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France defends 'imperfect' fossil fuel sponsors for Paris climate summit

French climate official says sponsorship of UN climate conference by EDF, Air France, and other big carbon emitters was needed for financial reasons

Published on The Guardian website on 29th May 2015

Air France, along with EDF, Engie and other firms are partly sponsoring the COP21 Paris climate talks in December. Photograph: Stephane de Sakutin/AFP/Getty Images

Air France, along with EDF, Engie and other firms are partly sponsoring the COP21 Paris climate talks in December. Photograph: Stephane de Sakutin/AFP/Getty Images

Fossil fuel firms and big carbon emitters sponsoring the Paris climate summit in December are “a part of the problem” that delegates will address, but their patronage was unavoidable for financial reasons, senior French climate officials say.

About 20% of the €170m (£122m) cost of the Paris conference will come from firms such as EDF, Engie (formerly known as GDF Suez), Air France, Renault-Nissan and BNP Paribas, the French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius,said on Thursday.

Hisannouncement sparked outrage among NGOs, with Oxfam France denouncingthe move as greenwash and hypocrisy, saying that the summit would now “be financed by French champions of pollution”.

Continue reading France defends ‘imperfect’ fossil fuel sponsors for Paris climate summit

Large fall in UK greenhouse gas emissions of over 8% last year

Published on The Guardian website on 26th March 2015

The biggest fall in emissions since 1990 saw carbon dioxide output drop by almost a tenth while energy from renewable sources rose to a record high of almost 20% of electricity, government figures show

UK’s greenhouse gas emissions dropped by a big Photograph: Julie Edwards/Alamy

UK’s greenhouse gas emissions dropped by a big Photograph: Julie Edwards/Alamy

The UK’s greenhouse gas emissions plunged by 8.4% last year, as household energy consumption slumped, the use of coal for electricity generation fell, and policies on climate change took effect, according to government statistics released on Thursday.

Carbon dioxide output fell by almost a tenth, as renewable energy generation rose to a new record high, accounting for nearly a fifth of electricity.

It was the biggest fall in emissions since 1990. Over the last five years, following a sharp fall in 2009, emissions appeared to have reached a plateau, with slight rises in some years owing to increasing coal use. The price of coal has dropped on world markets, as shale gas has sapped demand in the US, leaving a glut.

Green campaigners welcomed the fall, but they warned that more must be done to reach targets.

Continue reading Large fall in UK greenhouse gas emissions of over 8% last year

Solar energy 'could provide 4% of UK electricity by 2020'

Published on the BBC News website on 24th March 2014

Solar Panel Array

Solar power could provide up to 4% of the UK’s electricity by the end of the decade, the government has said.

The plummeting cost of solar panels has caused the government to revise upwards its forecast for solar energy use, Energy Secretary Ed Davey said.

This had contributed to the government decision to end most subsidies for large-scale solar this month, he added.

But the solar industry said the cuts were a mistake and would prevent it from competing with fossil fuels.

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