Green News Roundup August 2008

Green news we loved: In case you missed it first time around, here’s our August round-up of the most talked about, most innovative solutions or simply the most awesome green news to hit the headlines.

One-third of China’s emissions come from exports
Often dubbed the country to overtake the US in carbon emissions, a new study revealed this month that China’s growing export market is responsible for one-third of their emissions – much of it from manufacturing ‘advanced’ electronics goods for developed countries. With International policy at the moment tending to penalise the country that produces rather than the one that consumes the goods ¬- such as US and Europe – we must ask, is it time for a policy change?

Ikea want cheap green tech
Ikea stated they are to invest in green technology in order to apply their familiar low-cost furniture approach to domestic power generation. They are said to be plummeting nearly £40 billion into technologies such as solar, water conservation, efficiency meters and alternative lighting, and are hoping to get products into stores in two to four years time. Will this be affordable green tech for the global masses? Let’s see. Keep an Allen key at the ready.

Dubai’s eco architecture continues
Not only does Dubai boost both Brad Pitt’s and Pamela Anderson’s new eco-chic hotels, numerous eco-cities in the making, and some of the most advanced green architecture in the world – if you overlook the, ahem, luxurious indoor ski resort in the desert. This month saw plans to build a shopping centre that adheres to tough eco-credentials with energy-efficient lighting and cooling systems, reflective roofs, recycling resources and facilities to encourage cycling. Can an oil state really become the home of green innovations – or is this greenwash on a massive scale?

Dictionary goes green
Once green buzzwords for those in the know, a collection of terms have now become part of our popular culture as they join the latest Chambers Dictionary released this month. Environmental terms such as ‘carbon footprint’, ‘food miles’, ‘green tax’ and ‘eco-village’ made it in the eleventh edition ¬– a sure reflection of our changing times.

Google invests in more sustainable technology
Smart company and superpower of the Internet Google, have committed to invest $10m (£5.4m) in a technology to make widespread geothermal power more universally attainable. As a company, they have already invested tens of millions of dollars in solar and wind energy. Experts think geothermal could be the energy of the future as it is clean, carbon-free – if it can be tapped efficiently – and potentially available 24/7 over much of the world.

Psychology for better green living
A conference this month of the American Psychological Association focused efforts on how psychology can encourage green behaviour. Experts say they want to launch a national initiative promoting media messages to help people reduce their carbon footprint. Psychologists have found ‘negative feedback’, such as confronting consumers with the fact that they might not doing enough, may prove sufficient to make them quit whereas informing them of what can be done has positive results.

Electric bikes are big hit
Electric bikes are popular in China, but they are now starting to catch on in the rest of the world. In the US, sales have doubled partly due to rising fuel prices while in Europe – which already has a strong bike culture – sales have risen fast in France, Germany and Holland according to figures released this month. A wide range of electric bikes are now available, the cheaper offerings often use lead-acid batteries, while the more expensive but lighter weight and longer ranging use lithium ion batteries.

Prince Charles most outspoken yet?
Charles is not one to mince his words, and has stated this month that the widespread use of GM crops would be the ‘biggest disaster environmentally of all time’. Charles accused multinational food companies of conducting a ‘gigantic experiment with nature’ pointing out that it would hurt small farmers and the environment. In the face of those who think GMO crops can raise yields, cut costs and feed the world’s hungry, he said what we should be talking about is ‘food security, not food production’.

Want to comment on some of these stories? How do you feel about an oil state becoming the home of green innovations – can Dubai set a global standard? Is it time for consumer countries of China’s exports to burden more responsibility? Share your views below.

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