Scottish bio-diversity projects set to benefit from new £1.8m fund

HeraldScotland:

In 2018 the Convention on Biological Diversity announced that the world had two years to seal a new pact on wildlife protection as the EU and 195 member nations of the CBD prepared to gather for two weeks to try to stem the tide of species extinctions.

Things have clearly to move apace and this week 14 projects across Scotland were confirmed as the first recipients of Scottish Natural Heritage’s Biodiversity Challenge Fund, sharing a total of £1.8 million over a two-year period – projects that will take practical steps to improve natural habitats, safeguard plant and animal species and improve
biodiversity.

The funding will support largescale projects that aim to deliver rapid change on the ground to help the most at-risk habitats and species, including mammals and birds, connect existing nature reserves and tackle non-native invasive species.

Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment Mairi Gougeon said: “I am delighted that, through the Biodiversity Challenge Fund, the Scottish Government and SNH can support these fantastic projects across the country to safeguard some of our most vulnerable species and habitats and protect them from invasive species. Their success will play a crucial role in our efforts to improve nature and help Scotland meet its international biodiversity commitments.”

HeraldScotland:

She had visited a newly funded project – The Wild Line – in Edinburgh, which is a strip of wilderness that borders the land and the sea which has become increasingly narrow due to urban development.

To boost nature and resilience to climate change, a network of wildflower meadows to provide habitats for pollinators will be created. On shore, retrofitting artificial habitats will enhance sea defences and protect people and nature against sea level rises providing homes for intertidal species, and invasive species, which outcompete native
ones, will be removed.

SNH Chief Executive Francesca Osowska said: “Nature loss is one of the key drivers of climate change – but it’s not too late to act. In fact, improving nature is also one of the solutions to the climate emergency. We know we have a big task before us but we have been working for years with our partners to meet international nature targets. We are ready to deliver the transformational change needed to bring a nature rich future for Scotland.”

For more information about The Biodiversity Challenge Fund CLICK HERE 

Japan will push for action on plastic pollution at G20

HeraldScotland:

As world leaders prepared to tackle a raft of global problems at the G20 summit in Osaka that include tensions between the US and China and the death of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, host country Japan promoted environmental concerns that included the reduction of marine waste and measures against space debris.

Japan wants to make reducing the glut of plastic waste in the oceans a priority at the summit, to be held on June 28-29, and at a meeting of environmental ministers ahead of the G20 agreed on the creation of an international framework that calls on members to take voluntary steps to reduce plastic pollution in the ocean.

While the EU has voted to outlaw 10 single-use plastic items, including forks, straws and knives by 2021 and has set targets for all plastic packaging to be recyclable by 2030, tackling plastic pollution has been less of a priority in Asia, which is the world’s biggest producer of such material. Japan “proposed a workable framework” on marine plastic waste that involves emerging and less developed countries. Under the framework, G20 members will promote a comprehensive life-cycle approach to prevent and reduce plastic litter discharge to the oceans through various measures and international cooperation.

HeraldScotland:

The country’s industry minister, Hiroshige Seko(above), said that Japan would aim to make businesses charge for disposable shopping bags by as early as April to help reduce waste. The framework is likely to be one of the less contentious environmental issues raised at the summit, following President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement at the 2017 summit causing the rest of the members to issue a statement saying that they considered the climate accord “irreversible”.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also said earlier this week that his government wants to promote Japan’s proposals on measures against space debris at international venues such as G20 meetings.

The proposals, by the Liberal Democratic Party’s special committee on space and ocean development, call for the implementation of technical demonstrations to deal with the issue of space debris and the establishment of international rules.

New blockchain collaboration aims to reduce carbon footprint

HeraldScotland:

In the week that Facebook announced plans to introduce Libra, a cryptocurrency, energy teams and network operators have collaborated in a blockchain project that is likely to be less controversial and aims to improve the decarbonisation and operating costs of the UK energy system.

Electron, National Grid Electricity System Operator, SP Energy Networks and UK Power Networks will work together create a shared register called the RecorDER project powered by blockchain for energy generation and storage data and aimed at creating a comprehensive and datadriven view of assets that are connected to energy networks.

The improved visibility and availability of asset data will be used to inform decisions related to reducing operating costs and accelerating decarbonisation through the integration of renewables and the use of energy storage assets.

“This is a great example of networks collaborating to deliver benefits to their customers. We are delighted to be working together with such key, forward-thinking industry partners on a shared asset register,”

Electron’s chief executive Jo-Jo Hubbard said. “This is an important first step in the process of integrating distributed assets and allowing them to play their full role in balancing the electricity system.”

The blockchain platform will remove the requirement for either a large-scale infrastructure project to be developed, or for a central party having to host the system.

Campaigners express dismay at Heathrow expansion plan.

HeraldScotland:

Heathrow Airport revealed its ambitious expansion plans for a third runway on Tuesday, as campaigners warned of the severe consequences of a scheme that would see some 700 extra planes take to the sky after 2026, when the
runway is due to open.

The plans were announced the day after environmental lobby group Extinction Rebellion had announced that a plan to ground flights at the airport this summer had been put on hold.

There was criticism of an internal memo leaked last week that showed that drones could have been used as part of the protest which led Baroness Vere of Norbiton, the aviation minister, to say that using drones to deliberately put
people’s safety at risk “could carry a maximum life sentence.”

The group’s robust approach to protesting against emissions caused traffic chaos in Edinburgh earlier this week when activists from the Holyrood ‘Rebel Camp’ blocked traffic in the city on its North Bridge and South Bridge arteries.

HeraldScotland:

The Herald’s Climate for Change initiative supports efforts being made by the Scottish Government with key organisations and campaign partners. Throughout the year we will provide a forum in The Herald newspaper, online at herald.scotland.com and in Business HQ magazine, covering news and significant developments in this increasingly crucial area.

If you are interested in contributing editorially or interested in becoming a Climate for Change partner, please contact Stephen McTaggart on 0141 302 6137 or email stephen.mctaggart@heraldandtimes.co.uk