Climate crisis: the stories highlighting the crisis and those fighting for our planet

Newsquest titles across the country, have launched a climate change awareness campaign – Climate Crisis: Time For Change.

Across our daily and weekly titles, we will share updates on how local and national businesses across the UK are responding to the challenge of the global climate crisis.

The challenge that lies ahead for people and businesses over the next ten years simply cannot be underestimated.

This exponential crisis threatens the very existence of the planet and every species that inhabits it. All of us have a responsibility to play a part in the solution – no matter how large or small a contribution we can make.

Newsquest is committed to bringing an open and honest view of the climate crisis.

We commit to promoting sustainable options and choices across our lifestyle brands, and will allow the voices of those with the right knowledge to be heard at every opportunity to ensure that the information we share is relevant and correct.

Here is a round-up of stories from around the UK. 

Reduced grants for electric vehicles

This Is Local London: Reduced grants for electric vehicles.Reduced grants for electric vehicles.

The UK Government has been criticised for reducing grants that help motorists with the costs of buying electric cars.

The Department for Transport (DfT) announced that from Thursday grants of up to £2,500 would be available for electric cars priced under £35,000, down from a maximum of £3,000 for cars under £50,000.

But manufacturers and industry groups warned the move was coming at the wrong time, and incentives were essential for making electric battery vehicles affordable for motorists.

It comes as the Government tries to drive the switch to electric vehicles ahead of the 2030 phase-out of sales of new conventional petrol and diesel cars and vans to tackle climate emissions and air pollution.

Ministers said the move would make funding last longer and allow more motorists to go green, but were warned the reduction could lead to people holding on to polluting cars for longer.

Transport minister Rachel Maclean said: “We want as many people as possible to make the switch to electric vehicles as we look to reduce our carbon emissions, strive towards our net-zero ambitions and level up right across the UK. The increasing choice of new vehicles, growing demand from customers and rapidly rising number of chargepoints mean that, while the level of funding remains as high as ever, given soaring demand, we are refocusing our vehicle grants on the more affordable zero-emission vehicles – where most consumers will be looking and where taxpayers’ money will make more of a difference.”

Challenge to lower ship emissions

This Is Local London: Challenge to lower ship emissions.Challenge to lower ship emissions.

A £20 million competition has been launched to develop technology to reverse the increase in carbon emissions from shipping.

The Department for Transport (DfT) said its scheme could lead to hydrogen-powered boats and electric chargepoints at ports across the UK.

Scientists and academics are being encouraged to collaborate with shipbuilders and ports on proposals for green technology trials which could be expanded commercially. The competition will support the development of prototype vessels and port infrastructure to help the UK reach its target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

It comes ahead of the key international Cop26 climate talks in Glasgow in November.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We are revolutionising maritime technology, and from electric boats to hydrogen ports, we will change the way this country sails forever.”

Around 80% of global trade by volume is carried on ships, and there is growing concern about the sector’s environmental impact.

Prince Charles launches project for water

This Is Local London: Prince Charles launches project for water.Prince Charles launches project for water.

The Prince of Wales has launched a new initiative aimed at ensuring 50 million people have access to reliable and sustainable water sources by 2030.

The Resilient Water Accelerator will bring together governments, the private sector, development banks and agencies to help fast-track finances towards protecting vital water services from climate and health threats.

Some six locations, due to be selected by September, will be identified in Africa and South East Asia for the initiative, where new approaches to tackling the issues of pollution, rising “water-stress” and decreasing supplies can be tested.

Work on the ground is expected to begin in January next year.

The accelerator is part of Charles’s Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI), supported by the World Economic Forum, which aims to help financial markets become more sustainable.

Its launch follows a pledge at the SMI’s Roundtable on Water in London at a summit organised by development charity WaterAid to work towards increasing available finance for climate-resilient water programmes, with a task force established to put this into action.

The Prince of Wales said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has reinforced the need to ensure access to clean water services around the world.

“Since the first meeting in March of last year, the Water and Climate Finance Initiative Task Force has worked steadfastly towards achieving this, by boosting climate funding for comprehensive scalable resilient water programmes.”

Charles said he was “delighted” by the accelerator’s launch, adding that it would “work to provide reliable and sustainable water sources in countries that are battling the devastating effects of the climate crisis”.

Tim Wainwright, WaterAid’s chief executive, said: “Without a reliable source of safe water, people cannot protect themselves against disease and the devastating effects of changing weather patterns. Climate change means more floods, more droughts and more severe storms and dramatically increases the risks to communities that already do not know from one day to the next whether they will get enough clean water for their basic needs.”

Housing stock threat to net-zero

This Is Local London: Housing stock threat to net-zero.Housing stock threat to net-zero.

The Government’s legally-binding target to get to net-zero emissions by 2050 will be missed without urgent action to “decarbonise” the UK’s housing stock, MPs have warned.

In a highly critical report, the Commons Environmental Audit Committee said ministers had “significantly underestimated” the cost of upgrading the energy efficiency of domestic homes.

It said the “botched” implementation of policies had  resulted in a “chronic” skills shortage in the home retrofit sector, leaving the Government with a “colossal task” if it was to achieve its target. The committee said Government experts had warned the targets would not be met without the “near-complete elimination” of emissions from UK homes.

Boy reassured by Sir David’s kind letter

This Is Local London: Boy reassured by Sir David’s kind letter.Boy reassured by Sir David’s kind letter.

Sir David Attenborough has written a letter to a four-year-old boy to reassure him that the human race need not become extinct if “we look after our planet properly”.

Otis Allen, from Cardiff, had written to the 94-year-old naturalist asking if the human race would become extinct one day “like the dinosaurs”.

Otis had asked the same question of his mumGerry Holt, and they devised the plan to contact Sir David the next morning, sending him a card with a drawing of a dinosaur by Otis.

To the surprise of Ms Holt, Sir David’s “beautiful” reply arrived three days later, on Wednesday.

This Is Local London | News