The Daily Climate Show : Drax CO2 emissions, Clean Environment a Human Right, Net Zero Plans…

Issues discussed on today’s Daily Climate Show include…

  • New analysis from think-tank Ember claims that a biomass power plant that receives large government subsidies and is classed as renewable is in fact the UK’s largest emitter of CO2. The Drax power plant in North Yorkshire last year was given £800 million in subsidies by the government. It burns mostly wood pellets and Ember’s data suggests the plant emitted 14.8 million tonnes of CO2 in 2020. Both the UK and the EU do not include biomass generation in their CO2 emissions inventory as it is claimed that burning wood is carbon neutral because of replacement planting of new trees. Ember believe the emissions should be included as the trees take decades before they absorb the equivalent CO2 emitted by the biomass burning. Drax and the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy dispute Ember’s figures.
  • The UN Human Rights Council has passed a resolution that access to clean, healthy and sustainable environment is as a human right. Dr David Boyd, UN Special Rapporteur, Human Rights & Environment, says this has “life changing potential” and although it is not legally binding it should lead countries to introduces stronger laws to protect the environment.
  • A new report by WWF has found that less than 19% of top UK companies have published detailed action plans to reduce carbon emissions to net zero. Katie White, Executive Director, Advocacy and Campaigns at WWF says government legislation is needed to force companies to make transition plans.
  • The Vatican has confirmed that Pope Francis will not be attending COP26. After the Pope hosted a recent pre-COP meeting it was hoped he would be going to the conference in Glasgow in November.
  • A year long study by researchers at the University of Bristol has concluded that there is a significant lack of diversity in climate change decision making. Data from the study showed for example that white men spoke 64% of time, while men from ethnic backgrounds spoke only 1% of the time.
  • Research published in Lancet Planetary Health has revealed that daily meat consumption in the UK has fallen by 17% in past decade, but it is not falling fast enough to reduce the environmental impact of our diets. The National Food Strategy says meat consumption must decrease by 30% over next 10 years to meat sustainable farming goals.
  • Marine mucilage or ‘sea snot’ is causing problems for fishermen in Turkey’s Sea of Marmara to the south of Istanbul. The thick, slimy gray-brown sheets are made up of dead and living organic material, much of it phytoplankton. Scientists say human induced pollution and rising sea temperatures are the cause.

Presenter Anna Jones was joined by guests Bruce Nilles, Executive Director, Climate Imperative, and Joycelyn Longdon, Founder, Climate in Colour, to discuss whether biomass energy is green or not, and how climate change discussions can be made more inclusive.

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