IPCC REPORT 2018 – What does it mean?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released a new report SR15

If the global temperature rises by 1.5°C, humans will face unprecedented climate-related risks and weather events.  Currently we are on track for a 3 degrees or more of warming if we do not change course.

It’s the final call; the most extensive warning thus far on the risks of rising global temperatures.

Zero Carbon Britain the flagship research project from the Centre for Alternative Technology, has produced a report  Raising Ambition.

 

 

Eco-Chat, Thoughts and Action

Transition Malvern Hills (TMHills) continues to promote and support sustainable projects and initiatives in Malvern and the surrounding area.  We are organising regular meet ups, (under the title of TMHills Eco-Chat, Thoughts and Action), for individuals and groups to discuss how Malvern is making the positive changes needed to reduce our environmental impact.  There will be monthly meetings normally at Greenlink for all that wish to participate in these friendly discussions.

Below is the chats we have currently planned. To keep upto date sign up for our mailing list here. 

  • 11:00 on Wednesday, 12 December 2018

    This months Eco Chat will looking at how Zero Carbon Britian can help stop climate breakdown.

    Location: Greenlink Organic Foods, 11 Graham Rd, Malvern WR14 2HR, UK

Is plastic ever really biodegradable

Why is this important? The plastic pollution highlighted by the Blue Planet TV Program is plastic that was not recycled or incinerated or put in landfill. If it had been it would not be in the oceans. It’s litter. The same applies to litter in Britain. I believe that the only solution it to make sure that packaging is fully biodegradable. But that leads to problem of what to we mean by biodegradable. There is a lot of Greenwash in this area.

Let’s start with a definition.

Biodegradable: capable of being broken down especially into innocuous products by the action of living things such as microorganisms[1]

The problem is that capable does not mean it will breakdown. To quote Jacqueline McGlade, chief scientist at the UN Environment Programme. “It’s well-intentioned but wrong. A lot of plastics labelled biodegradable, like shopping bags, will only break down in temperatures of 50C and that is not the ocean. They are also not buoyant, so they’re going to sink, so they’re not going to be exposed to UV and break down”[2]

If they need to get to 50oC that will also not happen in the British countryside, not even this Year.

Is compostable an alternative term? Again, this may only work at temperatures above ambient. So, I think compostable can be as misleading as biodegradable.

So, what is the alternative. The best solution is to eliminate single use packaging. But this is utopian. So what alternatives are there.

For some uses paper bags are a good solution. Where paper bags do not work there are alternatives which claim to work but the question I ask is do they breakdown in the environment be that the ocean or the countryside, or even the city.   These alternatives include cellophane and “plastic” made from corn or potato starch.

Searching the web finds lots of products but are they really the solution. I do not know. The term “Home Compostable” look promising but I fear it could become greenwash.

Greenpeace have a useful video here on plastic packaging.

For the more technically minded one informative link is The truth about bioplastics by Renee Cho, Earth Institute, Columbia University  from Phys.org

Ian Caldwell

 

Make a difference use less plastic display tour

Transition Malvern Hills campaign to reduce the use of single use plastic in the Malvern Hills area has a display.  This display is going on tour.  The Dates are:

See plasticfree.transitionmalvernhills.org.uk for the campaign  details.

Electric Bike Loan in Ledbury

The electric bike loan scheme is hoping to expand to Ledbury.

Our appeal for funds to have an Electric Bike in Ledbury has been successful in being part of the Ledbury Tesco plastic bag Community Fund. So all tokens deposited in the Ledbury store in May and June will contribute and depending where we are placed amongst the 3 contenders will determine the amount we get. If you are in Ledbury please add your tokens if you shop at Tesco.