 20% by 2012.After powering the depot, the electricity generated will transfer to the National Grid to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.Asda has identified a number of other potential sites for turbines and is considering building one at its Grangemouth depot. As well as tackling climate change, Asda said turbines will help reduce energy costs at its shops and centres and savings can be passed on to customers.Its first application for planning permission was turned down by Falkirk Council last year. Its resubmitted application was given the go ahead, partly because it included proposals to support the local community. This will include the store paying £100,000 into a charitable trust to be managed by the Scottish Community Foundation.Lisa Rooke, property communications manager for Asda Scotland, said: "The wind turbine will play a significant part in our wider sustainability strategy." Asda is opening a store in Leith this year with a number of resource efficient features, including an aluminium recyclable roof and automatic light dimming to conserve energy.The supermarket chain has also removed carrier bags from display in all its stores to reduce the amount of plastic used.It said it has not lost out to overseas budget chains, such as Aldi and Lidl, during the credit crunch and has been attracting more customers from higher income groups.

The IoS Green List: Britain's top 100 environmentalists

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Britain's most successful transport campaigner has come top of the first comprehensive list of the country's most effective greens, compiled by The Independent on Sunday.
The little-known John Stewart, who leads the onslaught against a third runway at Heathrow, soundly beats far more high-profile figures – from Jonathon Porritt to Zac Goldsmith, from Sir David Attenborough to Prince Charles – to take the honour. He does so in the wake of an important breakthrough for his campaign – the announcement by the Conservative Party that it plans to scrap the runway in favour of high-speed rail links that would supplant short-haul flights.
The runners-up are also unconventional choices, not normally found heading such lists: Professor Robert Watson, the chief scientist at Defra; Jane Davidson , the Welsh environment minister; the broadcaster Monty Don; and the polar scientist Peter Wadhams. They, and the other greens on the list, were selected for the recent impact they have made rather than for their fame by a panel of judges from inside and outside this newspaper.
Indeed, a host of famous figures – including Prince Philip, David Bellamy, Professor James Lovelock and Richard Branson – who might have expected to be high on the list, were judged not to make the grade at all.The judges set out to identify who is really making a difference in Britain, either directly or by altering public perceptions, rather than those who make most noise. Unlike in some other lists, journalists were excluded from consideration.
Mr Stewart, who is also chair of the Campaign for Better Transport, took up aviation and Heathrow more than a decade ago after winning a successful campaign – as head of the pressure group Alarm UK – against the then Conservative government's plans for a road-building drive hailed as the biggest since Roman times. Of an original 600 schemes, only 150 remained when John Major lost office in 1997, and the incoming Labour government cut those down to 50.
By then Mr Stewart had presciently begun to switch targets, forming a group called ClearSkies, then merging with, and radicalising, the gentlemanly Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise (Hacan). His campaign has been so effective in getting the third runway to the top of the agenda that the judges unanimously selected him to lead the list even before the Conservatives' announcement.
Professor Watson, who came second, has been a towering, outspoken international figure for more than two decades. He led the group of scientists that successfully pushed for bans on the chemicals that were damaging the ozone layer. And he went on to be a driving force behind the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change – too much so for the Bush administration, which had him removed as chairman – and to lead definitive, groundbreaking assessments of the state of the world's wildlife and agriculture. He was an inspired, if unexpected, choice last year to become chief scientist at Defra.
The judges were: Nicholas Schoon, editor, the 'ENDS Report', Britain's leading specialist environmental journal; Alex Kirby, former environment correspondent of the BBC; David Randall, assistant editor, 'IoS'; and Geoffrey Lean, environment editor at The IoS.
To have your say on this or any other issue visit www.independent.co.uk/IoSblogs
1. John Stewart, Activist
Not a famous face, but Britain's most effective radical green activist. He co-ordinated protests that brought Tory plans for 'the greatest road-building programme since the Romans' to a screeching halt in the 1990s. Now he is spearheading the campaign against airport expansion – and particularly Heathrow's third runway.
2. Professor Bob Watson, Chief scientist, Defra
Engaging mad-scientist beard and hairdo conceal one of the world's best green brains. Central to the successful bid to save the ozone layer. Fired as head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change at Bush's insistence. After years at Nasa, the White House and World Bank now at bumbling Defra.
3. Jane Davidson, Politician
At last an environment minister who is actually out in front – in Wales, the greenest part of Britain. She plans to reduce carbon emissions by 3 per cent a year, and for Wales to have entirely renewable electricity by 2020. She has published the world's first national carbon footprint, and aims to shrink it.
4. Monty Don, Broadcaster
Former 'Gardeners' World' presenter who now aims to rekindle Britain's wartime "dig for victory" spirit, encouraging people to grow their own vegetables – organically. As the new chairman of the Soil Association, he plans to nurture networks of community gardeners.
5. Professor Peter Wadhams, Polar scientist
Few heeded when the Cambridge professor of ocean physics started warning long ago that the Arctic icecap was imperilled. Now it is expected to be gone by 2030. He has taken five submarine voyages under the ice, finding it much thinner every time.
6. Aubrey Meyer, Campaigner
This former busker came up with what is widely recognised as the fairest solution to global warming, based on everyone being entitled to emit the same amount of carbon. Pushed it relentlessly until many governments took it up. Now endorsed by Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy.
7. Ken Livingstone, Former London mayor
Arguably the world's greenest leader until his brush with Boris. Set a target for reducing London's C02 by 60 per cent by 2050, and introduced ambitious policies to get there, going far beyond the congestion charge. So effective that his successor is attempting to seem green.
8. James Murdoch, Media mogul
A Murdoch? Green? Yes, really. The heir apparent made BskyB the world's first carbon-neutral broadcaster and he has cut News Corp's footprint by a fifth. Greened 'American Idol' and TV programmes, though newspapers have a way to go. Has even, as the 'IoS' reported last year, started converting the old man.
9. Prince of Wales, Heir to the throne
Easy to mock, but Prince Charles has the longest consistent campaigning record of any prominent figure. Convening power, outspokenness, and ability to grab headlines have made him a scourge of ministers over issues from global warming to GM. Latest cause: mobilising City money to save the rainforests.
10. KT Tunstall, Singer
Admits that, as a rock star, she has 'a pretty environmentally unfriendly job', but – as a leader of the Global Cool campaign – has greened her life, refusing to get a car, turning her London flat into an eco-home, and adding a small charge to each ticket to offset fans' trips to her gigs.
11. Jonathon Porritt, Watchdog
Once leader of the Greens and Friends of the Earth, the lapsed baronet is now the PMs official green adviser. He has lost little of his passion, and is ready to publicly attack ministers and policies from his podium as chairman of the Sustainable Development Commission.
12. Tony Juniper, Campaigner
Even he was surprised that his "Big Ask" campaign on global warming resulted in the Government's pioneering Climate Change Bill. Has just stepped down as heart-throb head of Friends of the Earth, but is as active as ever with oodles of campaigning and consultancy work.
13. Peter Ainsworth, Politician
Extraordinarily, the most respected green (if not Green) MP is a top Tory. Started with a successful private member's Bill to protect hedgerows, and has gone on from there. Made shadow environment secretary by David Cameron. Central to credibility of Tories' green face.
14. Lord Turner, Businessman
Another surprise. The former head of the CBI – and new chairman of the Financial Services Authority – is a passionate advocate of action to combat climate change. Runs the committee that has recommended tough reduction targets – 80 per cent by 2050 – under the Climate Change Bill.
15. Stephen Green, Chairman, HSBC
Unusual banker. Ordained CofE minister, leading effort to make HSBC the first carbon-neutral bank. Committed £45m over five years to reduce waste, water use, energy consumption and C02 emissions. Already seeing results. Supports clients in developing renewable energy.
16. Lord Smith, Former politician
Architect of a radical (and almost totally unimplemented) New Labour environment manifesto in 1997. Returned to greenery as chairman of the Environment Agency. Started well by condemning government plans for coal-fired power stations and the third Heathrow runway.
17. Rebecca Hosking, Plastic-bag lady
Film-maker shocked by wildlife choking on plastic on remote Pacific Midway Island. Persuaded retailers in home town of Modbury, Devon, not to use plastic bags. Campaign spread nationwide, taken up by 'Daily Mail'. Ministers now plan a charge on plastic bags.
18. Michael Jacobs, Green wonk
Gordon Brown's green man, and one of the few Downing Street denizens to command respect outside the bunker. At the heart of ambitious renewable energy plans, one of the few bold policies the PM has adopted. Helped fight off Blairite coalman, John Hutton.
19. Fiona Reynolds, DG, National Trust
First lady of the countryside. Cheery and enthusiastic. Scared ministers rigid as head of the Council for National Parks and Campaign to Protect Rural England. Mobilising the trust's 3.5 million members to campaign on climate change. 'Desert Islands Discs' luxury: Ordnance Survey maps.
20. Graham Wynne, Bird man
More an owl than a vulture, the head of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds spends long hours in the corridors of power giving wise, if at times ignored, advice. Sweet reason personified, he's the green groups' choice when it comes to scolding Gordon Brown.
21. Lord Stern, Economist
Nailed down the economic case for tackling global warming in eponymous report. Now a professor at LSE after stints at the World Bank and the Treasury. Entertained by Fidel Castro while holidaying in Cuba. Football team is AFC Wimbledon, so understands tough assignments.
22. Robin Harper, Politician
Britain's first Green parliamentarian, the trumpet-playing, marathon-running Member of the Scottish Parliament joined the party, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth in 1985 on the day the French blew up the 'Rainbow Warrior'. Co-convener of Scottish Green Party.
23. Sir John Houghton, Climate scientist
Key founder of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change. Christian with a second career converting US evangelicals to concern over global warming. His success has split the religious lobby, depriving Bush of an ally in denial, and helping change pubic opinion.
24. Sir Crispin Tickell, Diplomat
Urbane revolutionary. The polished Foreign Office veneer hides a tireless commitment. One of first to warn about global warming back in the 1970s, he convinced Margaret Thatcher of it 20 years ago. Still at full pelt, and elegantly ubiquitous, in his late seventies.
25. Sir David Attenborough, Folk hero
The "most trusted man in Britain" according to one poll, has done more to sensitise people to the natural world than anyone alive. But in the past he has been reluctant to campaign. There are signs that this is now changing, over rainforests and climate change.
26. Dr Sunand Prasad, President, Royal Institute of British Architects
Spent first 12 years of his life in Mahatma Gandhi's self-sufficient ashram in Sevagram, India. Now greening Riba, encouraging work towards zero-carbon design. On UK Green Building Council. Criticised eco-town plans as not green enough.
27. Norman Baker, Gadfly
Parliament's most successful troublemaker has been a greenie since before becoming an MP. Awarded "best newcomer" for campaigning on green issues. Plenty of notches on his belt, even if his role in bringing down Peter Mandelson (for the second time) may now seem fruitless.
28. Professor David Macdonald, Conservationist
Precociously led first expedition – to study birds in Kashmir – at 18. Now hard to avoid as founder and director of Oxford University Wildlife Conservation Unit. Produces award-winning films, writes best-selling books and sits on boards of boring quangos.
29. Caroline Lucas, Green leader
Long the acceptable face of the otherwise forbidding Green Party, and – thanks to proportional representation – one of its two Euro MPs (for stockbroker belt South-east England!). Party has finally given up aversion to leaders – and just elected her to the post.
30. David Buckland, Artist
Takes artists, musicians, communicators and educators to the High Arctic along with scientists to help them "engage with climate change". Directs Cape Farewell Project. Eager to point out difference from Live Earth where, he says, "most bands don't know squit".
31. Martin Parry, Climate scientist
Another British climate stalwart. Long chairman of the part of the IPCC that looks at the effects of global warming. Strongly argues that world must prepare to adapt to some climate charge, while also trying to minimise it. Admirably dogged and blunt while many colleagues waffle.
32. Damien Hirst, Artist
Set to be the second biggest generator of solar electricity in Britain, only outranked by CIS tower in Manchester. Spending up to £1.5m on 1,800 square metres of solar cells to cover all three of his warehouses in Stroud. This alone will account for 2 per cent of Britain's solar power.
33. Professor Jacqueline McGlade, Executive director, European Environment Agency
Feisty, thoughtful British mathematics professor. Has woken up the EU's green watchdog. Knows how to navigate the bureaucracy, but also speaks out on controversial issues such as mobile phones. Had own BBC radio series, 'The Ocean Planet'.
34. Sir Stuart Rose, Retailer
Converted by Al Gore's film, the chairman of Marks & Sparks launched a 100-point plan to make it Britain's greenest retailer. All buildings are to be powered by green energy. No waste is to go to landfill. Has already started charging for plastic bags, and opened a flagship eco-friendly shop on outskirts of Glasgow.
35. Joe Farman, Scientist
Boffin from central casting at British Antarctic Survey who discovered hole in ozone layer with old-fashioned instrument when satellite measurements were saying all was well. Bravely published findings, sparking international agreement to ban chemicals involved.
36. Lord Melchett, Activist
Another green-blooded toff. Hereditary peer who turned from politics to pressure groups after being a Labour minister in his twenties. He was director of Greenpeace from 1989 to 2000, its most effective head. He is currently policy director at the Soil Association.
37. Nicky Gavron, Politician
As Deputy Mayor she was the brains – and charm – behind Ken Livingstone's green policies. She established a cross-party consensus, which has enabled her to work on Boris Johnson in an attempt to green his administration. There are signs that she is having an effect.
38. Steve Howard, Climate campaigner
Triathlon addict. Co-founded the Climate Group and, as CEO, has turned it into effective high-level operator. Helped HSBC draw up its green strategy. Worked with Ken Livingstone on his climate programme. Advises Richard Branson's $25m challenge for anti-global-warming ideas.
39. Professor John Beddington, Government's chief scientist
Another green, bearded scientist at the heart of policy-making. Three-decade-long record of addressing environmental issues. Expert in sustainable management of fisheries, wildlife and other natural resources. Speaks his mind.
40. David Cameron, Leader of the Opposition
He split the judges. One view wanted him high on the list, insisting he had done more than anyone to put the environment at the top of the political agenda. The other wanted him well down, or off, the list suspecting his greenery is just a front. The compromise was to park him here, for now.
41. Justin Forsyth, Gordon Brown's new chief spin doctor
Former Oxfam campaigns and policy director. Long been top Downing Street adviser on world poverty, and was also Blair's man on climate change. Made it on to 'The Independent' "good list" two years ago – quite an achievement from No 10.
42. Jeremy Leggett, Businessman
Talk about unexpected career changes. First worked for the oil industry, then became a top campaigner at Greenpeace. Then went into business, founding Solarcentury, a leading installer of solar power. Presciently early in warning of peak oil, and rising prices.
43. Andy Bond, Asda chief executive
"Green is the new black" says the plumber's son who runs Asda. He is switching transport from road to rail, saving energy in stores, and turning to sustainable fish. All waste is to be reused, composted or recycled by 2020. He says he wants to make green goods affordable.
44. Paul King, Chief executive, Green Building Council
He mobilised the construction industry – not traditionally green – to get ministers to set strict timetables for all new homes and buildings to be zero-carbon. Now working on existing ones. This is vital as buildings are the biggest source of carbon dioxide.
45. Julie Davenport, Founded and runs Good Energy
Her company supplies 100 per cent renewable energy using the grid. Customers are encouraged to generate clean energy and a scheme is being piloted to pay for surpluses. It has been rated the best company of its kind in the country.
46. Barbara Young, Baroness
A force of nature, literally. Arrived from the health service to take charge of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds 20 years ago. Became a top player running, successively, English Nature (where she led the charge against GM) and the Environment Agency.
47. John Sauven, Campaigner
Lean and cadaverous, where Melchett was rounded and jolly, but the Greenpeace chief is still an inspiration to his staff. Just scored a big victory, when six protesters were acquitted of criminal damage to Kingsnorth power station, denting ministers' plans for a return to coal.
48. Sir Robert Worcester, Pollster
The doyen of British polling has long been a strong green advocate. Worked with WWF and the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust. Lobbies the powerful. One of the first worldwide to include environmental questions in polling data. Finds high levels of concern.
49. Tom Burke, Pundit
Three decades ago was head of the Friends of the Earth-led campaign against Rio Tinto. Now works for it as an adviser. But, mainly, it is the mining giant that has changed. Also advised three successive environment secretaries. Articulate, politically savvy. Formidable debater – and luncher.
50. David Nussbaum, Chief executive WWF-UK
Friendly, listening, soft-spoken manner betrays theological degree, but now has the passion of a recent convert. Worked in accountancy, venture capital and industry – before going to Oxfam and to head Transparency International. Rapidly got on top of complicated brief. One to watch.
51. Professor Paul Ekins, Academic
Ex Green Party, now top green economist. Professor at King's College London, sits on Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution and other worthy bodies. Recently set up Green Fiscal Commission to examine green taxes, but he remains activist at heart.
52. Alex Williams, Footballer
Celebrated former Manchester City goalie who now runs its City in the Community Project. The club has reduced the waste it sends to landfill by 85 per cent, recycles comprehensively, uses eco-friendly paper products, has its own windmill and encourages the use of public transport.
53. Greg Barker, Politician
A rising blue-green star, he was appointed shadow climate minister last week. Close to David Cameron, he helped run his leadership campaign and went with him on celebrated trip to the Arctic. Energy expert. Will lead the Tories in the House of Commons over the Climate Change Bill.
54. Mark Clare, Chief executive, Barratt Developments
He is pioneering mass green home construction. Built prototype zero-carbon house, the first by a volume housebuilder. Won tender to put up 200 in the Hanham Hall development near Bristol. Also introducing environmentally friendly measures to conventional builds.
55. Stephen Joseph, Transport campaigner
Longstanding, indefatigable head of Transport 2000, now boringly called the Campaign for Better Transport. Looked to have triumphed in 1990s when Tory road programme stopped, and Labour government promised to reduce traffic and push public transport. Now fighting same old battles.
56. Tim Smit, Exhibitor
The Dutch-born driving force behind the Eden Project, which has just welcomed its 10 millionth visitor. He requires employees to cook a meal for 20 people once a year and read a book they would not otherwise have opened. He was once a music industry producer for Barry Manilow and the Nolan Sisters.
57. James Cameron, Green banker
Barrister (involved in Pinochet arrest and extradition) turned pioneering financier. Founded and chairs Climate Change Capital, Europe's first financial institution set up to fund renewable energy, planting forests and cuts in greenhouse gases. Now manages over €800m.
58. Andrew Simms, Thinker
An ebullient driving force at the New Economics Foundation, where he is policy director. Concentrates on the implications of global warming for economic development. Devised the Happy Planet Index a "new measure of progress" to "show that happiness does not have to cost the Earth".
59. Andrew Cooper, Councillor
Homeowners in Kirklees are queueing up for a scheme brought in by this Green councillor. It gives them interest-free loans to install solar panels, heat pumps and other renewable energy, to be repaid when home is sold. Also gives free insulation to all who want it.
60. Pete Riley, Anti-GM campaigner
The biggest green thorn in the side of the GM industry, first at Friends of the Earth and now as chair of GM Freeze. One of those who defied heavy odds to beat off a determined attempt, headed by Tony Blair, to introduce GM crops. Will be in the forefront of resistance as ministers try again.
61. Steve Hilton, Tory de-nastifier
As Cameron's closest adviser, persuaded him to go green to detox the Tories, taking everyone by surprise. Unlike his boss, has a longstanding interest in the area. Believed once to have voted Green. Now based in Silicon Valley as his wife has a top job at Google, but still in charge of Tory strategy.
62. Ashok Sinha, Activist
Moved from co-ordinating the Jubilee Debt Campaign to directing Stop Climate Chaos, a coalition of 80 organisations with four million members – from Greenpeace to the Church of Scotland, from Oxfam to the Women's Institute – pressing for action. He says: "They can't ignore us all."
63. Tim Yeo, Politician
Tory MP – used to run the then Spastics Society – and 'Financial Times' golf columnist. Enthusiastic, but latish convert to greenery (after becoming junior environment minister in his late forties). A tough chairman of the House of Commons Environment Audit Committee.
64. Professor Michael Grubb, Climate academic
Serious (in both senses) and ubiquitous player specialising in economics, technology and policy on global warming. Chief economist at the Carbon Trust, on the official Climate Change Committee, editor of 'Climate Policy' journal – but more radical than all this suggests.
65. Thom Yorke, Rock star
The Radiohead singer struck a high note helping to launch Friends of the Earth's Big Ask campaign, which led to the Climate Change Bill. He refused an invitation from Tony Blair to meet to discuss global warming because the then PM had 'no environmental credentials'. He has worked to reduce the group's touring carbon footprint.
66. Kate Ashbrook, Rambler
High priestess of countryside access. She has run the Open Spaces Society – Britain's oldest national conservation body – since 1984. She is also chairman of the Ramblers' Association, helped win the right to roam and is quick to prosecute obstructive landowners. Recreation: "Finding illegally blocked footpaths."
67. Guy Barter, Horticulturalist
Has made a great impact as head of advisory services at the Royal Horticultural Society, helping gardeners prepare for climate change. Envisages the decline of lawns and hanging baskets, and advises planting Mediterranean plants and drought-resistant trees. Says Kent will turn from garden to vineyard of England.
68. Professor Sir John Lawton, Scientist
Multi-award-winning ecologist and zoologist who chairs the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution. Once famously called US climate sceptics "loonies". Has criticised government aviation and climate policies, and warned of rising exposure to chemicals.
69. Michael Meacher, Ex-minister
The greenest environment minister ever. Scorned by Blair's Downing Street, but beat No 10 on issues from GM to the right to roam. Was left off the delegation to 2002 Earth Summit, but hurriedly reinstated when green groups offered to pay his way. Still campaigning.
70. Maria Adebowale, Eco-lawyer
She is credited with opening up the environmental justice agenda in Britain. Founded Capacity Global which works with the poor and minority urban communities who usually suffer most from pollution and degradation. A massive movement in the United States, it has been slow to get going here.
71. Tessa Tennant, Financial consultant
The mother of green investment, she founded Britain's first green equity fund back in 1988. Boldly innovatory then, they are everywhere now and she has worked in the field ever since. She chairs the ICE Organisation, which encourages people to reduce carbon emissions through a loyalty programme.
72. David de Rothschild, Adventurer
Super-fit, super-intelligent, super-rich. And just 30. But this scion of the banking family does good with it. He founded Adventure Ecology to publicise greenery through expeditions. The youngest Brit to reach both poles, he wrote the official book for Live Earth.
73. John Gummer, Politician
Forget that beefburger. He redeemed himself as a decent environment secretary, turning down a nuclear dump at Sellafield. Out of office, he chaired a Tory working group which produced the best green policy document by any party ever (little noticed since launch was bungled).
74. John Palmer, Earl
The embodiment of the green great and good. The fourth Earl of Selborne (Eton and Christ Church, Oxford, naturally) he chairs the trustees of Kew and has led worthy bodies from the Joint Nature Conservation Committee to the Apple and Pear Development Council. Has an unexpected iconoclastic streak.
75. Richard Chartres, Bishop
Another unusual establishment figure. The 132nd Bishop of London described jetting off on holidays as sinful – and gave up flying up for a year. An Oyster card aficionado, he leads the Church of England's Shrinking the Footprint campaign to cut 60 per cent of its emissions by 2050.
76. Rob Hoskins, Activist
Founded the "transition towns" initiative, where communities combine to cut emissions to fight climate change and increase the ability to withstand shocks, as from peak oil. In two years it has grown to 100 worldwide, with 900 thinking of joining – including Ambridge.
77. Pooran Desai, Sustainability champion
Initiated the pioneering BedZed low-energy housing in London, and works on zero-carbon developments across Britain and abroad. He also founded a charcoal company and worked to revive London's lavender industry. Drives a car that runs on chip-shop oil.
78. Professor Stephen Holgate, Medic
Britain's top air pollution scientist. A specialist in respiratory disease, including asthma, at Southampton General Hospital. He has highlighted the dangers of particulate pollution from cars, especially diesel ones. Has published some 400 papers. A Government adviser, but not afraid to speak his mind.
79. John Woods, Campaigner
The dynamic head of the pressure group Friends of the Earth in Northern Ireland who took the Government to the European Court for failing to curb sewage pollution there – and won. The judgment led to an ambitious clean-up programme of investment in new sewage works.
80. John Grimshaw, Leader, Sustrans
Missionary's son who founded Sustrans, the national network of cycle routes. It started with one between Bristol and Bath in the late 1970s, now there are 10,000 miles of connected tracks around the country maintained by 1,600 volunteer "rangers".
81. Dr Fazlun Khalid, Thinker
Islam, even some leading Christians say, is theologically the greenest religion. No one has done more to establish this, even within Islam itself. After a career with the Commission for Racial Equality, he set up the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Science.
82. Sian Berry, Eco-socialist
'Pure ecological Viagra' was the sexist gasp of one journalist on meeting this thirtysomething blonde Green. She made her name putting spoof parking tickets on 4x4s. She quit her job as a website manager to stand for Mayor of London, getting a respectable 400,000 votes. An Oxford graduate, she is a member of the 'eco-socialist' Green Left.
83. Andy Atkins, Executive director, Friends of the Earth
New boy, having just taken over. Campaigned on green issues at his previous job with charity Tearfund. Worked with Honduran communities to halt a dam that would have swamped rainforest and indigenous peoples, and established the charity's climate work.
84. Lord Oxburgh, Scientific businessman
Academic and scientist, who went from running Imperial College to be chairman of Shell in Britain. Outspoken on climate change, both in the job and after retiring from it. Says there is "little hope for the world" unless emissions come down fast.
85. Lord Rees, Astronomer Royal
First astronomer to be president of Royal Society, he has long been interested in energy and climate change. Condemns the Government's desire to build coal-fired power stations. Wants an international carbon tax. Believes humanity has only a 50-50 chance of surviving the century.
86. Barbara Stocking, Poverty campaigner
Chief executive of Oxfam, the world's premier anti-poverty charity, which is increasingly focusing on climate change. She argues that global warming hits the poorest people hardest and threatens to reverse all the gains made in development over recent decades.
87. Chris Rapley, Scientist
Straight-talking director of Science Museum. Was director of British Antarctic Survey. He described the Antarctic ice-sheet as an "awakened giant" because of climate change. Put forward controversial idea with James Lovelock to remove carbon from air using giant pipes in ocean.
88. Fred Edwards, Social worker
Part of the soul of Scottish environmentalism, though originally a naval officer from Liverpool. Long-time Director of Social Work in Scotland, while active in green causes. He founded Scottish Environment Link and is on the boards of various environmental bodies.
89. Lily Cole, Model
Not just a clothes-horse. Clever enough to go to Cambridge and concerned enough to campaign with the Environmental Justice Foundation. Current cause: promoting organic, fairly traded cotton designer T-shirts as part of a drive to end forced child labour.
90. Sara Parkin, Campaigner
Former ward sister who acted as midwife to the development of Green parties worldwide. She was largely responsible for the British one's peak, 15 per cent share of the vote in 1989 Euro elections. Founded Forum for the Future with Jonathon Porritt and Paul Ekins.
91. Zac Goldsmith, Tyro politician
Quiet of late, since deciding to stand for Parliament, losing traction with both environmentalists and politicians. Was to be left off list. But made late recovery last month, successfully giving evidence for six Greenpeace protesters tried for damaging Kingsnorth power station.
92. Camilla Toulmin, Administrator
Charismatic expert on the world's dry lands and their desertification, who leads the respected International Institute for Environment and Development, one of the world's leading thinktanks. She has restructured it, shaken it up and sharpened its approach.
93. Philip Pullman, Author
Advocate of urgent climate action and polar bear lover ("if they leapt from the pages of my fiction, and saw what was happening they'd eat us"). He uses low-energy bulbs and restricts his travel ("I hate flying"). Campaigned against the conversion of Oxford canal basin for luxury homes.
94. Jenny Agutter, Actress
'The Railway Children' star pushes for public transport, including rail travel, as activist patron of the Campaign for Better Transport. Originally a car lover, she was disillusioned by Los Angeles after going to Hollywood. Now says she wants to "wave red petticoat to raise the alarm".
95. Dr Gwynne Lyons, Chemicals campaigner
Britain's most effective expert on toxic chemicals. Worked with WWF-UK and served on official advisory committees. Now directs CHEM Trust, a new pressure group set up to improve controls on hazardous substances to which everyone is exposed.
96. Colin Challen, Politician
The Labour member for Morley and Rothwell has taken up climate change more vigorously than any other MP. Chairs Cross Party Climate Change Group. Did sponsored slim four years ago. Very well meaning, if a bit of a plodder – but the planet needs them, too.
97. Bill Bryson, Author
Appointed president of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, to "raise its profile". Though American, he has lived here for most of his adult life. Has disappointed – largely through over-focusing on litter when the planning system faces its greatest ever threat.
98. Tom Aikens, Restaurateur
The youngest British chef ever to win two Michelin stars, opened Tom's Place, an "ethical fish and chip ship" in Chelsea, but was forced to close after neighbours complained of the smell. His Tom's Kitchen restaurant names the (ethical) suppliers of everything from pork to salad.
99. Keeley Hazell, Page 3 girl
World's third sexiest woman ('FHM'). Swapped BMW 4x4 for a bicycle and a scooter, recycles, eats organically and lives in eco flat. Appeared on page 3 painted green advocating having sex in the dark (saves power), using chest freezer (saves energy), and getting water butt.
100. The Queen, Monarch
Plebs aren't supposed to know, but one is actually rather hot on climate change. Tipped up at Anglo-German expert meeting to give silent blessing. Rumoured to have nagged Blair. Energy-efficient lightbulbs at Buck House. Using hydropower from Thames at Windsor Castle.

Make rival companies turn green with envy

Being a winner in the Sunday Times list of most environmentally friendly firms can give you an edge and save you money
Melanie Clayton

Today’s launch of the 2009 Sunday Times Best Green Companies competition allows British business to put its green credentials to the test. Now in their second year, the awards examine company policies and practices and, uniquely, how employees engage with them.
With a revised methodology, this year’s contest will take account of the efforts of firms not just to get their house in order environmentally, but to change the practices of key suppliers.
After the success of last year’s competition, in which nearly 90 businesses registered, it is hoped the changes will lead to more participation from high-street retailers, keen to extol their environmental virtues to their customers.
Ken Smith, director of environmental management for Bureau Veritas, the environmental consultants who are our partners in this project, said: “One of the biggest impacts of retailers is where they source their materials from, either nationally or globally. Feedback from last year has shown that retailers want to talk about what is a very important issue for them, and is becoming more important beyond the retail sector, too. The constant evolution of our questionnaire means we can make sure questions are suited to different sectors.”
With high energy prices and costs for non-environmentally friendly disposal of waste products via landfill, there is a stronger commercial argument than ever for businesses to embrace the type of green policies that are rewarded with a place on the Sunday Times Green List, sponsored last year and this by Bank of Scotland Corporate.
In these uncertain economic times, putting the bottom line at the top of the corporate agenda is not incompatible with having a strong environmental profile. The findings from the Green List 2008 show that saving money and saving the world can go hand in hand.
“There is still a very strong desire from a reputational point of view to keep the environment high on the agenda,” said Smith. “In times like this there will be pressure on the environmental issues but, if anything, I think it will accelerate the implementation of initiatives because of their cost benefits.”
The winner of the first Best Green Companies awards, coffin manufacturer JC Atkinson & Son, heats its Tyne and Wear factory using a warm-air heater powered by the firm’s waste wood. This saves about £18,000 a year in gas or oil costs. The £100,000 heater will therefore pay for itself in a little over five years. Skylights in the roof mean that only half of the factory’s lights are used, saving £1,200 a year in electricity.
A biomass generator produces all the firm’s own electricity. Although it cost £450,000 to get up and running, it saves about £100,000 a year on electricity. The sale of excess electricity generated is expected to earn the firm £25,000 a year.
Being named our Best Green Company has also boosted the business’s profitability by attracting new customers, said managing director Julian Atkinson: “The benefits of this have helped to motivate staff in giving the company a greater sense of purpose, facilitating further positive environmental changes. As a result of the award we have definitely received the benefit of new inquiries and sales. It has been the biggest contribution to our growth so far.”
Sometimes the initial outlay can be off-putting, admits Liz Thompson, environment adviser at the Co-operative Group. Its financial services division (CFS) came third in the Green List 2008. “It’s about looking at it over the long term. In today’s market, because electricity and gas prices are so high, if you can generate your own electricity, you’ll reap the rewards over time.”
When the mosaic tiles on the Co-operative Insurance Tower in Manchester needed attention, the company took the opportunity to cover the Grade II-listed building in 7,000 photovoltaic solar panels. This project has transformed the 400ft, 25-storey building into an electricity source with the potential to create 181 megawatt hours of renewable electricity and save 78 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year. It is the largest vertical solar power installation in Britain.
Entries for the 2008 contest showed there were also plenty of other, less costly ways to reduce energy consumption, carbon emissions and costs. “All the little things add up, too,” said Atkinson. “Our lights are on movement sensors and we’ve rejigged working hours so machines aren’t running needlessly. These are things that don’t cost a fortune but do make a difference.”
Thompson is adamant that at the heart of corporate environmental responsibility is the individual: “It’s about little steps people can take. It sounds too big a task to make a difference but every individual really can help,” she said.
CFS recycles around 70% of its total waste, including paper, cans, plastic bottles, fluorescent tubes and electrical items. “Because of landfill tax increasing, the more any company can reuse or recycle the better.”
Price Waterhouse Coopers, ranked 15th in the Green List, can testify to the benefits of phone and video-conferencing. Last year PWC saved 1.1m miles of jet travel, thanks in part to remote meetings. When a face-to-face meeting is necessary, the company’s travel website recommends the lowest-carbon option, such as replacing a domestic flight with a train journey.
Sarah Davidson, technical director at Bureau Veritas, said being green also saves money in subtle ways: “As well as direct cost saving, there is an impact on staff recruitment and retention. Maintaining staff morale can be difficult at times like this. If you are engaging staff through environmental initiatives of concern to them, it shows them that management is listening.”
A firm is also less likely to run into regulatory problems if it engages in the Best Green Companies process, said Davidson. After publication of the results, firms receive feedback from Bureau Veritas and marketresearch group Munro Global, which benchmarks companies’ performance against businesses similar in size and environmental impact.
“The feedback from the judges was useful — we were pulled up on our lack of environmental training for employees and are now rectifying this in readiness for next year’s entry,” said Kitty Corrigan, deputy editor of Country Living Magazine at the National Magazine Company.
Since being ranked 10th in the Green List, Natmags has been contacted by several companies seeking advice on improving environmental performance. One initiative paying dividends is the installation of Dyson Airblade hand-dryers in the lavatories. These super-efficient dryers cost the firm £12,000, but cut the annual spend on paper towels and tissues from £30,000 to £9,000.
Managing director of our Best Green Company, Atkinson can see no downside to improving his company’s environmental performance. “There’s no excuse not to do these things if they are saving money and being green,” he said. “It’s a double whammy if you’re saving money and satisfying the green consumer.”

Doing the business on green power switch


Published Date: 12 October 2008
By Peter Jones

SOME environmentalists see business as a problem rather than the solution in the drive to cut greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the effects of climate change. The business view is quite different. It sees business as the solution and conflicts in the environmental movement as part of the problem.
This reversal of conventional wisdom emerges clearly from three business contributions to an imaginative project run by the David Hume Institute at Edinburgh University. The project asked people from different backgrounds – environmental, Government, political, academic and business – to imagine that they were in the year 2050 and that Scotland had achieved the target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions – carbon dioxide, methane, etc – by 80% from the 1990 level. They were asked to answer the question: how was it done?"Well first of all," says David Watt, director of the Institute of Directors, Scotland, "We began to realise that the economy – and the firms which make it up – was not the problem but the crucial solution. The private sector was in fact the main mover in meeting the targets. The market-driven economy was the saviour of our planet – some could argue."Yet the emissions reduction target is a tall and, some might think, impossible order. It means getting back to the levels of pollution caused just before the Industrial Revolution. Going back to the kind of society that prevailed in the 18th century is not an immediately appealing proposition.But, say the writers, it doesn't mean that at all. It does mean that Scottish society, businesses and the economy will be different, but it can also be a wealthy and prosperous society.Crucial to making it so, say the business writers, is a global price mechanism for carbon, something which has begun to happen at national level through such things as the climate change levy and at the supranational level through the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. Such a global price, says Iain McMillan, director of CBI Scotland, will speed up the drive towards renewable energy generation and adding carbon capture and storage systems to coal-fired power stations. He envisages that there will be schemes putting caps on emissions output and forcing all emitting sources to trade internationally in carbon permits.By 2050, force of economic circumstances will have moved the UK in this direction because by then we will have to have spent around £100bn replacing most of our current energy system anyway. And a world with carbon prices and caps will create big new opportunities which business will be anxious to exploit.He says: "Estimates suggest that global markets could be worth $1 trillion in the first five years of a global deal that limits GHG emissions. Taking advantage of these opportunities, new business models will be created which place carbon at the heart of management strategy – efficient and effective carbon management within the business and also down supply chains will reduce costs and wasted energy and so become the new token of a successful business." Consumers will also drive these changes. The CBI's task force on climate change estimated that consumer decisions in lifestyle and shopping choices controlled or influenced 60% of UK greenhouse gas emissions. He says: "By 2050 it is likely that consumers will be demanding low-carbon, energy-efficient products without giving it a second thought."This demand will have generated competition among business to provide the most efficient, lowest carbon offering. So that, just as the current A-G labelling for fridges has become the norm, by 2050 it is likely that we will make similar purchases for all household goods."David Watt takes that theme forward, imagining that by 2050, the national grid will have been re-engineered and the planning system streamlined so that consumers are able to install their own micro-generation schemes in their houses, again a major business opportunity.He says: "Vital here also to driving all these schemes forward was the new – primarily SME – industry which grew up led by companies like Windsave to design, manufacture and install domestic wind turbines, heat pumps, solar panels as well as fuel efficient and alternative fuel boilers."Larger projects again were founded on Scottish innovation, manufacturing and implementation and once again in the 21st century this country really did lead in Europe, if not the world, in developing the ideas and the technology to make carbon-efficient energy production turn from dream to reality."Fuel cell technology has allowed storage of electricity so peak demands can be catered for should the wind not blow or there be any other fluctuations in supply."But a critical factor in allowing the spread of renewable energy systems, says Ian Marchant, chief executive of Scottish and Southern Energy, is resolution of conflicts within the environmental lobby. Imagining himself writing in 2050, he sets out how that will have happened: "The professionalised environmentalists played an increasingly leading role as they realised that climate change threatened everything – and the arguments of some of their own, to oppose all windfarms as 'blots on the landscape' for example, became untenable. "In those early days of confusion and prevarication many sought the silver bullet solution. Energy efficiency was pitched against wind farms, offshore against onshore, heat against light, biomass against gas. But all that changed. That shift was given huge impetus by rises in prices for oil and gas. People didn't want to depend on unstable regimes in far-flung countries for their energy, and wanted more of it to be produced at home."He concludes: "In 2008 I set a target of reducing the carbon intensity of SSE's electricity generation by half by 2020. Little did I know then that it would be something like 90% by 2050. I wouldn't have thought it possible."But look at what happened with technology. Look at computers – I can hold a machine that is four million times more powerful in the palm of my hand today than I could in 2010. I remember that in 2010 I had great faith in the power of human ingenuity. Thank goodness we got the changes in attitudes and behaviours that meant that ingenuity was put to good use."This and other essays commissioned by the David Hume Institute, Edinburgh University, will be discussed at a seminar at the Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh, on Tuesday. Registration and information about this event can be found at www.davidhumeinstitute.com

EC set to grant industry relief on carbon trading

Nick Mathiason, business correspondent
The Observer,
Sunday October 12 2008

Energy-intensive industries are set to receive a huge cash boost from the European Commission as part of a controversial move to protect Europe's industrial sector from world recession.
Within weeks the EU is to debate whether to allow European industrial giants tens of millions of pounds off carbon allowances they have to buy as part of the Emission Trading Scheme (ETS).
G√ľnter Verheugen, European Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry, in an exclusive interview with The Observer, said the move will prevent hundreds of thousands of job losses in the EU industrial sector amid the worst economic conditions for decades.
Verheugen said European industrial powerhouses are refusing to invest in new plants and businesses in the eurozone because they claim 'compliance costs' caused by the emission trading scheme make new ventures too costly. Verheugen fears a huge surge in unemployment if the world's financial crisis escalates.
The move will provoke opposition from green groups who will interpret the measure as a signal that Europe is putting economic concerns above environmental imperatives.
Verheugen countered by saying that the allowance would be restricted to firms which invested in the most modern 'sustainable' technologies. They would, however, see a significant reduction in carbon credits, which would wipe millions of pounds off their cost base.
Verheugen's proposals could be rushed through by the commission as fears grow over unemployment, which averages 7.5 per cent across the 27 EU states.
'I don't want to change the EU's environmental objectives because I believe that's economically healthy,' said Verheugen, who is close to Peter Mandelson, the former EU Trade Commissioner and current UK business secretary.
'Doing nothing on the environment will cost more than taking action ... [But] it makes no sense to force certain industries to leave Europe. They will take jobs and their pollution. As a result, there will be more pollution in the world and we will have fewer jobs. Deindustrialisation does not solve environmental problems.'
The news will delight some of Europe's biggest companies, including French giant La Farge and the British cement industry, which has lobbied strongly for this measure.
The ETS is the largest emissions trading scheme in the world and is a pillar of EU climate policy. It covers more than 10,000 installations in the energy and industrial sectors, collectively responsible for close to half of the EU's emissions of carbon dioxide and 40 per cent of its total greenhouse gas emissions.

Traditional lightbulbs banned by EU

Traditional light bulbs are to be banned from 2010, EU energy ministers have decided.

By Louise Gray, Environment Correspondent Last Updated: 10:52PM BST 10 Oct 2008

Incandescent filament light bulbs use up to five times as much energy as efficient lights
The high energy filament bulbs are being phased out in order to improve energy efficiency and meet climate change targets.
The switchover, which will affect all of the European Union's 500 million citizens, was first ordered at a Brussels summit last year as part of an ambitious energy policy to fight climate change.
A meeting of EU energy ministers, including the UK's new secretary of state for energy and climate change Ed Miliband decided to go ahead with the ban.
The move has previously proved controversial.
Traditional light bulbs are around 38p compared to £1.38 for the cheapest low energy models and campaigners have complained about affordability, as well as the cost of having to adapt fittings for the new bulbs.
The fluorescent bulbs generally take time to warm up and there have been complaints the light is too dim and has a tendency to flicker.
There are also worries over how the bulbs will be disposed of. Under new regulations for hazardous waste, councils are obliged to recycle low energy bulbs at considerable cost to the tax payer.
Incandescent filament light bulbs use up to five times as much energy as efficient lights such as "compact fluorescent lamps" (CFLs).
Advocates claim that replacing the worst-performing lamps with today's best available technology will reduce domestic energy consumption for lighting by 60 per cent in the EU, equivalent to saving 30 million tons of CO2 pollution every year.
However questions remain over the cost, health impact and aesthetic quality of the new low-energy fluorescent bulbs.
There have been concerns low energy bulbs can cause headaches, rashes and even sunburn. If the bulbs break the toxic mecury inside can cause migraine and dizziness. The bulbs are also too big for some old-fashioned fittings, can look out of place in historic homes and are generally more expensive - although the EU has vowed cost will come down before 2010.
The Health Protection Agency warned consumers they should not stay close to open energy saving bulbs for more than an hour.
Environmental groups welcomed the ruling.
Mariangiola Fabbri , World Wildlife Fund energy policy officer, said legislation is needed to ensure energy efficiency.
She said: "Keeping energy efficiency as an optional tool will not lead us towards the much needed 30 per cent greenhouse gas emission reduction by 2020."
Energy ministers also discussed the controversial target to generate 20 per cent of energy from renewables by 2020 at the meeting. The UK has argued that aviation should be removed from the target because it is not yet possible to run aeroplanes on renewables and it could ground the industry. But most other EU ministers at the meeting agreed aviation should remain part of the target.
The EU council is due to meet next week to discuss the target to reduce carbon emission by 20 per cent by 2020. Previously the EU had pledged this will be increased to 30 per cent as long as the rest of the developed world does the same.
But environmentalists fear this pledge will be dropped in the light of the economic crisis, scuppering hoped of an ambitious world target at the UN climate change talks planned for Copenhagen next year.

ABC deems Gore climate change advert too 'controversial' for TV

Elana Schor in Washington
guardian.co.uk,
Friday October 10 2008 18.29 BST

The ABC network has refused to air an advert produced by Al Gore's environmental group, ruling that its charge of US government favouritism to the oil industry is too "controversial" for television.The TV commercial, part of the WE campaign run by Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection, was submitted for airing after this week's presidential debate between Barack Obama and John McCain - both of whom have vowed to limit greenhouse gas emissions if elected.
But ABC concluded that the advert violated its internal policy against "controversial" content during network-sponsored programmes, network spokeswoman Julie Hoover told the Guardian.
"All of our advertising is reviewed on a case-by-case basis, and the context of this particular ad was determined not to be acceptable per our policy on controversial issue advertising," Hoover said.
The WE campaign has since attracted more than 170,000 supporters to an online petition drive asking ABC to reconsider its decision.
The script of the advert is similar in tone to political speeches made by Obama and McCain during the election season. An unseen narrator states that climate change can be combated through wind and solar power as well as "end[ing] our dependence on foreign oil".
Over an image of a young child playing with blocks, the narrator continues: "So why are we still stuck with dirty and expensive energy? Because big oil spends hundreds of millions of dollars to block clean energy. Lobbyists, ads, even scandals. All to increase their profits, while America suffers."
An ABC email published on the blog of Grist magazine stated that the advert was rejected due to its split-second shot of the US Capitol building.
"Per our guidelines, national buildings may be used in advertising provided the depictions are incidental to the advertiser's promotion of the product or service," the email stated. "Given the messages and themes of this commercial, the image of the Capital [sic] building is not incidental to this advertising."
Cathy Zoi, chief executive of the WE campaign, called ABC's decision "outrageous" in light of US networks' frequent airing of adverts from Chevron, Exxon Mobil and other oil companies.
"As our country faces deep economic problems, we need to be able to have an honest debate about the root causes of our problem," Zoi wrote in an email to supporters of Gore's group on Wednesday.
To build publicity for their products, American companies often produce TV adverts with content that pushes the limits of broadcast standards. A Snickers commercial featuring two men embarrassed after sharing a kiss was pulled from the US airwaves last year after complaints from gay-rights groups.
But rejection of an advert from a non-profit group is a far more rare occurrence. At the height of the US controversy over same-sex marriage in 2004, CBS and NBC turned down a commercial from the United Church of Christ that touted its acceptance of gay congregants.

A good time to cause trouble

As the markets crash and the world goes to hell in a handcart, we need to get active, not just hide under the sofa

Bibi van der Zee
guardian.co.uk,
Friday October 10 2008 16.47 BST

On Monday a bunch of women are going to attempt to remind the government about climate change - a subject which appears, frankly, to have slipped its mind lately: the Climate Rush is modelled on the "rush" on Parliament 100 years ago by the Suffragettes. On Friday a group of protestors targetted the Royal Bank of Scotland for its aggressive pro-fossil fuel investment policies. And by Saturday the organisers of the London Anarchist bookfair are hoping that "Capitalism will have already collapsed in a global financial melt-down! Hooray!"Now, if you're an environmental activist what are you thinking at the moment? Are you thinking, Ooh, those poor wee strongholds of the capitalist system have had a terrible week, I'll leave them alone and give them a chance to pull themselves together? I'm sure when they've had a nice cup of Oolong tea and a sitdown they'll get round to thinking about those melting ice-caps again. Or are you thinking Wahey! Get in! Pour sugar in their petrol tanks while they're still scratching their heads in the board-rooms. Hopefully you're going to say the latter.Take Climate Rush. In honour of the Suffragettes the Climate Rush, organised by a woman-only collective which includes members of Plane Stupid, is planning to gather outside the Houses of Parliament, hear some speeches, and then… get up to something. What precisely is not clear. Now, if this is a good bit of action, it will come at the perfect time to remind MPs of their environmental responsibilities. After all, the situation hasn't just lightened briefly to give us a break while we cope with financial meltdown - and the Climate Bill is due to go for its third reading in the House of Commons soon. Sure, MPs are nervous and may stampede if goaded too far. But if they're panicked enough, hopefully they'll stampede in the right direction.And what about targetting businesses like RBS who are already under tremendous strain? Even my stony heart was moved to pity when I saw the RBS share price: it's like looking at a cardiograph at the moment of the arrest, with a long steady history and then a sudden nauseatingly vertical plunge. Once again, however, hearts must be hardened: there was never a better moment to apply pressure. For two and half years now environmental groups including Platform and People & PLanet have been targetting RBS's self-applied moniker 'The Oil and Gas Bank': RBS have been involved in financing projects such as the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline (a problematic project from the start), and are now (since their ill-fated takeover of ABN/Amro last year anyway) the financiers of Gazprom's stake in the disastrous Russian Sakhalin II project. Although they're unlikely to divest from much of this stuff at the moment, any bank is going to be terrified of losing customers, and campaigns like this can really begin to eat in to the vital student market. In the 80s Barclays finally pulled out of South Africa after a leaked memo revealed that the long-running boycott was cutting student sign-ups, which is the key to the future customer base of any bank: climate change is certainly a subject which will appeal to students as much as apartheid. RBS just can't afford to lose the future when everything looks so dubious in the present, so at the very least if this pressure carries on they will have to do more than make soothing noises. And as for the anarchist book fair? (A brilliant gig by the way - you always learn something new, even if it's only how to set up your own radical feminist tantric massage collective.) It's only fair enough really. As the anarchist house mag Schnews said this week: "Blimey, you spend 15 years struggling against global capitalism and then the bloody thing collapses of its own accord". I imagine the mood will be cheerful.

Green rep overtaken by drive for US sales as Toyota soups up Prius

The Times
October 11, 2008
Ben Webster, Transport Correspondent

The Toyota Prius, the car favoured by celebrities wanting to flaunt a green conscience, is to become bigger and more sporty, with a larger engine, quicker acceleration and a top speed of well above 100mph. The changes – coming at the expense of fuel economy and carbon emissions – will be incorporated in a new version to be introduced at the Detroit motor show in January.
The decision risks denting the image of the Prius as one of the greenest cars on the road and will be seized upon by critics, who accuse the car’s owners of being smug and joke that the “R” is silent in Prius.
More than a million of the hybrid cars, which have a petrol engine and an electric motor, have been sold since the first version became available in Japan in 1997.
By 2001 the Prius had started to become fashionable among Hollywood stars such as Cameron Diaz and Leonardo DiCaprio. The latter described it as a “great solution for the planet” and once owned four.

More than 28,000 have been sold in Britain, including several in the Government’s fleet of ministerial cars. In London, exemption from the congestion charge is as much of an attraction as the car’s green credentials.
Speaking at the Paris motor show last week, Miguel Fonseca, managing director of Toyota GB, said that the carbon dioxide emissions of the new Prius would be lower than those of the Mark 2, launched in 2003. But the reduction would not be as great as it could have been if Toyota had made environmental performance a priority.
“It will be cleaner, with CO2 emissions below 100gm per kilometre. We could have gone lower but, instead, we have chosen to give the Prius better performance.”
A Toyota source said the engine size would be increased to 1.8 litres, up from 1.5 litres on the existing model. The top speed is likely to grow from 106mph to about 120mph and the car will also be a few inches longer and about an inch wider. There will also be an improvement in the acceleration, which is currently 0-62mph in 10.9 seconds.
Toyota appears to be trying to broaden the appeal of the car, particularly in America, where drivers are used to having much larger, more powerful engines.
A Toyota spokesman said: “The customer base is big enough now that the Prius is not just appealing to the green niche.
“In the design phase, a decision is made about what we think the market is looking for in terms of fuel economy and in terms of performance, and how you make a compromise between these conflicting aims. We can tune the engine either way.”
Jay Nagley, a motor industry analyst, said: “It is ironic that, with the public now clamouring for the most fuel-efficient cars, the vehicle most associated with environmental awareness and fuel economy is getting higher performance.
“Toyota is displaying an old-fashioned mindset by thinking it has to make the new Prius bigger and faster to attract more buyers.”
Mr Nagley said that many Prius customers had found that the existing model performed far less fuel efficiently than the official consumption figure of 65.7mpg. In a test by cleangreencars.co.uk, a Jeep Patriot 4x4 and a Prius were driven between London and Brighton. The website found that they achieved 38.9mpg and 39.9mpg respectively.
“The gap between official mpg figures and actual performance is much worse for the Prius than for other cars,” he said.
Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation and a Prius owner, said that the existing model had plenty of power.
“The acceleration is very respectable and it does 80mph on motorways quite adequately. The engine does get a bit noisy above 70mph, but I would have preferred the new version to focus on improving fuel economy rather than raising performance.”
Toyota is working on a plug-in version that can be charged up from the mains so that owners would not need to use any petrol for short journeys.