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BusinessGreen publisher helps to raise £1.2m after unique charity royal cycling tour

BusinessGreen publisher helps to raise £1.2m after unique charity royal cycling tour

Donations to British Asian Trust provide critical funding to help vulnerable people in South Asia whose lives have been devastated by Covid-19

Tim Weller, chairman of BusinessGreen publisher Incisive Media, has completed a 400km cycling tour of the UK's royal palaces, raising more than £1.2m for the British Asian Trust.

Weller joined more than 30 other cyclists taking on the punishing four-day #PalacesOnWheels challenge, which required them to ride for 100km a day.

They set off from Prince Charles' Highgrove House on 10th June - accompanied by the Prince himself - before riding to Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace. They finished the tour on Sunday 13th June at the Queen's Sandringham Estate in Norfolk.

The cross-country charity ride was co-sponsored by Incisive Media's market-leading sustainability brand BusinessGreen and its sister business Trusted Reviews.

The beneficiary, the British Asian Trust, provides critical funding to help vulnerable people in South Asia whose lives have been devastated by Covid-19. Anyone interested in donating can still do so via JustGiving.com.

Previous tours have seen British cyclists tackle challenges in Sri Lanka, India, Cambodia, and Tanzania.

'Destructive': UK-Australia free trade deal sparks outrage from environmental groups

'Destructive': UK-Australia free trade deal sparks outrage from environmental groups

Agreement announced today paves way to tariff-free trade with Australia after 15 years which farmers and green groups warn will undermine UK standards

The UK has finalised a free trade agreement with Australia, despite widespread concerns among farmers and environmental groups that opening the door to tariff-free trade could lead to increased greenhouse gas emissions and severely undermine Britain's food, animal welfare, and environmental standards.

Following a meeting with Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison in London last night, Boris Johnson today said the new deal between the two countries would eliminate tariffs on all UK goods, reducing the cost of products such as cars, Scotch whisky, and confectionary for consumers in the UK and Australia alike.

Precise details of the deal - including tariffs and quotas on specific goods - have yet to be revealed, with the government promising to publish a final Agreement in Principle in the coming days, when it said Parliament would have the opportunity to scrutinise the agreement in detail.

As expected, the agreement will include a cap on tariff-free imports for the first 15 years, which the government said would help to protect British farmers, while UK car manufacturers would see tariffs of up to five per cent cut, providing a boost to their exports.

The aim is to allow for a gradual transition to zero quotas and tariffs over 15 years, but farming and environmental groups remain concerned that the agreement will still serve to undermine the competitiveness of domestic producers, which they fear will struggle to compete with giant Australian ranches. Last month scores of environmental groups warned the proposed deal would seriously undermine efforts to build a greener UK farming sector and "set a dangerous precedent for future trade deals".

But Johnson today hailed the deal as a "new dawn in the UK's relationship with Australia, underpinned by our shared history and common values". Downing Street said Morrison and Johnson had agreed to work closely together on issues including defence, technology collaboration and tackling climate change during last night's meeting, including through a future 'Clean Tech Partnership', further details of which have yet to be revealed.

"Our new free-trade agreement opens fantastic opportunities for British businesses and consumers, as well as young people wanting the chance to work and live on the other side of the world," Johnson added. "This is global Britain at its best - looking outwards and striking deals that deepen our alliances and help ensure every part of the country builds back better from the pandemic."

Morrison and his government are widely seen on the world stage as laggards when it comes to climate action, having faced significant criticism for their on-going refusal to set a national net zero target for Australia. Moreover, the country's farming and environmental standards are less stringent than the UK's, with farmers in Australia allowed to use some pesticides, growth hormone promoters, and feed additives that are banned in the UK.

Doug Parr, Greenpeace UK's chief scientist, said despite Johnson's green rhetoric over the weekend at the G7 Summit in Cornwall, today's trade deal with Australia meant the Prime Minister had "just given a massive vote of confidence to exactly the kind of intensive, destructive mega farms the UK should be trying to move away from".

"He is aligning Britain with a country that's way behind on climate action, and one that completely ignores its beef industry driving further climate and biodiversity chaos through the mass clearance of forests, and its routine use of hormones and pesticides," Parr added.

He also warned the deal - the first major free trade agreement negotiated from scratch by the UK since its exit from the EU earlier this year - could pave the way for similarly environmentally-destructive trade agreements with other nations in future.

"It has lowered the bar significantly for other countries looking for trade deals - Brazil being of most concern with its similarly destructive farming methods driving mass deforestation at the expense of people, wildlife and the climate," he explained. "Britain will be expected to accept the same laissez-faire approach to food and environment standards that the Australia deal allows."

Shaun Spiers, executive director of Green Alliance and chair of Greener UK - the coalition of 13 environmental groups campaigning for a 'Green Brexit' - similarly criticised Australia's "lousy record" on climate change and deforestation in the wake of the trade deal announcement.

The government has repeatedly insisted it will not water down UK standards on food, farming, and the environment in order to secure post-Brexit trade deals. Speaking on BBC News this morning, Michael Gove, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, also bemoaned "myth-making" about Australian farming practices, and claimed the new trade deal would provide British farmers with more opportunities to sell their wares precisely because of their higher standard produce.

However, farmers have consistently voiced concerns that post-Brexit free trade agreements which fail to maintain safeguards on food, environment, and welfare standards would undercut British agriculture by opening the floodgates to cheaper, lower standard food imports.

Last month NFU president Minette Batters said tariff-free trade with Australia would "cause the demise of many, many beef and sheep farms throughout the UK" and that "this is true whether tariffs are dropped immediately or in 15 years' time".

Today, she reiterated that the trade bod's concerns over the potential impact of trade deals that "completely eliminate all tariffs on imports from the biggest exporters in the world", and further raised concerns that today's announcement "appears to have made no mention of animal welfare and environmental standards".

"We will need to know more about any provisions on animal welfare and the environment to ensure our high standards of production are not undermined by the terms of this deal," said Batters. "The ultimate test of this trade deal will be whether it contributes to moving farming across the world onto a more sustainable footing, or whether it instead undermines UK farming and merely exports the environmental and animal welfare impact of the food we eat."

Green groups, too, have been deeply critical of the lack of environmental safeguards being incorporated into the government's trade policies, as well as the UK's failure to use its pursuit of trade deals to push other nations to enhance their domestic climate commitments.

"I think there's a real concern about going in with a climate laggard, who are doing all sorts of old-style, environmentally destructive farming," Spiers told BusinessGreen last month. "Why would we reward a climate laggard like Australia without asking for a lot in return on climate if we are serious about COP26 and climate leadership?"

Writing in The Independent yesterday, WWF UK chief executive Tanya Steele warned that a tariff-free trade deal with Australia would "drive a coach and horses through efforts to put UK farming on a sustainable footing".

Australia currently allows the use of "71 highly hazardous substances and thousands more types of pesticides banned in the UK" including bee-harming neonicotinoids, she claimed.

"Without effective safeguards, the benefits of such a deal would be dwarfed by the catastrophic damage to our environmental standards," Steele wrote. "Currently, there are no UK laws to enforce good environmental standards when it comes to what we're allowed to import. That means Liz Truss can agree a trade deal with Australia - a laggard on climate and nature - while claiming to be maintaining standards, because those environmental standards simply don't exist. It's time that changed."

She added: "There is no economic benefit to be gained from trading our planet away. If we take the time to get them right, trade deals can be a huge win-win, benefiting the UK economy and helping to protect the planet - our one shared home - for both people and nature."

Kia to offer Uber drivers discounted EVs across Europe

Kia to offer Uber drivers discounted EVs across Europe

Uber said move is part of its effort to deliver a zero emission mobility platform across Europe by 2030

Korean carmaker Kia is to offer Uber drivers discounted rates on battery electric vehicles (EVs) as part of a new tie up announced this morning designed to reduce the emissions footprint of the ride sharing giant's extensive European operations.

Uber said it hoped the move would encourage more of its drivers to purchase zero emission vehicles, a shift that would allow the US firm to deliver on its pledge to become a 'zero emission mobility platform' in Europe by the end of the decade.

The deal will see drivers in 20 European markets, including the UK, offered discounted rates on a range of "affordable" zero emission vehicles, starting with its all-electric 'e-Niro' and 'e-Soul' models, Uber said.

The companies have also confirmed they will collaborate on marketing and educational campaigns that highlight the benefits of EVs to Uber drivers.

Anabel Diaz, regional general manager for EMEA at Uber, emphasised the deal would help the firm decarbonise its operations as Covid-19 lockdowns start to lift in cities across the world.

"Zero emissions mobility is more than just an aim for us - it's a necessity," she said. "As Europe continues to reopen, we are committed to playing our part in cleaning up urban transport, so this partnership is crucial in our efforts to advance the electrification of our platform across Europe by 2030."

Uber is aiming to have 100,000 EVs signed on to its European platform and ensure more than half the kilometres driven in seven European capitals are zero emission by 2025.

Kia Europe president Jason Jeong heralded the partnership as an "important milestone for BEVs and sustainable zero emissions mobility in Europe".

Kia intends to introduce 11 new EV models by 2026 and is aiming for a quarter of the vehicles it sells to be "eco-friendly" by the same date.

"Making sure that the air is clean in congested city and town centres - as well as ensuring these spaces are quiet and free from vehicle noise pollution - is at the very top of our agenda," Jeong said. "This important partnership with Uber is a significant step forward in realising that goal and we are very proud to be able to offer our advanced BEV range, starting with the e-Niro and e-Soul models."

Costa Coffee brews up extended Bio-bean partnership

Costa Coffee brews up extended Bio-bean partnership

Coffee chain inks new two year deal to ensure its used coffee grounds are recycled, delivering significant emissions savings in the process

The coffee beans used to make your morning brew could be enjoying a second life as food flavouring, bioplastics, cosmetics, or sustainable fire logs.

Costa Coffee announced today that following the success of its initial partnership with coffee recycling specialist bio-bean, the chain has inked a two-year partnership extension which will see around 1,500 of its outlets continue to work to ensure all their used coffee grounds are recycled.

The deal builds on a partnership that has been in place since 2016 and sees Costa Coffee outlets segregate spent coffee grounds before sending them to bio-bean's recycling facility near Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire.

The grounds are then processed and upcycled into various bio-products, including flavour ingredients for food and beverage manufacturing, as well as a bulk, raw materials which displaces virgin or synthetic materials in a wide range of industrial applications, such as bioplastics, cosmetics, and automotive friction lubricants.

Bio-bean also recycles spent grounds into Coffee Logs: sustainable fire logs for use in domestic wood-burning and multi-fuel stoves, which the company claims can reduce carbon emissions by 80 per cent compared to the grounds being sent to landfill, and 70 per cent compared to the grounds being sent to an anaerobic digestion facility.

A spokesperson for Costa Coffee said the chain was "delighted to be extending our partnership with bio-bean for another two years, helping us further reduce our impact on the environment from bean to cup and beyond".

"We're proud to be working with such an innovative company and together, over the past five years, have put thousands of tonnes of spent Costa coffee grounds to work, transforming them into sustainable, circular bio-based products," they added.

Their comments were echoed by George May, managing director at bio-bean, who said the company was looking forward to "making the most of the relationship, recycling even more spent grounds, further reducing greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to the circular economy, and generally increasing our collective sustainable impact".

Jaguar Land Rover unveils plans for hydrogen fuel cell Defender

Jaguar Land Rover unveils plans for hydrogen fuel cell Defender

Trials of zero emission version of 4x4 will start later this year as part of British brand's drive to deliver zero tailpipe emissions

Jaguar Land Rover has announced it is developing a prototype hydrogen fuel cell electric 4x4 that will allow it to test the viability and capability of the zero-emission technology that could play a major role in the British car brand's decarbonisation over the coming years.

The zero emission off roader is part of the firm's ongoing 'Project Zeus' research and development (R&D) programme, which is being part-funded by the government-backed Advanced Propulsion Centre and brings together a range of partners, including Delta Motorsport, AVL, Marelli Automotive Systems, and the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre, the company said.

Trials of the zero emission, hydrogen fuel cell 'New Defender' are now set to take place "towards the end of 2021", the company said, as it works towards its new goal to end sales of all fossil fuel vehicles by 2036 and achieve net zero emissions across its supply chain, products, and operations three years later.

Ralph Clague, head of hydrogen and fuel cells, said that hydrogen fuel cell technologies would play a role, alongside battery electric vehicles (EVs), in the automotive sector's transition away from internal combustion engines.

"We know hydrogen has a role to play in the future powertrain mix across the whole transport industry, and alongside battery electric vehicles, it offers another zero tailpipe emission solution for the specific capabilities and requirements of Jaguar Land Rover's world class line-up of vehicles," he said. "The work done alongside our partners in Project Zeus will help us on our journey to become a net zero carbon business by 2039, as we prepare for the next generation of zero tailpipe emissions vehicles."

The move comes months after rival 4x4 maker Ineos Automotive announced it was moving ahead with plans to develop a hydrogen fuel cell version of the Grenadier, its flagship vehicle which it intends to launch in 2022.

Hydrogen vehicles remain controversial in some quarters, with analysts divided on whether hydrogen could emerge as a convenient 'drop in' replacement for petrol and diesel or whether the passenger vehicle segment is destined to be dominated by fast improving battery vehicles, with hydrogen more likely to be reserved for use by heavy transport and industrial processes.

But Jaguar Land Rover insisted hydrogen fuel cell technology is "complementary" to battery electric vehicles in the drive towards delivering zero tailpipe emissions. "Hydrogen-powered FCEVs provide high energy density and rapid refuelling, and minimal loss of range in low temperatures, making the technology ideal for larger, longer-range vehicles, or those operated in hot or cold environments," the company said.

After net zero, we will need to go much further and clean up historic emissions

After net zero, we will need to go much further and clean up historic emissions

Tim Kruger from the University of Oxford explores how the trend for tackling historic emissions is going to have to expand - and fast

As the G7 summit reiterated, all the group's members are now firmly committed to achieving net zero by 2050. This is quite a turnaround from just two years ago when the UK became the first major economy to make such a pledge. At the time of writing 121 countries are signed up to the UNFCCC's Climate Ambition Coalition and 35 of the 38 members of the OECD (to name and shame the laggards, they are Australia, Israel and Turkey) are committed to net zero by mid-century.

These pledges are significant, but still insufficient: to have a good chance of holding the rise in global temperatures to 1.5C would require us to achieve planetary net zero by 2050. This will require major emitters such as China (which has a 2060 pledge), India and Russia to increase their ambition. And it will also require that pledges are delivered upon - the gap between current action and future ambition is stark.

While achieving a balance between emissions and removals by a particular date is important, the long-lived impact of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere means that the key determinant of how far global temperatures will rise is the cumulative amount of carbon dioxide emitted - the total amount since the industrial revolution.

For countries to cancel out their contribution to climate change requires that they not only achieve net zero, but that they also take out of the air as much carbon dioxide as they put in over the past few hundred years.

Microsoft is a leader in this regard. It has pledged to not only eliminate its current emissions, but also to remove sufficient carbon dioxide from the air to counter all of its historic emissions too. Countries that industrialised early need to make pledges in a similar direction. It is only fair that they do - even though the historic emissions were made without an understanding of their impact, the benefits of early industrialisation have flowed to those countries and the costs should be borne by them too.

Coloured boxes of different sizes for different countries
The biggest emitters today are China, the US and (collectively) the EU. (Note: this is production-based emissions, and does not account for emissions embedded in trade)OurWorldInData.org, CC BY-SA

It is also difficult to make a persuasive case to countries such as India and China about their need to rapidly cut emissions, while the historic mess of early-industrialisers remains in the atmosphere contributing to climate change. Countries need to pledge not only to reach net zero targets by mid-century, but also to address their historic emissions as well.

Blocks of different sizes for each country
Cumulative emissions 1751-2017. Countries like China and India are much smaller than on the graph above, while the US and Europe are much larger.OurWorldInData.org, CC BY-SA

The difference between current and cumulative emissions can be stark. For example in 2019, the UK emitted about 350 million tonnes of CO₂, accounting for slightly less than one per cent of the global total. But due to its early industrialisation, the UK is responsible for cumulative emissions of about 78 billion tonnes of CO2 - about five per cent of the the global total of 1.5 trillion tonnes. Even if the UK achieves its goal of net zero by 2050, it will still have accumulated a "carbon hangover" of well over 80 billion tonnes and if that debt were to be paid off by the end of the century removals averaging 1.6 billion tonnes a year would be required. This would be over four times what the country currently emits each year.

For a country like India, the numbers are reversed - about seven per cent of current global emissions, but only three per cent of cumulative emissions - reflecting the fact that its economy has only more recently industrialised. Even so, it will have accumulated a substantial carbon hangover by the middle of the century which will also have to be paid off at some stage.

Humanity needs to work together to affect what we might call the "great restoration" - a multi-generational endeavour to undo the damage that we have wrought on the world. We need to restore the atmosphere, drawing down carbon dioxide back to a level that is compatible with a stable climate and healthy oceans. We need to restore the planet's complex living systems - sometimes actively, sometimes just by leaving natural systems to find their own way to recover. And we need to achieve this restoration in a way that is compatible with the wide range of other societal ambitions that we collectively share.

The great restoration will be an enormous undertaking. You could describe it as a cathedral project. Those involved at the outset may draft the plans and dig the foundations, but they will not raise the spire to its full height. That task, that privilege, belongs to our descendants. None of us will see that day, but we must start in the hope that future generations will be able to finish the job.The Conversation

Tim Kruger is James Martin Fellow at the Oxford Martin School, Environmental Change Institute and Institute for Science Innovation and Society, University of Oxford

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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