What we learned this week

Anyone watching climate proceedings in the UK will have had a lot to process on Thursday as the government published dozens of new policies related to energy and climate – some good, some resolutely moving in the wrong direction. I haven’t had a chance to wade through them all yet, but I’ll be drawing on Carbon Brief’s summary to do so.

As global plastic use continues its inexorable rise, an overview of the health effects of plastics has revealed that they cause harm at every stage in their lifecycle.

Congratulations to the city of Helsinki, which today switches off the coal power station that has run their district heating system for fifty years – cutting their emissions by 20% at a single stroke. Heat will in future be provided by a combination of biomass, waste heat recycling and heat pumps.

This week the UN general assembly passed a resolution asking the International Court of Justice to deliver an advisory opinion on countries’ responsibility for climate pollution. This could prove to be a useful legal tool in the wider fight for climate justice. While it might feel a bit technical from a distance, it’s worth highlighting that any kind of international ruling takes years of patient diplomacy, and in this case that was led by Vanuatu.

For those with an eye on the football, it’s a big day for the Premier League today (come on Arsenal). BBC’s Sports Desk have raised the important question of whether or not teams should fly to domestic fixtures.

One of the books I’ve been looking forward to this year is It’s Not That Radical, by Mikaela Loach. Bookshop.org have made it their book of the month, and you can free delivery from Earthbound Books (UK) by using the code RADICAL on checkout.

Highlights from this week

Is it time for pay as you go road pricing?

As electric car sales rise in the UK, a problem looms for the government. The treasury takes in a substantial amount of money from fuel duty – the tax on petrol and diesel that drivers pay at the pump. Even with recent crowd-pleasing cuts and freezes to fuel duty, it still hauls in £28 billion…

What makes a healthy street?

I was browsing Luton council’s new draft walking and cycling plan (consultation now open) recently. As part of their plan to move more of the town’s journeys to active transport, they use a set of indicators from the organisation Healthy Streets. They list ten things that determine a pedestrian’s experience of a street, and these…

The age of small modular nuclear?

There was something of a non-sequitur from Britain’s Chancellor Jeremy Hunt recently. “We don’t want to see high bills like this again,” he said of the country’s current energy costs. “It’s time for a clean energy reset. That is why we are fully committing to nuclear power in the UK, backing a new generation of…

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