Archives for category: Environment

Six emails sent by and to an Arconic Inc (ARNC.N) sales manager raise questions about why the company supplied combustible cladding to a distributor for use at Grenfell Tower, despite publicly warning such panels were a fire risk for tall buildings.

The emails, dating from 2014 and seen by Reuters, were between Deborah French, Arconic’s UK sales manager, and executives at the contractors involved in the bidding process for the refurbishment contract at Grenfell Tower in London, where 79 people died in a blaze last week.

When asked about the emails, Arconic said in a statement that it had known the panels would be used at Grenfell Tower but that it was not its role to decide what was or was not compliant with local building regulations.

The company manufactures three main types of Reynobond panel– one with a polyethylene (PE) core, one with a fire retardant core and another with a non-combustible core, according to its website.

Diagrams in a 2016 Arconic brochure for its Reynobond panels describe how PE core panels are suitable up to 10 metres in height. Panels with a fire resistant core — the FR model — can be used up to 30 metres, while above that height, panels with the non-combustible core — the A2 model — should be used, the brochure says.

Grenfell Tower is more than 60 metres tall.

Source: Arconic knowingly supplied flammable panels for use in tower – emails | Reuters


With the weight of many years’ experience writing and advising on London’s housing and planning strategies behind me, I think it fair to say that the inferno at Grenfell Tower – a publicly owned housing block for lower-income households – represents an acute failure of government at all levels. The facts of the case are subject to a major enquiry – and new information is emerging on a daily basis. We still do not know whether the death toll is 30 or 100.

At this early stage, it is premature to attribute blame. Yet residents who have lost their homes and possessions – and in many cases their relatives and friends – are justified in their anger and their need to seek justice and redress. It is unlikely that we will see any of the parties involved admitting responsibility for the disaster. Certainly, should any charges of corporate manslaughter be laid – as Labour MP David Lammy has demanded – they would be subject to legal disputes for months and possibly years to come.

Source: Yes, the Grenfell Tower fire is political – it’s a failure of many governments


Intensive farming cited as main reason for destroying natural barriers to deluge and making low lying areas more vulnerable to floods

Source: Nine tenths of England’s floodplains not fit for purpose, study finds | Environment | The Guardian


SourceTrump Will Start Years-Long Process to Withdraw From Paris Climate Agreement


When you think of Antarctica, you probably imagine a frigid, windswept, icy, inhospitable domain; the whitest, most barren canvas on Earth. That’s pretty much the way the Southern continent has been for at least the last 3 million years, since the last time atmospheric carbon dioxide levels approached their current levels. But times, they are a-changing.

The effects of global warming are beginning to radically alter the Antarctic landscape in some surprising ways. Scientists say it’s like looking back in time, to an epoch when this bleached terrain was actually green. Mossy mats are rapidly spreading across the thawed, exposed soils at unprecedented rates, transforming the land from a place of desolation, to a place of viridescence.

Source: Global warming is making Antarctica green again, and it’s stunning | MNN – Mother Nature Network

 


Disabled people are being denied access to justice because of judges’ failure to make the reasonable adjustments that would make the court process accessible to them, according to a disabled human rights barrister. John Horan said the legal profession was failing to address the discrimination faced by disabled people who rely on family and commercial courts, employment and benefits tribunals, and the criminal justice system. One of the reasons for this failure is the pressure exerted on the legal system by government cuts to the courts and tribunals system budget, he has told Disability News Service (DNS). He says the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) provides a clear duty – under article 13, on access to justice – for UK courts to provide the necessary “accommodations” to ensure that every disabled person can play an “effective role” in all legal proceedings. But he says judges (and magistrates) are ignoring detailed guidance laid out in the Equal

Source: Disabled people ‘denied access to justice by failure of judges on reasonable adjustments’ | DisabledGo News and Blog


How does living in diverse, deprived inner cities affect our experience of health and what does this mean for services? David Buck looks at the work one charity is doing to answer this question.

Source: Health in a global city is local: how diversity and deprivation affect health | The King’s Fund


It sounds like a ghost story: A huge cargo vessel sails up and down the Norwegian coast, silently going about its business, without a captain or crew in sight. But if all goes as planned, it’s actually the future of shipping.

Last week, Kongsberg Gruppen ASA, a Norwegian maritime-technology firm, and Yara ASA, a fertilizer manufacturer, announced a partnership to build the world’s first fully autonomous cargo containership. Manned voyages will start in 2018, and in 2020 the Yara Birkeland will set sail all on its own. It’s the beginning of a revolution that should transform one of the world’s oldest and most conservative industries — and make global shipping safer, faster and cleaner than it’s ever been.

The commercial rationale for autonomous ships has long been clear. The U.S. Coast Guard has estimated that human error accounts for up to 96 percent of all marine casualties.

Source: Autonomous Ships Will Be Great – Bloomberg


Long-dormant bacteria and viruses, trapped in ice and permafrost for centuries, are reviving as Earth’s climate warms

Source: BBC – Earth – There are diseases hidden in ice, and they are waking up


The barriers disabled people face in navigating the built environment are an “unacceptable” attack on their quality of life and right to equality, according to a committee of MPs. The report on disability and the built environment, by the Commons women and equalities committee, calls on the government to take a more visible lead in improving access and inclusion. The report mirrors last year’s report on disabled people and the Equality Act by a Lords committee by concluding that the “burden” of achieving an accessible environment “falls too heavily” on individual disabled people. Instead, it says, this burden “needs to lie more obviously with the bodies who create, occupy and manage the environment”, such as central government and local authorities. The report describes a catalogue of barriers that were reported to the committee by disabled witnesses, including the shortage of accessible homes; public and commercial buildings without step-free access or with poor signage; inaccessible

Source: Disabled people face ‘unacceptable barriers’, and government must do more, say MPs | DisabledGo News and Blog

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