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Found 39 results

  1. A new nationwide poll in Poland shows that 88 percent of its citizens want their country to shift to renewables, take serious action against climate change and for their political leaders to stop blocking important EU climate action.   "The vast majority of Poles want their country to take strong action on climate change and shift to renewable energy. This is the result of a representative nationwide poll by TNS Polska in March 2014 commissioned by campaigning community Avaaz," writes Diana Maciąga over at 350.org. "This poll shows very clearly that Polish citizens want our country to take strong action on climate change and shift to renewable energy sources. Our government has to stop blocking EU climate action and we cannot allow private projects such as Elektrownia Północ, which put us on the worst possible path for our energy future."   Read it: Poles want energy transition to renewables = no new coal!
  2. A dozen of Greenpeace activists sneaked into France's oldest nuclear power plant earlier this morning in an effort to highlight security weaknesses at nuclear facilities in Europe. All in all, about 60 Greenpeace activists from 14 different countries participated in today's protest at the Fessenheim nuclear plant - the oldest in France. The protest started early at dawn this Tuesday when several activists sneaked inside the premises of the nuclear power plant to hang anti-nuclear banners from a building next to one of the plant's reactors. A couple of activists even managed to climb on top of the reactor number 1's roof where they unfurled banners with the message "Stop Risking Europe". The rest of the activists stayed outside the plant, blocking its entrance with barrels and demanding the shutdown of the plant. "The Fessenheim plant is a symbol," Greenpeace activist Cyrille Cormier said. "Its planned closure must be the beginning of a series of plant closures in Europe to limit the accidental and financial risks linked to ageing (plants) and to start the energy transition." The Fessenheim nuclear plant, which is France's oldest and considered vulnerable to seismic activity and flooding, is located in north-eastern Europe, only 1,5 km from Germany in the third most densely populated region in Metropolitan France and in the centre of the so-called European Backbone. The nuclear plant is situated on the banks of the Rhine, one of Europe's largest rivers that runs through three different countries. So if an accident were to happen at the nuclear plant, it wouldn't just be France who would be affected. France's President François Hollande has said that he wants to reduce France’s reliance on nuclear power from 75% to 50% by 2025. Hollande has earlier promised to shut Fessenheim down by 2016. But despite this, there are currently discussions in France about extending the lifetime of several nuclear plants beyond their 40 years. "We’re demanding Mr Hollande keep his promise by limiting maximum reactor lifetimes to 40 years by law and ensuring more nuclear plants are shut down," Greenpeace said in a statement. "With climate change upon us it should really go without saying that Europe needs a real energy transition based on renewable energy. This needs to happen fast." A spokesman from EDF, the plant's operator, said in a statement that further precautionary measures has been taken. "There has been no impact on the security of the plant, which continues to function normally," the EDF spokesman said. Following today's protest, Ecology Minister Philippe Martin said he would "ask operators to reinforce the physical protection of the most sensitive zones in their nuclear facilities."
  3. Ska Keller, from Germany, and José Bové, from France, have been selected to lead the European Green Party in their upcoming European campaign. After closing the polls yesterday, the election result was presented at a press conference earlier this morning. "I’m looking forward to an enthusiastic election campaign, for the whole of the European Union," Ska Keller said during today's press conference. "It will be our task as top candidates to bring a European dimension to the national Green campaigns." "In our campaign, we Greens will be clear about what our Green alternatives are for Europe: a fair and Green way out of the crisis, putting youth unemployment on the top of the agenda, protecting the rights of refugees and migrants, fair trade not free trade, more ambitious climate targets, and more democracy," Keller said. The European Green Party, which is a transnational political party consisting of 40 green parties from throughout the European Union, asked people whom shared their "values" to choose their party's two green leading candidates for the upcoming European Elections, which are held between 22 and 25 May later this year. This was the first ever Europe-wide online election for a parliamentary group in the European parliament. But the election had quite a low voter turnout with only 22,676 people participating. It's therefore doubtful that the result is representative for the members of the green parties in Europe.
  4. The European Green Party, which is a transnational political party consisting of 40 green parties from throughout the European Union, are asking you to choose the two green leading candidates for the upcoming European Elections which are held between 22 and 25 May this year. This is the first ever Europe-wide online election for a parliamentary group in the European parliament. José Bové, Monica Frassoni, Rebecca Harms and Ska Keller are the four contenders in the Green Primary and have participated in live-chats and debates in several European cities, such as Berlin, Prague and London. All four of them are green politicians from across the EU who want to represent the Greens on a European level in the European elections 2014. Before they become contenders of the Green Primary, they were nominated by their national Green party and their candidacy had to be supported by at least four Green parties from across the EU. In an effort to counteract declining trust in the EU, the European Greens wants to give people a stronger voice in European decision-making. And they see the Green Primary as a way to reinvigorate European democracy. “This is an important step in European democracy,” EGP Co-Chair Reinhard Bütikofer MEP said. “Amidst the declining trust in EU institutions, we need new ideas. The Greens are the first to invite citizens to select our two leading candidates in an open Europe-wide online primary. Our innovative e-democracy project promotes the idea of giving Europe back to the people.” Voting ends tomorrow (Janurary 28) at 18:00 CET. So if you are an EU citizen, over the age of 16, and you share “the values, goals and work of the European Green Party” you can help choose the two leading candidates for the European Green Party. To vote, just go to www.greenprimary.eu and register. You will need an email address and a mobile phone. You can also vote with your smartphone or tablet. The contender with the highest number of votes will be elected. The second winner will be the person with the next highest number of votes who is from another national list to ensure that the two leading candidates represent different parts of Europe. Meet the four candidates: Rebecca Harms My political work began in 1975 in the German anti-nuclear movement. As Co-Chair of the Greens/EFA Group in the EU Parliament, I have always fought hard for our ideals and aims. The continuing dispute over energy transition and climate protection tells me that we Greens, being a relatively small party, need not just passion, but a lot of patience for our big ideas. This also applies to Europe. We want and we need to take new steps on the path towards political union. We need passion and patience to regain the trust of the people for this idea. In our European campaign, I want to speak out against shortsighted policies and campaign for sustainability, solidarity and a good quality of life. Learn more about Rebecca Harms. Ska Keller I grew up in the Eastern Bloc, but have lived Europe for as long as I can remember. Anti-racism and internationalism became guiding principles as I worked on cross-border solidarity in my home on the Polish border. Young Greens and Green Parties of Europe spoke to this in a way that never quietened, but still calls me today. For our shared environment, for a united Europe of peace and freedom, capable of facing social, economic and international challenges, for the things that hold us together. A Europe of solidarity of generations and regions; for all people, against austerity. With your support, I will campaign in all parts of Europe to convince people that now is the time to vote green. Learn more about Ska Keller. José Bové Member of the European Parliament since 2009, I am first of all, a farmer of the world. On the Larzac, where I milked sheep for years, I struggled to save my land against the army. From Seattle to Porto Alegre, with NGOs, I claimed that our world is not for sale! Since 1970, when my opposition to nuclear power started, my life has been guided by ecology. I fought GMO with civil disobedience and ended up in jail, but in the end, we secured their banning. Years of mobilisation forced the French government to ban fracking. With the Greens, I am ready to be one of the 2 leading candidates for 2014 for an ecological Europe, the only subversive dream which empowers citizens and protect our planet. Learn more about José Bové. Monica Frassoni To restore our self-confidence and have a positive influence on world affairs, we have to transform the next EP Elections into a real competition. We must do it noisily by stirring controversies and debates with the other parties, by mobilising our members and finding new support. We have to convince citizens that they have a say in EU affairs and that, unless they speak up, EU will split again. If they don't, we will not solve the crisis and our collective irrelevance will be inevitable. My decision to run in this Primary stems from an ambition to participate in a team with the other contenders to make our proposals visible and credible across the EU, well ahead of the EU elections. Learn more about Monica Frassoni.
  5. The 'polar vortex' and severe cold weather don't mean climate change isn't happening, writes Yarrow Axford.   "Climate change is a painstakingly well-documented long-term global trend, in which each recent decade has been warmer than the decade before. This is generally true for most parts of the globe, but more importantly is true when one considers the Earth as a whole. [...] Despite the overwhelming evidence that our planet is warming, there are two points of perpetual confusion that combine with our psychology to make winter weather a seasonal boon for climate skepticism. For one, a cold snap where we live should not be confused for a global event."   Read it: No, Global Warming Isn't Suddenly a Myth Because It's Really Cold Out
  6. Believe it or not, winters have been warming rapidly in the majority of the continental 48 states since 1970. And, take note Chicago and other Midwest readers: The coldest states are warming the fastest. So says a 2013 report by Climate Central. In fact, says science writer Andrew Zimmerman, if the climate had not warmed so much during the past few decades, it's possible that the current freezer-like weather would be even colder in those areas. Yikes! Meanwhile, there have been above-average temperatures across parts of the Arctic, Scandinavia, Europe and Asia this past week, Zimmerman reports. Last month, the northern Alaska coastline, above the Arctic Circle, had the warmest temperatures on record in at least 70 years. It's part of an overall trend of warming in the Arctic area. But yes, brrrrr, every state in the continental U.S. has had sub-freezing temperatures this week. It's attributed to the behavior of the "polar vortex." The polar vortex (also known as a polar cyclone) is a large swirl of very cold air that sits over the polar regions year round. It intensifies in the winter and weakens in the summer. The jet stream from the Arctic polar vortex sometimes brings extremely cold weather southward into Europe, Asia and the U.S. According AccuWeather.com, cold outbreaks like the one this week occur "on average once every 10 years. The last far-reaching, bitterly cold blasts occurred in the mid-1990s, during February of 1996 and January of 1994." AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson said, "We were overdue for a large Arctic outbreak of this intensity." This time the polar vortex has spread unusually far south into the U.S., giving us the record frigid conditions we've been experiencing. Is global climate change a factor in this unusual intrusion of the polar vortex? Some scientists say yes; others say the jury is still out. Scientific studies have tied abnormally cold temperatures in the U.S. and Europe to warmer than usual conditions in the Arctic - they dub this the "Warm Arctic/Cold Continents Pattern." This could be driven by the loss of polar sea ice which has been documented over the past few decades. That in turn is spurred by human-caused global warming. Research is ongoing. "The research linking climate change impacts in the Arctic to more extreme jet stream patterns is still very new, and we need several more years of data and additional research before we can be confident that this is occurring," writes Weather Underground scientist Jeff Masters. "But if the new research is correct, the crazy winter weather we've been seeing since 2009 may be the new normal in a world with rapid warming occurring in the Arctic." But one thing is sure, scientist agree: cold weather does not contradict the well-established fact that the Earth has been warming overall due to human activity, in particular the massive use of oil, coal and other fossil fuels. The consequences of this, scientists say, include more extreme weather of all kinds. For a break from the cold, you might want to consider a trip Down Under. Australia has experienced record-breaking scorching hot weather this past year. It's been so hot that mapmakers have had to add a new color to temperature maps to signify the blistering heat there. Australia's winter, which is during our summer months, was "only" the third hottest on record. But its spring temperatures, starting in September, were the hottest ever. January 2014 is starting off with similar heat extremes. Walgett, in New South Wales, recorded 120 degrees Fahrenheit, the second hottest temperature ever measured in the state. One of the reasons for Australia's record heat in 2013 was very high ocean surface temperatures, the third warmest on record according to preliminary data. If you are not up for a trip to Australia, not to worry. The record cold in the U.S. will be ending this week, weather forecasters say. Temperatures are predicted to be up to 50 in places like New York and St. Louis. This article was first published in People's World by Susan Webb.
  7. In the article, Cameron writes that he wants to see fracking in all parts of Britain - and not just in the less populated areas in the north. "It's been suggested in recent weeks that we want fracking to be confined to certain parts of Britain. This is wrong," he said. "I want all parts of our nation to share in the benefits: north or south, Conservative or Labour. We are all in this together." Fracking is a controversial method of extracting gas. The word fracking comes from its technique, which involves fracturing rocks deep underground with water and chemicals to extract natural gas. The British Geological Survey has estimated that there could be around 1300 trillion cubic feet of gas in northern England alone. Cameron claims that only 10% of that is the equivalent of 51 years' worth of gas supply. Besides cheaper gas and energy bills for the British people, Cameron also promises that fracking will bring money to local neighborhoods and create new jobs in a struggling economy. He estimates that around 74 000 news jobs, in and around the gas sector, could be created. "If neighborhoods can see the benefits - and are reassured about its effects on the environment - then I don't see why fracking shouldn't receive real public support," Cameron said. "The Prime Minister's claim that UK shale gas will reduce energy prices doesn't stack," Greenpeace Energy Campaigner Leila Deen said in a response Cameron's pro-fracking comments. "Experts from Ofgem to Deutsche Bank to drilling company Cuadrilla itself agree UK shale will not bring down bills, because unlike the US, the UK is part of a huge European gas market," she said. "The government must come clean about where its getting its advice from, and the role shale gas lobbyists are playing in it." Fracking will bring potential dangers to the local environment, the climate and people's health. Fracking is a fossil fuel which production creates greenhouse gas emissions. It's no more different than coal and more conventional gas - in fact, its carbon footprint could even be worse than coal. Considering all the chemicals involved in the fracking process and the numerous reports of gas leaking into people's water supply, fracking could also become a real threat to people's health. In the US, at least eight states have reported surface, ground, and drinking water contamination due to fracking. In Pennsylvania alone, over 1,400 environmental violations have been attributed to deep gas wells utilizing fracking practices. Fracking will also bring pollution from truck traffic, chemical contamination around storage tanks, and habitat fragmentation and damage from drilling in environmentally sensitive. But Cameron claims that fracking is safe for both the public and the environment. "There is no reason why the process should cause contamination of water supplies or other environmental damage," Cameron said. At least if it's "properly regulated." And if "any shale gas well were to pose a risk of pollution, then we have all the powers we need to close it down," Cameron promises. "Our countryside is one of the most precious things we have in Britain and I am proud to represent a rural constituency. I would never sanction something that might ruin our landscapes and scenery." But, Cameron added, "the huge benefits of shale gas outweigh any very minor change to the landscape." If Cameron gets what he wants, which is thousands of shale gas pads scattered across Britain, he will just lock Britain into another form of fossil fuel addiction for another generation. And we cannot afford that. We need truly green and renewable energy sources.
  8. The issue of waste plastic is of huge concern globally and in the UK alone, approximately 4.5 million tonnes of plastic enters the waste stream every year. As a keen reader of Green Blog I thought that it might be interesting to summarise the latest developments in the field of recycled packaging, here in the UK and Europe. Approximately half of the EU's waste plastic currently ends up being sent to landfill, as highlighted by a Green Paper released by the European Commission in early March. This is obviously a huge waste of energy - in fact, disposing of waste plastic in landfill has been estimated as the equivalent of burying 12 million tonnes of crude oil annually. In a world of finite energy resources this is clearly unsustainable and unacceptable. The Green Paper also highlighted the problem of single use plastic bags. It is estimated that 200 plastic bags are used per person each year in the UK, a statistic that has led some to call for non-biodegradable carrier bags to be banned. In fact, non-biodegradable bags were banned in Italy over two years ago - with other European countries taking steps to discourage their use. Ireland, Bulgaria and Denmark have introduced a plastic bag tax which has hugely reduced the number of bags used.In Ireland there was a 90% fall in their use following introduction of the tax, figures mirrored in the UK when leading retailer Marks & Spencer started to charge for bags and saw a drop in their use of 80%. Northern Ireland is the latest country to implement a carrier bag tax, when in April retailers began charging at least five pence (eight US cents) a bag, with the proceeds being forwarded to the British government's Department of the Environment. Urgent action is required because, as many of us realise, our environment is being massively contaminated by plastic - a fact starkly portrayed recently in the documentary Trashed. The documentary highlights various landscapes that have been polluted by waste, including the "˜Great Pacific Garbage Patch', a massive concentration of marine debris in the Pacific Ocean. Seaborne waste is not merely visually unpleasant - it is a real danger to animal and human health. Plastic particles in the sea attract chlorinated dioxins, which are then eaten by marine creatures. Humans ingest the harmful chemicals when they eat fish and other sea life. As well as wasting energy resources, the disposal of plastic through burial and incineration is hugely damaging to the environment. Greenhouse gases such as methane and carbon dioxide are emitted when waste breaks down or is burnt, and these gases contribute to global warming. Raised global temperatures cause ice caps to melt, releasing into the oceans even more toxins that had previously been stored in the ice. Recycling waste plastic is a good way of cutting down on the amount sent to landfill or incinerated. Here in the UK 92% of local authorities collect plastic bottles for recycling; bottles are typically made from two of the most easily recyclable plastics, PET and HDPE. Some plastics are unfortunately harder to recycle - the type used to make yoghurt pots and margarine tubs, for example - but large investments are currently being made in the UK into new plastics recycling technology, so hopefully it will not be too long until we significantly reduce the amount of waste being sent to landfill or incinerated. Whilst we still have a long way to go, the signs are very positive that here in the EU we are starting to take the problem of waste plastic seriously.
  9. Today, six brave activists from Greenpeace climbed to the top of the tallest building in Western Europe, the Shard in London, UK. The daring stunt was made in an effort to protest Shell's plans to drill for oil in the Arctic. The six climbers were Ali Garrigan from the UK, Sabine Huyghe from Holland, Sandra Lamborn from Sweden, Lisbeth Deddens from Belgium, Victoria Henry from Canada and Wiola Smul from Poland. You can read the full story here. Meet the climbers, from the left: Sabine, Sandra, Victo, Ali, Wiola & Liesbeth. The six activists started their journey up the 72-story building by climbing on to the roof of the neighboring London Bridge station early in the morning. Greenpeace says the Shard was chosen because it’s located in the middle of Shell’s three corporate headquarters. This photo shows how everyone involved in the action trained the day before the daring stunt. They arrived to the Shard in a van and climbed up to the London Bridge station using a ladder through a hatch on the roof of the van. Sabine Huyghe and Victoria Henry can be seen here climbing up the side of the Shard. “We'll try to hang a huge art installation 310m up. We may not succeed, but we’re going to do everything we can to pull it off,” Henry said. “Millions of people have called on Shell to get out of the Arctic but they're still trying to drill there anyway. If we reach the top we’ll be able to see all three of Shell’s London offices below us, meaning they'll be able to see us. Maybe then they'll stop ignoring the movement ranged against them.” Ali Garrigan has been climbing since age 18 & hopes the action can bring attention to the dangers facing the Arctic. People could follow and watch the six climbers while they climbed to the top of the Shard, situated 310 meters above ground. The live-feed was managed from the Greenpeace UK headquarter. The climbers used Iphones to stream live from their journey to the top of the Shard where they planned to unveil “a huge work of art that captures the beauty of the Arctic.” Lisbeth Deddens began climbing in high school. She has now climbed ice, rock, alpine, and the Shard. The media seemed to love the stunt and the Save the Arctic campaign got some much needed attention. Wiola Smul hopes that today’s action helps to change the way companies exploit vulnerable regions like the Arctic. Sabine Huyghe was inspired to train as a climber after helping other Greenpeace activists get ready in Belgium. Sandra Lamborn who has just finished an MA in environmental science was the lead climber during the action. “We do this to draw attention to the untenable situation in the Arctic, where the ice has melted by more than 80% since the 1950s. As the ice disappears, opportunities for development in the area previously been virtually inaccessible to humans,” Lamborn said. “This is a threat not only for the Arctic ecosystem and the animals that lives there, but actually for the planet and thus the future of humanity. The oil industry, with giant Shell in the lead, wants to drill for oil in the Arctic icy water, a place where the conditions are extremely unpredictable. Any oil spill would be devastating to the sensitive Arctic ecosystem and almost impossible to clean up. Extraction and consumption of Arctic oil leads to climate change, which in turn disrupts the planet's delicate balance ending in disasters, the extent of which we have only seen the beginning of.” The climbers reached the top of the Shard late on Thursday evening. All safe and sound, but exhausted from their free climb up the tallest building in Western Europe. All six climbers will be spending the night in police custody.
  10. Early this Thursday morning, six activists from Greenpeace started to scale the tallest building in Western Europe, the Shard in London, UK. The daring stunt is made in an effort to protest Shell's plans to drill for oil in the Arctic, which could potentially cause "irreparable harm" to the fragile nature and its inhabitants. The six climbers - identified as Ali Garrigan, Sabine Huyghe, Sandra Lamborn, Lisbeth Deddens, Victoria Henry and Wiola Smul - have been climbing for over 12 hours and, at the time of publish, managed to "free climb" 240 meters. Once they reach the top, at 310 meters, they plan to unveil "a huge work of art that captures the beauty of the Arctic." Greenpeace, who is calling for a moratorium ban on oil and gas exploitation in the Arctic, hopes that the action will result in even more signatures to their already one million strong Arctic petition. Greenpeace says the Shard was chosen because it's located in the middle of Shell's three corporate headquarters. But also because the 72-story building is modelled on a shard of ice - the very same environment that is being threatened by our continued use of dirty fossil fuels. In a response to the action, Shell said that they "respect the right of individuals and organisations to engage in a free and frank exchange of views about our operations." They also defended themselves against the criticism from Greenpeace and other environmental organizations by claiming that they have the "technical experience and know-how to explore for and produce oil and gas responsibly." But Shell's failed track record in the Arctic and around the world, casts real doubts on the company's claims of being able to drill for oil and gas safe and responsible - especially in a region such as the Arctic where fierce environmental conditions are a daily occurrence. New findings, released earlier this week, also shows that it's impossible, even in fairly safe waters, to operate oil and gas rigs without a steady release of oil and other chemicals leaking out into the sea. You can watch the six-Greenpeace climbers on their journey up the Shard from the live-stream here. Photo Gallery: Meet the six brave women who scaled Europe's tallest building to save the Arctic
  11. Speaking at a climate conference in Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that inaction on global warming is "not an option" and called on nations to redouble efforts to secure an internationally binding climate change treaty. After being invited by the governments of Poland and Germany, environment and climate ministers from 35 countries "“ who together are responsible for around 80% of world carbon emissions - gathered earlier this week at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue conference in Berlin for a round of dialogue and informal negotiations ahead of the UN climate summit (COP19) in Warzaw, Poland, later this year. While stressing that all countries need to act, Merkel demanded immediate and bold action on climate change so that a binding climate treaty that limits emissions that cause global warming can be reached by 2015. "I'm under no illusion that there is a long road ahead," Merkel said at the conference. But "doing nothing only means that it will get a whole lot more expensive." These are indeed strong words for global action against climate change. But while Germany's carbon emissions rose by two percent last year, Merkel has so far seemed uninterested in fixing Europe's severely broken cap-and-trade program and failed to push for tougher climate policies for the European Union.
  12. A new bicycle index has ranked the 20 most bicycle-friendly cities in the world. Already world-renowned bike-friendly cities such as Copenhagen and Amsterdam are of course on the list. But there are several newcomers as well, such as Malmö in Sweden and Seville in Spain. Unfortunately, there is still no US city on the top 20 list. The new Copenhagenize Index has ranked the 20 most bicycle-friendly cities in the world. The index, which ranks a total of 150 cities, has been compiled by Copenhagenize Design, an urban planning consultancy who specializes in bicycle planning. More than 400 people from around the world has helped rank the various cities. Each city have been ranked on the basis of 13 different parameters that takes everything from the availability of satisfying bicycle infrastructure and facilities to the overall bicycle culture in the city and the political climate regarding urban cycling into account. Unsurprisingly, especially considering it already has a world-renowned reputation of being a bike-friendly city, Amsterdam in the Netherlands is ranked as the most bicycle-friendly city in the world. "The cycling atmosphere is relaxed, enjoyable, and as mainstream as you can get. This is the one place on the planet where fear-mongering about cycling is non-existent and it shows. There are few places we enjoy urban cycling as much as in Amsterdam," the Copenhagenize Index says. The photo shows afternoon traffic on the world's busiest bicycle street in Copenhagen, Denmark. Photo by Copenhagenize Design Co. Copenhagen is ranked as the second most bicycle-friendly city in the world. No other city beats Copenhagen when it comes to "a well-designed and uniform bicycle infrastructure network."But the Index warns that a lack of clear political leadership and new massive car infrastructure projects makes Copenhagen's future seem uncertain and bleak for cyclists. Utrecht, yet another Dutch city on the top 20 list, is the third most bicycle-friendly city in the world. The Index highlights the "fantastic" infrastructure that can be found in the small city. According to the Index, Utrecht is a "world-leader" and "a splendid city" for cyclists. But the city, just like Amsterdam, haven't seen much new significant progress lately. So to avoid getting stuck in status quo the Index calls for increased efforts, more creative thinking and innovation to improve cycling conditions even further. "With urbanisation on the rise, the city needs to move forward in order to accommodate more cycling cities and really establish themselves as leaders of the future, not just the present," the Index asserts. Below is the complete list of the top 20 most bicycle-friendly cities in the world - with their 2011 ranking in brackets: 1. Amsterdam (1) 9. Dublin (9) 2. Copenhagen (2) 10. Tokyo (4) 3. Utrecht (new) 11. Munich (6) 4. Seville (new) 11. Montreal (8) 4. Bordeaux (new) 11. Nagoya (new) 5. Nantes (new) 12. Rio de Janeiro (18) 5. Antwerp (new) 13. Barcelona (3) 6. Eindhoven (new) 13. Budapest (10) 7. Malmö(new) 13. Paris (7) 8. Berlin (5) 14. Hamburg (13) If you want more information on why these cities rank the way they do just check out the Copenhagenize website, which has extended explanations on the different pros and cons of each of the top 20 cities. No cities in the US made the cut While the majority of the top-scoring cities are located in Europe, the US still has no city that can compete with more bike-friendly cities such as Copenhagen in Denmark, Tokyo in Japan, Rio in Brazil or Montreal in Canada. But the League of American Bicyclists recently released their yearly ranking of the most bicycle-friendly states in the US. Their list shows how Washington continues to be the most bike-friendly state in the country. Washington has a good performance in all of the five categories. The state gets especially good grades when it comes to its work on legislation, education and its encouragement to get more people to use their bikes. "We're encouraged to see significant progress in top states like Washington, Delaware, Colorado and Oregon," says League President, Andy Clarke. "But as the scores clearly highlight, there's much work to be done in critical areas like infrastructure and planning in every state." The 14 most bicycle-friendly states are: Washington, Colorado, Oregon, Minnesota, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Illinois, Arizona, Maryland, Michigan, Maine and Utah on 14th place.
  13. Norway, a rich country in Scandinavia (in northern Europe) with a population of almost five million people enjoy the second highest GDP per-capita (after Luxembourg) and third highest GDP (PPP) per-capita in the world, and has maintained first place in the world in the UNDP Human Development Index (HDI) for six consecutive years (2001-2006). Most of the wealth comes from large fields of natural resources such as oil and gas. Norway is the third largest exporter of oil and gas worldwide. Only Russia and Saudi Arabia export more oil than Norway. In 2006, oil and gas accounted for 58% of all the services and products exported. Ah yes, Norway is one of the few countries that are generating huge amounts of money on the continuation of global warming. While it's probably true that most people in Norway feel a bit ashamed about this fact the second largest political party (as of the 2005 parliamentary elections) in Norway, the Fremskrittspartiet (shortly translated to the "progress party"), wants to gain more votes by downplaying the severity of climate change. All the other major political parties in Norway acknowledge the severity of man-made climate change and have unanimously decided on tougher actions against climate change. So why would a sane political party go against all trustworthy scientific reports you might ask? Well, what would you expect from a conservative political party like Fremskrittspartiet. A political party that advocates free market economics and deregulation of the economy, stricter limits on immigration, closer cooperation with NATO, United States and Israel in foreign policy and less state aid to developing countries. One of Fremskrittspartiet's goals is to limit immigration to 100 people per year (Source: Dagens Nyheter 11/4/2008). They especially want to stop Muslims, illiterate and poor people from coming to Norway. The party leader Siv Jensen believes that by denying global warming the Fremskrittspartiet will attract more voters from the other political parties in Norway and might have a chance to win the coming election from the current red-green government. By educating 1000 party members to confront the "exaggerated" public and scientific opinion about climate change and to use chosen "scientists" in the election campaign Siv Jensen hopes to profile Fremskrittspartiet as the "deviant and sane voice" in Norwegian politics.
  14. The European Environment Agency's (EEA) Scientific Committee yesterday called for the suspension of EU's target to increase the share of biofuels used in transport to 10% by 2020. The committee calls for a new, "comprehensive scientific study on the environmental risks and benefits of biofuels" before any targets should be set. The committees concerns are summarised below: The European Environment Agency's Scientific Committee consists of 20 independent scientists from 15 different EEA member countries. The committee helps the EEA Management Board and the Executive Director by "providing scientific advice and delivering professional opinions on any scientific matter" that the EEA might undertake. The EEA is located in Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark. EEA currently consists of 27 EU member states, 3 European Economic Area members (Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein), Switzerland and Turkey.