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Building of the week – the passive shopping centre Fornebu S

Passive buildings are built to such a high standard of efficiency that they hardly need heating. The name refers to ‘passive’ sources of heat such as the sun, the body heat of the occupants, or cooking. This is enough, because very little heat is lost. Buildings are well insulated and airtight, ventilated through a heat […]

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solar taxi

The African solar taxi

A few months ago I wrote about what is probably the world’s most sustainable car – the Catecar dragonfly, which runs on off-grid solar. It’s aimed at airports and resorts at the moment, so it’s not something most of us are going to get to see on the roads just yet. I recently came across […]

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earth deeds

What is carbon onsetting?

You’ll be familiar with carbon offsetting – that’s the strategy of calculating the CO2 from an activity and then neutralising it by funding a project that reduces greenhouse emissions. We might fly on holiday, for example, and then balance out the world by planting three trees, or paying for four efficient cookstoves for African families. […]

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The richest 1% own 48% of the world’s wealth

Last year Oxfam made headlines with its ‘killer statistic’ that 85 people owned as much as wealth as half the world’s population. Their latest inequality report, which is out today, updates that figure and shows the trends in shares of the world’s wealth. Today, the richest 1% own 48% of the world’s wealth. If their […]

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Let’s make fossil fuels history

That’s the rallying cry of the first Global Divestment Day, planned for the 13th and 14th of February. It’s a day of action to call on companies, universities and public bodies to withdraw their investments from fossil fuels. It’s an initiative from 350.org, who have chosen to focus on fossil fuel companies as one of […]

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Reinventing the cooker

The role of technology is probably the most talked aspect of sustainability. But some technologies get more attention than others. Green tech blogs tend to be dominated by renewable energy, gadgets and electric cars. There are far fewer sites dedicated to the everyday technologies that we depend on – things like washing machines, toilets, or […]

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Patent sharing for a transport revolution

Last week there was a flurry of news about Toyota, who have just done something unusual. They announced that they are opening up their patents on hydrogen fuel cell technology and sharing them for free. Normally a company’s research is private, or is made available for a royalty fee, but these 5,680 patents will be […]

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Book review: Stuffocation, by James Wallman

Christmas is peak ‘stuff’ time in our household. We throw away more than usual, and generally have a bunch of new things to find places for at the end of it. I’m not complaining, but it’s an interesting time to read a book like Stuffocation – Living More with Less. Stuffocation, as the name suggests, […]

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Top down and bottom up peace deals

When we read about conflicts in the news, and efforts to stop them, the stories that are most likely to make the news are those involving the biggest players – UN summits, G8 gatherings, special envoys, or talks brokered by the likes of Kofi Annan. Sometimes they succeed, or at least sketch out rough outlines […]

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jma global temperatures

2014 is the hottest year on record

On Monday, the MET Office confirmed the news that 2014 was the hottest year on record in Britain. It was also the warmest year on the world’s oldest temperature record, the Central England Temperature series that has been kept since 1659. Different agencies compile their data and announce their results at different times, but 19 […]

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