7,400 Cities Back Paris Climate Deal Despite Trump Pull Out

Mayors of more than 7,400 cities across the world have vowed that Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris accord will spur greater local efforts to combat climate change.
At the first meeting of a “global covenant of mayors”, city leaders from across the US, Europe and elsewhere pledged to work together to keep to the commitments made by Barack Obama two years ago.
Cities will devise a standard measurement of emission reductions to help them monitor their progress. They will also share ideas for delivering carbon-free transport and housing.
Kassim Reed, the mayor of Atlanta, told reporters he had travelled to Europe to “send a signal” that US states and cities would execute the policies Obama committed to, whether the current White House occupants agreed or not.
“Right now you have a level of collaboration and focus and sharing of best practices that I haven’t seen. I came from Brussels from a meeting of the US conference of mayors ... and more than 300 mayors signed a letter reflecting our will to deliver the Paris accord commitments.”
He added: “My firm belief is that President Trump’s disappointing decision to withdraw from the agreement will actually have the opposite effect in terms of execution.
The European commissioner Maroš Šefčovič, who along with the UN’s special envoy for cities and climate change, Michael Bloomberg, co-chairs the board of the new organisation, conceded that it as yet it lacked any members from China, although he said he was confident that this would change.

“Now is the time to join hands,” he said.Reed, whose administration has promised that the city of Atlanta will use 100% renewable energy by 2035, said 75% of the US population and GDP lay in urban areas, where local leaders were committed to fighting climate change. “We have the ability to still achieve between 35% and 45% CO2 emission reductions without the involvement of the national government and it is why I chose to be here at this time to send a signal to 7,400 cities around the world that now should be a time of optimism, passion and action,” he said.
The mayor of Vancouver, Gregor Robertson, said mayors needed to be proactive and work together on ideas or face huge extra costs in rebuilding their infrastructure to deal with the changing climate. “The Trump administration better watch out for US cities,” he said. “They are on the rise, and I think will prevail in the end, turning the tide, and making sure the US is a climate leader rather than what is happening currently.”
Šefčovič warned Washington that Europe was not willing to renegotiate the terms of the Paris agreement, and would bypass the White House if necessary. “I have to say that now we have to be very pragmatic,” he said. “We work very closely with the states like California, like Washington, like New York and many others, and have a strong alliance … We are not going to renegotiate the Paris agreement. Now is not the time to negotiate, it is time to implement.”
The first meeting of the group of mayors came after Bloomberg announced on Monday an investment of $200m over the next three years in US cities able to illustrate a commitment to reducing emissions. Every American city with at least 30,000 residents is being asked to compete for cash that can be used to test ideas and fund training sessions for municipal staff.

Addressing the European parliament in Brussels on Tuesday, Bloomberg said: “It’s important for you, and the world, to understand that the fate of America’s Paris pledge does not lie with Congress or the White House.
“Few people realise it, but the US is already halfway to our goal of a 26% reduction in emissions by 2025 – and Washington has had almost nothing to do with that progress. Cities, states, businesses, and citizens, together with the market, were responsible for it. None of those groups are slowing down now – and my foundation is working to help each group accelerate its progress.”
source:the guardian

Can Jet Biofuel Reduce Climate Warming Clouds?

When you see long, white streamers trailing behind a jet plane high in the sky, you’re watching clouds in the making.
The streamers are called “contrails” (short for condensation trails) and consist of ice crystals that form when water vapor from jet-engine exhaust condenses and freezes in the frigid air where these planes cruise.
Depending on atmospheric conditions, a contrail may evaporate quickly or it may last. The persistent ones, buffeted by wind, can spread out into diffuse cirrus clouds. As delicate as these clouds appear, they have a significant warming effect on the planet.
Although cirrus clouds serve as cooling sunshades during the day, they also act as warming blankets both day and night, preventing the Earth from cooling off after the day’s sunbathing as much as it would without the clouds. In fact, the cirrus clouds formed by the world’s aircraft on an average day have a greater warming impact than all the carbon dioxide that aircraft have emitted since the Wright Brothers made the first powered flight in 1903.
That eye-opening comparison is according to a colleague cited by Bruce Anderson and Richard Moore, the project scientist and deputy project scientist, respectively, of NASA’s Alternative Fuel Effects on Contrails and Cruise Emissions Study (ACCESS). Their experiments were designed to see what effect a half-and-half blend of standard jet fuel and a biofuel derived from camelina oil would have on jet-engine emissions.
Jet exhaust includes water vapor, carbon dioxide and soot, the carbon left over from incomplete combustion. Soot particles can provide the surfaces that water vapor requires before it can condense and freeze into ice crystals. So, according to current theory, reducing the number of soot particles that jet engines emit should reduce the density of contrails and the cirrus clouds they form, degrading their ability to warm the planet.

The scientists found that the biofuel blend they tested reduced the amount of soot by a range of 50 percent (when the engines were set to high thrust) to 70 percent (at lower thrust).
Does that mean a 50 to 70 percent reduction in contrails and the resulting cirrus clouds? These experiments couldn’t directly answer that question, but they’re a good start.


“It’s a complicated process,” Anderson said. “There is speculation that even if you did not have soot coming out of the back of an aircraft engine, in many cases a contrail would still form.” That’s because airborne dust, pollen, sea salt and other kinds of naturally occurring particles are also able to provide surfaces that enable water vapor to condense and form clouds.
And there’s another twist: Biofuel contains more hydrogen than standard jet fuel and the hydrogen is converted to water vapor as the fuel burns. If using biofuel creates more water vapor, it’s possible that it will create more contrail than standard jet fuel, not less.
On the other hand, the added water vapor might simply condense around the smaller number of available soot particles, making larger, heavier ice crystals. And heavier crystals are likely to sink to lower, warmer altitudes more quickly than their lighter counterparts. “A lot of air traffic routes are right at the bottom of the (level of the) atmosphere where it's cold enough to form contrails,” Anderson said. “So if a contrail falls to lower altitudes, it evaporates and goes away much more quickly.”
Also, he added, the soot particles from biofuel tend to be smaller than those from standard jet fuel. A significant portion may be too small to seed ice crystals.
So how much effect would reducing soot emissions from jet engines actually have on formation of cirrus clouds? “That’s really hard to tease out observationally,” Moore said.
“We obviously can't measure behind every aircraft,” Anderson said. “And so, a lot of the work we are doing is to gather data to validate model predictions.”
“We really need models, particularly large-scale climate models that incorporate aviation, to unravel some of those effects,” Moore said. “We are providing the input, and the hope is that modelers will take this data, simulate the clouds and try to understand what the impact of reduced particles associated with biofuel blending would be on contrail frequency, lifetime and climate effects.”

The flight experiments

Before ACCESS, the scientific literature showed few direct measurements at cruise altitudes of emissions from jet engines burning standard fuel and none at all of jets burning biofuel.
Testing in actual flight conditions is essential because the conditions of both engines and atmosphere are quite different at altitude than on the ground.
Anderson and Moore conducted their experiments at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Palmdale, California, in 2013 and 2014. After lengthy analysis and running the gauntlet of the peer-review process, they reported the study’s results in the journal Nature in spring 2017.
The NASA team that Anderson and Moore led went it alone in the 2013 tests. In 2014, they were joined by researchers from the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the National Research Council (NRC) of Canada.
In those tests, NASA, the DLR and NRC-Canada each provided research aircraft equipped with state-of-the-art instruments capable of sniffing and analyzing the exhaust of NASA’s DC-8 as it sequentially burned two kinds of conventional jet fuel and a 50–50 blend of standard fuel and biofuel.
The research planes took turns sampling the DC-8’s exhaust at distances as close as 100 feet (30 meters) behind the turbofan engines. “It was kind of a tightly choreographed dance,” Moore said. All this, as the planes soared above the Mojave Desert at 30,000 to 36,000 feet (about 9,100 to 11,000 meters), altitudes common for commercial airliners.
The dry desert air reduced the chances that contrails would form, which the scientists considered an advantage in this round of tests. “By not measuring in contrail-forming conditions, we have a more accurate assessment of the number of particles that came out,” Moore said. “Because once you form the cloud, the soot particles start to interact with each other and it actually changes the properties of the soot and the contrail as that system evolves.”

A cloudy future

In 2015, the ACCESS team took part in a German-sponsored study that, Anderson said, provided evidence that cutting down on soot reduces formation of ice crystals. And NASA plans to collaborate with the DLR still further.
“We hope to take the DC-8 to Germany in January 2018 and repeat some of the things that we did in ACCESS with a much better suite of instruments,” Anderson said.
“We’re going to do the experiments where conditions are a little more right for forming contrails (in air that is more humid),” Moore said, “in a way that doing flights over Armstrong in the middle of the Mojave Desert is perhaps not.”
“We will get into situations where we have persistent contrails,” Anderson said. “We also plan to fly through the North Atlantic Flight Corridor and sample ice particles forming downwind (of flight paths) to see whether they have black carbon cores, which would verify that they are caused by aircraft emissions.”
source:climate nasa


The UK’s ambitious target of slashing carbon emissions by more than half within 13 years is at risk because of government dithering on energy policy, industry professionals have warned.
A survey by the Energy Institute, the professional body for the energy sector, has found that four fifths of its members believe the UK is currently on track to miss the 2030 goal.
“The mood among our members is that energy policy is on pause and ministers need to hit the play button,” said Louise Kingham, chief executive of the Energy Institute.
Among the list of stalled government decisions are the fate of a multimillion-pound competition to build mini nuclear power plants and whether to strike a subsidy deal for a pioneering tidal lagoon at Swansea.
A flagship plan on how to meet the UK’s 2030 target of cutting emissions by 57% compared to 1990 levels, originally expected last year, is now “long overdue,” Kingham added.

Jim Skea, the president of the institute, said of the delayed Clean Power Plan: “If we’re going to keep on track [with binding carbon targets] there is an urgent need to get that published.”
The departure of energy minister Nick Hurd is seen as a blow to the plan, designed to set out how the government will tackle the huge shortfall in carbon cuts identified by its advisers.
The group’s annual Energy Barometer report said Brexit was a new and “material concern” for further uncertainty.
However, perception of risks from energy policy was slightly reduced from last year, when industry was suffering the fallout from the flurry of changes after the Conservatives took power in 2015, cutting renewablescarbon capture and energy efficiency programmes.
The government’s decision to quit an EU nuclear cooperation treaty, Euratom, was seen as overwhelmingly negative for new nuclear projects including Hinkley Point C in Somerset. Nearly four fifths of Energy Institute members thought it would also negatively impact the UK supply chain.
Post Brexit, the professionals largely want to keep EU energy and climate laws, such as the energy efficiency and renewable energy directives, the survey found. However, more wanted to scrap or abandon state aid rules than retain them.
The group’s members oppose an energy price cap which many thought would hurt investment. But they favoured stronger action on energy efficiency – such as better building standards – as the best way to meet carbon targets and restore trust in the industry.

The institute’s leaders also highlighted the need to begin decarbonising heat for homes and business. They said the government had been slow to look at alternatives to natural gas, because alternatives such as hydrogen or electrification were seen as harder than ways for cutting emissions from power, such as windfarms.
As a result, the group’s members thought the contribution from gas for heating would only decline modestly by 2030.
“It’s this gap on things like energy efficiency and a heat policy – that’s the real thing that will hold back investment and grow the uncertainty,” said Skea.
source:the guardian

Is The Battle Against Climate Change Like Fight Against Slavery?

The fight against global warming is one of humanity’s great moral movements, alongside the abolition of slavery, the defeat of apartheid, votes for women and gay rights, according to the former US vice-president and climate campaigner, Al Gore.
The battle to halt climate change can be won, he said, because the green revolution delivering clean energy is both bigger than the industrial revolution and happening faster than the digital revolution.
Gore has played a major global role in raising awareness of the dangers of climate change since his 2007 film An Inconvenient Truth and made his comments, among his most outspoken to date, in a recent speech in London.
“The climate movement should be seen in the context of the great moral causes that have transformed and improved the outlook for humanity,” he told the Ashden green energy awards ceremony. “It was wrong to allow slavery to continue, it was wrong to deny women the right to vote, it was wrong to discriminate on the basis of skin colour or who you fell in love with.

“When the central issue was thus framed in stark relief because of who we are as human beings, the outcome became foreordained,” Gore said. “We chose what was right, and now in this case it is clearly wrong to destroy the prospects of living prosperously and sustainably on a clean earth when we bequeath it to our children. It is wrong to use the sky as an open sewer, it is wrong to condemn future generations to a lifetime haunted by continual declines in their standard of living, and give them a world of political disruption and all the chaos that the scientists have warned us about.”
Gore acknowledged there was opposition to strong action on climate change, but cited the US civil rights movement as an inspiration: “During some of the bleakest days of the civil rights movement, Dr Martin Luther King Junior was asked by one of his fellow advocates how long is this going to take and he famously answered, not long because no lie can live for ever.”
Gore, whose new film An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power is released this summer, said while the moral argument meant humanity would confront climate change, the rapid growth of the low-carbon economy meant it could be successful.
“There is now in our world a sustainability revolution and it’s best understood, in my view, by placing it in the context of other great global transformations – the agricultural revolution, the industrial revolution, the digital revolution,” he said. “This sustainability revolution has the breadth and magnitude of the industrial revolution but it has the speed of the digital revolution.
“Instead of beginning in a corner of the UK in a world of 1.5bn people, and then slowly spreading to western Europe and North America, this sustainability revolution is being jump started in rich and poor countries alike in every corner of this world of 7.4 billion people,” he said, likening it to the rapid spread of mobile phones around the world.

Gore is not the first climate campaigner to make a moral argument for acting on global warming. In 2014, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, one of the most revered figures of South Africa’s anti-apartheid struggle, called for action against fossil fuel interests.
“During the anti-apartheid struggle, using boycotts, divestment and sanctions, we were not only able to apply economic pressure on the unjust state, but also serious moral pressure. People of conscience need to break their ties with corporations financing the injustice of climate change,” he wrote in the Guardian.
Gore told his London audience he was optimistic of success, despite the recent US withdrawal from the global Paris climate accord: “No one person can stop the climate movement or the sustainability revolution – we are going to win no matter what President Donald Trump tries to do.”
source:the guardian

How Could A Tory/DUP Government Affect The Environment ?

Despite ongoing national crises such as the Grenfell fire and the fact that Brexit talks are due to begin this week — Theresa May is yet to form a strong and stable government. Lacking the necessary number of Conservative MPs, she will continue talks with Northern Irish party the DUP this week.
Though the deal with the DUP looks unlikely to be a formal coalition like the Lib Dem/Conservative deal in 2010, the party will help pass Tory policies — and no doubt expect something in return.
So as a confused nation wonders what this all means, we took a look at where the DUP stand. Here’s a quick run down of what you need to know about the party’s environmental record before Wednesday’s Queens Speech.

1. In the DUP’s 2017 manifesto, the words “environment” and “climate change” are not mentioned once

The document is intended to lay out the DUP’s vision for the future, but while it includes a policy on Armed Forces Day — it has not a word on arguably the biggest challenge facing our generation. There is a fleeting reference to a plan for UK energy, unfortunately we’re left to guess if that includes renewables or not.

2. But it’s not just (a lack of) words. The DUP’s actions should worry us too.

The former environment minister Michelle McIlveen blocked attempts to introduce a Northern Ireland Climate Change Act last year. This means that unlike Scotland and Wales, who’ve enacted their own climate laws, Northern Ireland has no laws to promote cutting climate-harming emissions. One Northern Irish politician branded this an “embarrassment.”

3. They won’t challenge the Tories on Heathrow

The DUP back the Tories plans for a 3rd runway at Heathrow. The plans would fuel more climate change, creating over 50% more flights at what is already Europe’s largest airport. Scientists have warned that this will drastically undermine the UK’s ability to meet emission targets agreed upon in the Paris Agreement. We should be persuading the government to change tact on Heathrow — but the DUP are unlikely to help.

4. The 10 DUP MPs have a bad voting record on climate change laws.

One of the DUP’s ten MPs is a proud climate sceptic — stating that human caused climate change is a “gigantic con” and a “hysterical semi-religion.”Ian Paisley Jr, the son of the DUP’s founder, also consistently votes against action on climate change, while other MPs have mixed records on the issue.

5. The party did try to encourage the use of renewable energy…but it turned into a massive scandal.

The policy was dubbed “cash for ash” as for each £1 spent on renewable heating, businesses received £1.60 in subsidies. It meant that the more power you used, the more cash companies could earn. Not exactly great for the planet, or for the reputation of green schemes.
Clearly on issues like Heathrow the DUP and the Conservatives are on the same team. But the Conservative manifesto described the UK as at the forefront of action against global climate change. The party also proved they could make climate progress when they signed the Paris Agreement — we would really hate to see a deal with the DUP risk further positive moves by a Conservative-led government.

We’ll get a clearer picture of things when the Queen’s Speech is revealed on Wednesday. But a UK government, in any form, should remember that climate sceptics and climate inaction are becoming incredibly unpopular. If politicians try to send us backwards there is simply no way that people across the world — and organisations like Greenpeace — will stand by and let that happen.

Climate Emergency As Fish Abandon Tropical Waters

As climate change pushes marine species towards cooler waters, and the fishing industry expands around the globe, the tropics are emptying out, a leading fisheries expert has warned.
The federal government is expected to release its new management plan for marine reserves in coming weeks, after a 2016 review recommended winding back protections. However Dr Daniel Pauly has called for the creation of more, saying they are the only realistic form of mitigation to the current crisis.
Pauly, principal investigator at the Sea Around Us research organisation, said it was unknown whether the “explosion” of fishing industries or global warming was having the biggest impact on fish stocks, but both needed to be addressed.
“The depth, the distance from the coast, all of these were factors which protected fish. Now we go everywhere … now nothing protects the fish,” he said during an observation tour of Darwin’s tropical harbour.
“Climate change is something that is already being perceived by fish. It’s already happening and they’re already moving,” he said.
Warmer waters were pushing marine species away from the equator at a rate of about 50km per decade as they followed the ideal temperatures for feeding and spawning.
“In temperate areas you will have the fish coming from a warmer area, and another one leaving. You’ll have a lot of transformation but they will actually – at least in terms of fishery – adapt. In the tropics you don’t have the replacement, you have only fish leaving.”

Research by Pauly and the Sea Around Us has repeatedly called for greater focus on fisheries data from a global perspective rather than local, to properly assess the impact of commercial competition and climate change.
“Locally the work must be done also, but you can get insights if you look at the global issue,” he said.
Sea Around Us research has found that while the lack of industrial-scale fishing meant the problem wasn’t as bad in Australia, there were signs of a decline.
Pauly said there were only a few nations – of which Australia was one – that studied the species loss in the tropics.
“You can have entire fisheries collapsing without knowing because you cannot separate the global warming-induced migration from the reduction due to fishing, or even pollution. So we will never know for sure why this or that collapse has occurred, except in a few cases.”
In 2012 the Gillard government established 42 marine reserves around Australia, but these were effectively suspended by the Tony Abbott-led Coalition government, which commissioned a review.
In 2016 the review reports recommended winding back protections – advice at odds with Pauly’s views – in order to balance competing environmental, commercial, and socioeconomic interests.
A new management plan for marine reserves, based on the recommendations, is due to be delivered by the commonwealth Department of Environment in coming months.
Pauly said creating more marine reserves was the only real option for governments to mitigate the damage in the meantime, and aiding population growth in particular areas would spill over into fishing zones.
“The only thing you can do – and it’s only mitigation – is keep the population big in the sea,” he said.

Populations bounce back quickly when fishing stops, Pauly said, and a higher variance of individual fish assisted a natural evolution of greater tolerance to warmer temperatures.
“Marine protected areas, marine areas, are one mitigating factor, and it’s the only thing you can do.”
Pauly said marine reserves needed to exist along side good management, which Australia already had with “outstanding policies” like maximum yields.
Seasonal closures weren’t enough, added Prof Jessica Meeuwig, of the University of Western Australia’s marine futures lab.

Nuclear, Wind And Solar Power In UK Generate More Electricity Than Gas And Coal Combined For First Time Ever

The windy weather across Europe in the past 24 hours may have been a curse for summer picnics, but it has set records for renewable power.

n the UK, wind, nuclear and solar power were together generating more electricity than gas and coal combined at 1pm on Wednesday, for the first time ever. 
Including hydropower and biomass burned at power stations such as Drax in North Yorkshire, renewables provided 50.7% of demand at lunchtime.
High wind speeds and the growing number of windfarms off the coasts of the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and other European countries have also set what are understood to be records.
On Tuesday, 2.7% of all the EU’s power was coming from such offshore windfarms, according to the industry body. In the UK, the figure was 10%.

Experts at EnAppSys said the huge amount of electricity generated by windfarms across north-west Europe, both at sea and on land, had caused power prices to fall to record lows, at a tenth of their usual cost overnight.
“It’s a sign of how things are changing – coal is coming off and renewables are growing,” said Maf Smith, the deputy chief executive of trade body RenewableUK.
Giles Dickson, the chief executive of industry group WindEurope, said that although nearly 3% of Europe’s power demand might sound small, it was a “very high level” for offshore wind. “You have to put it in the context that most countries do not have offshore wind,” he said, speaking on the sidelines of an offshore wind power conference in London.
The event was packed with exhibition stands run by countries, including the Netherlands and Scotland, which are jockeying to attract windfarm developers. The UK is the world leader for installed offshore wind capacity, with Germany not far behind.
The show also revealed the battle the world’s biggest turbine makers are engaged in to reduce the cost of a relatively expensive technology.
The world’s biggest and most powerful turbines, at 8MW each, have recently been installed off the coast at Liverpool.
But this week the firm that built those turbines, Denmark’s MHI Vestas, said it was building a 9.5MW model, which produces more power from the same size through refinements and better gearing.

For the windfarm developers, the attraction of bigger turbines is that they reduce the quantity of foundations, cables and other infrastructure.
Germany’s Senvion is developing a turbine that will be more than 10MW, while the US company GE is working on a 12MW turbine.

source:the guardian

6 Things You Can Do About Air Pollution

We’ve all heard the stats by now: Air pollution is terrible for our health and is linked to strokes, heart disease and diabetes in adults. Children are particularly at risk of lung diseases like asthma and more than 1,000 nurseries across the UK are close to roads with illegal levels of air pollution. Diesel cars emit 10 times more harmful fumes than trucks or buses.
It can seem overwhelming to tackle this enormous problem. Diesel cars that emit up to 18 times the official NOx limit in real-world conditions are still being sold by the likes of Nissan and Renault. And public opinion seems to generally agree that the government is failing to adequately address the problem.
But it’s not all doom and gloom! There are plenty of things that we can do to tackle air pollution, across the UK and in our local communities. Read on to find out what you can do…
1. Write to or phone a car company
It’s right to look to our government to take air pollution seriously, but let’s not forget about the role car companies had in producing the problem. The car industry lobbied hard for years against standards designed to reduce pollution. What’s more, many of them cheated or manipulated industry tests to make out that their cars emit far fewer toxic diesel fumes than is permitted. They lied and misled consumers — and now we’re all paying the price.
But car companies can now do the right thing and ditch diesel once and for all — and switch to 100% electric instead. We already have the technology to make reliable and cleaner electric cars: if car companies commit to investing in electric now, it will further bring down costs and increase electric infrastructure for us all to use.
If you own a car, or even if you don’t, car companies need to hear from us. Send them an email today telling them to be ahead of the curve and make the switch now. If you have a few extra spare moments, why not give them a call, too? And if you haven’t already, make sure you sign the petition and share it with your friends.

2. If you can, walk and cycle more often, or use public transport
Ultimately, if we truly want to tackle both air pollution and climate change, we need to use our cars less. So, while this isn’t possible for everyone of course, try to walk or cycle somewhere instead of driving there, or take public transport. It’s better for our air and environment, and you get bonus fitness points!
3. Consider switching to electric
Electric cars are better for our air and for the environment. Most major car companies are already producing electric models, and many of them are now getting great mileage. Charging networks are growing and with a continued push towards renewable energy in our power system, in the long run electric cars will be powered by clean, green sources.
But to bring the costs down, we need the car industry to really commit to this change so they can make more affordable models for all of us.
If you are in a position to buy an electric car, here are 5 reasons why you should definitely do so:
4. Take part in local activities tackling air pollution
Local communities are getting involved in efforts to fight air pollution in their areas all around the country. Check out these groups in LeedsLondon and Sheffield — and there are lots more across the UK.
If you’re keen to get involved, talk to your friends and neighbours about it — they might already know about groups doing things around air pollution or you could form one with them! Search Twitter or google “clean air” initiatives in your area — most major cities (where pollution is at its worst) now have local or even council initiatives.
Or join a local Greenpeace group to get involved! There are 60 groups across the UK and most hold monthly meetings. Just visit this page to find out where your local group is and who to contact. Local groups always welcome new members and there is no long term commitment needed — just show up and get involved in the issues that interest you!
5. Join the VW class action suit
If you own or lease a VW, Audi, Skoda or Seat that was affected by the emissions scandal, you might want to join the class action suit that law firm Harcus Sinclair UK Limited is leading.
The claim is on behalf of a group of affected car owners, and is a response to the defeat device and the impact that it has had on Volkswagen owners. Before you buy a car it must pass various tests designed to ensure it is fit for use, including things like crash-testing and road handling but also, crucially, emissions testing. The testing process relies heavily on the honesty of manufacturers: often the tests are carried out ‘in-house’ and only observed by independent inspectors. The Euro 5 standard (introduced in 2009) included a significantly lower limit for the production of NOx by diesel vehicles than previous iterations of the rules, and it is these rules that Volkswagen breached.
To find out more and to join the claim, visit: http://www.vwemissionsaction.com/
6. Push politicians to take action on air pollution
We need government action too. Theresa May’s cabinet so far has produced a very mediocre plan outlining how it will tackle the problem. It’s not enough.

Politicians need to hear more from their constituents about this issue, how it’s affecting our lives and what we’re worried about to propel them into action. You can email your MP, speak to your local councillors, and have your say in the government’s national consultation, too.

Air pollution affects us all — but if we all do even one small thing to tackle it we can get ahead of the problem.


What pops into your head if I suggested you buy an electric car? For most people, it conjures up a host of stereotypes.
Electric cars are thought to be either unreasonably expensive, like Teslas; or they don’t travel far enough; or they’re just plain ugly. And up until recently a lot of that was based in some truth.
But the landscape is changing at breakneck speed. With the air pollution problem growing worse in our cities and towns, we need alternatives beyond the diesel or petrol cars currently filling our roads. And now, finally, electric cars are becoming that clean, green alternative.
What are we waiting for?! Here are seven reasons to go electric now!
1. Electric cars travel much farther than you think
Most new electric cars have a range of around 100 miles (or more). Given that the average UK journey is just 25 miles, this range should cover most needs. Of course, a long range is important to some drivers. As technology and infrastructure develops, newer electric cars will have batteries that can cope with ever longer ranges.
2. Charging is quick ….
If you do need to stop to recharge the battery, gone are the days when you have to park up and interrupt your journey for hours on end. Most new electric cars can now also use rapid charging points, which can top the battery up to 80% in just 30 minutes. That’s about as much time as you need to take a well-deserved coffee and toilet break.

3. … and convenient
There are new charging points popping up all over the place every day. Right now, there are over 12,335 charging points across the UK - and some analysts suggest that charging points will even outnumber petrol stations by 2020. And community charge-share schemes already exist, meaning you don’t have to have your own charge point at home if you live in a flat, for example. There are even ideas about wireless charging, where you could leave your car in underground car park while you’re at the shops or the cinema and come back to find it charged - now imagine that.  
4. They are more affordable than you think
The government’s Plug-in Car Grant offers up to £5000 off the cost of a new electric car. In the 2017 edition of Which? Car, they recommended 10 electric cars in its city, small and medium car sections, all of which have a price range between £12,000-29,000. And because you don’t need to buy fuel, you can save over £1000 per year.
5. They’re so quiet and smooth
It’s just a completely different driving experience! There’s no loud engine rumbling, no ignition whinnying, just quiet and smooth. If you haven’t test-driven an electric car yet, go and do it!
6. They’re much better for our air
There’s no exhaust pumping out toxic fumes that are harmful to our health and that of our planet. And with responsibly sourced battery materials and charging points powered by renewables, the environmental impact of electric cars is dramatically less than their diesel or petrol equivalents, which contribute to climate change and localised air pollution. Of course to tackle both air pollution and climate change we will also need to drive less altogether and opt for walking or cycling instead. But right now over 60% of trips made in the UK are made by car so for those longer-distance needs, electric cars are the best alternative. 

7. And they look nice!
Sure, some electric cars can still look a bit quirky and boxy, but many of the newer ones coming out from brands like BMW, Renault and Nissan, look just like ‘regular’ cars. There’s no reason why electric cars can’t look just as cool and slick as normal ones and with demand, supply will increase, too. So you can look good while looking after the environment, what more could you ask for?!